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Citrix CTO On Demanding Clarity From Cloud Vendors

Citrix Systems CTO Simon Crosby sat down with Andrew Conry Murray at Interop 2011 for a candid question-and-answer session on a variety of subjects, including emerging cloud power centers--Citrix is a major player in some. The company is also pushing emerging standards on a variety of fronts, including cloud computing and application performance. Crosby talked about the company's goals for these efforts. He also advised IT to demand more vendor clarity about the cloud.

Conry Murray: Amazon/Xen is clearly a player in public cloud. Is Citrix conceding the private cloud to VMware?

Crosby: Pounding your head against VMware is a bad idea. They've won the hearts of VMware IT admins. Just like Cisco established a new skill set category in networking, VMware has established a new career path for IT, and the company delivers a good product. Tackling VMware to be the back-end IT automation vendor? We have no inclination to that. Citrix doesn't sell IT automation. VMware's opportunity is to displace Microsoft, BMC, HP, etc. XenServer itself has maybe 15% market share in the enterprise. Relatively few customers have made us the strategic partner for full enterprise virtualization. But we are in tactical and departmental deployments.

But we've found ourselves, courtesy of Xen, being in the public cloud. We've been led into big, massively scalable clouds and because of that, we've learned how cloud infrastructure is built. Our place in big, scalable clouds has pushed us to the front of innovation in scale and cost. We've learned how to deliver cloud infrastructure at 1/20th of the price.

We've brought that thinking to serve XenDesktop [Citrix's desktop virtualization and application delivery product]. So we can deliver lower [total cost of ownership] for desktop virtualization--as much as 60% lower because we can take of advantage of local storage and optimize I/O to reduce 90% of I/O on the network.

Conry Murray: OpenStack is an industry effort to build open source technologies for the cloud. What do you envision as Citrix's role in OpenStack?

Drew is formerly editor of Network Computing and currently director of content and community for Interop. View Full Bio
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