If  the headline seems provocative to you, that’s good. I backed into this type of work after I joined XenSource 5 years ago which then got acquired by Citrix. I have been in this industry for a long time, mostly building products from graphics controller hardware for 68000 processors early in my career to working on every version of windows core OS from win31 to windows xp. Now I am  intimately involved in virtualization and cloud  standards work. Depending on who you talk to, you will get different perspectives on standards development. If you ask a product manager involved with the next version of the product, you get “but we need features first”. If the standards are for a nascent area of technology, that in itself seems like an oxymoron to some, you get “but no one is asking for it”.  The first kind are willing to consider if for their product interop is a more important “feature” than the additional bells and whistles. The second kind are a harder nut to crack.  Fortunately there are enough people within a company whose job it is look beyond the immediate and take the long  view. That is why this activity is very often driven by the CTOs whose job it is to take a strategic view. Sometimes the technology and the market players force standardization. And then there is the government. There are enough standards bodies like DMTF, OASIS, IEEE, SNIA etc. and enough companies of all sizes participating that there are whole companies involved in supporting standards organizations! Standards is relatively inexpensive way to keep your ears to the ground and have access to expertise to bounce ideas off of.

This characterization of standards engagement  is  particularly relevant to Citrix. With the advent of virtualization and cloud, Citrix finds itself in the middle of IT infrastructures as never before in the history of the company. Citrix has always been in virtualization; indeed Citrix pioneered windows application virtualization. But given the nature of this market, Citrix never had to engage in standards in quite the same way as it finds necessary today. With the advent of OS virtualization and its direct application to cloud, the company finds itself right in the middle of a huge industry upheaval. With the skills developed and honed to deliver graphics and multimedia delivery technology across the wire since the era of 1200 baud modems, Citrix is the leading vendor capable of delivering desktops across WANs. In this environment it is critically important to be engaged in standards and pay attention to what is going on in both national and international standards, and the moves being made by other companies and governments. That is why in Citrix I work on standards with a virtual team that includes Simon Crosby and Martin Duursma. Well, enough on that front. As for me,  in this space I will talk about various activities that Citrix is engaged in when it comes to Cloud and Virtualization .Stay tuned…

Shishir Pardikar

Lead Architect-Technology Strategy

Citrix Labs