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Citrix, Microsoft, and Red Hat or Novell gang up on VMware

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Citrix is about to put a world of hurt on its virtualization rival, VMware. Next week, Citrix will be announcing that it will no longer charge for its flagship virtualization program XenServer 5, and its new management program, Citrix Essentials, will support both Microsoft’s Hyper-V and XenServer.

This looks like a smart move to me. Virtualization, even high-end virtualization like XenServer is fast becoming a commodity. Off the top of my head, I can list four different virtualization programs that are open source: Sun’s VirtualBox; Citrix’s Xen; Linux’s built-in KVM (Kernel-based Virtual Machine); and Parallels’ OpenVZ. Heck, even VMware, which has no love for open source, was forced to release its desktop virtualization program, VMware View Open Client, as open source.

In addition, even more companies are jumping into virtualization. Networking giants Cisco and Juniper are slowly moving into network virtualization and servers may not be far behind.

With a market like this you have to do something different to try to stand out. What Citrix will be doing is giving away its high-end virtualization program in an attempt to grab market share while betting that its virtualization management programs will make the money.

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