I’ve been talking to a number of people regarding their ideas with respect to delivering Desktop Virtualization and Application Virtualization from the cloud.

Yesterday Amazon announced Virtual Private Cloud (VPC) with support for Citrix C3. Check out Craig Ellrod’s blog post

It’s great to see people thinking about ways to extend the reach of the Citrix Delivery Infrastructure. Our very own Scott Swanburg has blogged about this for several months. Scott has some very interesting discussions on how to make money from the cloud and our Service Provider license program. The reality is there is a chasm between existing web apps to deliver SaaS and the tens of thousands of apps that are Windows based. There is a huge opportunity especially in the Small and Medium Business segment for these types of services.

It’s also worth noting that some Service Providers are already taking advantage of the opportunity, U.K. based Nasstar, U.S. based nGenX, ClubDrive and Australia based Bluefire. These companies service hundreds of SMBs with thousands of end points.

Last week I spoke to Kenji Obata CEO from Xenocode regarding delivering applications from the cloud. Kenji was kind enough to give me access to a streamed Citrix client what we call our Receiver and we helped Kenji configure it to connect to a desktop in the Amazon cloud. In this case the destkop is delivered via XenApp. If you’re not familiar with streaming, think of it as downloading only the bits you need to start an application as opposed to an entire application. A little bit like playing a streaming radio station. In this case 4.2MB is streamed for startup vs. the 23.9MB package size. You’ll need to install the Spoon plug-in in the top right of the box the first time for the browser integration to work . After that it should be just a click on the Green button to start your virtual desktop session in the Amazon Cloud. So far i’ve tested successfully from my XP and Vista machines as a non admin user and plan to try from my Windows 7 machine later today. Note that we only created one account in Amazon for this so you may be stealing sessions….. Anyway it’s a fun demo so give it a try. Many of our existing customers do something similar with the XenApp Web Plugin today. Nonetheless it’s alway personally interesting for me to see how other people understand the value of connecting to a secure managed hosted application infrastructure.

As these models continue to evolve, leveraging Citrix Dazzle and Merchandsing Server we could enable SAAS in so many new ways. It’s fascinating that potentially combined with some of the concepts mentioned in Chris Flecks recent blog how so many possibilities could be opened up.

So I see lot’s of creative thinking going on amongst thought leaders and real execution already happening. Certainly an area that I will be watching with keen interest. As always interested to hear from our customers and partners on how they would like to see this evolve.