I frequently hear from customers that today’s clouds aren’t “enterprise class”. Indeed at a Geek Speak event earlier this week, the majority of the debate focussed on the key issue that our CTPs have with today’s IaaS clouds: They don’t believe that they can get today’s enterprise apps to run in the cloud, and they have concerns about availability, security and so on.

My view on this is that the attribute “enterprise class” is an statement of quality that one either can or cannot apply to a particular capability set, and that there are numerous capability sets that one could offer as a “cloud service”. So, for example Amazon Web Services is not simply EC2/S3 – it is a very rich offering of services (my last count was 17) that are incredibly powerful for building and deploying certain categories of applications. Are they enterprise class? Yes, undoubtedly. With a single API call you can create a 1 TB SQL database that has a 15 day, up to the second granularity of transactional roll-back, that is continually backed up and available. And all you have to do is pay for compute and storage. Why on earth would you not write an app on that? Well, if your app is tied to your existing enterprise database, then you’re stuck, but otherwise, you’d be silly not to.

Moreover, the extensive use of automation in the cloud in general makes them far less susceptible to the traditional issues of the enterprise: human misconfiguration errors. So the “enterprise class” moniker, attached to the particular capability set of most clouds, is certainly merited. In summary I think that most customers confuse “enterprise class” and “enterprise ready”, with the latter meaning that the service feature set of a particular cloud is rich enough for the enterprise to implement all of its workloads. There is no doubt that the IaaS model is evolving, and fast. And the feature sets are rapidly emerging that enable IaaS clouds to host today’s enterprise applications. But we are still in the relatively early stages of a long journey. What matters most is to evaluate the capability set of a particular IaaS cloud vendor, and map it to the requirements of your enterprise applications. Can the IaaS feature set support the application? That’s what you need to answer first. Then you can decide if the quality of that feature set is “enterprise class”.

A good example then would be to ask whether AWS could support Citrix XenApp. Remember that AWS is much more than EC2/S3, and remember too that XenApp is a mission critical application delivery infrastructure component for all of our 250,000 customers and 100 Million end users. The answer is “heck yes!”. Today Citrix is introducing a Citrix XenApp (and XenApp Fundamentals) pilot program that runs on Amazon EC2/VPC in a fully supported, high-performance, virtualized environment.

Citrix and Amazon have built upon our existing relationship to up the ante; from that of a test / dev only option (though still available on C3 Lab) to that which offers far greater opportunity and benefit to our Citrix XenApp customers (note: you must qualify for eligibility and acceptance into the pilot program). Combining these two market-leading, trail-blazing technologies results in amazing simplicity, scalability and dramatic efficiencies of scale. Utilizing Amazon EC2 opens the door for XenApp administrators to expeditiously build and deploy XenApp farms in the cloud, meet fluctuating capacity demand levels, grow an infrastructure at significantly lower scales of economy and paying only for what you actually use. This is definitely a win-win scenario.

In use by over 100 million users worldwide, XenApp is the de facto standard in on-demand application delivery and delivers on the promise of proven application compatibility. Virtualizing applications provides IT managers a single instance of each application in either the datacenter or the cloud (i.e., EC2). Applications are then delivered via application streaming directly to Windows devices for both online and offline use. Regardless of the technology used (application virtualization or session virtualization), XenApp ensures through our HDX technology that users receive the optimal experience possible.

For Citrix this BYOL (Bring your own license) pilot announcement represents our increasing confidence in the enterprise readiness of IaaS clouds in general, and in AWS in particular. AWS, which incidentally, is based on the Xen Hypervisor, has already made EC2 ubiquitous with companies of all standing and the undisputed leader in public clouds. Production support for XenApp on EC2 now represents a significant opportunity for Enterprise IT. Citrix’ cloud-ready portfolio will continue to enable IT and cloud providers to execute on the promise of the cloud. You can get XenApp on EC2/VPC here.