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Citrix Unveils CloudStack 3 Platform
Posted February 14, 2012
Citrix Unveils CloudStack 3 Platform
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By Barry Levine. Updated February 14, 2012 11:09AM

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Citrix is expanding its cloud offerings, with its announcement Monday of the general availability of its Citrix CloudStack 3 open-source cloud platform. When Citrix purchased Cloud.com last summer, the company acquired CloudStack, a Java-based open-source cloud management software.

CloudStack already is in use for more than 85 large production clouds, and CloudStack 3 allows the company to offer what it described as "true Amazon-style clouds to customers of all sizes," with virtual data-center resources via self-service. Current CloudStack customers include Datapipe, Edmunds.com, IDC Frontier, Nokia Research and Zynga.

'Open, Multi-Visor Platform'

Citrix said CloudStack is not a traditional enterprise service virtualization platform, with cloud-like management layers added on top. Instead, the company said, it was designed from the bottom up as an "open, multi-hypervisor platform" to help its customers use both public and private clouds in efficient and automated ways.

Like Amazon, where clouds of varying sizes and configurations can readily be offered, CloudStack 3 is intended to help enterprise customers create new clouds, use existing clouds, and improve security and performance for a range of cloud solutions.

Citrix Group Vice President and Cloud Platforms GM Sameer Dholakia said in a statement that, using the Citrix cloud portfolio, customers can obtain "an unparalleled set of cloud virtualization, orchestration and networking solutions" that can work with the products they already have.

The new version offers a cloud-optimized version of Citrix XenServer 6 as a key integrated feature, while also supporting leading platforms, such as KVM, OVM and vSphere. Citrix said this provides new levels of scale, manageability, security, multi-tenancy and virtual switching integration that is generally unavailable from other vendors' traditional enterprise virtualization solutions.

Building on 'Trusted Vendor' Status

Cloud 3 also offers integration with Citrix NetScaler SDX and VPX appliances, supports the Swift object-storage technology for redundant, scalable storage using clusters of standardized servers, and allows service providers to upsell network services with catalogs of service options.

Accompanying the CloudStack 3 announcement, Citrix unveiled its Cloud Community Program, with more than 2,000 products and services from partnering companies that work with its cloud solutions.

Charles King, an analyst with Pund-IT, said Citrix had "the experience, technological assets, and customer base" to obtain a better position in cloud services by providing another offering in their portfolio for existing customers.

Over the last 18 months, King said, "most medium- and large-sized enterprises have been reluctant to embrace external cloud service providers." What's changed more recently, he said, is that IBM, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and others "have begun to promote their own clouds, building on their trusted vendor status."

As a key provider of hosted desktop applications, King said, Citrix is in a similar position. "Their offering is not a whole lot different from what others are offering," he said, but they have a large installed base to build on and, depending on pricing, "they could be very competitive."

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