Citrix and Mitel joined the cloud movement this month, the latest companies to roll out releases. At this rate, Digium (News - Alert) and snom will be offering cloud services by the end of the year just to keep up with all the other vendors moving from a product-only model into a product/services mix.
To be fair, Citrix has been a player in the services world for a long time with its GoToMeeting and HiDef category of collaboration and support offerings. This week at its Synergy (News - Alert) 2012 event the company added Podio, a team-based collaboration platform, and unveiled "Avalon," the ability to deliver Windows as a cloud service.
Podio, a "freemium" cloud service, was recently acquired by Citrix. The product/service enables virtual teams and companies to work together online in a social network, with cloud-available project management, collaboration, product development, CRM and lead management, event management and even recruiting.
Avalon, in combination with other announcements, is an evolution of Citrix's Windows virtualization technology to enable businesses to run Windows either via a private cloud service or on more public service such as Amazon's cloud. Citrix did not announce an availability date for Project Avalon, but it's pretty easy to guess that it's likely to hit the streets sometime in the near future.
Over at Interop, Mitel (News - Alert) announced its AnyWare Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). AnyWare IaaS provides IT organizations the option to host Mitel's virtualized UCC (unified communications and collaboration) software in a virtual private data center provided by a Mitel division. The service/option enables companies to get cloud voice, unified communications and collaboration through either a private or hybrid cloud model.
Mitel AnyWare IaaS provides a SAS70-certified data center to deliver the cloud-based services. It is also VMware Ready to integrate with an enterprise's existing virtualized infrastructure and optimized for Mitel's purpose-built UCC applications.
The two announcements underline ongoing trends for the cloud. In Citrix's case, software-based companies are moving from dedicated server/dedicated hardware implementations to virtualization on "any cloud, anywhere." Mitel moving into services follows the rush of product-based UC-esque companies moving into a product and services mix. Avaya (News - Alert), ShoreTel, Siemens and at least a half dozen other companies have made cloud services deals as customers and resellers ask for per-seat services option that can be scaled up and downward to complement and/or replace capital-intensive models.
Other companies in the IP PBX/UC communications field are likely to follow suit. I'm betting on Digium introducing an Astrisk cloud service this fall at Astricon in Atlanta for its channel partners; goodness knows they've been poking around with the software bits and piece to run Asterisk (News - Alert) in a cloud environment.
Edited by Jamie Epstein