Citrix downplays Red Hat's decision to drop Xen

Won't harm Xen's standing in the virtualisation market

Citrix CTO and longtime Xen proponent Simon Crosby said he is unfazed by Red Hat's decision to drop the Xen hypervisor from its enterprise Linux software and focus its virtualization efforts around the KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine) hypervisor. Crosby claims the move won't harm Xen's standing in the virtualization market.

Red Hat drops Xen from enterprise Linux software

"To be perfectly honest it's a relief," said Crosby, who was CTO at XenSource before the virtualization vendor was purchased by Citrix. "Look, KVM is a simple way for a distro to pick up virtualization. It's just a driver in the kernel. So it's natural for a Linux distributor to put it in, it's straightforward."

Xen doesn't need special standing within Linux distributions because it goes well beyond what Crosby calls the simple virtualization capabilities of the KVM hypervisor, which has been included in Linux since 2007. Xen is more technology-agnostic than KVM, Crosby said during an interview this week at the Interop Las Vegas tech conference.

"The key is, we're not fighting an operating system's battle," Crosby said. "We're not trying to say Linux is better than Windows or vice versa. The choice of what operating system you want to use is up to you and your app. I don't have a stake in that battle. My job is to provide a wafer-thin layer that virtualizes compute, storage and networking, and gives you granular control, multi-tenancy and does a fabulous job in performance. Beyond that, I don't care."

Citrix is fighting VMware for customers in the emerging virtualization market with XenServer, based on the Xen open source hypervisor.

KVM is a relative newcomer in the open source portion of the virtualization market, but has had a few notable successes. IBM and The Planet have each built cloud computing services using KVM, with Planet officials arguing that KVM is simpler to use than Xen and will ultimately surpass Xen in popularity.

More recently, Red Hat dropped the Xen hypervisor from Red Hat Enterprise Linux, going solely with KVM. Red Hat's use of KVM had been increasing over the past two years, and the company said it was duplicating efforts by maintaining two hypervisors.

Crosby says Xen was never intended to be part of the Linux kernel, so it's natural for a Linux distributor to switch to a virtualization technology that is embedded in the kernel.

But Crosby doubted customers will leave Xen for KVM en masse, saying that XenServer will be used on 250,000 servers this year alone. Xen's virtualization management tools are superior to KVM's, he argued.

"KVM is just an ability to virtualize the CPU and memory," Crosby said. "It doesn't do networking or storage. It's the rest of the infrastructure that you build around it that turns it into something more useful."

Red Hat's implementation of KVM is still weak compared to virtualization infrastructure platforms from Citrix, VMware and even other vendors such as Oracle, Crosby said.

"I don't have any issues with KVM as a technology," he said. "It's fine. It's maturing, but it's going to take time to get there, like everything else does."

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jbrodkin

Read more about data center in Network World's Data Center section.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags virtualisation

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jon Brodkin

Network World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?