Citrix Dives Deeper Into Cloud App Delivery With EMS-Cortex Acquisition

Citrix on Tuesday said it has launched a Cloud App Delivery Group, and as the group's first order of business it acquired EMS-Cortex, a New Zealand-based software company specializing in cloud services provisioning and management. EMS-Cortex makes the Cortex Cloud Control Panel, which lets cloud service providers and customers set up, provision, manage and maintain a variety of hosted services.

"Since we first launched our CSP [Citrix Service Provider] program about two years ago, our partners have been giving us rave reviews about how the Cortex Cloud Control Panel makes it easy for service providers and their customers to setup, provision and maintain a wide variety of hosted services from a single, easy-to-use, self-service interface," wrote Bill Burley, vice president and general manager of Citrix Cloud App Delivery Group in a blog post detailing the acquisition of EMS-Cortex and Citrix's push toward cloud app delivery.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The EMS-Cortex Cloud Control Panel integrates with Citrix ZenApp and also offers support for the full suite of Microsoft hosting solutions, including Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, OCS, Web Hosting, SQL Server, DNS, RDS, Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Virtual Server Hosting with Hyper-V. The combination of EMS-Cortex and Citrix technology will let any subscriber manage and use applications from any device at any location, Citrix said. For the time being, the Cortex Cloud Control Panel will continue to be offered as a standalone product on a subscription basis, Citrix said.

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"Using the Cortex Cloud Control Panel, your customers can log in to a Web site and with a few clicks, manage user accounts, assign desktops, and add or change the applications or services they receive," Burley wrote. "Services are automatically provisioned, and moments later the user can log in and begin working. They can even check usage reports to be sure they are on track. Every cloud service should be this easy."

Burley added that the Cortex Cloud Control Panel enables cloud service providers to create accounts and assign management rights to specific users.

"On the service provider side, administrators can instantly create new tenant accounts and delegate management rights to specific users. It saves on help desk and operational costs, because tenants self-service their accounts," he wrote.

The launch of the Cloud App Delivery Group and the acquisition of EMS-Cortex come as Citrix bulks up its Citrix Service Provider (CSP) Program, which now boasts more than 800 cloud service providers that are certified to use Citrix tools to deliver apps and desktops from the cloud. According to Burley, EMS-Cortex falls under the Cloud App Delivery Group, which is dedicated to building out products, programs and best practices for cloud service providers.

"With its broad support for hosted app services, impressive extensibility, and ability to integrate into existing systems, Cortex Cloud Control Panel truly enriches our Citrix OpenCloud vision," Burley wrote.

Citrix's EMS-Cortex acquisition follows other high-profile cloud computing buys Citrix has made recently as it looks to bulk up its presence in the cloud market.

Last week, Citrix's acquisition of Netviewer AG, a privately held European SaaS collaboration and IT services player, closed. Netviewer will be wrapped into the Citrix Online division. And last August, Citrix acquired cloud virtualization management vendor VMLogix, which offers management for public and private clouds and will be used to bulk up Citrix's OpenCloud infrastructure platform for cloud computing providers.