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Xen 4.0 Release Candidate available posted the Xen 4.0 Release Candidate this week, and the new hypervisor code should be finalized by the end of next month.

Xen 4.0 will feature fault tolerance and the Open Virtual Switch, among other new features. Open source virtualization expert Sander van Vugt said the Open Virtual Switch “will take networking in Xen to the next level.”

“I’m convinced that this release is going to be huge,” he wrote in an email.

The new release comes at a crucial point for Xen. Citrix, the company most closely associated with Xen, faces constant questions about its commitment to XenServer and the server virtualization market as a whole.

Meanwhile, as’s Alessandro Perilli points out, Oracle is looking to become a bigger player in virtualization. Its Oracle VM is also Xen-based, so Xen 4.0 could help its charge into the market. (But then again, so could the rumored Oracle-Citrix acquisition.)

Xen also has an emerging open source challenger on its in hands in KVM, which is built into the Linux kernel. Although van Vugt took the side of KVM in our recent Xen vs. KVM debate, he still predicts good things for the future of Xen.

“Currently, VMware clearly is the more complete virtualization solution,” he wrote in his email. “Releasing the Xen 4 hypervisor will put Xen completely back in the picture, not only for Citrix, but for all other players in the Xen area as well.”

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