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Citrix-AWS ties bolstered to make hybrid cloud a reality

A new Citrix-AWS partnership could simplify application delivery. Analysts describe the news as sensible for the two companies.

Stressing the importance of flexibility, Citrix said last week that it would strengthen its ties to AWS.

The new Citrix-AWS partnership, announced during AWS re:Invent 2019 in Las Vegas, is intended to enable greater user choice in hybrid cloud environments. Notably, Citrix ADC, the company's application delivery and load-balancing solution, now works with in AWS Outposts, which brings Amazon's cloud hardware on premises.

Pankaj Gupta, senior director of cloud native application delivery solutions at Citrix, said choice was the linchpin of the announcement. The intent behind the Citrix-AWS partnership is to meet the customer's cloud needs, no matter what specifications it might require. Organizations, for example, may have to retain some information on premises by law, or may benefit from local processing to reduce latency.

"They're not going to do it all on day one; they're cherry-picking what they move to the public cloud," Gupta said. "Each customer's journey is unique, different and constantly evolving."

With this new partnership, Citrix ADC can bring native AWS services, infrastructure and operating models to on-premises systems. The intent is to provide a unified experience for both on-premises and public cloud work. One benefit of the partnership allows businesses to simplify management by offering automated scaling to replace the manual configuration of app delivery infrastructure.

Gupta said Citrix is one of the first vendors to achieve AWS Outposts certification.

"It's not just about choice, but making things simpler for the customer," he said. "Each customer is different, and we want customers to have a really expedient journey."

One factor making that journey easier, Gupta said, is Citrix Quick Start, which eases the transition to the AWS cloud. Quick Start incorporates best practices to help customers get started more quickly, automating an entire ADC infrastructure in AWS.

In sum, Gupta said these changes will help IT professionals transition to a hybrid cloud more quickly and with less friction.

"They can deploy, gain visibility and manage day-to-day hybrid multi-cloud with a single pane of glass," he said.

Analysts: Partnership 'makes sense'

Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Mark Bowker said the Citrix-AWS pairing was well-made: The use of Citrix products is widespread, and AWS is the leading cloud provider.

"It makes perfect sense," he said. "Citrix is in a position where it wants to provide a choice to customers in terms of which of the platforms it wants to migrate to."

To have these capabilities in place is important for the customer to hear.
Mark BowkerSenior analyst, Enterprise Strategy Group

"To have these capabilities in place is important for the customer to hear," he added.

Eric Klein, director of enterprise mobility and connected devices at VDC Research, noted that both Citrix and rival VMware have taken steps to bolster ties with cloud providers such as Google and Microsoft. Klein suspected the partnership with AWS had been in the works for a while, as it can take time for companies to formalize these kinds of relationships with Amazon.

"Really, one of the big things about these types of partnerships is helping folks reduce cost if they're willing to go down the road" of cloud services, he said.

Plus, Klein is seeing market demand for hybrid cloud systems.

"It's the direction most companies have moved in -- big companies particularly," he said. "All the large customers they're dealing with have bought into hybrid infrastructure and are along the path of multiple clouds and multiple platforms."

Forrester Research analyst Andrew Hewitt said one way this move benefits IT professionals is through rapid scalability; when businesses need to grow their workforce seasonally -- like finance firms at tax time -- the Citrix-AWS collaboration will ease and speed up that process.

Hewitt added that the heterogenous nature of hybrid systems might make life more complicated for desktop administrators, though he noted the consistent AWS experience for both private and public clouds would temper that.

As to whether hybrid cloud is a stepping-stone to public cloud, Klein said the need for legacy support muddies the waters.

"It's holding back some companies from working as quickly as they want, but that's one of the carrots to move forward and modernize," he said.

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