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With its latest announcements of XenServer-related products, Citrix has strengthened its ability to provide more capable disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity services using its server virtualization line of products. These have lots of appeal for enterprises that previously would have either considered a full DR solution too expensive or who are using regular tape backups and finding them cumbersome. A combination of services including high availability (HA), live migration of running virtual machines (VMs), virtual storage management and near-term server failover that were previously only the province of very expensive and customized clustered configurations are now available in the virtual world and can serve as a good substitute for many enterprise's DR applications, too. This is because VMs are easily portable and replicated across the Internet, so you can quickly get a secondary site up and running when the primary server has failed.
One of the issues with custom clustering solutions is that they require identical hardware and operating system versions for each physical machine that was part of the cluster: virtualized servers are more forgiving and flexible, not to mention less expensive too. Another issue is that many clusters required very high-speed Internet links to support a remote DR site: virtualized solutions are also less demanding of connectivity too.
XenServer v5.6, which began shipping at the end of May, offers some changes in how these its DR services are packaged and delivered from previous versions. Citrix will offer four different versions: