This is an exciting time to be at Citrix, and at the intersection of the two hottest IT trends – desktop virtualization and cloud computing. In fact, we’ve seen our Citrix Service Provider (CSP) program grow exponentially over the last year, with more than 800 cloud providers certified to use Citrix technology to deliver apps and desktops from the cloud to tens of thousands of subscribers.

As a result of the great momentum we’re seeing in the cloud apps and desktop space, Citrix has created a new product team, the Cloud App Delivery Group, so we can put dedicated focus on developing products, programs and best practices for CSPs. This new group will be working closely with all the other product groups at Citrix to extend our range of solutions for hosted cloud services

As the first official act of this new group, I’m very pleased to announce the acquisition of an exciting New Zealand-based software company that specializes in cloud services provisioning and management – EMS-Cortex (www.ems-cortex.com).

While the company may have a complicated name, their flagship product is anything but. Since we first launched our CSP program about two years ago, our partners have been giving us rave reviews about how the Cortex Cloud Control Panel makes it easy for service providers and their customers to setup, provision and maintain a wide variety of hosted services from a single, easy-to-use, self-service interface.

When that many customers tell you a tool is a “must have” for running their cloud services, it’s clearly something you have to check out for yourself. Once we started taking a closer look at the Cortex technology – and the amazing people behind it – we knew we wanted them to be a part of the Citrix family.

For those CSP hosting customers who haven’t yet had a chance to try Cortex, we think you’ll like it as much as we did. Using the Cortex Cloud Control Panel, your customers can log in to a web site and with a few clicks, manage user accounts, assign desktops, and add or change the applications or services they receive. Services are automatically provisioned, and moments later the user can log in and begin working. They can even check usage reports to be sure they are on track. Every cloud service should be this easy.

On the service provider side, administrators can instantly create new tenant accounts and delegate management rights to specific users. It saves on help desk and operational costs, because tenants self-service their accounts. Leading app hosting providers around the world have already deployed Cortex Cloud Control Panel. These service providers experience increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, and an ability to scale the business while controlling operational costs.

In addition to providing integration with Citrix XenApp, the Cortex Cloud Control Panel is renowned for its extensive support of the full suite of Microsoft hosting solutions (Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, OCS, Web Hosting, SQL Server, DNS, RDS, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Virtual Server Hosting with Hyper-V). Combined with Citrix technology, now any subscriber can manage and use their applications from any device at any location. For the near term, the Cortex Cloud Control Panel will continue to be offered as a standalone product on a subscription basis, as it was prior to the acquisition.

With its broad support for hosted app services, impressive extensibility, and ability to integrate into existing systems, Cortex Cloud Control Panel truly enriches our Citrix OpenCloud vision. Welcoming the EMS-Cortex team to Citrix is a fantastic start to this year, and only the beginning of what we have planned. Stay tuned as there’s plenty more to come from the new Cloud App Delivery Group!

-Bill Burley, Vice President and General Manager, Citrix Cloud App Delivery Group