All game for the CloudEra with Cloud.com: Citrix

By : |July 27, 2011 0

BANGALORE, INDIA: Software major Citrix with its latest catch, Cloud.com, is officially at war with another major in the league, VMware. Only recently was this vendor placed in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Virtualisation along with VMware and Microsoft.

Cloud.com, a Cupertino-based provider of cloud software infrastructure platform, which also has a developing centre in Hyderabad, will be the access solution and virtualisation technology provider’s wild card to enter the cloud era.

Also Read: Microsoft Citrix are no threat to us: VMware

Ravi Gururaj, VP engineering, data center & cloud division, Citrix Systems during a telephonic interaction with Deepa Damodaran of CIOL, explains what made it go for Cloud.com, although he refused to share the acquisition figures, and what are its plans with cloud. Excerpts:

CIOL: What made Citrix to go for Cloud.com?

Ravi Gururaj: Citrix understands how to cater to over quarter million enterprise customers across the world with a very scalable platform. We have been delivering virtual desktops to some of the largest companies in the world. Citrix has XenSource, which is our hypervisor layer.

Thus Citrix understands the desktop as well as the hypervisor layers. Moreover, we also have Netscaler’s networking stack of products.

So, the one piece missing was the orchestration layer and that is where we went out and bought Cloud.com. It was suitable for Citrix because it is both an open source and standard driven platform.

So, now we have an end-to-end stack of solution – infrastructure-as-a-service, platform-as-a-service, storage-as-a-service and desktop-as-a-service – as against others..

CIOL: What is the need for such solutions in the market today?

Ravi Gururaj: There is a huge transition happening today – from PC era to cloud era. It is a gradual transformation and we are in the middle of it. However, there are certain underpinnings to it, such as the lack of cloud infrastructure.

Service providers are rapidly coming to the realisation that they need to offer cloud to be competitive and want to build EC2 sort of cloud of their own.

Since, they cannot build it in-house without the infrastructure ready, we see the necessity of Cloud.com, as it can help them to build the cloud and go to market.

As the infrastructure build outs happen among service providers across the world, we expect to see various types of clouds. It will not be just one big cloud, but several that will be specific to certain use cases, such as businesses, consumers, games, enterprises, storage etc. So, as that happens, people need platform and that is where Cloud .com comes in.

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CIOL: You are still lagging behind the companies such as Amazon and VMware. So will Cloud.com fill the gaps in your stack?

Ravi Gururaj: We do not compete with Amazon, instead we power Amazon cloud. We are behind VMware in the enterprise market, however, are ahead of them in the service provider market.

The largest cloud in the service provider is powered by XenSource and XenServer. We have a leg up in the service provider market, and it is in this space and going forward you will see some of the largest cloud deployments, but not in enterprise space.

Enterprises will start saying that they want to transform themselves from server virtualisation 1.0, where VMware has the edge, to cloud 1.0. And cloud has fundamentally different kind of attributes in terms of scale, robustness, resiliency, than server virtualisation.

When you build a large cloud, you expect it to scale more to be completely autonomic, and to be able to build it at very low cost point so that you can go ahead and deploy massive number of virtual machine (VMs) at very low price points for end users.

This is very different from an enterprise private cloud that VMware does. Those tend to be much more expensive. They have enterprise grade storage attached to them, which you will not have in a public cloud, as it cannot be cost effective then.

CIOL: How cost effective will be your platform, as against that of VMware’s, and why?

Ravi Gururaj: With Cloud.com, users can deploy the cloud 50 times faster and at one-fifth of the cost, or 20 per cent, as against that of an enterprise cloud, where you tend to have smaller base and IT administration available.

One of the fundamentals of the cloud is the economics and you cannot deliver enterprise level economics for public as well as private clouds. It will not work.

We work with storage that is local, and not enterprise grade. It is architected into the software. The technique allows us to use cheaper storage, but which at the same time gives high resiliency.  Moreover, ours is a multi-tenant portals, which are as secure as any system in the word if not more than them.

The second thing is that our technology is based upon open source and not proprietary. As cloud evolves, VMware may decide to drop their pricing. However, it looks like they are going the other way and making it more complex for their customers to adopt their software.

CIOL: Citrix is associated primarily with desktop virtualisation, so what makes you to look into the cloud space?

Ravi Gururaj: Citrix is known for its access technologies and desktop virtualisation and these represent a big chunk of our revenues today. Looking forward, cloud is very fundamental to the way we think about those two interactions as well, i e people want to access their applications, data and workspaces from wherever they are, from any device, and at at any time.

We have the fundamentals ready for virtual workspace and can enable it into the computing experience. Cloud is just a mechanism with which we deliver the code, device, data and application anytime, anywhere. So cloud is a natural path forward for us to go.

Lots of people will be implementing desktops in the cloud too and Citrix will be powering a lot of those. The Cloud.com forms one of the many elements of what we will be delivering into the cloud.

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CIOL: How significant is India for Citrix?

Ravi Gururaj: India is an attractive market, not necessarily for its current size, but for its potential. India is an area of growth and innovation. If you can satisfy the Indian CIO, then you can satisfy any CIO in the world.

We have some of the large enterprises within India who are looking at building cloud of their own and also for their customers. Moreover, we also have many end users, enterprise customers, service providers, and IT-enabled service providers who provide cloud consulting services, and management services to their customers.

So it is a very rich area and we see a lot of potential in the market. It is still a nascent market. A lot of growth is yet to happen. Just like in 3G and GSM, India will leapfrog and not even adopt certain IT system, but they will just go straight into the cloud. In ten years from now, India will have one of the most advanced cloud systems.

For the cloud-enabled service, we will be looking for telecom operators, data centre operators, hosting players and large enterprises.

We will also need to build products that will allow SMBs, who maybe not build cloud, but interfaces with some of the cloud service offered by our customers.

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