Citrix Embraces 'Anyness' and the OpenStack Cloud

VIDEO: The general manager of Citrix's cloud efforts explains how his firm both supports and competes against the open-source OpenStack cloud.


In the early days of the open-source OpenStack cloud platform's development, Citrix Systems was a key backer adopting the platform as the basis for its own Project Olympus commercial OpenStack effort in 2011.

Citrix ended up abandoning Project Olympus in 2012 in favor of the open-source Apache CloudStack platform. As it turns out, Citrix in 2013 is still somewhat invested in OpenStack as well as CloudStack and is looking to support its customers on both cloud platforms.

In an exclusive video interview with eWEEK at the OpenStack Summit in Hong Kong, Sameer Dholakia, group vice president and general manager of cloud platforms at Citrix detailed his firm's cloud strategy and why it is still supporting OpenStack in various ways.

Citrix today is all about the concept of "anyness," that is the idea that customers can choose nearly any technology they want, Dholakia said.

"We fundamentally believe that customers deserve and require choice," Dholakia said. "Whatever they want to work with, we will work with."

Not only does Citrix have its own cloud platform with CloudStack, the company also has its own virtualization hypervisor with Xen. While Citrix promotes Xen to its customers, Citrix technologies will also work with VMware's ESX as well as Microsoft's Hyper-V virtualization technologies, Dholakia said.

When it comes to OpenStack, Citrix wants its technologies, including Xen as the hypervisor and Netscaler for network acceleration, to be able to work well. Dholakia added that Citrix will, however. continue to push its own CloudStack as the leading cloud orchestration platform.

"For those customers that are choosing OpenStack and there are obviously plenty out there, we want them to be able to take advantage of all the other Citrix technologies," Dholakia said.

Though Citrix is not part of the OpenStack Foundation, Dholakia said that his company is still able to contribute code that enables support for Citrix technologies. Fundamentally, though OpenStack and the Citrix-backed CloudStack are competitive, Dholakia sees the big competition as being against closed-source proprietary cloud technologies.

When it comes to competition, Dholakia sees the market as being about open-source choices and not being about a battle between open-source OpenStack and CloudStack. "At the end of the day, our competition is VMware, so we're happy to see multiple open-source projects bloom and thrive and we think there is lots of room for that to happen," he said.

Watch the full video interview with Sameer Dholakia, group vice president and general manager of cloud platforms at Citrix below:

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at eWEEK and Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner

Sean Michael Kerner is an Internet consultant, strategist, and contributor to several leading IT business web sites.