The PC era of computing is at and end and the cloud era has begun, according to James Stevenson, area vice president, Ireland, UK and South Africa, Citrix Systems.
The assumptions of the PC era, that workers are using a desktop PC owned by the company and plugged into a network will become the exceptions of the cloud era, said Stevenson at the 2012 Virtual Computing Forum, in Dublin.
"It is now the hand over from the PC era to the cloud era," said Stevenson, admitting that while there is some certainty to these predictions, in reality, it is difficult to forecast on a longer term basis.
"We can predict things for about two to three years, but beyond that it is just too difficult," he said. But Stevenson did confidently predict certain directions that would be seen by IT.
"The old assumption was that mobile was the exception, [there was a] wired connection and an on premise data centre. The environments developed were based on these assumptions."
"The assumptions of the PC era will become the exceptions," stated Stevenson.
Stevenson argued that mobility and consumerisation were driving changes that will have to be taken into account by IT departments to support the new style of working, but also the demands for data.
"These are changes being driven by individuals, not vendors or businesses," asserted Stevenson.
He emphasised the user experience in providing access and services, and was unequivocal about how this was to be achieved.
"To be able to jump between work and life, it must be seamless, instant on."
This was a point echoed by Ronan Murray, infrastructure manager with auto-leasing giant LeasePlan. Presenting on the company's experience with consolidation of infrastructure, Murray said user experience is everything: "customer requirements beat technical requirements."
Stevenson said that the user should be free to choose their device and their usage patterns to suit their work requirements and their lifestyle.
"This is enabled by mobile work styles and cloud services."
However, he also acknowledged that consumerisation presents challenges, such as the fact that users tend to use more than one device.
"When people do this, they don't use just one device. The average person uses three devices on a daily basis," said Stevenson.
Citrix advocates placing files and folders close to end users by designating zones in public clouds. These zones are managed on premise but do not reside there. To facilitate this, Dan Crowe, cloud and data centre specialist, Citrix Systems, demonstrated a new capability in the company's upcoming CloudBridge release that will allow a simply interface to configure a bridge from a private to a public cloud. With a preconfigured list of popular providers, including Amazon Web Services, GoDaddy.com, Rackspace, Terremark and more, there is also the ability to configure a bridge manually. CloudBridge 2 is due for release at the end of June.
Stevenson went on to say that Citrix believes that Windows applications and desktops should be deliverable as a cloud service and to that end its Project Avalon aims to provide this capability. The project is expected to be available as a customer preview in the second half of this year.
Unifying the two themes of mobility and cloud services, Stevenson said that the Citrix vision is for any data to be available on any device through unified resources that can be bridged to any cloud, with a consistent user experience, securely.
Citrix is confident that its partnerships with various vendors in the respective spaces will allow it to complete this vision and allow it to be the vanguard of the cloud era in computing.
For more see the July issue of ComputerScope available July 12.