Citrix Takes XenDesktop To The Cloud With Project Avalon

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Citrix Systems is continuing its move to the cloud, announcing Project Avalon, a platform that will align closely with Amazon’s cloud infrastructure and will let businesses run Windows applications or desktops in public, private or hybrid clouds.

The platform will use the Citrix Cloud Platform, running on open-source Apache CloudStack.

Avalon will allow customers to use different versions of Citrix’s flagship XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp products, as well as Microsoft Windows Server, as an easy-to-deploy cloud service, the company said at its Synergy 2012 conference in San Francisco.

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“It has taken major engineering efforts to transform the XenDesktop product, which was designed to run on enterprise virtualization architecture, to work seamlessly on Apache CloudStack and Amazon Web Services,” Sheng Liang, CTO, Cloud Platforms at Citrix Systems, wrote in the Citrix blog.

Avalon will also use application orchestration technology from the Citrix Cloud Provider pack, which automates application and desktop configuration, deployment and lifecycle maintenance. The Cloud provider pack will be available to more than 2,000 Citrix Service Provider (CSP) partners and hundreds of thousands of hosted desktop users, the company said.

In a keynote session Thursday, Sameer Dholakia, Citrix vice president and general manager of the Cloud Platforms Group, outlined Citrix’s development of its cloud service.

He said Avalon is designed to work closely with Amazon cloud infrastructure because Amazon is the most mature and successful cloud service, allowing users to easily add scale-up services.

“Amazon by any metric is successful,” he said. “There’s no question that Amazon is worthy of emulation.”

Amazon Web Services are easily scalable and easy to use by businesses or service providers. “Amazon starts small and scales,” he said. “This is your platform for the next ten years. You start small but build out.”

Dholakia said Avalon is open to many vendors, unlike others that encourage what he called “lock-in.”

In his talk, he implicitly criticized virtualization rival, VMware. “Cloud is not about lock-in,” he said, as a graphic showing VMware appeared on the stage screen. “Other vendors say, ‘We offer you a cloud, and, as long as you buy our software and hardware on both ends, we’re good.’ We call that a Model T cloud.”

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