Page 1 of 2
After spending $1.8 billion over the last five years on R&D and acquisitions, Citrix Software has brought together the parts needed to virtualize IT data centers from the desktop and server all the way through application delivery.
That's the message from Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix, to over 4,000 attendees of the company's iForum App Delivery Expo, held this week in Las Vegas.
"We're doing this to deliver solutions," Templeton said. "To help you deliver in what we believe is a very, very dynamic world, especially as we look out over the next five to ten years."
Those investments range from on-line services to on-line virtualization platforms for application sharing to on-line virtualization access to application networking, Templeton said. "We've reached a world where anyone can work together from anywhere with a great user experience."
Templeton said all Citrix's recent moves, including the acquisition of server virtualization software vendor XenSource, which closed on Monday, springs from a core Citrix tenant: that the most important thing in the world is the application, and everything revolves around making it easier to deliver it.
"Without an application, all computing power is useless," he said. "If a tree falls in a forest, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? If an application exists, and it can't be delivered and used for business purposes, is it relevant? Is it meaningful? I think not."
Unfortunately, today's IT infrastructure tends to drive a wider gap between the application and the user, Templeton said. For instance, he said, it is common to think that a solution to improving the delivery of applications is to add more powerful servers, more bandwidth, increased security, and so on. But instead of solving issues, these solutions are really more silos that Templeton termed "incrementalism."
"It's when you make all these really rational decisions, one after another after another," he said. "But when you take them as a whole, you don't have a solution. So I make decisions about servers, and I make decisions about networks, and I make decisions about security, etc. But they don't all work together. And I optimize every one of those, but I haven't optimized for a solution."
Citrix has established three quests for itself in order to improve the integration of the data center.
The first, which Templeton called the Holy Grail, is to make every data center dynamic. Most data centers today are static, meaning that servers and workloads, which consist of an operating system, an application engine, and the application itself, are hard coded together on a one-to-one relationship
Instead, workloads should be though of as the data center's basic unit of work, stored in a stateless mode, and then used as needed, allowing users to bring multiple workloads together as an application for a service, and enabling every workload to work on every server.
"Wouldn't that be fantastic," Templeton said. "Think about the flexibility if we could make that happen."
Citrix took its first steps in that direction with the acquisition of XenSource, which gave it access to a powerful, hardened, 64-bit hypervisor. That acquisition also gave Citrix the ability to start moving towards the ability to offer dynamic virtualization services thanks to Citrix XenServer, which until Monday was known as XenSource Xen Enterprise 4.0.
Templeton said that XenServer runs 32-bit and 64-bit applications natively, and dynamically handles resources such as server and storage pools. And it has the capability to do live migration of virtual machines.
Citrix has an aggressive roadmap for XenServer, with increased automation, disaster recovery, and business intelligence all expected to be available in the near future.
Citrix's approach to dynamic virtualization services also includes technology partnerships and open APIs that will allow it to further build the Citrix ecosystem end-to-end, from data center to desktop, Templeton said.
A key part of this is Citrix's partnership with Microsoft, Templeton said. "It's really, really simple," he said. "XenSource had a strong relationship with Microsoft, working on the [Microsoft] Viridian [server virtualization] product in collaboration with them. And so, when Viridian's available, you'll be able to use the Viridian Engine or the Xen engine to deliver those capabilities up to the stack of our dynamic virtualization services. We'll plug into all the great Microsoft infrastructure to do what we do really well, that is, add value to the Windows stack."
Citrix will also partner with other companies from the processor to the server through storage to the operating system and the application, Templeton said.
For instance, NEC started embedding the XenSource hypervisor in its servers about four or five months ago, he said. Hewlett-Packard on Monday agreed to test and validate XenServer in order to offer it on a resale basis with its industry standard servers. Also on Monday, Dell said it would embed XenServer Express, an embedded version of the XenSource hypervisor, in its PowerEdge servers.
"Think of how powerful that would be," Templeton said. "Think of how great it would be if you could go to the website of your favorite server manufacturer and you could choose virtual infrastructure. And, this is an IQ test, would you choose none? I don't think so. What you'd choose is, maybe 'embedded and ship it to me.'"
John Hampton, director of enterprise sales for the Americas at Dell, at that point appeared on stage with Templeton, said that there is still a lot of untapped potential for virtualization in the market.
"By delivering the combined solution to our customers, we believe that they will have greater choice and flexibility when choosing to virtualize. Right out of the box, our customers will be able to easily install, manage, and deploy virtual machines. And then, easily and quickly upgrade to XenServer Enterprise Edition with just a license key."