Cloud Computing Gets Top Billing From Citrix, EMC

Cloud Computing Gets Top Billing From Citrix, EMC

May 13, 2010

The timing couldn't be more coincidental. Whether it was deliberate, isn't clear. On the East Coast this week is EMC World 2010, with the tag line"The journey to the private cloud starts now." On the West Coast, Citrix Synergy is the place "Where Virtualization + Networking+ Cloud Computing Meet."

Despite EMC World's storage focus and Citrix Synergy's initial desktop centricity, both companies are making it clear that they've set their sights on the cloud.

As Edward Newman, global practice director at EMC (NYSE: EMC), noted, "it is not a question of if people will pick a cloud, but rather, when." EMC is aiming accelerate this through product offerings. Cloud migrations, Newman noted, are not a linear process, and much decision-making revolves around an organization deciding what is ok to go into a public and what must stay private.

Newman (no relation to the author) told ServerWatch he believes the reason for the hype around cloud is not as much about the technology itself as it is about the change in how people are looking to consume IT services. He noted, "people want to be able to consume IT services on job [the same way] as they consume them as a consumer." For virtualization and cloud this translates into "the ease with which people can provision and use a product."

Blue Coat Systems, a self-described "application delivery networking" vendor released survey results Tuesday indicating that this is indeed the case. The study, commissioned by BlueCoat and conducted at Interop 2010 Las Vegas, asked more than 150 randomly selected attendees to complete a questionnaire about how they are using cloud computing for software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications as well as whether they are "backhauling branch office Internet traffic to and from a centralized data center or headquarters."

SaaS had made significant inroads in respondents' enterprises, with all but one-third (34 percent) currently using some level of SaaS or cloud-based services. More than half of all respondents use two or more SaaS applications or other cloud-based services, and 32 percent use five or more SaaS applications or other cloud-based services.

No doubt, these high penetration rates are related to enterprise size: 30 percent of respondents were IT or network managers at companies with more than 30 branch offices; 25 percent supported between five and 30 offices. The remaining 45 percent of respondents had fewer than five branch offices.

Thus, it's not surprising that 68 percent of respondents currently backhaul branch office Internet traffic while 32 percent of respondents have direct-to-the-net or split-tunnel Internet access in their branch offices.

It's been clear for some time now that larger enterprises no longer need to be sold. Climbing usage rates confirm this. Next up, SMBs. With ISVs still getting their feet wet, this market is still fairly untapped. Here, especially, ease of use is paramount and will continue to be a key selling point for vendors looking to cater to these shops.

Amy Newman is the managing editor of ServerWatch and Enterprise IT Planet. She has been covering virtualization since 2001, and is the coauthor of Practical Virtualization Solutions, published by Pearson in October 2009.

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