My name is Martin Duursma and I am the Chair of the Citrix CTO Office as well as VP of the Advanced Products Group. I thought I would kick of this blog with a small introduction to my background and then talk about some interesting technology waves that we have been tracking in the CTO Office.
So first, who is Martin Duursma? Well I have been at Citrix for 10 years now after Citrix acquired my company Datapac back in 1997, so I guess this makes me one of the old guys… Since joining Citrix have held various positions in the product development organization until 2001 when we formed the Advanced Product Group. The Advanced Products Group (or AdProd) is located in Sydney(Australia), Redmond(USA) and Cambridge(UK) and focuses on long term applied research. The long term aspect of our work is usually 2 to 3 years in front of the Citrix product teams. We tend to produce output in the form of technology prototypes that then make it into one of the engineering teams for productization. Some recent output you may have seen from AdProd is the IRIS session recording tech preview and the Virtual Desktop Connection Broker.
My other role is Chair of the Citrix CTO Office. What is a CTO Office you may ask? Well at Citrix we have chosen the route of having a number of CTO one for each Product Group and these people plus a few key technologists make up the CTO Office. The mission for the CTO Office is to educate the greater Citrix employee base on important technology topics as well as be a driver of the technology strategy for the company.
The two roles coupled with the fact that I am based in Sydney tend to mean that I am on the road most of the time. This gives me the unenviable benefit of being on a first name basis with many of the flight crew at Qantas
But back to the topic I mentioned riding the wave. The wave riding concept is one that I would like to develop over the next number of weeks. What I attempt to do is on a regular basis is talk about a technology topic that I feel is important to the industry and the end consumers of IT services. The riding concept comes in as a visualization aid. If you think about a surfer, he or she will be sitting out beyond the waves, scanning to see when the next big wave is coming along and then hop on. This is exactly what we all need to do as vendors and customers of technology. It important to be ready when the next big wave comes through and then be able to harness the power in the wave.
Wave 1 Virtualization
Well there have been a lot of words written on this topic in the last 18 months. It is one of the most overloaded terms that the IT industry is currently using. What does it mean to me? Basically it means a separation of the logical from the physical. The example I like to give is the Tardis from Dr Who, where he would walk into his time machine phone box and it would be much larger on the inside than it appeared from the outside.
For most people, when you mention Virtualization they think of server virtualization products like XenServer, VMware or Virtual Sever. However, Virtual Machine environments have been with us on Mainframes for many years, but the industry is now getting excited about the fact you can have VM on X86 machines. So why is server virtualization important? Well, in the data center today the majority of machines are underused, typically running at low CPU utilization rates. Server virtualization allows you to consolidate underutilized machines into a smaller number of physical machines and hence reduce your total number of machines in the data center.
When I think about Citrix and virtualization, I think about the fact that our technology exhibits a number of attributes of virtualization, we can separate out the user context on a single machine for multiple users, i.e. we virtualize, file, registry and named objects. We also take the user interface and virtualize it to display at another physical location. But the issue is that the industry does not generally recognize what I have mentioned above as associated with virtualization, so for Citrix our challenge is getting the message out in spite of all the noise there is in the market place.
I not going to write a lot more about Virtualization as it has been covered extensively already on other parts of this site, but I would be interested in your views as to how Citrix should position itself for the types of Virtualization that we do?