Stretching the OpenStack Envelope: Citrix and Mirantis

Back in May, Mirantis and Citrix re-formalized their long-standing collaboration, issuing a press release to the effect that they were joining each others’ partner programs (Mirantis Unlocked and Citrix Ready, respectively) and undertaking an ambitious joint validation roadmap — creating integrated solutions for service providers and large enterprises.

The collaboration almost immediately bore fruit in the form of a reference architecture (English and Japanese versions now available) for building highly-available OpenStack clouds with NetScaler Application Delivery Controller and Mirantis OpenStack. Implementing NetScaler gives users a fiercely robust and scalable Load-Balancing-as-a-Service (LBaaS) solution for insuring application-level availability, performance and SLA-compliance, along with NetScaler policy-based, highly-automated administration. LBaaS, moreover, is just one potential virtual network function that NetScaler can deploy, chain and manage. Citrix and NetScaler were identified by Mirantis as foundational NFV partners in Mirantis’ recent announcement of its NFV Reference Platform (modeled on ETSI-NFV), and Citrix and Mirantis subsequently released a joint white paper about the joint solution, titled Network Function Virtualization Solution for Telco Clouds.

This week’s news comes from a different (though obviously, related) quarter. Citrix has completed validation of the XenServer platform (version 6.5) on Mirantis OpenStack 6.1 — in the process, creating and validating a Fuel Plugin and documentation to facilitate deployment of XenServer with OpenStack.

XenServer (see xenserver.org) is an open source hypervisor project, managed by Citrix, and based on the Xen Project bare metal hypervisor. The XenServer Fuel Plugin creates a new deployment type for Mirantis OpenStack, that provisions Xen to designated nodes, enabling installation of XenServer on them, inside a (bare metal) VM, turning them into OpenStack computes (kind of like Triple-O and Ironic had a love child). The resulting XenServer computes are extremely performant, resource efficient (up to 1000 VMs per node), robust and enterprise-workload-friendly.

Friendly enough to run enterprise Windows and Linux apps in VMs, and (probably more important) to run XenApp, which is a core component of Citrix’ application and desktop virtualization solution suite (Xen Desktop, Citrix Receiver, etc.). You can run Windows 10 and Linux apps under XenApp, and deliver them to virtual worker desktops, side by side, on any device, pretty much anywhere. NetScaler ADC, of course, also plays an important role in large-scale enterprise deployments of XenApp, ensuring good choreography of resources for application availability and performance.

As Mirantis’ VP of Product and Partner Marketing, Kamesh Pemmaraju says: “The XenServer Fuel Plugin simplifies the job of adding support for the popular XenServer platform (based on the Xen hypervisor) to Mirantis OpenStack, opening the door to resource-optimized, high-performance and high-reliability application and desktop virtualization with Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop. It demonstrates OpenStack adaptability and its readiness to support an ever-broader range of workloads — not just for dev/test and web applications, but for mission-critical enterprise apps and general productivity.”

Citrix and Mirantis will be discussing XenServer, NetScaler ADC and other foci of their collaboration in Tokyo, next week, at OpenStack Summit. You can check out the XenServer Fuel Plugin for Mirantis OpenStack 6.1, download Mirantis OpenStack 6.1 itself (a Supported Prior Release), and obtain XenServer 6.5 all free of charge, with enterprise-class joint support available from Mirantis and Citrix.

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