Web ServicesVMware ESXi vs. XenServer: Cloud and Desktop Feature Showdown

VMware ESXi vs. XenServer: Cloud and Desktop Feature Showdown

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Heavyweight companies from around the globe are competing in the hot cloud space. In the center ring are two tough competitors Citrix and VMware. Each has strengths and weaknesses. Which should you choose?

In this article, I compare the hypervisor products from these two vendors, Citrix XenServer and VMware ESXi, and explore what each as to offer developers. Since hypervisors have become are a dime a dozen, it only makes sense that a comparison of VMware ESXi and Citrix XenServer also discusses the surrounding components to get a full picture of what each can do for the development community.

Citrix vs. VMware: Cloud Features

The ability of a virtual machine to move from one host to another is critical for modern hypervisors. Both Citrix XenServer and VMware ESXi offer this if you have their management systems.

For VMware DRS (Distributed Resource Scheduler), you must use vCenter Server or vSphere Server. This allows what VMware calls vMotion: workloads can take advantage of resources as they become available or policy limits can be applied to workloads. It appears Citrix calls this workload balancing XenMotion, and it requires XenCenter. Hence, both offer this capability.

Both also offer disaster recovery, high availability, lifecycle management, virtual lab management, and more. The capabilities here are pretty even, but Citrix appears to be competing heavily on price. Many of these features come standard with XenServer (XenCenter), whereas with VMware these features can cost thousands of dollars more than standard vSphere.

Citrix offers OpenCloud, which seems to have feature parity with VMware vCloud. For development and testing specifically, VMware offers vCloud Director and vCenter Lab Manager, while Citrix offers Citrix VMLogix. Both of these provide self service Web interfaces that are critical to the development and testing functions.

Citrix vs. VMware: Virtual Desktop Features

VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) is a fairly new initiative for VMware with the VMware View offering, as it competes with Citrix in the general virtualization space. Since this is Citrix’s bread and butter, I would give Citrix the edge in this category.

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