Citrix integrates XenServer management into HP GUIs

After signing a major OEM agreement with Lenovo for the Chinese market, Citrix is now closing an even bigger deal with HP.

In October 2007 Citrix already announced a distribution agrement with HP (and with Dell) to offer XenServer on certified ProLiant and BladeSystem hardware, but the just announced deal goes a little further than that.

The two companies have developed a special version of XenServer (Citrix XenServer HP Select Edition) which comes pre-installed and provides basic management capabilities integrated into the HP GUIs.

For remote control customers will be able to use the well known HP Integrated Lights-Out (iLO), while for local control HP and Citrix developed a new ProLiant Virtual Console (PVC).

Obviously this version of XenServer is ready for enterprise management: first of all it integrates an HP agent to control the whole system with System Insight Manager (SIM), secondarily the product can be upgraded to Enterpise and Platinum edition (to use it with XenCenter) through a simple change of the license key.

HP will offer this configuration for ten different ProLiant models starting on March 31. The company didn’t provide any information about the price.

With this agreement and the other already signed so far, XenServer is now a factory option for over 50% of enterprise servers.

A strong answer to the VMware strategy, which is letting slip its new ESX Server 3i hypervisor into most enterprise servers out there (hopefully for free).

But just like in VMware case, while the move will greatly attract the SMB market, it may also negatively impact the sales channel, which now has to focus on selling the premium management options only.