The cloud inches closer to enterprise domination today with the release of Citrix's CloudPlatform 4.2, an update that the company considers a "breakthrough release," according to Krishna Subramanian, VP of product marketing for Citrix CloudPlatform.
The challenge with most existing enterprise clouds, Subramanian told me, is that most architectures are optimized "either for the new cloud apps or for traditional server virtualization environments that support traditional enterprise workloads" like ERP, CRM, and legacy Windows applications.
Powered by the open source Apache CloudStack, CloudPlatform 4.2 provides a single control plane for the management and orchestration of both traditional and newer cloud-native applications. In doing so, Subramanian said, Citrix is "taking an application-centric view. Our cloud orchestration layer lets you customize the infrastructure to meet the needs of your applications and manage it all with one control plane." This enables enterprises to implement gradual cloud services strategies that allow for the migration of legacy applications over time into the cloud.
In addition to the focus on optimization for diverse applications rather than single workloads or workload types, Citrix is providing several other new features in the CloudPlatform 4.2 release. Enterprises concerned with compliance and security in the cloud may appreciate the nTier, Virtual Private Cloud, and Dedicated Private Cloud Isolation offerings. Citrix has also direct integration with existing VMware environments, Cisco UCS workloads, and Cisco Nexus 1000v switches and ASA 1000 firewalls.
For service providers, meanwhile, Citrix has added enhanced failover capabilities through its "availability regions," which enable the creation of separately managed, region-specific and workload-specific zones, reducing latency and increasing scalability. The zone isolation also offers regulatory compliance benefits. In addition, CloudPlatform 4.2 provides Amazon Web Services APIs to allow integration with existing AWS environments and third-party solutions.
Although officially released today, CloudPlatform 4.2 has already made the rounds to some Citrix customers under the vendor's early access program. Among those customers are Alcatel-Lucent, CA Technologies, Cisco, and SAP, all of whom provided positive commentary to the official Citrix release. Ralf Lindenlaub, VP of Cloud Solutions Services at SAP, touched on the diverse range of applications and services SAP runs in the cloud and praised CloudPlatform 4.2's "unique ability to run them all, despite their fundamentally different architectures."
In recent months, "application-centric" has become one of the key buzzwords surrounding networking and next-generation data centers. That approach, Subramanian said, is "in Citrix's DNA."
"At the end of the day, the cloud is an architecture that enables you to be more efficient with your applications. The value in the cloud is in the applications, not so much the infrastructure, and that's something Citrix knows very well," she said.
Jude Chao is executive editor of Enterprise Networking Planet. Follow her on Twitter @judechao.