Burton Group is in their last day of their annual Catalyst Conference in San Diego (July 27 – 31, 2009). Wednesday they had their announced VMware vs Citrix battle and I just watched their video feed.

It was a very interesting ‘battle’ between VMware’s Scott Drummonds and Citrix’s Simon Crosby but I must admit that I was a bit annoyed a times. I think the the photo on the left captures the atmosphere for the debate quite well.

Simon Crosby constantly attacking VMware on various issues, but mainly on VMware’s standpoint on performance testing, and Scott Drummonds staying very relaxed, not getting into a bitch fight, throwing mud and pulling hair.

The thing I really liked was Scott’s explanation of how important it is to do good benchmarking were he compared IOPS between VMware (288) and XenServer (159) and he pointed out that these numbers cannot be correct because there is no way VMware ESX is two times faster than Citrix XenServer.

The other thing I liked was how Simon compared VMware and Citrix to cars where, according to Simon, VMware was a Rolls Roys and Citrix XenServer a Prius. I immediatelly thought of Jeff Dunham’s joke, ‘Ever heard it when a Prius was driving by?‘ :-) And I loved the way how Scott wards off this attack by comparing XenServer’s parent partition’s I/O bottleneck to a governeur build into american cars.

One of the things I disliked was the way Simon used the free source Xen to make Citrix XenServer look nicer when supporting new hardware features. Scott called Simon on his statement and Simon, in my opinion, had to withdraw that statement claiming Citrix has a lag of five or six months based on the overall readiness of the feature. But that was immaterial, sure Simon sure. I’ve seen Citrix do faulty comparisons more than once before and I’ve commented on it multiple times. Keep the discussion fair, do not compare HA to Live migration and state that you have high availability, do not claim to have new hardware feature support as soon as hardware vendors ship it when you don’t, play fair!

Besides that the ‘battle’ was both entertaining and informative especially when they discussed their view on all the benchmarks that are published.

I am, of course, biased so if you want to view the video and create your own opinion, go to the Burton Group Catalyst Conference video.