This past month saw some significant progress toward our objective of converting XenServer from a closed source product developed within Citrix to an open source project. This is a process which is considerably more difficult and detailed than simply announcing that we’re now open source, and I’m pleased to announce that in October we completed the publication of all sources making up XenServer. While there is considerable work left to be done, not only can interested parties view all of the code, but we have also posted nightly snapshots of the last thirty builds from trunk. For organizations looking to integrate with XenServer, these builds represent an ideal early access program from which to test integrations.
In addition to the code progress, we’ve also been busy building capabilities and supporting a vibrant ecosystem. Some of the highlights include:
- On October 1st, we released a tech preview of true hardware GPU sharing for XenDesktop 7.1. While there are many ways to share access to a GPU, when performance really matters you need direct access to the hardware, and that’s what XenServer is able to deliver to XenDesktop when using NVIDIA GRID cards.
- On October 31st, Cisco celebrated the third anniversary of FlexPod, and also announced the inclusion of Citrix and XenServer to the FlexPod Cooperative Support Program.
- At the Xen Project Developer Summit in Edinburgh October 24-25, we discussed in detail how we’ve been able to dramatically increase the scalability and VM density of XenServer. This included work from Project Pulsar
- XenServer 6.2 was validated for IBM DB2
Now no status report would be complete without some metrics, and we’ve got some pretty decent stats as well. Unique visitors to xenserver.org in October were up 12% to over 26,000. Downloads of the core XenServer installation ISO directly from xenserver.org were up by over 1000 downloads. Mailing list activity was up 50% and we had over 80 commits to the XenServer repositories. What’s even more impressive with these numbers is that XenServer is built from a number of other open source projects, so the real activity level within XenServer is considerably larger.
At the end of the day this is one month, but it is a turning point. I’ve been associated in one form or another with XenServer since 2008, and even way back then there were many who expected XenServer was unlikely to be around for long. Five years later there are more competing solutions, but the future for XenServer is as solid as ever. We’re working through some of the technical issues which have artificially limited XenServer in recent years, but we are making significant progress. If you are looking for a solid, high performance, open source virtualization platform; then XenServer needs to be on your list. If you are looking to contain the costs of delivering virtualized infrastructure, the same holds true.
More important than all these excellent steps forward is how XenServer can benefit the ecosystem of vendors and fellow open source projects which are required to fully deliver virtualized infrastructure at large scale. Over the next several months I’m going to be reaching out to various constituencies to see what we should be doing to make participating in the ecosystem more valuable. If you want to be included in that process, please let me know.