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The Citrix hypervisor has caught up to VMware in providing enterprise-class security features, and is now the second virtualisation platform to be certified as "production-ready," according to the Burton Group analyst firm.

Two months ago, the Burton Group said the VMware hypervisor was the only one on the market to meet all 27 features the analyst firm believes are required to run production-class workloads in the enterprise. Citrix met 85 percent of the requirements but fell short in features such as security logging and auditing of administrative actions; directory services integration; and role-based access controls.

But with the vendor's latest software, XenServer 5.5, Citrix has eliminated those shortcomings, Burton Group analyst Chris Wolf writes in a blog post.

"Citrix added several key features for the 5.5 release, including directory service integration, security logging and auditing of administrative actions, and role based access controls (via the Lab Manager interface included in Essentials 5.5 Platinum Edition)," said Wolf. "Also, Citrix reworked its XenServer support policy to meet our minimum 3 year market support requirement."

The Burton Group's virtualisation criteria were drawn up to ensure that hypervisors provide adequate security, management, availability, storage, network, compute, scalability, and performance to enterprise IT shops.

"Having multiple production-ready hypervisors on the market means more choice for the customer, and a greater push for vendors to continue furthering innovation and competitive differentiation," Wolf wrote. "Regardless of where your hypervisor loyalties stand, we'll all benefit from the progress of the XenServer platform."

In addition to required production features, Burton Group has two other categories: preferred features that are important but not required, and features that are just optional. VMware is still ahead of its rivals in preferred and optional features, said Wolf.

In the analyst firm's last report, Microsoft Hyper-V lagged behind its rivals, meeting 78 per cent of enterprise virtualization requirements. Wolf said that The Burton Group was analysing Microsoft's new Hyper-V Server 2008: R2, and will post an update once the evaluation is complete.

This new version of Hyper-V is still missing some enterprise features but includes live migration and other important tools that bring it closer to production-ready status, Wof added.