Xen vs Proxmox VE: History

Xen is a virtualization project that was built in 2003 at the University of Cambridge. It is now one of the most used virtualization technologies in the world. Ian Pratt, a senior lecturer in the computer laboratory, and his PhD student at the time, Keir Fraser, were in charge of the project. Shortly after developing the software, Pratt, Fraser, Simon Crosby, Nick Gault, and a few other Cambridge graduates, founded XenSource Inc. and took Xen to market, eventually making it one of the most sought after virtualization softwares in the server virtualization market.

Proxmox VE, on the other hand, was specifically developed for Linux systems and came to fruition when two Linux developers, Dietmar Maurer and Martin Maurer, aimed to address the lack of backup systems and GUI management functionality in the OpenVZ software. This was at a time when KVM virtualization technology was rolled out as part of the Linux kernel to allow it to act as a hypervisor, enabling the execution of multiple virtual machines (VMs) with different operating systems on a single physical machine. They took this opportunity to merge the two technologies into a container system.

What are Xen and Proxmox VE?

What is Xen?

Xen is an open-source bare metal hypervisor that acts as a bridge between different operating systems running on the same hardware at the same time.

Features of Xen Cloud Platform-Next Generation (XCP-ng)

Multi-Server Management

The multiple server management feature lets you control, monitor, and manage all of your data and systems from a single agentless web interface.

Live VM Migration

Live VM migration allows you to migrate your virtual machines (VMs) live, with little downtime.

Live Patching

The live patching ability of XCP-ng allows you to patch the XCP-hypervisor without suspending or shutting down VMs. You also aren’t forced to migrate your VMs from the host.

Storage Migration

Thanks to XCP-ng’s storage movement feature, you can move your virtual disk both within and between resource pools. Plus, it lets you change, fix, and run your files and systems without any downtime.

Accelerated Performance

You can control, manage, and monitor all your data and assets from a single interface because XCP-ng works with both the Xen Orchestra Web UI and the Windows-based XCP-ng Center.

What is Proxmox VE?

Proxmox Virtual Environment, also known as Proxmox VE or PVE, is a hyper-converged infrastructure open-source software. It is a hosted hypervisor that can run operating systems, including the Linux kernel and Windows, on x64 hardware.

Features of Proxmox

Live Migration

Users can migrate virtual machines from one cluster node to another with zero downtime using Proxmox’s live migration capability.

Multiple Authentication Sources

With Proxmox VE’s built-in authentication server functionality, you can connect to a wide variety of authentication protocols and services, such as OpenID Connect, LDAP, Active Directory, and Linux PAM.

Multi-Storage Functionality

Proxmox’s web interface lets users add different types of storage, like CephFS, GlusterFS, SMB/CIFS, iSCSI, and NFS files (which can also be used to back up VMs or Containers).

Infrastructure Security and Backups

A built-in firewall in Proxmox VE can help you keep your IT system safe. Through the CLI or GUI, Proxmox’s firewall can be set up in a lot of different ways. You can also set up regular backups for VMs, nodes, and guests with Proxmox VE. These backups will run at the time you specify.

Access Control and Collaboration with Ceph

Because Proxmox VE is fully integrated with Ceph, users can view and manage Ceph storage from their virtual machines. Proxmox VE’s role-based rights control system allows users to set specific permissions for all items.

Comparison of Xen and Proxmox

Proxmox and Xen are both open-source virtualization platforms that allow users to create and manage virtual machines (VMs) on a single physical server. However, unlike Proxmox, XCP-ng is based on CentOS and may include elements from Debian GNU/Linux or other distributions to fulfill specific requirements or enhance functionality. XCP-ng is a powerful XAPI (Xen API Project), which works out of the box to deliver turnkey in-server virtualization. Below is a comparison table between Xen and Proxmox, focusing on various aspects such as virtualization technology, management features, hardware support, and community support.

Virtualization TypeBare metal HypervisorBare metal Hypervisor with container support
ManagementXenCenter or XL command line toolsWeb-based GUI or CLI
Supported Platformsx86, x86-64x86, x86-64, ARM
Live MigrationYESYES
High AvailabilityYESYES
Clustering YESYES
Storage ManagementIntegration with external solutionsBuilt-in storage management (Ceph, ZFS, and more)
NetworkingBridge VLAN and moreVLAN, OVS, Bridge and more
Community SupportLarge, active communityActive community with updated forums and mailing lists
CostOpen sourceOpen source with support
Container SupportLimitedYes
Features of Xen vs. Proxmox

Xen-XCP-ng vs Proxmox VE: Comparing Market Strength

Xen competes with other products in the virtualization platform market. It has a 1.34% market share in the industry, boasting over 4,500 customers in 10 countries. Proxmox competes with other products in the project collaboration and virtualization platform market and has a 0.90% market share in the virtualization platform category, with over 3,000 customers in 10 countries. Comparing the customer bases of Xen and Proxmox, Xen stands at 9th place, while Proxmox holds true in 12th place.

Which is better for me, Xen or Proxmox VE?

Your choice of virtualization technology depends on your IT needs, specific use cases, technical expertise, infrastructure requirements, and personal preferences. It’s important to consider your wants and IT needs carefully, maybe even trying both systems in a non-production setting to find the one that best fits your infrastructure and user preferences. It’s important to take your marketing strategy into consideration as well. Consider how your systems work? How can Xen make them better? How will Proxmox VE improve productivity and speed? How will Xen increase conversion? There are many questions to consider.


Using virtual environment technologies like Xen and Proxmox VE can save your company money. They allow you to run different VMs on the same physical machine, resulting in cost-effective hardware utilization. This means you don’t have to buy as many computers to run multiple operating systems, which can yield considerable savings.

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Q: Can I run both XCP-ng and Proxmox VE on the same hardware?

A:  Yes, it is technically possible to run both Xen and Proxmox VE on the same hardware, but it would require careful configuration and management to ensure compatibility and avoid conflicts.

Q: Is it easy to migrate VMs between XCP-ng and Proxmox VE?

A: No, migrating Virtual Machine between XCP-ng and Proxmox VE is not straightforward and may require manual adjustments due to differences in underlying virtualization technologies and management interfaces.

Q: Which platform has better support for Windows Virtual Machines?

A: Both XCP-ng and Proxmox VE offer advanced features and good support for Windows virtual machines. XCP-ng provides optimized Windows (PV) drivers for enhanced performance, while Proxmox VE includes VirtIO drivers for improved Windows VM performance.

Q: Is there commercial support available for both XCP-ng and Proxmox VE?

A: Yes, commercial 24/7 support is available for XCP-NG through Vates. Proxmox only offers limited online community help during business hours.