This week Citrix announced that it’s “providing engineering support to Amazon for the optimization of Citrix products and Windows applications that run on Amazon Web Services (AWS).” As with any corporate communication, it helps to have someone spell things out in plainer language. I think this, from the blog of Simon Crosby, CTO of Citrix’s Datacenter and Cloud Division, is little bit more meaningful (the hyperlinks are present in the original):
VMware has been trying to position AWS as a "consumer cloud" of no relevance to the enterprise, a conjecture elegantly refuted by Randy Bias of Cloudscaling. AWS is very serious about the enterprise cloud segment, and today's announcement is the first of many that we hope to make in this spirit.
The same entry also says, “To start with, Citrix and Amazon are both committed to running any VM from any hypervisor, whether Windows or Linux based, with unbeatable performance, pay-as-you-go pricing, and elastic scalability” and “You can expect seamless manageability for private and hosted workloads, with role-based, end-to end management, from any enterprise virtualization platform, to the cloud. A Citrix XenServer customer will be able to simply use XenCenter to manage their hosted workloads."
I see two important implications in this announcement.The obvious one is that Citrix and Amazon aren’t going to quietly depart the enterprise market. The other, more interesting point is that these two companies are apparently committing to making it easy for businesses to move their VMs around and change their infrastructures.
I’m thrown a little by the line about running any VM from any hypervisor—I have to personally doubt how much work Citrix is going to put into getting their VMs to run on VMware and Microsoft hypervisors. But it looks like Citrix and Amazon are OK with a future where it’s common to see mixed-hypervisor environments, where private, public, and hybrid clouds are all options, and companies don’t have to make permanent commitments to their choices in any of these area.