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Citrix adds Hypervisor Cloud to bring more and faster updates

Years after the company quit server virtualization, but may be handy for hybrid work

Citrix has added a development stream to its hypervisor that promises fast and frequent enhancements, plus a cloud service to deliver them to users.

The Citrix Hypervisor 8 Cloud release stream is not designed to replace Citrix Hypervisor's Long Term Service releases, the last of which emerged in June 2020.

Instead, the cloudy stream adds a cloud-based Hypervisor Management service that can deploy new features of Citrix Hypervisor to on-prem hosts without the need to download and install upgrades. Citrix Hypervisor 8 Cloud uses version 4.13.4 of the open source Xen hypervisor, which is currently at version 4.16.

Citrix hasn't indicated how often updates will flow, or the kind of additions it thinks will be so valuable that its customers will move to Citrix Hypervisor 8 Cloud. But with a couple of versions of Xen to catch up on, one reason easy updates will be appreciated is apparent.

The company has stated that a cloudy hypervisor is needed because hybrid work is here to stay and organizations that offer it using the Citrix stack therefore need the tools to run a secure hybrid cloud.

It's hard to argue against that.

But Citrix may also find it hard to excite users. Way back in 2014 it effectively quit the market for a general purpose hypervisor capable of powering a private or hybrid cloud. The company kept its hypervisor on the books and recommended it as the best environment in which to run its Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops products – and even made it free for those users – but many Citrix customers prefer to run the company's products on competitors' virtualization stacks.

Maybe Citrix has something else up its sleeve to make Citrix Hypervisor 8 Cloud more attractive. Or perhaps it will just help the company fling some FUD in the direction of VMware – which is set to be acquired by Broadcom and make a rapid shift to subscriptions.

VMware has declined to detail the price of its newly announced subscriptions, and Broadcom has a history of hiking prices that has made some VMware customers nervous.

Broadcom has already acknowledged that some VMware customers are nervous about the deal. Citrix now has a product it can use to escalate that anxiety.

To which VMware could rightly offer a riposte that Citrix's own future is uncertain. It has been taken private and will merge with Tibco – a company whose activities are not an obvious fit. The combined Citrix/Tibco will be run by Tom Krause, the former head of Broadcom Software, who drove the VMware/Broadcom deal and championed Broadcom's strategy of sloughing off smaller customers and focusing only on larger users. ®

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