Virtualisation – From alphabet soups to soup-to-nuts

By : |January 7, 2015 0
Reduced hardware costs may push it ahead but clumsy ferrying of workloads pulls it back. BYOD is in but adjectives like ‘unified’ or ‘all-compatible’ still stare very eerily at ‘mobility’. Is this space packing more than cliche ‘aaS’ bundles? Citrix answers.

MUMBAI, INDIA: If you thought the world of virtualization was busy playing Chess with the Cloud universe, you were duped too. Just like a calm-looking duck that paddles vigorously below the surface, this animal too has been occupied with a lot of tectonic swimming internally. Suddenly, new acronyms, concepts and tides have emerged within the virtualization space. New formats of VDI, Containerisation alternatives, EMM (Enterprise Mobility Management), Rogue virtualization are just a few plates that are shifting inside the ocean.

Citrix, a major contender in this ever-evolving industry, stands at a unique cusp of well-due changes and unexpected challengers today. Parag Arora, Area VP, Indian Subcontinent, Citrix, gives a glimpse of the view from his seat and also takes us through the doubts and opportunities that Citrix’s new strategic darts aim to pierce.

Virtualisation is often surrounded by many ‘Ifs and Buts’ on migration ease and effectiveness. Would you agree?

We have not found too many issues for customers moving from physical world to virtual world in terms of application portability. Our key strength is that we do not make people transition too much around the application parts. Company’s rigour and lineage on applications has helped us a lot and XenApp is a good example on application-infrastructure side.

From MDM (Mobile Device Management), the spotlight has jogged to EMM. How crucial are offerings like Zenprise in this new strategy?

It has been the most strategic investment for us and Citrix has always believed that Mobility can not be just about a device. That has always been our posture on this debate. We have always believed in unified and holistic approach to mobility.

XenMobile is another interesting pioneering example for Citrix. We have been the first to launch a variety of platforms and the first ones to give a unified experience to the customer with a consistent look and feel across a diverse span of platforms.

Has the BYOD question affected what you do?

Demographics are always a big push. BlackBerry still has some stickiness in markets like US but the sheer impact of peer pressure is different in India. The social pressure here is different and noteworthy. That explains a whole new thrust on creating mobile applications relevant for the market.

Why or why not would application or desktop virtualization be aligned well to the challenge that ‘Shadow IT’ poses?

Yes some applications as per the department or user would definitely have more use and India is anyways a choosy market. Things get more interesting as we see more and more SaaS players making their applications more widely available. We try to chime in with the top 50 to 80 application players and put them upfront in a container like a gallery. These applications are certified already in a secure manner and they are wrapped well by Citrix.

What makes VDI-in-a-box a radical offering without jeopardizing what the market has been used to so far?

It is an exciting area that we have been working on and we are witnessing good traction. Mid-sized companies are interested a lot and I see this trend as a good change for the market.

Citrix has always talked about its product-agnostic advantages. How well does that part work?

Indian market has always been about variety and diversity of choices matter here a lot. This strategy has been a huge leverage point for India. Young demographic factors are more choice-driven and I tend to believe that Indian market will always embrace anything that is choice-friendly.

What was 2014 like for the industry?

It was an interesting year. Our growth numbers are going to be higher than we expected and we expect upwards of 40 per cent as well as more than the industry’s rate of growth in progress. The market segment is full of growth categories. Mobility and BYOD are showing good traction and the whole desktop virtualization space is where interest is growing rapidly. Cost comparisons with traditional PCs has changed and that’s where we have crossed a curve. We have also seen TCO conversations changing.

TCO-shifts? How?

The last 13 months showed a big change on CPU architecture. Moore’s law continues and more powerful machines keep entering while the server and cost footprint remains same. Storage innovation on the other hand is leapfrogging. Lot of new platforms for high input-output-centric workloads are coming. CFOs and CIOs have started looking at the cost of power. Citrix too is working hard on innovation and offloading workloads from storage to server memory is a big factor. The space is changing thanks to both innovation as well as customer mindsets.

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