A cloud service provider is just a cloud “server” provider unless they have a way to automate app, desktop and infrastructure provisioning, simplify account management, and transact business for that cloud. At Citrix Synergy Barcelona, we introduced Citrix® CloudPortal™, our new product line that turns raw cloud resources into true online businesses.

Actually, that’s not entirely accurate – while the name is new, much of the underlying technology is cloud-proven and being used by hundreds of service providers worldwide and more than a quarter million subscribers already. “CloudPortal Services Manager” is the new name for Cortex Cloud Control Panel, and version 10 of the solution. In addition, CloudPortal is also available in a unique CloudStack edition, a first-of-its-kind business automation platform for IaaS that was built with the direct input of some of the world’s leading cloud providers. I’ll focus this blog on CloudPortal Services Manager, and provide you with some details on the major new enhancements in v10.

A portal for every cloud

Every day, we talk to service providers that have tried to build their own portals or control panels for their businesses. They all tell us, “It’s not easy.” Maybe the first service or two is manageable for a short time, but once you start adding more services, then installing, integrating and configuring the portal gets exponentially more complex.

With CloudPortal Services Manager 10, it’s never been easier or faster to install and configure the solution. Where before it required a significant services engagement, now Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) can independently install the components. The installer software verifies that all pre-requisites are met before installing and configuring the product’s web services and roles.

Not only does this make the solution easier and less costly to install, but it also means we can make it broadly available through Citrix distribution partners.  Now, any CSP can get CloudPortal Services Manager from their distributor, just like they get their other Citrix licenses.

A cloud for every app

While CloudPortal supports 17 app services  “out-of-the-box,” we realize that there are thousands of Windows, web and SaaS apps you might want to integrate into your business. After all, that’s one of the ways to differentiate your service and leverage any core expertise you might have in a particular line-of-business or industry.

We updated and improved the CloudPortal Services Manager SDK to make it easier and faster to integrate with apps and services. In addition, under the covers, we removed any interdependencies between the custom services SDK engine and the core provisioning platform. What does all that mean? It means that:

  • Citrix can release service integrations and updates faster and independently of the core platform. As a matter of fact, we’re introducing new services for Microsoft Exchange SP2 and Lync in this release.
  • Our ecosystem of technology partners can integrate with Citrix easily (case in point, AppSense, RES, sepago, and BackupAgent will be ready on day-one) …and not have to worry about impacts when we update the core platform
  • You can create custom services through CloudPortal… and upgrade the core platform independently without breaking your integration!

One price for every app

Lastly, we’ve created a new way for service providers to license multiple user-based CloudPortal services. More and more, we are seeing service providers looking to create value-packed bundles of apps and desktops to create a turnkey “cloud workspace” solution for customers. Rather than make you license each app for each user per month, we’ve create a “complete cloud desktop” option where you can use EVERY user-based monthly service for US$2 (check with your distributor for local rates). We estimate that if you put together three or more services for a customer (say, Desktop, Exchange and Lync), this new licensing option is going to lower your costs, increase your margins, and help you launch and grow this business.

Every cloud needs a portal. And Citrix CloudPortal opens the most doors for you so you can grow your business.

* NOTE ON AVAILABILITY: We’re putting the finishing touches on CloudPortal Services Manager right now. Since we have teams in Auckland, New Zealand and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, that means we’re literally working around the clock to get this out the door – look for it in mid-December. We’ll be posting a follow-up when it’s out there.