The virtual gauntlet has been thrown down! With its acquisition of Cloud.com, Citrix Systems is sending notice to VMware, Amazon, and other cloud players it’s ready to take on the next-generation of the cloud.
Citrix’s acquisition of the Cloud.com (terms were not disclosed) will see the latter’s CloudStack product line integrated into Citrix’s cloud infrastructure portfolio to help providers of all types deploy and manage cloud services that are scalable, secure, and open by design, officials said. Essentially, the acquisition will help Citrix round out its cloud portfolio by way of providing a means to build both public and private clouds.
The acquisition pits Citrix against other cloud providers including VMware and Amazon, noted IT industry analyst Michelle Warren, principal, MW Research & Consulting in Toronto.
“It does pit Citrix against Amazon and VMWare but it also increases Citrix’s market share in the cloud substantially. With clients such as Go Daddy and Zynga, Citrix has become major cloud player with one acquisition,” she said. “For existing Citrix partners, they will benefit from the additional product offerings – specifically in the popular and growing cloud market. They have an expanded services offering for their clients, and in some cases, are now able to compete in the cloud.”
Warren added her only criticism is that this market is getting “pretty crowded”.
“Obviously, Cloud.com was already competing in the market so the number of vendors hasn’t increased but with the partner channel Citrix has, the number of competitors will increase,” she remarked. “The competitive nature will streamline prices. Good for end users, of course, but channel partners will feel pricing-pressure.”
The transition from the PC era to the cloud era is expected to fuel a massive build out in cloud infrastructure, reportedly creating a new market projected to exceed $11 billion (US) by the end of 2013.
“This is a very strategic acquisition and it accelerates what we’re doing in the cloud infrastructure marketplace,” remarked Sameer Dholakia, former CEO of VMLogix turned Citrix general manager. Dholakia will head Citrix’s new Cloud Platform Product Group. “It’s also critical for us to enable organizations that are taking advantage of transitioning to the cloud . . . the Cloud.com team has been very successful at establishing themselves as a market leader in this space.”
The Cloud.com product line is not a traditional enterprise server virtualization platform with cloud management layered on top. It is a hypervisor-agnostic solution designed from the ground up, officials said.
And it answers the call from Citrix’s channel community eager to ramp up their cloud practices.
“Citrix is continuing to build on our cloud infrastructure product line. We’re serious about bringing the simplicity and economics of on-demand IT to our customers and partners. This is another step in realizing that vision,” Tom Flink, Citrix’s vice-president, worldwide channel & market development, told ChannelBuzz.ca. “Over the next six months we’ll be working hard to integrate the Cloud.com products into the Citrix portfolio along with the integration work we’re continuing to do with Microsoft.
“For our partners that are investing time, energy, resources into Citrix, this is going to create more opportunity for them to deliver more value to customers.”
Citrix will move swiftly to educate its partners, starting with weekly, 90-minute ‘Cloudmaster Webinars’ starting in August. Additional training will follow by way of a hands-on, two-day ‘Build-a-Cloud Workshops’ and ultimately a cloud certification training course.
“We’ll be announcing within the next three months the program requirements around authorizing and being certified to sell Cloud.com products, so CloudStack specifically,” Flink said. “We’ll be communicating that information to our channel.
“In the meantime, for our partners that have customers with real opportunities and an immediate interest in pursuing CloudStack as a viable option in their environment, we’re going to work with those partners.”
With the addition of Cloud.com, Citrix now offers a complete portfolio of virtualization, orchestration and networking solutions purpose built for what is now dubbed “the cloud era”. The Citrix difference is its solutions are designed to help customers avoid vendor lock-in by letting them use the hardware, software, management products and service providers of their choice.
“One reason we’ve been successful is we enable users to consume IT services through an easy-to-use, self-service portal,” explained Peter Ulander, former CMO of Cloud.com. Ulander is now a vice-president of product marketing in Citrix’s Cloud Platforms Product Group. “Ninety per cent of our technology is deployed on top of XenServer so we’re familiar with that team . . . we’re excited to be able to continue that momentum and through Citrix, we can only accelerate (our business).”
Citrix’s Canadian partners should start talking to their customers now about the benefits of the Citrix cloud infrastructure portfolio, Flink added.
“The emergence of the benefits of public clouds is being deployed faster outside of the U.S.,” he noted. “For our larger Citrix partners in Canada, this may be the impetus for them to actually build something they call a cloud practice because up until this point they’re called virtualization practices. It’s common to partners around the world to do so as the term ‘virtualization’ resonates with customers.”
A commitment to openness and interoperability has been a central pillar for both Citrix and Cloud.com, and will accelerate further with this acquisition, Dholakia added. The Cloud.com product line will continue to support leading commercial hypervisors such as Citrix XenServer and VMware vSphere, as well as open source hypervisors like Xen. Citrix intends to add support for Microsoft products like Hyper-V and System Center to the Cloud.com product line, as well as support a full range of “platform-as-a-service” development environments, storage systems, servers and management software.
The acquisition should also help Citrix further accelerate its support of OpenStack, the open source cloud infrastructure movement that now includes over 1,100 cloud developers, and more than 80 member companies. As a founding member of Openstack.org, Citrix is the second largest contributor to the project and is a member of the OpenStack policy board.
Citrix product support for OpenStack was initially announced at the 2011 Citrix Synergy conference under the code name Project Olympus.