Xen Orchestra Review and Interview
Xen Orchestra is a comprehensive turnkey solution. Created by the company Vates, Xen Orchestra is Open Source and enables users simple administration for XenServers and XCP-ng.
I interviewed Oliver, Vates’s CEO, to learn more about the company and its products. He gave me this introduction as to what exactly Xen Orchestra and XCP-ng are:
“Vates is developing two main solutions dedicated to servers virtualization:
- XCP-ng is a virtualization platform, based on Xen Hypervisor, launched in 2018 after a successful kickstarter campaign – XCP-ng has been created after Citrix Hypervisor (formerly XenServer) and changed its pricing strategy.
- Xen Orchestra is the historical product of Vates. It’s an web interface management you can use in Citrix Hypervisor or XCP-ng infrastructure to manage, administrate, backup and even bring your infrastructure to the cloud thanks to it’s integration with solutions such as Docker or Kubernetes”.
An Interesting Beginning
Vates started out with something a little different in mind. After some time, he decided to create a software solution that would better suit the needs of his company and his customers. Oliver explained in greater detail:
“Actually, Vates (our company) was originally a services provider specialized in Open Source software. Our job was to help other companies to set up a functional environment that suited their needs using only Open Source solutions. To this intent, we had some servers in our company, running several VMs using XenServer. It appeared very early that the official tools (XenCenter) were really not handy to use specifically because it was only able to run in a Windows installation…
Xen Orchestra is born for our own internal needs. The initial target was to create an Open Source tool, web-based appliance, able to replace XenCenter. In the process of creating Xen Orchestra, we attracted the attention of some of our users and understood that we were not the only one looking for a more friendly interface to manage XenServer infrastructure. This was the very early days of Xen Orchestra. Since that time, we’ve brought a lot of new features to our appliance, always using our customers’ feedback as a guideline helping us to create our roadmap”.
Xen Orchestra’s Most Notable Features
I asked Oliver what sets Xen Orchestra apart from competitors. He told me:
“Xen Orchestra brings you the convenience of a powerful, user-friendly and secure management of your XenServer and XCP-ng virtual machines in a way that no other tool does. The ability to manage backups, vm and hypervisor orchestration, Kubernetes instances, user access, continuous replication, perform upgrades on hypervisor and even instantiate cloud infrastructure is clearly a must for our users and customers”.
Oliver believes that these features are Xen Orchestra’s greatest strengths and it’s easy to see why.
Xen Orchestra or XCP-ng; Which Is Most Popular?
I was curious as to which of the two products, Xen Orchestra and XCP-ng, was most popular among users. Oliver gave me a very definitive answer:
“Xen Orchestra has the largest installed base, mostly for two reasons: this software started its development much earlier than XCP-ng, and Xen Orchestra is fully capable of managing both Citrix XenServer and XCP-ng hypervisor. Our installed base has had more exposure to Xen Orchestra and likes it for its versatility. However we do see a rather large adoption of XCP-ng (over 150k downloads!) and a clear traction in terms of business there too. XCP-ng potential is bigger!”.
Because the software is Open Source, the Xen Orchestra team is able to maintain a high focus on customer support. Here’s what Oliver told me about it:
“One of the important things to understand is that all our software is Open Source. That means that our core business is not lines of code, it’s our service, our pro support and our expertise. Consequently, that means our support is the main thing we are selling, so we are paying special attention to make it a high-end service”.
On the Xen Orchestra website, you will find ways to obtain professional support as well as community support. Also readily available is a selection of FAQs, a troubleshooting section, and official documentation.
Getting in touch with the Xen Orchestra team is easy. Simply open a ticket, send them an email, or ask a question via live chat for a fast response.
Excellent Core Values
Oliver and his team have a set of clear core values that they always stand by. This has resulted in the creation of a community surrounding Vates’s projects. Oliver told me about the aspect of his company he is most proud of:
“Not only in Xen Orchestra but the thing we are the most proud of is probably that, even as a growing company, we always stand by our core values – accessibility, transparency and of course, Open Source philosophy. Our business approach allows us to be really close to our users and we have successfully created a real community around our projects (XCP-ng and Xen Orchestra), which is a great recognition of the Open Source world”.
An Exciting Future For Vates and Xen Orchestra
Oliver is looking to the future which he describes as looking “exciting”. He intends to make XCP-ng and Xen Orchestra more accessible. Take a look at what Oliver told me about what’s in store for his company:
“We are working more closely with several new and existing datacenter customers in order to make XCP-ng and Xen Orchestra more broadly available. In the meantime, we are investing heavily in the hardening of XCP-ng and connecting with hardware manufacturers and vendors in Europe and abroad. In the future, you will see that we will be in markets that rely on secure infrastructure management for their core business (i.e industry and manufacturing and cybersecurity). The future looks exciting amidst the uncertainty caused by the pandemic”.
Thank you to Oliver for your detailed answers to my interview questions. Learning about Xen Orchestra and Vates has been a great experience.