Citrix's cloud strengths and weaknesses

In this week's episode of Cloud Cover TV, Citrix Technology Professional Rick Dehlinger joined Jo in the studio to chat about the ever-expanding Citrix cloud computing strategy.

We discuss:

  • Citrix OpenCloud, OpenStack and the traction Citrix hopes to get around its distribution
  • Rackspace and AWS investment in Xen
  • NetScaler Cloud Gateway (OpenCloud Access) and NetScaler Cloud Bridge (OpenCloud Bridge)
  • How Citrix will blend its diverse product portfolio together
  • Investment in AppFlow; visibility into the application streams
  • Citrix being behind on the consumption and manipulation of unstructured data

Read the full transcript from this video below:  

Citrix's cloud strengths and weaknesses

Jo Maitland: Hello. Welcome to Cloud Cover TV, our weekly show
on all the Citrix news in the Cloud computing market. I'm Jo Maitland
in San Francisco, and this week on the show, as Citrix Synergy gets
underway in San Francisco, I have Rick Dehlinger here. Welcome
to the show, Rick.

Rick Dehlinger: Thank you, Jo.

Jo Maitland: Rick is one of the few people in the world, about 25 or
so professionals, who are part of the Citrix Technology Professionals
program. Rick also works for Citrix on Microsoft, and he now runs his
own consulting practice, helping companies with Citrix deployments.
I'm curious to ask you, Rick, initially, are you getting any questions,
feedback from Citrix shops on Cloud, Private Cloud, more on the
infrastructure side of the house? What are you hearing?

Rick Dehlinger: It's really hard now, because everything is Cloud,
everyone is Cloud. All the different vendors, marketing engines are
all spun up and running high octane Cloud use at this point in time.
So it's really tough to avoid that conversation. Not that you'd necessarily
want to avoid it. Citrix technologies tend to be in part of all the different
types of systems that we build, natural for my background in history. But
it's definitely a topic of conversation and it's something we want to do
design work on systems, for example. The consumption of Cloud Services,
the shifting of an internal IT model or infrastructure model to a services
oriented. That's absolutely something that's front of mind.

Jo Maitland: Are people at the stage, would you say, of looking for
products? Are they choosing vendors? Are they trying to figure out
what it still means? Where would you say most of the conversation is now?

Rick Dehlinger: There's still a large percentage of the IT shops, in my
opinion, from my experience, that are still spinning themselves back up
out of the XP world. Starting to think about and starting to take some action
on the Win 7 activities. I think the whole consumerization, people wanting
their own devices, bringing them in and ignoring what IT gives them,
and things like that, I think that's a big driver behind that as well. So,
I'd say it kind of varies, a little bit, how far people are along on that strategy.
But it's definitely at the point in time where if you don't have a strategy
for that, and you don't make the right strategic technology investments
along the way, that organizations are going to find themselves really,
really behind.

Jo Maitland: How about, since Citrix is coming out, the Cloud Market
from various different angles, they have the services business with the
go to family of products, they have XenDesktop and XenApp, sort of
talked about hosted desk tops, and things like that. And then XenServer
in the Open Cloud initiative, which is more in the Cloud hosting service
provider market. In terms of Open Cloud, and that service provider space,
what sort of attraction are they getting there? And perhaps give us a high
level on what Open Cloud is.

Rick Dehlinger: The most important part, to me, of Open Cloud- it's
kind of an umbrella thing, it's kind of a vision in a lot of ways that we're
starting to see some products take off in line with that vision. But one
of the most important things, I feel, about Open Cloud, is that first word
of open. Beginning with the XenSource acquisition, Citrix really started
to get behind the open source movement, and started to get more behind
the communities behind investing their own time and energies and code
for the greater good. I think that's actually going to be a big strength of
theirs. And the way their support of the whole open stack platform has
gone, and the amount of traction that the whole open stack movement
has gotten . . .

Jo Maitland: Does it have traction, or buzz?

Rick Dehlinger: I actually haven't spent a lot of time deep in it in
front of people like Rackspace and so forth. But from all the feedback
that I get, a lot of my peers spend a pretty fair amount of time in that
focused market space, working with the platform providers and stuff.
And, they're starting to get some traction with it.

Jo Maitland: And that could be a competitive VMware,
V Clouds initiative, right?

