There’s a lot of excitement around today’s announcement of the next evolution of Project Avalon.  To current Citrix Service Providers (CSPs), some of this may sound pretty familiar—and it should.   We have long heard loud and clear from our CSPs about the themes of automation and scalability.  They tell us these themes are essential to helping them grow profitably as they offer hosted apps, desktops and data as a service from their cloud.  That’s why we released the Cloud Provider Pack back in March with features like App Orchestration that enable CSPs to automatically build out a XenApp environment suitable for advertising app and desktop services.  These capabilities are specifically designed and tested using our highly scalable multi-tenant CSP reference architecture.     In many ways, enterprises clamoring to take advantage of the tools that CSPs already have make us confident that we are on the right track with Project Avalon.  You could even call what CSPs have today “Project Avalon phase 0”.

But now there’s more!  With today’s announcement you can see that there are additional benefits to CSPs under development in Project Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview.  For example, Windows Server 2012 support is essential to CSPs, all of whom make use of the Microsoft Service Provider Licensing Agreement (SPLA) as a licensing model and will be making plans to migrate to Windows Server 2012.  Also, CSPs today have multiple desktop hosting options, including XenDesktop VDI desktops, and more commonly, SPLA compliant Hosted Shared desktops or personal Hosted Server VDI desktops.  But those currently run on different management architectures.  With Citrix FlexCast 2.0, all services run on Flexcast Management Architecture (FMA).  This provides a single point of management and simplifies the creation of any Windows app or desktop as a service, while making it easier to move customers between services.

Even more benefits for CSPs are planned in Project Avalon Merlin Tech Preview.   The Merlin Tech Preview integrates Citrix CloudPlatform, opening up self-service automation, orchestration and provisioning of services across any private or public cloud.  This enables true multi-site cloud orchestration and the ability to mix and match Windows platforms and XenDesktop/XenApp versions.  This is the vision for you, the service provider.  You will have the ability to be more agile within your own cloud, automatically take advantage of public clouds for capacity on demand, and make it even easier for your customers to add more services.   It’s all about automation and scalability.