Analysts and technology companies alike have been attempting to describe the totality of Cloud Computing in terms of technology and business application. The problem to date is that there has not been a single company who is both actively creating applications as well as producing the infrastructure and delivery mechanisms to deliver applications in the Cloud. I usually don’t promote Citrix right up front in my blogs, but in this case, Citrix is the core of the discussion in that we are the only company in the world today that plays across the entire spectrum of the Cloud. I’d like to start with a basic picture to depict this strength and then describe each area.
The Cloud can be described in these vertical planes by generalizing between Services and Infrastructure. Along the horizontal plane the spectrum of the Cloud stretches from the software companies producing the applications (Independent Software Vendors – ISV) to the ultimate utility infrastructure for architectures with a foundation of servers which are virtualized. The core product families at Citrix not only fit this paradigm, but by definition are core to the way in which Cloud Computing is developed and delivered.
Note first of all that without applications the cloud has no purpose. The spectrum starts with the ISV. Citrix Online’s core technology and business proposition is rooted firmly in the ISV and SaaS portions of the cloud (http://www.citrixonline.com/products.tmpl?SessionInfo=20196379:BC688DECBA73756). In fact, Online is actually the 5th largest SaaS supplier in the world. This gives us a keen understanding of what it takes to produce applications and deliver them to millions of subscribers around the world through a subscription model.
Next, Citrix has designed an application delivery technology used by 98% of the Fortune 500 companies around the world, XenApp. Huge companies like Bechtel looking for ways in which to change the way they do business are adopting a variant of SaaS through what they call the Project Services Network producing an “on demand environment for application and data access” (http://web.citrix.com/go/synergy_08/vote/). And because the base software has been designed to work in these complex environments it shouldn’t be surprising that Citrix also is the world leader in the delivery of applications embedded with high end graphics. (http://community.citrix.com/blogs/citrite/derekt/2009/02/06/New+Multimedia+Capabilities+%28and+more+to+come%29).
Recognizing the need for entire desktop virtualization, XenDesktop is rapidly becoming the Desktop as a Service choice for many companies looking to augment their current application delivery approach. Citrix leads the market in the flexibility of the DaaS through the latest release of the XenDesktop product. My friend and colleague, Simon Crosby recently spoke on the topic and our future plans in this space in an interview with Doug Brown (http://www.dabcc.com/multimedia.aspx).
Moving to the far right of the spectrum we know that eventually the delivery of software will have to follow a utility model closely related to the Telco in order to be available to the mass market consumer. So in an effort to begin to bridge that gap, Citrix has begun work in what is called the Elastic Compute Cloud or EC2 (http://community.citrix.com/pages/viewpage.action?pageId=58196960&showComments=true#comments). In this environment, Citrix has demonstrated a future view of what will be Infrastructure as a Service using XenServer and the Xen Hypervisor as the core technology.
Finally, NetScaler has been a critical element of the Cloud for a number of years. Providing web application acceleration and network optimization, this is a core technology to enable the infrastructure that delivers the applications through the Cloud.
I challenge anyone who thinks they know of a company better aligned with all aspects of Cloud Computing and has not only the vision for the future of application delivery, but a business model and technology today to actually deploy it and allow customers to produce revenues from it. Look for an upcoming Podcast hosted by Doug Brown including discussion from Brad Pedersen and Kurt Moody to round out this discussion (http://www.dabcc.com/multimedia.aspx).
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