Today is the day: Citrix just released the first technical preview of project Kensho under the LGPL license.
The package at the moment includes:
- an import/export tool (for Windows XP and 2003 only) which can convert in OVF any virtual machine in VHD format, taking it from a folder (the Library) or directly from a Citrix XenServer or Microsoft Hyper-V host.
- an agent to be installed on XenServer hosts which allows the direct import/export of OVF VMs (this is not needed to interact with Hyper-V as the tool uses the WinRM interface provided by Windows Server 2008)
VMware Infrastructure direct support is not available but, exactly because this is an interoperability, customers can create an OVF virtual machine with the new VMware Studio and import into XenServer with this wizard. Or vice versa.
The tool also does another couple of interesting things:
- it allows the extraction of metadata only from the OVF package, useful if you want to backup the VM configuration
- it allows to map the virtual resources defined in the OVF metadata to the physical resources actually available on the virtualization host, useful to avoid any additional modifications of the OVF VM after the import in XenServer or Hyper-V.
Citrix published a useful video describing all these capabilities.
As part of its OVF effort Citrix also announces a partnership with rPath, the succesful firm that offers an online tool (rBuilder) to build and deliver new virtual appliances by assembling Linux packages like Lego bricks.
The two are working together to allow rBuilder to inject OVF virtual appliances directly into Xen-based cloud computing environments, like Amazon EC2.
If rPath can see itself beyond the current role of self-service portal to build virtual machines, it could morph in a real VM lifecycle management company focused on hosted virtual infrastructures (no matter if the purpose is cloud computing or not).
Citrix is offering them a unique opportunity to reach that goal.