From desktops to clouds, ice cream anyone?

By : |June 19, 2013 0

Management classrooms can be fatally boring without three Ds: Daydreaming, Doodling and Diagnosing a sulking Professor’s mood (into attributes like newspaper-arrival-time or wife’s mercury meter or quality of coffee at college or the number of pages in a fresh-out-of-the-oven journal).

While it was never tough to test a mood hypothesis, it was also never easy to absorb how these bespectacled aliens found life’s excitement in Greek symbols and monstrous graphs.

Billowing balloons of imagination loaned some relief at those crucial moments when even something as obvious as a demand-curve jolted some of us back into eerie jamais vu blots.

Imagination always helps, whether it is painting a neon-green shade on a lecturer’s moustache or squeezing in cute objects inside equations that often resembled Voldemort.

One fine day, it crosses our minds, why on Earth did those smart folks use only cows, dogs and stars in the strategy matrix? If they had some human sense of amusement and life enough to make a model that did not evoke a-Bhansali-heroine’s-saree-length-yawns, they could have looked beyond poultry and cattle-pastures? That’s when the word occurred – why not ice creams?

If ice creams can be slotted somewhere in this matrix – all the milk from those cash cows would find a right bucket, while the question marks can help as a great hook to hold the cream. In addition, you can always dangle a cone to dogs or borrow a falling star to garnish a sumptuous looking Belgian dark chocolate treat.

Sniffing one would work all the more better in a technology strategy square, where the rate of fossilization-of-existing-stars and the pace of technologies-popping-faster-than-caramel-corn are always too quick for comfort.

It’s not hard to guess why the spotlight heroes of this hour go into fatigue-shadows the very next hour. Commoditization, if spelt a bit differently, explains why a lot of hot trends get flushed out soon.

Some say commoditized products are question marks, some deign them a garage room by calling them dogs. Some find them healthy enough to be milked until another star is born.

But what about those green pastures left to graze between cows and stars? Can there be an in-between-something that can fit well in this wedge and provide a commonsense transition, while still fetching good bucks and chunks of market share? And who doesn’t love ice cream, for god sake!

Well, these quixotic yarns can be stitched only by day-dreamers, unless some expert finds empirical structure to these threads. But one cannot help but wonder why desktop virtualization majors are looking beyond cash cows and taking what most would call a jump-across-the-risky-cliff? How does a leap to the Cloud flank products that are either question marks or stars. Maybe, it is the right time for names-synonymous-with-virtualization to emerge out of these silk cocoons and grow pro-cloud wings. May be not.


It is amusing if not easy to try to decipher the strategic nudge when players like VMware and Citrix try to find some elbow room in a clouded porch. Cloud computing spans a wide spectrum from pure public cloud to virtual private cloud to private cloud initiatives, as Michael Barnes sees it.

The vice-president and research director of Forrester Research sharply pencils in that virtualization is the foundation for cloud infrastructure, as it helps enable the sharing of IT resources, multi-tenancy and dynamic scalability.

“This is particularly critical for enterprise organizations on the journey to private cloud enablement (and hybrid approaches), since they will almost always start by expanding on existing virtualization investments with vendors like VMware and Citrix.”

This could be because the industry has already hit a vanilla or commoditization stage trap with virtualization, as some may wonder given the saturation issues with desktop virtualization.

But Michael observes that basic virtualization at the server level is already mainstream for both large and mid-size organizations across the world. Desktop virtualization is also well established in particular industries and scenarios.

But virtualization more broadly is far from being commoditized, as he argues, since most organizations are only now expanding these implementations to areas like storage and networking. “As the foundation for private cloud enablement, Forrester believes virtualization will remain critical to data center transformation initiatives and hence, is very far from commoditizing.”

Interestingly, as per Forrester’s End User Computing Trends report, Desktop virtualization is not currently well-suited to supporting flexible access across different devices and form factors. Nonetheless, organizations will continue to leverage it to simplify desktop provisioning and management, and increase access to data and applications, while ensuring strong policy-driven access controls and data security.

Yet, cloud is drawing a lot of attention and media spotlight in virtualization alleys these days. VMware is not leaving much to guess with project Horizon and other cloud leanings, and its contemporary, Citrix, is also readjusting its sails to the winds of cloud.

Project Avalon reflects one of many Citrix’s efforts on re-imagining desktop applications for the Cloud Era. The first release of this project came out in May in the garb of Xen Desktop7 announcement. The project was a multi-phased initiative to deliver Windows as a cloud service and XenDesktop 7, as stated, offers integrated Windows app and desktop mobility delivered through a new, cloud-style architecture, as per Citrix.

The company is also happy about its progress on CloudStack, which it said is turning into the largest open source community with 35,000 members.

CIOL got a chance to have an insider peek on the shifts happening in the industry. In this interview with Thomas McCafferty, Senior Director, Product Marketing, Cloud Platform Group, Citrix Systems Inc., we get to know about some new footprints on cloud lane that Citrix is leaving.

How exciting is your cloud push turning out to be?

From cloud platform IaaS, self-service components, XenServer etc, we are excited about so many elements. Since, we have grown to 200 production cloud customers and it’s a tremendous growth area. In the third quarter this year, we have envisaged the next release of our cloud platform. We are confidently pursuing a lot of segments, especially with the Telco footprint. The enterprise category is growing on very well.


Would you be gunning for private, public or Citrix-incumbent segments?

It is not necessary for any cloud prospect to have a Citrix footprint. It can be a Greenfield customer as well. It does not matter much. 

Don’t you face complexity issues of non-Citrix environments?

We run on top of a hypervisor, so we are pretty much product-agnostic. It is not complex. We sync in well and are open with many hardware partners as well as rivals. We also cater to a range of workload applications, be it Web scale or enterprise. We design our architectures and can also ensure against downtime etc.

Aren’t you overwhelmed with how rivals are chasing this market?

Not at all. Their offerings do not even compare to what we can manage. Orchestrating everything together is a different thing like cloud management.

Would a stack or organic approach define the market?

It remains to be seen. Customers usually want to choose hypervisors, which is not possible in a stack, especially with different infrastructure pieces. Also, a ‘build your own cloud’ can create ‘lock-in’ for customers.

Do cloud and virtualization needs have a smooth equation?

We have good expertise and experience on the foundations, as is obvious. We still prefer to give customers choice on picking a service provider. The use cases of cloud will vary and we are geared up for a confident market play here as well.


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