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Citrix releases free XenServer 5.5 server virtualization software

Citrix Systems hopes to gain server virtualization market share with XenServer 5.5, free virtualization software that offers Active Directory integration and support for several operating systems.

XenServer 5.5, Citrix Systems' free, feature-rich server virtualization software, is available today.

Citrix made waves in February when it announced plans to give away XenServer -- a move observers said would help the company gain share in the server virtualization software market. The new version features Active Directory integration, which will help IT managers implement role-based access controls.

VMware's free hypervisor, ESXi, does not offer as many features as XenServer.

XenServer 5.5 also adds support for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 and Debian 5.0, as well as Red Hat, CentOS and Oracle 5.3 running as guest operating systems. Another new feature is XenConvert, which allows managers to migrate virtual machines from VMware's Virtual Machine Disk Format to the Virtual Hard Disk format that Citrix and Microsoft use.

Citrix today also released Citrix Essentials 5.5 for XenServer and Hyper-V, which provides additional management capabilities. Its suggested price is $2,500 per server, regardless of the number of processors.

VMware's free hypervisor, ESXi, does not offer as many features as XenServer, but VMware says when management tools and other costs are factored in, its comparable offerings are actually less expensive . Simon Crosby, Citrix's chief technology officer, has dismissed those claims as "bull----" and called ESXi a "toy."

Citrix made the XenServer 5.5 beta available for download in April and officially announced the new version at its Synergy 2009 conference in May.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Colin Steele, Site Editor.

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