New Citrix Xen/KVM Virtual Switch
May 7, 2009

Citrix Synergy is in full swing this week with lots of new product announcements as expected. One new product that hasn’t garnered nearly the attention it probably merits is a new, Open Source virtual switch that runs on the Xen and KVM hypervisors.

Chris Wolf has great analysis as usual:

I’m expecting Citrix to offer more details of the open source Xen virtual switch in the near future, but in the mean time, here’s what I can tell you:

  1. The virtual switch will be open source and initially compatible with both Xen- and KVM-based hypervisors
  2. It will provide centralized network management
  3. It will support advanced network management features such as Netflow, SPAN, RSPAN, and ERSPAN
  4. It will initially be available as a plug-in to XenCenter
  5. It will support security features such as ACLs and 802.1x

This is clearly a great move by Citrix. An open source virtual switch will allow a number of hardware OEMs to ship a robust virtual switch on their products, while also giving them the opportunity to add value to both their hardware devices (e.g., network adapters) and software management suites. Furthermore, an open source virtual switch that is shared by a large vendor community will enable organizations to deploy this virtual switch technology while avoiding vendor lock-in.

There’s no doubt that virtualized network infrastructure is here to stay. Virtualized switches, particularly Open Source virtualized switches, have huge potential to shake up the status-quo network equipment vendor market in a big way.