Cloud Computing | Feature
With Acquisition, Citrix Enhances Its Cloud Offering for Higher Education
The purchase of Cloud.com has helped Citrix round out its offering of custom cloud solutions that will appeal to colleges and universities.
With cloud computing looming as the next big thing in
higher education, Citrix Systems' recent
acquisition of Cloud.com, an open source
cloud computing platform, will have caught the attention of university CIOs
nationwide. The move bolsters Citrix's cloud infrastructure portfolio by giving
customers virtualization, orchestration, and networking solutions that are
designed and built specifically for the new cloud era.
Cloud.com is the developer of CloudStack,
an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) software platform that simplifies the
process of building, deploying, and managing a cloud computing environment. As
opposed to traditional enterprise server virtualization platforms where cloud
management is layered on top, Cloud.com's product is designed to help users
design and create a cloud infrastructure from the ground up. As a result,
customers have the ability to choose the hardware, software, management
products, and service providers they want—an important consideration for CIOs
leery of getting locked in with any one vendor.
For higher education institutions, the benefits of moving
to a cloud service range from handling heavy server traffic during registration
(traffic which invariably drops to a trickle after registration ends) to
managing software and data across multiple campuses.
"Cloud computing delivers a radically more efficient
and cost-effective method for delivering IT services to end users," says Peder
Ulander, VP of product marketing in Citrix's newly formed Cloud Platforms Group.
"This is hugely important in higher education and we have seen great
traction with wins like Hokkaido
University in Japan. It will use this model for providing IT resources to
researchers across Japan on an on-demand basis."
Building a custom-designed cloud system that is automated,
elastic, and scalable from the get-go is significantly faster and cheaper than
trying to retrofit an existing server system, claims Ulander. And the addition
of Cloud.com's software platform now gives Citrix the ability to offer this
custom service to colleges and universities.
platforms are already widely deployed as the infrastructure of choice for
cloud-era data center build-outs," notes Ulander. "Cloud.com adds to
this portfolio with an orchestration and management platform that ties
everything together. For universities and colleges looking to extend their IT
services strategy to the cloud, Citrix will have an open, flexible, and
advanced architecture that will enable them to quickly deploy and be
Like most industry watchers, Ulander sees more and more
colleges and universities moving toward cloud infrastructure and shaping the
development of cloud technology. "Universities are already utilizing the
cloud for many efforts,” he says. "For some, it is an extension of the
HPTC space they are already heavily vested in, including file storage, research
modeling, developer platforms, desktop, e-mail, and user services. In many
cases, the first cloud software platforms were launched in academia—the University of Barcelona, University of California, Santa Barbara, University of Chicago, and Clemson University all have major stakes in
The rapid growth of cloud technology has spawned a global
open source community of developers, researchers, technologists, and
corporations. Both Citrix and Cloud.com have fully embraced open source as an
essential element of cloud computing.
"The Cloud.com product line will continue to support
leading open source hypervisors like Xen, as well
as commercial hypervisors like Citrix
XenServer and VMware
vSphere," confirms Ulander. "Citrix will also be adding support
for a range of Microsoft platforms
and solutions, including Hyper-V
Center, and a full range of platform-as-a-service (PaaS) development
environments, storage and server hardware, and management systems."
Citrix is a founding member—and the second largest
contributor to—OpenStack, an open
source cloud computing platform for public and private clouds. With the
acquisition of Cloud.com, which was also a contributor to the project, the
company plans to increase its support of OpenStack.
Jennifer Skelly is a freelance journalist and screenwriter based in Los Angeles, CA.