Citrix and Intel to jointly develop a client hypervisor

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Surprisingly enough in the last few months Intel sold many of its VMW shares (some of them were acquired by Cisco). There may be a good reason: Intel has some serious business to do with the VMware’s competitor Citrix.

Last Friday the two announced a joint effort (codenamed Thunder Lake) to develop a version of Xen for consumer equipment like desktops and laptops (something the industry is calling a desktop or client hypervisor).

Of course the product is not developed for the consumer market, but for the big enterprises with a large-scale population of clients. For this reason Citrix and Intel will offer the new hypervisor along with a centralized management system to control the hypervisor distribution, a delivery mechanism that works on bare-metal hardware, and a security wrapper around the virtual machines to enforce granular access control policies.
The entire platform will be optimized for Intel vPro technology.

The two companies promise near-native performance inside the virtual machines, ability to work off-network (so there will be a synchronization system between the client and the data center) and bandwidth-intelligent streaming.
Many competitors are trying to deliver the same things, including Phoenix Technologies, Virtual Computer, Neocleus, and of course VMware.

Once available in H2 2009, this client hypervisor will be distributed through the major OEMs and will be integrated into upcoming Citrix products.

This news doesn’t come totally unexpected: just few months ago highlighted how Intel mysteriously appeared among the Citrix partners that are developing a client hypervisor powered by Xen in a presentation from Simon Crosby, CTO of Management and Virtualization department at Citrix.

Update: Citrix published a video of the client hypervisor, codename Project Independence, in action.
It doesn’t show anything about the way it’s installed, configured and managed, but it certainly shows how some multimedia workloads (DVD playing, 3D rendering) are easily served inside the virtual machines.

See it at the new sister (and beta) site of