HP said Thursday that it would offer customers 64-bit ProLiant machines with the Citrix XenServer hypervisor. The announcements followed by about a month similar plans unveiled for VMware. HP customers will have a choice between the two virtualization environments starting March 31.
HP also plans to offer ProLiant and BladeSystem servers with Microsoft's Hyper-V Server software. Microsoft's technology for consolidating multiple software servers on a single physical server is expected to ship this year. The software maker released a near-final test version of Hyper-V this month.
HP plans to offer its own management tools as the interface for the third-party virtualization environments. Virtualization enables companies to consolidate applications that run on different platforms on a single server, making better use of the hardware's processing power.
"Citrix and HP share the belief that virtualization should be a natural extension of the hardware platform," Peter Levine, senior VP and general manager of Citrix's virtualization and management division, said in a statement.
HP rival Dell is also moving aggressively to offer virtualization technology to customers. Dell and VMware have a partnership in which the latter company's software is jointly tested and certified on Dell PowerEdge Servers and Dell/EMC storage products.
Along with server consolidation in the data center, companies such as Citrix Systems, Sun Microsystems, and VMware are also pushing technology to virtualize PC and Linux desktops on a central server and to make those environments accessible by employees using a notebook, desktop, or smartphone.