Citrix Brings WAN Optimization to CloudBridge Appliances

The vendor's move will give businesses a single tool for access applications from the data center as well as from the cloud.

Citrix Systems is giving businesses an offering that officials said will enable them to securely move applications and data files from either a centralized data center or the cloud to their users' virtual desktops.

Citrix is combining the wide-area network (WAN) optimization capabilities in its Branch Repeater product with its CloudBridge offering, which connects businesses with cloud environments like Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft's Azure and with data centers. The move will give users a single product that can do what had taken two solutions, according to Chalan Aras, vice president and general manager of Citrix's CloudBridge Product Group.

"We exchanged complexity so we could make it simple for our customers," Aras told eWEEK.

The new CloudBridge products, announced May 7 at the 2013 Interop show in Las Vegas, is in response to the ongoing transition from the PC era to the cloud era, he said. Enterprises are increasingly moving applications and data from remote locations like PCs to centralized data centers or the cloud, with users accessing them from virtual desktops on a growing array of devices.

The expanded CloudBridge products, which can be deployed as either standalone physical or virtual appliances, enable businesses to use a single solution to securely access the data, whether it's housed in a data center or the cloud. Such capabilities not only offer continued security but also help drive down WAN optimization costs, Citrix officials said.

Citrix's CloudBridge 2000 and 3000 appliances for midrange data centers are available now. The company will launch the upgraded versions of the current 600 and 700 models for branch offices and the new 4000 and 5000 appliances for data centers later this quarter.

Aras said Citrix's solution offers greater integration, less complexity and lower costs than similar products from rivals, which he said tend to be less an integrated product than a bundle of different products. With the new CloudBridge products, Citrix offers twice the functionality in only half the amount of hardware required by competing solutions, according to company officials.

In addition, Citrix officials also are pitching the combination of the CloudBridge solutions with the company's XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure and XenApp product for delivering applications to thin-client endpoints as a way of driving performance up and costs down in cloud environments. According to the company, using all three technologies will reduce bandwidth per desktop by more than 50 percent over competing products while driving down high-definition video bandwidth consumption.

In addition, it will improve the performance of such traditional business applications as email, file sharing and database transactions, officials said.