Citrix Offers Free Hyper-V Storage Management

Citrix (NASDAQ: CTXS) today will unveil a free version of Citrix Essentials for Hyper-V at Microsoft’s (NASDAQ: MSFT) Worldwide Partner Conference in New Orleans. The new Express Edition incorporates Citrix’s StorageLink simplified storage management technology.

“StorageLink provides one-click access to native storage devices for simplified management through storage configuration wizards that leverage existing storage array-based services and technologies directly from within the Microsoft Management Console,” Citrix said in a statement. “Essentials for Hyper-V with StorageLink supports all storage architectures and works with existing Windows storage management products to deliver faster virtual machine deployment and lower storage management TCO in virtual environments.”

Simplified storage management includes deduplication, which can conserve expensive Fibre Channel (FC) and iSCSI storage resources.

“Hyper-V customers can often shrink their storage footprint by upwards of 50 percent depending on the nature of their workloads. In cases where virtual machines (VMs) are highly duplicated, like virtual desktop images, many have seen a nearly 90 percent reduction in storage consumption,” Citrix said.

The Express Edition is limited to two Hyper-V hosts and a single FC or iSCSI storage array, according to Citrix.

It is “designed specifically for Windows IT professional in the early phases of Hyper-V adoption,” Citrix added.

The announcement marks the latest phase in the virtualization wars, as competitors challenge VMware (NYSE: VMW) by offering free products. VMware itself offered a free version of its ESXi hypervisor last year.

In May, Citrix offered its XenServer for free, but also began talking about the ease of use of its products and talking up the “consumerization” of enterprise software, meaning that enterprise software should be easy to use.

The company hopes to migrate those that use the Express Edition to premium versions priced at $1,500 per server for the Enterprise edition and $3,000 per server for the Platinum edition for additional features that are not offered in the Express Edition. Premium features include dynamic server provisioning, automated lab management, automated stage management, and workflow orchestration, Citrix said.

The Platinum Edition adds lifecycle management, a feature designed for application developers that supports the testing and sharing of virtualized applications.

“Vendors that provide practical, heterogeneous virtualization management solutions that address not just the virtual infrastructure, but also provide a framework for third-party innovation within and beyond the virtual infrastructure, are best positioned for long-term success,” Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf said in a statement when this feature was announced in February.

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