When Citrix unveiled its personal, private and public cloud strategy at Synergy Barcelona, I began thinking about the societal shifts that have occurred in the past few years. In addition to cloud being on the mind of many – my husband’s 83-year-old aunt asked me about it at Thanksgiving! –  another monumental shift has happened with the ever-fluctuating real estate market in the U.S. Over the past two years, our collective notion of home ownership has completely changed. In the past, many people were of the opinion that the ultimate goal was to own a home, and those who rented were “throwing their money away.” However, as the housing market collapsed around us across the U.S., many began to think differently about when to own a home and when it makes more sense to rent. Not only is there now a clear rationale for renting versus buying for a large portion of our population, but the stigma of renting is fading as well. For many people, renting is the smartest thing they can do with their money.

This analogy can be applied to private and public cloud computing, where the last two years have completely changed our notion of who should (and shouldn’t) build out infrastructure. A commonly held belief was that every company should own its data center and control all its hardware and software applications. For some, this still makes sense. But as the industry shifts from the PC Era to the Cloud Era, the expectations of IT are rapidly outgrowing IT’s ability to own and manage all the apps, infrastructure and devices needed to support the business. As a result, renting infrastructure just makes more sense for a growing part of the IT population.  No down payments, no long-term mortgages, no foreclosures, no heavy maintenance or insurance fees. Someone else can take care of it all for you, and they are often better equipped to handle the crises that will undoubtedly occur. There’s a clear business rationale and TCO for renting – including flexibility for fast growth or downsizing  –  and the worry is fading as the industry proves it can address security and control concerns.

The analogy is also relevant to the personal cloud, as the shift in real estate is also one of the key drivers for the consumerization of IT. As people move to where it is more economically desirable, they have also been empowered to leverage virtualization technology to work from anywhere on any device. With the rising popularity of cloud computing, this will become even easier for workers in a wider variety of industries. In fact, analysts predict that by the end of 2013, consumer cloud services for accessing content will be integrated into 90 percent of all consumer connected devices, including phones, tablets and PCs.  Considering all the devices Citrix Receiver already supports to enable workers to access enterprise data, applications and desktops from wherever they may be, I’d say this prediction is right on target!  And the benefits of mobile workstyles – working anywhere, anytime – are compelling, too.  Just last week Citrix announced global survey results that found consumer-focused communications devices are being increasingly adopted in the workplace. The data reveals that small- and medium-sized businesses are coming under growing pressure to enable employees to use their personal smartphones, tablets and other devices for business use. Of those companies supporting the use of such devices in the workplace, many are benefitting from a whopping 30 percent increase in employee productivity.

At Citrix, we believe in the power of renting – it makes sense in a variety of scenarios. No matter what type of cloud is good for your business, Citrix has a solution that can help you empower mobile workstyles for your end users, transform traditional datacenters, easily connect to cloud services or build new ones.