What an incredible start to Synergy yesterday! We’ve been expecting a sellout crowd at this year’s event and you did not disappoint. Every year we set a new high bar. It’s been amazing to see how Synergy has evolved. What started 10 years ago as a Citrix event to highlight product developments for our customers and partners (c’mon, you remember iForum, don’t you?) has turned into an industry showcase for virtualization, networking and cloud technologies featuring the world’s best and biggest companies – and even some you haven’t heard of yet.

This year, we have more than 100 sponsors and the highest concentration ever of senior level and Fortune 1000 companies in attendance. It’s a vibrant mix of the brightest minds in technology – all here in San Francisco to learn, inspire and network.

As Mark Templeton described in his keynote, one of the most significant trends driving IT change is the consumerization of IT, which has compelled people to bring their own devices, identities and workstyles into the business environment. It’s clear that IT can’t fight this consumerization; we advise you to embrace it, safely and securely. On day one, Citrix presented the next phase of our strategy to help you do just that – empowering you to reinvent your business.

Thanks to the consumerization of IT, we’re officially moving out of the PC era and into the cloud era. While the PC era was about building and operating rigid, complex systems, the cloud era is all about flexibility, elasticity and opting in. It’s about aggregating and orchestrating services and systems as you need them, with variable scale and costs.

As a result, virtual computing is truly exploding, and the Citrix strategy now extends from people and collaboration, through desktops and apps, all the way through the data center and cloud. Citrix made several announcements here at Synergy that will guide companies through this transition from the PC era to the cloud era and successfully implement personal, private and public clouds.

First, Personal Clouds are Here to Stay

What do we mean by the personal cloud? As people continue to go virtual, increasingly blending their work and personal lives, they’re embracing a BYO mindset where any consumer device they choose can access the apps, data, contacts and services they need to do their jobs, without having to think twice about it. In this way, traditional desktops are evolving into personal clouds. Citrix made several announcements - across our GoTo, XenDesktop, XenClient and Receiver products – that will help IT enable personal clouds for end users, giving them the flexibility to work from anywhere on any device.

Second, Personal Clouds Must Connect With Private Clouds

This shift from the PC to the cloud era ultimately means that IT will no longer be able to own and manage all of its apps, infrastructure and devices. Consumerization is driving IT to deliver a mix of apps and services to a variety of user-owned devices. Additionally, IT is under growing pressure to exploit low-cost cloud computing capacity from external cloud and hosting providers, without compromising security, manageability or performance. But how? Now, with two powerful new Citrix cloud networking products, IT can seamlessly connect their enterprises to external clouds. Learn more about NetScaler Cloud Gateway and NetScaler Cloud Bridge which make it easy for IT to extend their datacenters and private clouds to a vast array of external cloud services with no compromise.

Build Best-in-Class Private or Public Clouds

The third leg of the Citrix cloud strategy leverages our work with the breakthrough OpenStack project as well as XenServer which along with its sibling xen.org, powers the largest and most successful clouds in the world. Our new Project Olympus is a groundbreaking cloud infrastructure product that inherits the collective experience of hundreds of proven open source cloud developers to help any company build their own private or public cloud. The result will be a real infrastructure-as-a-service cloud that is scalable, efficient and open by design. This approach is vastly different from prior first-generation solutions that try to simulate cloud environments by adding proprietary layers on top of existing data center virtualization stacks. Let me be clear: server virtualization alone cannot build a public cloud environment. Clouds require a dramatically different design, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.

Together, these announcements present a bigger, broader Citrix portfolio that will help IT professionals embrace the consumerization of IT and prepare their organizations for the cloud era.

It was an amazing first day of Synergy, and there’s so much more to come. You can read my recap of Day Two a little later – I have a Train concert to go to! And be sure to visit our News page, watch the #CitrixSynergy Twitter feed, catch a replay of the keynote, and visit the Synergy Buzz page. 

I can’t wait to hear from you and learn your impressions of Synergy and all of our news.