At the heart of the Avalon platform is the its App Orchestration solution. Image: Courtesy of Citrix
Among the number of announcements under its “path to the cloud” banner at its Synergy show, Citrix Systems has launched Project Avalon, which it says “enables enterprises to transform some of their most important workloads, windows desktop and windows applications, to run on cloud infrastructure.”
Citrix’s Sheng Liang, writing in the company’s blog, calls it a “giant step in cloud transformation,” one that has “taken major engineering efforts to transform the XenDesktop product, which was designed to run on enterprise virtualization architecture, to work seamlessly on Apache CloudStack and Amazon Web Services.”
“It was not easy but we did it,” wrote Liang, who is CEO and founder of Cloud.com, which was bought by Citrix, and who now heads Citrix’s CloudStack product line.
Project Avalon will use its XenDesktop and CloudStack technologies to give companies the ability to shift apps and desktops into public clouds, deliver cloud era-friendly capacity on demand. “Enterprises and service providers alike are looking for capabilities such as self-service, metering, billing/chargeback, and delegated administration,” Liang writes.
Citrix CEO Mark Templeton told attendees at its annual customer show that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend had upended traditional IT thinking. “What used to be the exception has now become the assumption: the exceptions of the PC era have become the assumptions of the cloud era,” Templeton said.
Project Avalon will allow a Windows application or desktop in a public, private or hybrid cloud, the company said. “Moving to a cloud architecture enables us to simplify the installation and expansion of [virtual desktop deployments] and how people can flexibly manage and optimize the utilization of those resources. It also adds a layer of automation,” Bob Schultz, vice president and general manager of Citrix’s desktop and applications business, said at the show.
The platform will run on an integration of XenDesktop and Apache CloudStack, which Citrix has developed on for its own CloudPlatform. Citrix said the platform would allow scaling to 1 million users.
But Joe Vacarro, who heads up Citrix’s strategy and development for desktop and application delivery in the cloud, writes in a blog post that a transition to a hybrid cloud environment isn’t going to be a “magical moment where they cut everything over to running their desktops in a cloud.”
But don’t worry, there’s an orderly process involved. “It’s a process where you’ll strategically place new desktop and app groups in an on-premise private cloud such as CloudStack or possibly look towards one of Citrix’s 1500 CSPs to provide extra capacity in the public cloud for their desktop and app needs,” Vacarro writes.
In another big boost to its cloud porfolio, Citrix announced on Wednesday that it was buying Virtual Computer, which its said would improve its XenClient hypervisor, and lead to the creation of a more robust Citrix XenClient Enterprise edition, the company said. XenClient can deliver desktop virtualization without a network connection. Such a move would allow IT to tackle the BYOD trend by issuing computers with one OS for corporate use and one for personal use, for example.
And, if you are not convinced the company is serious about the cloud, Citrix announced a system-on-a-chip (SoC) that it says “cuts the cost of thin clients in half,” Kevin Strohmeyer, Citrix’s, said in a blog post.
The HDX SoC thin clients, which still require a Receiver to run an embedded OS, are compatible with both XenDesktop and VDI-in-a-Box. Customer include Hewlett-Packard, Atrust, Centerm, NComputing and ThinLinX are also onboard, Citrix said.
Back the the big news here on Project Avalon, one reply to Liang’s blog post, however, gets right to the meat of the matter facing virtualizing Windows. “BUT: Whats about Microsoft licensing? Currently its not possible to run Win7 desktops on multi-tenant infrastructure / public clouds? Did Citrix convince Microsoft to change their licensing? Or how do they circumvent these license restrictions?,” asks Volker Kurth.
We’re asking Citrix to elaborate on how that side of it works. For now, weigh in on the news above in the comments below.