This week is the annual Citrix Summit conference that we hold for our channel partners each year and as I have conversations with partners from around the world, I’m thinking a lot about the importance of flexibility. As app delivery and VDI infrastructure have evolved, there has been a need to integrate more pieces and manage more data than ever before, making cost and complexity harder to control. Unfortunately, infrastructure software and hardware vendors just amplify this when they limit their offerings to only certain environments and use cases.

Today’s CIOs consider lower costs, decreased complexity and data security to be among their key priorities. As a former CIO, all of those characteristics were part of the “litmus test” I used to filter my purchasing decisions. But a word that doesn’t always come up is flexibility – and that is important. Citrix is known for providing innovative and secure solutions that drive down cost and complexity and simplify the end-user experience. Adding flexibility just increases the benefits of each of those elements.

Reflecting on the purpose of this week’s Summit event, I have realized that a big contributor to helping us offer that flexibility is the vast Citrix partner ecosystem, including participants in our VDI Capacity and Citrix Ready programs and our key Global Partners. By giving our technology partners the freedom to leverage their unique performance and configuration advantages, they are better equipped to help us offer the broadest range of optimized solutions for delivering mobile workspaces.

This week we unveiled two initiatives that help drive that dedication forward. First, we acquired a company called Sanbolic. Its software-defined storage technology enables customers to optimize the delivery of app-specific workloads from any media type – SSD, Flash and hard drives in NAS, SAN, server-side and cloud deployments. This improves storage load balancing and application availability, and delivers a high-performance end-user experience. More than 200 of our customers already use Sanbolic to ensure non-stop availability and geo-clustering of their XenApp and XenDesktop solutions.

We also announced that we are collaborating with our technology partners to develop pre-packaged WorkspacePod offerings that include integrated compute, storage and networking (often called converged or hyper-converged solutions) to reduce the cost and complexity for delivering Windows, Web and Linux apps. These “pods” can be deployed as standalone units or in a mesh configuration within a data center as well as in remote regional or branch offices, enabling customers to deliver rich apps and desktops to thousands of users with built in high availability and enterprise grade storage capabilities. Initially, we are working with HP to offer WorkspacePod Powered by HP, which integrates Citrix workspace infrastructure software with the HP ProLiant Moonshot platform and the HP ProLiant SL4540 server to deliver rich apps and desktops with exceptional price, performance and flexibility.

As Citrix kicks off 2015 with these key announcements, I continue to be excited about the many opportunities to enable new ways to work. Citrix has some fantastic innovations coming this year and I look forward to telling you more about them.

So, tell me – is flexibility key to your business solutions? What litmus test so you use to make your decisions? Tell me in the comments or message me on Twitter – @Geirheads.