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Friday, October 15, 2010

Citrix looks to build bridges in the cloud

One of the issues currently holding back the adoption of cloud computing is the difficulty of moving data between different services.  The problem stems from the fact that cloud providers and virtualisation companies work with their own competing proprietary technology stacks, meaning tasks such as moving data held by a cloud computing vendor to an internal private cloud can be a tricky affair.  Virtualisation company Citrix is attempting to tackle this problem with its OpenCloud technology, unveiled at its Synergy user and partner conference in Berlin recently.

One element of the technology, OpenCloud Bridge, is a secure tunnelling technology which allows data and workloads to be transferred between internal corporate networks and external third-party cloud platforms.

Through OpenCloud Bridge, external cloud environments—such as Amazon’s EC2 or Rackspace’s Cloud Server - appear to be an extension of an organisation’s internal network.  The technology will work on any virtual hypervisor but requires both sides of the data transfer to be using Citrix’s NetScaler server technology, meaning that currently not all cloud services are currently able to use OpenCloud Bridge.

Users of OpenCloud Bridge will also be able to move virtual machines and workloads between VMWare and Citrix virtual machines using the OpenCloud Bridge technology.

However, moving data between software-as-a-service applications—from Microsoft Dynamics CRM to, for example - isn’t currently on Citrix’s agenda, as application-to-application data transfer requires significant changes to the way the data is packaged and structured, something that will need cross-vendor support before it can be implemented.

...VMWare, which allows movement of applications on virtual machines between off-premise and on-premise environments through its vFabric technology but only if they remain within the VMWare stack.

“My view is Citrix have hung their hat on the open source banner, an open stack [which] they’re hoping the service providers take up to enable customers to be able to enter and exit cheaply and quickly whereas VMWare are hoping in their tie-ups with people like that their platform, based on a proprietary vCloud API, will be adopted by people so they can link service providers into their stack,” Ovum senior analyst Roy Illsley told

OpenCloud Access works in conjunction with the Citrix Receiver technology, a client-based system to allow users to access internal and external cloud applications in an application store-style interface.

Posted on 10/15