Now that Citrix' acquisition of XenSource is complete, the company's overall strategy seems to be coming into focus, with virtualization playing a leading role in moving information and applications from the data center to the people who need it.
CEO Mark Templeton laid out his vision in Las Vegas this week, focusing on how the company plans to rework the data center from a storehouse of diversified processing and storage components into an integrated system aimed at one overall task: application delivery. This article in CRN offers the best overview of Templeton's plans that I was able to find.
It spells out his plans for (1) creating the dynamic data center by breaking the one-to-one relationship between server and workload, (2) converting applications into services accessible anywhere by anyone, and (3) fostering a new generation of virtual desktops.
Clearly, the Xen virtualization technology is a key component to each of these initiatives, and the company is moving quickly to integrate it into the major hardware platforms coming off the line. The two recent deals with Dell and HP, for example, open up nearly half the server market, compared to a scant 1,000 or so customers acquired directly from XenSource.
Microsoft is also a key player in the Citrix strategy. Not only is the Xen engine expected to be tightly integrated into the upcoming Viridian virtualization layer, but the two companies are partnering on a WAN optimization scheme designed to extend the new data center capabilities to the remote office. This "branch in a box" approach couples the Citrix WANScaler appliance with Windows Server 2003 and the Internet Security and Administration Server to overcome the difficulty of accelerating encrypted data.
And to ensure that this strategy covers as much of the enterprise market as possible, Citrix is partnering with smaller firms aimed at delivering SMB solutions. The latest is DataCore Software, a Florida-based virtual SAN developer, which has begun supporting Citrix XenDesktop to simplify the delivery of Windows desktops from centralized data centers.
Citrix certainly has laid out a bold agenda for itself, and it will be interesting to see how these integrated data center solutions stack up against other vendors' grand visions, most notably Cisco's Data Center 3.0 proposal. But even if only a portion of these plans pan out, the movement of data in and around the enterprise could see some revolutionary changes very soon.