Rick Dehlinger: Absolutely.

Jo Maitland: So, if Verizon runs on that one. But, I hear Verizon,
at least through the Terramark acquisition, they also have Citrix,
they have Xen in there, rather. And I think XenServer, as it's just a
cheaper version, way cheaper version than the V Cloud services.
So perhaps also, there's a cost issue here for people.

Rick Dehlinger: If you look at some of the primary drivers behind
the Cloud, you know it's all about economies of scale. Right? Not
recreating the wheel, leveraging someone else's expertise at a
much lower price point to be able to get the predictability out of it,
higher level services and such, than normally you could deliver as
a closed internal IT shop. So, if you look at that and look at the economies
of scale necessary, every cost, every incremental, even, that goes
into it has a direct impact upon that organization's ability to compete
in a certain marketplace. If you look at the things like what Amazon
has done, based on the Xen platform and some of the other providers
out there- Rackspace, notably, also- putting quite a bit of investment
in there. As well as, not kicking the VMware stuff out, by any stretch
of the imagination.

Jo Maitland: Do you think they'll- there's some word out there
this week at the shows that Citrix may announce that Amazon
is shifting over to, that all new systems that come online will be
on the XenServer code base. Does that make sense from an
Amazon perspective? What does that mean for Citrix?

Rick Dehlinger: I think it's a very positive thing for Citrix. And if
you look at some of the things that they're doing with their technologies
now. They've had a lot of strength and a log of history in the Enterprise
market space, from a very different perspective than VMware. And
that drives a lot, that whole perspective of top down, apps down
versus infrastructure up. I think that's going to be also a competitive
advantage of theirs. And it's going to drive them to help drive the marketplace
to innovate in areas that, in my opinion, VMware isn't likely even thinking
about right now. Or if they are thinking about it, it's behind closed doors.

Jo Maitland: Such as?

Rick Dehlinger: Well, you see things like the investment Citrix has
made in what they call today, anyway. The product names are
changing, here. At the show, from what I understand, on Open
Cloud Access and Open Cloud Bridge - the investments that they've
made in the networking. The whole let's get rid of platforms products
that evolved out of there. That's one particular place where Citrix is
innovating in a place that VMware, or at least on their own as part of
their own stack, in my opinion, is a little bit behind on that.

Jo Maitland: Explain Open Cloud Bridge and Open Cloud Access,
and how that potentially ties into the infrastructure side of it.

Rick Dehlinger: Open Cloud Bridge, the real short version behind that,
is it's a transparent connectivity mechanism between Enterprise IT,
Enterprise Network, Private Cloud and Public Cloud. So it's essentially
doing some really intelligent layer two bridging between the locations.
So if you just think of it like that, it just ends up being an extension of
your infrastructure, and now you're sucking in and you've got much
more clean and simple. Simple being the key access to the resources
your provider's giving you. That would be the bridge technologies.
Then the Access technology is more about the aggregation and
consumption of Cloud Services. I think people like the SaaS
types of products, for example. More of the consumption of those
user facing presentation and access to those, enabling the whole
Enterprise application store concept. They've made quite a bit of
progress on that, here, recently.

Jo Maitland: What do you think they're missing from that picture right now?

Rick Dehlinger: That's a hard one for me to answer, to be honest
with you. The pace of innovation that they've kept up there, which
is something that I think is going to be critical for them moving forward,
they've got to be able to keep that pace- has been pretty blinding.
In a log of regards, they're quite a ways further along than a lot of the
customers are. Customers in general, I would say. They've got some
very targeted, very deep customers in some areas that are helping to
drive some of that innovation, and give Citrix a more cost effective
opportunity to productize and capitalize on that.

So I can't point to too many holes there, aside from some of the . . .
From the infrastructure perspective, there's a few deployment
challenges. There's gaps and overlaps that you have to think about
because the product set has gotten much, much broader over the years.
So that's one of the things that I think they need to continue to do,
is to blend those things together, get the technologies on the
different products more automation, more inter-communication,
consolidation of consoles, and things like that.

Jo Maitland: So, consolidation of consoles for things like managing
the networking components, the application stack, these are all very silo'd.

