Citrix has released XenServer 6.0 which comes with a better disaster recovery protection that removes dependencies on Windows virtual machines. Citrix and Microsoft have a strong virtualization love affair on both the technical and marketing fronts, it seems that several improvements listed in the XenServer 6.0 release notes include dropping requirements to use Windows.
For example the new Integrated Site Recovery feature replaces the previous StorageLink Gateway DR tool, offering “remote data replication between storage arrays with fast recovery and failback capabilities. According to Citrix this means the Windows VM is not needed. Site Recovery has been dependent on the StorageLink Gateway component which was a Windows-based separate installation.
Citrix told Ars Technica that with XenServer 6.0 the StorageLink functionality is delivered as a native part of XenCenter and the Site Recovery functionality is done natively. This means Citrix can support replication on a greater number of storage devices.
A Windows VM requirement was removed for access to storage features like data replication, de-duplication, snapshots and cloning. One of the new workload balancing tools uses a Linux-based virtual appliance.
Apparently this does not mean that the Microsoft and Citrix love affair is over. In fact the 6.0 release integrates Microsoft’s System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 and has other connections to Redmond.