Today at Citrix Synergy, Citrix is introducing Citrix Cloud Solutions - a new way of using the cloud to deliver practical business services to enterprises of all sizes. And we’ve joined with over 460 cloud provider partners in mapping out a common sense but sustainable path forward. Carpathia, CSC, Terremark, NGenX, Softlayer are some of the key providers delivering many of the Citrix Cloud Solutions today.

Workload-Centric Approach

Not all workloads are created equal. Obviously, even fewer are truly oriented towards the cloud. Rather than a horizontal approach that caters to all but fulfills none completely, Citrix Cloud Solutions are based on the core philosophy that we need to take a workload-centric approach to delivering Cloud services.

What does this mean? Identifying which workloads make pragmatic sense to move to a private or public cloud is the starting point.  Dev/Test, DR, Collaboration are a few examples of those workloads that more suited to the cloud “today” vs. tightly coupled workloads such as real-time trading. Additionally, some core philosophies associated with being Workload-centric include:

  • Workload-Orientation i.e. each workload needs special sauce to make its deployment to the cloud turnkey
  • Costs aligned with Cloud Economics i.e.  core infrastructure choices have be priced to support shared, oversubscribed cloud models
  • Customizable i.e. every workload will be nuanced per customer per deployment and extensibility needs to be built into the design
  • No Lock-in i.e. recognizing that there are incumbent investments to be leveraged, any cloud approach should bake in interoperability across hypervisor, networking and upper layers from the get go
  • Transcend DC Boundaries i.e. realize that almost any reasonable cloud workloads will have some footprint within the traditional DC premise as well across DCs.

With the core focus on being workload-centric in our approach to cloud, we’ve announced the following solutions that help Enterprise and Service Providers capitalize on some of the mainstream opportunities to take advantage of cloud economy and flexibility. 

-        Onboarding Solution -- Enables seamless migration of existing applications and workloads into cloud infrastructures, securely and flexibly.

-        Development and Test -- Incorporates on-demand application lifecycle management to help organizations cut both the time and budget required to set up and allocate new infrastructure for test and development workloads in the cloud.

-        Disaster Recovery -- Helps customers prevent unexpected application interruptions and data loss by leveraging virtualization, storage, data replication and orchestration services.  Cloud providers can offer customers alternatives to dedicated ‘one-size-fits-all’ standby facilities.

-        Compliance -- Helps customers in regulated industries meet strict compliance requirements, while retaining control over sensitive data stored in both enterprise datacenters and public clouds. 

-        On-Demand Apps - Transforms traditional Windows enterprise applications into a software-as-a-service (SaaS) offering that can be delivered over the web as an on-demand service to users anywhere, on any device -- so organizations don’t need to choose between the familiarity and customizability of Windows apps and the flexibility of SaaS.

-        On-Demand Desktops -- Enables enterprise customers to deliver Windows virtual desktops from the cloud, combining the cost and manageability benefits of desktop virtualization with cloud elasticity and capacity-on-demand.

-        On-Demand Demos -- Lets software companies make their product demos available to customers and prospects over the web with no setup, downloads or configuration required.

Open. Extensible. Turnkey.

Each of these solutions provides opportunities to both cloud providers and enterprises that are dramatically different from an approach that is based on a world full of undifferentiated cloud-in-a-box providers competing in a “race to the bottom” only on superficial initial-price savings. Instead, three key characteristics make Citrix Cloud Solutions an opportunity for IT and cloud providers to add their own expertise (in IT processes, business processes, or vertical industry subject knowledge) to Citrix platform virtualization, networking and application delivery technologies -- resulting in offerings that are more capable, and as a result, ultimately more cost-effective for businesses.

- Open: Ensuring No Lock-In as services get deployed in the Cloud

Each Citrix Cloud Solution takes advantage of Citrix technologies to power the complete solution -- from XenServer as a powerful virtualization platform to NetScaler and Branch Repeater’s physical and virtual application delivery control and network optimization capabilities, to where applicable the “work from anywhere” capabilities of XenApp and XenDesktop. But the solutions are also open to the technologies in use by the cloud providers and  enterprise customers -- for example, variation in virtualization platforms, or different network or different storage technologies. And they take advantage of industry standards such as Open Virtualization Format (OVF) to keep solutions flexible. Finally, to ensure no lock-in in management and deployment of cloud services, the Citrix Open Cloud Framework is based on APIs that align with other deployment standards to provide for easy interoperability.

- Extensible: Network Transparency and Secure Access as workloads extend across DC Boundaries

We believe that there are no true private clouds or true public clouds – all clouds today are Hybrid. For instance, even accessing a SaaS app while on the face of it might look like a pure public cloud, in reality, a lot of upfront and ongoing integration is required to move corporate data such as financials and suply chain to integrate with outsourced CRM apps. Similarly, credentials and user access need to be mapped to corporate portals and directories.

Net net, any pragmatic approach to cloud-based delivery should build in the need for the workload to “extend” data center boundaries. But the key challenges to this are the ability for the Enterprise to make the other DC footprint look like an extension of the current DMZ – network transparency is a key accelerator to cloud adoption. Similarly, once the workloads are across the DC boundary, there are some assets such as Directories that will never relocate – how does one provide access to these seamlessly while still controlling accessing to sensitive data. To this end, we have announced two new technologies in Citrix CloudBridge and Citrix CloudAccess to address these needs.

- Turnkey: Workload-specific IP burnt into the cloud solution offering

What makes these cloud solutions most valuable to the user is not just the power of the Citrix and partner technologies that they contain, but also the expertise of the cloud service providers themselves. No single software company – nor even any alliance of them – can miraculously activate the DNA of a service provider with deep understanding of industry-specific compliance requirements, or of application-aligned disaster recovery processes, or of the disciplines of software development and testing. Citrix Cloud Solutions enable providers to deliver to enterprises the ideal pairing of our products and their expertise. The result of the partnership of technology and expertise is what businesses need: ready-to-adopt solutions that make the cloud a practical choice for their applications and processes, with providers acting not as commodity providers of cycles and bandwidth, but as trusted partners in the delivery of agile, cost-effective and full-featured IT capabilities.

Equitable Value to both Service Providers and Enterprises

For service providers, Citrix Cloud Solutions offer a clear path to building high-value business by allowing them to encapsulate their own expertise and processes in ready-to-run offerings for the enterprise. For enterprises, Citrix Cloud Solutions provide the perfect pairing of cloud economy and high-value services. We’ll be talking more about each solution -- the requirements, the technologies, the initial providers -- over the next weeks. Stay tuned as Citrix charts a pragmatic path forward.