Rick Dehlinger: To a certain extent. They do have some technologies
and capabilities that overlay the top of it. And they're putting a lot of
investments in that. Some more automation, and management monitoring,
frameworks on top of it. And, they've got this innovation they call App Flow.
That's another thing, I hope I'm getting that right, there's so many things
coming out this week. That's another open investment, for lack of a better
term, that actually provides a lot more visibility and understanding into
what's going on at the application layer. So, not just the network layer
or the infrastructure layer, but actually up into the actual application
streams. So, I don't know where I was going with that, but . . .

Jo Maitland: Yeah, just a sort of integration of the different layers
and the different silos of IT.

Rick Dehlinger: Yeah. So that's an example of where they're a little
bit behind in having their own consumption mechanisms,
for example. Their own ability to consume and report on that kind
of stuff. Whereas people like Splunk, that's kind of their space.
It's a consumption and manipulation of unstructured data. But,
my opinion, they're model works because they've got those
people that have those areas of expertise that are also investing
in the open standards, and they're able to get to market a lot more quickly.

Jo Maitland: Is there anything in particular at the show this week that
you're looking forward to hearing more about, that you expect will
be a big splash? We actually don't air until Friday.

Rick Dehlinger: Got you.

Jo Maitland: Yeah.

Rick Dehlinger: Okay. Yeah, they're going to make some announcements,
here. Some improvements in some of their infrastructure technologies,
which in my world, my world has all been driven Enterprise Space, out.
So the interest of my customers in consumption of Cloud Services is really
what's driving my investment in understanding and integration of Citrix's
technology spacing that way.

Jo Maitland: Is that around XenServer, or . . .

Rick Dehlinger: There's some great stuff in XenServer. They're
going to be announcing and showing off some really impressive
enhancements to their remoting protocols. So there's quite a few . . .

Jo Maitland: Quite a few VMs between Enterprise and Cloud?

Rick Dehlinger: No. One of Citrix's strategic technology
advantages they've got is the ICA application remoting protocols.
It's how they connect users to virtual desktops, for example. And
they're way ahead of anybody else in the marketplace in terms of
feature richness, adaptability, user experience, and so forth and
they're going to show here, at this show, and make more publicly
available, some really, really nice enhancements to that.

Jo Maitland: Does that have a Cloud angle? I mean,
they're high level, I see, the remote employees. But is that
something people can offer as a service?

Rick Dehlinger: Absolutely.

Jo Maitland: Okay.

Rick Dehlinger: Yeah. They're also starting to talk up and
show a bit more of the investments they're making in the Citrix-
their Cloud partner program, and I'm blanking on what it is--CSP
Program, Cloud Service Provider Program. They're going to be showing
off some more of that stuff. They've got some more focused efforts
and announcements and session content, things like that, that
they're doing there, which is a whole new route to market for them.

Jo Maitland: Yeah.

Rick Dehlinger: I've seen it evolving quite a bit over
the last few years.

Jo Maitland: Right. That's the piece that our audience is digging into.

Rick Dehlinger: Yeah, But there's, definitely if you look at the
classic products- you know, it's now kind of rolled up, everything
under a XenDesktop- if you look at those classic products, they're still
given a current Enterprise Application stack. They're still extremely,
extremely relevant to anybody trying to do anything with Cloud Services.
And when I say Cloud Services, again, my perspective is application
down. No applications, no infrastructure. To get to those applications,
to be able to offer up those previous, in some case two, three,
four generations old . . .

Jo Maitland: Windows apps.

Rick Dehlinger: Windows apps, permanent
Windows apps.

Jo Maitland: Yeah. Right.

Rick Dehlinger: So, those advancements, I think are extremely
important as an enabler. Because they are allowing people to actually
take the app stack off of the end point device, move it out into more of
a service delivered model, from a provider. So I see those as definitely
being some very positive, very good steps for giving people a taste of
that here this week.

Jo Maitland: Cool.

Rick Dehlinger: But there's a whole lot more going on. It's one
of the more exciting synergy events that I've been involved in, in
terms of the pace of innovation, the things that keep coming. And I
think I've missed one in 13 years, 14 years.

Jo Maitland: I've looking forward to it starting. Thanks, Rick. Thanks
for being with us.

Rick Dehlinger: Pleasure. Thanks for the invitation.

Jo Maitland: This has been Cloud Cover TV. Thank you for watching.
And tune in next week for more news on the Cloud Computing market.


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