Citrix hops onto the cloud

Out in the U.K., there’s a cloud appreciation society whose members love clouds and rain. The society is making a documentary about clouds for the BBC.

Out at VMworld 2008, VMware’s user conference being held in Las Vega through Thursday, a documentary about clouds of another sort could be made. Everyone, it seems, is coming up with a product that will leverage the cloud.

Not one to be left behind, Citrix Systems, a VMware rival, has teamed up with 3Tera, whose AppLogic gid operating system enables utility computing to provide customers with enterprise grade cloud computing solutions either on-premise or externally. A VMware rival, you ask? Indeed. Others are Microsoft, Sun Microsystems, Red Hat and a host of smaller players.

Citrix’s teaming up with 3Tera coincides with VMware’s announcement that its technology will help leverage the cloud. So, whose isn’t? And why is everyone running towards the cloud anyway?

Set aside for a minute the misty-eyed vision people paint of IT being able to offload its capital expenses onto a cloud service provider, which we keep hearing from vendors all the time; cloud technologies don’t all talk to each other, as VMWare president and CEO Paul Maritz pointed out during his keynote speech.

The real attraction of cloud computing, especially when combined with virtualization, is that, even on-premise, it lets IT create a pool of resources, allocating them dynamically as and when needed. That  means IT will have to buy less physical resources,and will be able to stretch its existing physical resources further. How can that not look good to the boss?

Of course, there are still issues to be resolved — zoning, control and management, to ensure compliance — but they’ll be solved at some point. Perhaps we can then launch our own cloud appreciation society.

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