XenServer, which has been a mixture of proprietary tools from Citrix and open source components, comprises of Xen hypervisor running on a modified version of the CentOS Linux alongside specialized user tools. Citrix describes its latest move as a step to fend off the “confusion created amongst developers and users” of the product.
Some of the features of latest version are improved scaling, performance improvement for hosted virtual machines (VMs), support for up to 500 VMs, and 4000 CPUs per host. With the new version, Windows 8 and Server 2012 as guest operating systems have been stripped off their ‘experimental status.’
Community manager Lars Kurth pointed out that back in 2009 Citrix did open source the XenServer management toolstack (XAPI) but the XCP build system wasn’t and remained proprietary up until now. According to Citrix, future development of XAPI will happen within the Xen project and that its developers will be extending their help and will work with Linux distributions having Xen and XAPI packages such that packaging and submission of Xen patches are made simpler and easier.
Citrix will however continue to provide commercial version of XenServer allowing users to apply automatic updates through XenCenter and will even provide paid support options. XenServer 6.2 is available from XenServer.org and the source code can be found on GitHub.