Citrix Synergy 2011: Cloud Portal set to improve customer support

The virtualisation giant claims its new offering will help service providers ‘turn their cloud infrastructure into a cloud business.’

Citrix Synergy

Citrix has introduced a new product family called CloudPortal, designed to improve the customer facing side of a cloud provider's business.

Whilst the likes of Amazon and Google have spent a lot of time and money on ensuring they have the right infrastructure out back, Citrix believes in order to grow, they need to improve margins and keep a good level of customer service.

The company said by introducing CloudPortal into their systems, the likes of account management, billing and service provision can become automated, making the tasks less time consuming for the provider and speedier for the customer to access.

Sameer Dholika, group vice president and general manager of the cloud platforms group at Citrix, said cloud providers had the multi-tenant infrastructure sorted and were now interested in "building the business."

"In order to scale they have to make it easy for organisations to manage and administrate that cloud," he added during the press briefing at Citrix Synergy 2011.

"It needs to plug in seamlessly to their support systems, CRM, account management all of these are required to deliver a business and that is precisely what the CloudPortal product line is offering."

The announcement today saw the introduction of two versions of the product.

CloudPortal Services Manager focuses on the traditional applications delivered in the cloud, such as Microsoft Exchange and Office. Citrix claimed the product allowed providers to add and change services, as well as manage users and their controls, without wasting "IT expertise" on business tasks.

CloudPortal Business Manager hones in on the customer relationship side instead, such as pricing, billing and reporting.

The two releases are both based on CloudStack Citrix's enterprise server virtualisation platform it acquired from the Cloud.com buy in July which also saw an update unveiled today.

Citrix CloudStack 3 is the first version to have the Citrix' branding and the only one to have XenServer 6 built in despite still being compatible with rival hypervisors. It also includes more support for NetScaler's "networking as a service" products and OpenStack specifically for Swift object storage.

"If you look at the way clouds like Amazon, SoftLayer, Terremark they are designed around big data, massive scale and thousands of physical servers," added Mark Templeton, chief executive (CEO) of Citrix, during his keynote.

"They are designed around an open architecture [and] this is the thinking and technology behind Citrix CloudStack with [the product's] new integrations."

Whilst CloudPortal Business Manager is available today and Service Manager is set to follow in December, the only information of CloudStack 3's release date is it will be coming at some point in the fourth quarter.

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