In a move to compete against rival VMware, Citrix Systems on Tuesday announced the acquisition of a provider of software infrastructure platform for cloud providers. Citrix scooped up Cloud.com for an undisclosed amount.
Cloud.com is perhaps best known for its CloudStack product, which aims to help cloud providers deploy and manage scalable, secure and open cloud services. The acquisition beefs up Citrix's portfolio of virtualization, orchestration and networking solutions that work to help customers avoid vendor lock-in by letting them use the hardware, software, management products and service providers of their choice.
"As the industry moves into the Cloud Era, Citrix is committed to leading the charge with powerful solutions that make the cloud more open, more secure, and more personal," said Mark Templeton, president and CEO of Citrix Systems. He then suggested the acquisition would help customers do business more effectively.
The Evolving Cloud Landscape
Citrix pointed to industry research to help justify its spend: the transition from the PC era to the cloud era is expected to fuel a massive build-out in cloud infrastructure, creating a new market projected to exceed $11 billion by the end of 2013. The competitive landscape, Citrix predicted, will feature thousands of providers offering cloud services from business, infrastructure and development offerings, to consumer, mobile and gaming services.
Citrix also noted that most of the clouds that service the market would not look like traditional enterprise data centers. Rather, Citrix noted, they will run on radically different platforms purpose-built for cloud computing. In fact, the company said, the largest and most successful public clouds are currently built this way.
After explaining its take on the opportunities and evolution of the cloud market, Citrix worked to highlight how the Cloud.com product fits into the mold. Citrix described Cloud.com as a hypervisor-agnostic solution to help providers build simple, automated, elastic, scalable and efficient clouds.
"Virtualization is the fundamental attribute of cloud infrastructure. There is certainly a solid existing market for virtualization technologies, both for utilizing virtualization to gain the greatest benefits out of new systems and for consolidating older systems, and that is certainly still a healthy growing market," said Charles King, principal analyst at Pund IT.
"But frankly, the bigger play for virtualization vendors is in the cloud. For all its rapid growth, I think it's fair to call cloud computing an emerging market that hasn't been exploited or developed to the point it will be over time. Citrix obviously has ambitions here and believes that Cloud.com will give them the boost they need."
Commitment to Openness
Citrix and Cloud.com share some corporate culture: openness. The Cloud.com product line will continue to support commercial hypervisors such as Citrix XenServer and VMware vSphere, as well as open-source hypervisors like Xen.
Citrix intends to add support for Microsoft products like Hyper-V and System Center to the Cloud.com product line, as well as support a full range of "platform-as-a-service" development environments, storage systems, servers and management software. With this acquisition, Citrix will also be extending support for OpenStack, the popular open source cloud infrastructure movement that now includes more than 1,100 cloud developers, and more than 80 member companies, to the Cloud.com product line in an upcoming release later this year.
"Citrix has been a leader in the creation of OpenStack, assembling an impressive team of developers and creating Project Olympus to take open cloud-scale technology into the market," said Jim Curry, general manager of Cloud Builders at Rackspace. "With the addition of the Cloud.com team, Citrix is furthering their commitment to OpenStack, ensuring that the OpenStack platform and APIs are even more widely available to customers everywhere."