The Coming Convergence of All Computing Models

Michael Vizard
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When a lot of people look at Citrix Systems, they often see a company with multiple lines of business focused on desktop application software, Xen virtual machine software for the cloud, network infrastructure and a raft of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications.

But in the wake of its recent Citrix Synergy conference in Barcelona, it's starting to become clear that Citrix intends to weave all these components into an end-to-end set of cloud computing platforms and services that Benjamin Baer, senior director of receiver and gateway marketing at Citrix, says will span everything from private to personal cloud computing services.

To that end, the company just introduced a variety of offerings that include a set of CloudConnectors based on its Netscaler application delivery controllers, a Citrix CloudGateway that provides brokering services across multiple clouds, and an open set of data services based on the technologies that Citrix recently gained with the acquisition of ShareFile that are all tied back to Citrix Receiver and XenDesktop software running on a wide variety of client devices.

Citrix is laying a foundation for the eventual elimination of the distinction between mobile, desktop, server and cloud computing, which, when you think about, is an artificial construct defined by the limitations of current technology, rather than the way people actually use software.

None of this convergence is lost on other vendors. When you look at what Microsoft is up to with Windows 8 or VMware's plans for its namesake virtual machine software, a similar construct starts to emerge. What will be interesting to see is which vendor not only gets there first, but also whether a more open Citrix approach will rally a large enough vendor community to thwart the ambitions of rivals that are pushing more proprietary architectures.

It's hard to say just how all this will play out. But the one thing that is for certain is that the writing for the convergence of mobile, desktop, server and cloud computing models is now definitely on the wall.

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