Greetings from Europa Park in Germany! Tomorrow, I’ll be taking the main stage to talk to the thousands of cloud providers at World Hosting Days. My presentation is called, “All clouds are not the same: what kind is yours?” In an industry where everyone is clamoring to offer a cloud service, the ones that will be successful and survive are the ones that can identify a strategy for differentiation.  Your cloud needs to offer a unique set of value, expertise and service – and one of the ways to do that is to include cloud desktops and apps in your portfolio.

That’s the strategy that our 1,500-plus Citrix Service Providers (CSPs) are taking. And by the tremendous growth in licenses and partners we’re seeing every month, it seems to be a strategy that’s working well.

From a product perspective, my team is working hard to empower cloud providers with tools and technologies to deliver those unique services. I’m proud to announce the release of the Citrix Cloud Provider Pack for hosted shared desktops. This set of technologies complements our hosted desktop solutions to provide new levels of automation, seamless hybrid cloud experience and mobility.

App orchestration technology: We hear over and over again that cloud providers are looking for ways to reduce costs of their hosted desktop management. The best way to accomplish that is by automating time consuming tasks, such as app and desktop configuration, deployment and lifecycle maintenance. From a single, multi-tenant console, the cloud provider admin can kick off all these tasks and then simply wait for confirmation of completion. This app orchestration layer works across multiple sites and farms, and integrates directly with CloudPortal Services Manager to enable admin-free self-service.

Next generation seamless app technology: The reality is that today, people get their apps from everywhere – from the local desktop, an on-premise data center, and from the public cloud. This latest iteration of seamless app technology “stitches” together the experience from multiple sources into a single desktop experience. Users can have a hosted desktop in the cloud, but still have access to their local apps (iTunes, DVD players, etc.) and hosted corporate apps (CRM, HR, etc.). The big payoff for hosted desktop providers is that this means they can on-board customers to a basic workspace immediately, then migrate additional apps over time as needed.

Windows for tablets: Remote access to a Windows desktop from an iPad looks cool, but a few minutes into the experience, you start to notice that the tiny icons are hard to tap, scroll bars are hard to use, and keyboards don’t pop up when expected – and when they do, they block the part of the screen you are trying to see. The Mobility Pack (updated in this version of the Cloud Provider Pack) helps to transform the desktop experience into a tablet-optimized, touch-friendly environment.

We build and test these technologies specifically against our DaaS Reference Architecture, which enables us to focus on a specific use case and get the technology released faster. While the Cloud Provider Pack is just for CSPs, rest assured that Citrix is evaluating the many different requirements for enterprise environments as well. Over time, you may see some of these cloud provider technologies work their way into the mainline products, just as you saw the Service Provider Automation Pack become part of XenDesktop and XenApp last year.

The Cloud Provider Pack will be available for CSPs by the end of this month – look for updates and blogs from our technical teams when it’s released. (The Mobility Pack is available to all Citrix customers separately.)