Citrix CloudPlatform from a Partner's Point of ViewPublished on 25 Sep 2013
When Citrix expanded their cloud-based offerings with CloudPlatform to embrace Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), they introduced new opportunities as well as new challenges for partners in the existing ecosystem. Although partners can tell a much more consistent story, they will have to invest to develop their consultants’ skill to offer Linux-based products.
Citrix has been offering cloud-based solutions for many years. This can largely be accredited to the fuzziness of the concept of a cloud. Due to the nature of SBC and VDI products, customers have learned to value assigning resource based on user groups and thereby making users more flexible.
Still both products target very specialized markets – XenDesktop more so than XenApp. Therefore Citrix strives to be among the leaders in the private and hybrid cloud market by adding CloudPlatform to its portfolio. CloudPlatform provides an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) similar to Amazon AWS. The two even integrate closely with each other to offer hybrid cloud solutions.
Apart from putting a strong focus on service-oriented environments, CloudPlatform also supports the trend to abstract from physical datacenter resources. A so-called software-defined datacenter allows customers to provide multi-tenancy by full isolation on the logical level.
Both trends are closely related and offer a compelling story to tell a customer. They also provide the opportunity for a holistic approach to a customer’s needs.
Looking back at working with Citrix products for nearly ten years, it has almost exclusively been a Windows-based job. Even the introduction of Access Gateway and NetScaler has hardly changed the game. Although knowledge of Linux and BSD based systems is still beneficial, the management interface are successfully hiding the foreignness of those operating systems. Therefore, many partners in Citrix’ ecosystem are entirely focused on Windows.
CloudPlatform – though – is different in this regard. The installations guide is a very helpful document but only covers the setup and configuration with regard to the product. It does not cover high availability and scalability in depth which is required to survive real life jobs.
And this is the major challenge that Citrix’ partners are facing today. It is one thing to train consultant to work with a new product falling in the same area of expertise regarding the operating system.
Partners are facing hard decisions how to tackle this challenge. Some may be able to facilitate basic or even advanced knowledge with Linux-based systems which is already present in the company. Others will turn to headhunters recruiting appropriately skilled consultants to expand the existing team. And some may even turn their back on CloudPlatform fearing the necessary investment.
Some may even be waiting and hoping for a virtual appliance like NetScaler hiding most of the complexity of a foreign operating system behind a web-based user interface. Those may find themselves following the market instead of leading it.