Moving End User Computing into a Hybrid Multicloud Future

In this Tech Barometer podcast, Citrix’s Sridhar Mullapudi explains how innovation with Nutanix is allow companies to manage end user computing applications from their private data centers or public cloud services.

By Jason Lopez

By Jason Lopez March 30, 2023

Citrix IT toolsets and infrastructure allow organizations to empower their employees to work from almost anywhere. Their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology really took off in the 2000s. A decade later, it became one of the most widely used workloads when IT organizations first adopted hyperconvered infrastructure (HCI) and it remains so as hybrid multicloud becomes the IT model of choice.

VDI and desktop as a service keep evolving and improving, according to Sridhar Mullapudi, general manager of the Citrix business unit in the Cloud Software Group. During his more than 20 years at Citrix, Mullapudi has been on and led teams that advanced end user computing, evolving it for the hybrid multicloud era.

In this Tech Barometer podcast, Mullapudi talks about how end user technologies have evolved and adapted to IT infrastructure trends around private data centers, public cloud services and now hybrid multicloud IT operations. He explains how recent work with hybrid multicloud software company Nutanix is allowing IT teams to run VDI and DaaS from private and multiple public clouds.


Raising the Bar for Hyrbid Work Technologies

“Our customers are looking at scaling VDI and don’t want to pay for expensive infrastructure,” Mullapudi said. They want a simple, efficient way to deliver VDI and DaaS from whatever systems makes sense at any given time.

In 2021, Citrix and Nutanix announced a joint development effort to integrate Nutanix HCI with Citrix DaaS and Virtual Apps and Desktops. Now with NC2 (Nutanix Cloud Clusters), Citrix customers can securely serve business apps from their Nutanix Cloud Platform, whether it’s powered by a private data center or public cloud service, including AWS and Microsoft Azure.

He said these kinds of innovations are enabling remote and hybrid work, but there’s still lots of work to do.

“I'm sure there are 10 years of innovation ahead of us to really make the hybrid work experiences feel like we’re in person,” said Mullapudi.

Transcript (unedited):

Sridhar Mullapudi: If Covid happened 20 years ago we all probably would've been screwed because, you know, there was not a lot of tech stack to actually help us collaborate. Citrix always talked about this notion of work is not a place, work is what you do. And we believe in providing those tool sets and infrastructure so people can work from anywhere.

Jason Lopez: Sridhar Mullapudi is the general manager of Citrix's Citrix Business Unit, which operates under the newly formed company, the Cloud Software Group. This is the Tech Barometer podcast. I'm Jason Lopez. We chatted with him about what goes on behind the scenes to empower people to work from anywhere. Citrix and Nutanix have worked together to expand the capabilities of enterprise computing. If you'reaNutanix customer and you use Citrix, you can do something you couldn't do before. Take what you run from your private data center, replicate it and run it from Azure or AWS in a public cloud. It can manage this stuff in the backend. They can more easily move data and do it securely and remotely.

Sridhar Mullapudi: We've done the initial work of understanding the stack really well and creating those abstractions and other stuff. And Nutanix does a great job abstracting that across multi-cloud and there are always nuances in understanding how the Nutanix clusters on Azure work so it can be validated and be tested. But it's been a great standing partnership and a platform that we understand well, they understand as well andso it's much easier to keep building it.

Jason Lopez: And the NC two cluster that runs on Azure, is that, is that like a natural progression since the partnership started, what, a decade ago or so?

Sridhar Mullapudi: It is. It is. I mean, when we really started, if you think of the evolution of the partnership, it was kind of Nutanix hyperconverged software running on V sphere. So that was the first thing we supported. Later when Nutanix evolved to KVM and or HV as we call it, you know, we were the first to partner with that complete Nutanixstack all the way from software to hypervisor and then Xi I think at that time, the first kind of cloud version of it, we were the first to kind of support it. And so this is really a natural extension which makes it really easy for us to kind of work and collaborate.


Explosion of Hybrid Work Brings Tech Providers Together

Jason Lopez: Yeah, and I imagine, you know, we often hear that these kinds of collaborations are driven by customer needs, you know, the opportunities that arise from working with customers. What's the story there?

Sridhar Mullapudi: When Nutanix really started, they were the pioneers in the hyperconverged infrastructure, right? How do we bring compute storage, all networking, everything all across, start small and kind of expand without expensive storage? So one of the first workloads they looked at and said, what's the best workload, right? For, for any new platforms? It's like you need a killer app. And VDI turned out to be a killer app for hyperconverged infrastructure. So our customers are also looking at scaling VDI and they didn't want to pay the VTax or you know, the whole highly expensive storage networks and everything else. So I think the Citrix Nutanix stack and partnership was so critical for them to actually scale VDI and make it more efficient, you know, cheaper to operate in a long way and that's always good for the customers. So this is a longstanding relationship between Nutanix and Citrix. So not just technology and integrations, but also relationships.

Jason Lopez: Can you take us back a bit to virtual desktop infrastructure, you know, that is the bread-and-butter app for many Citrix customers? How has that evolved?

Sridhar Mullapudi: You know, I would say over the past few years the industry as it's been transforming more into cloud and as a service VDI has been transformed more like Daas, desktop as a service, the core of what it does is still the same. Where you want to be able to securely connect your desktops and applications wherever they're sitting: private cloud, public cloud hybrid where you're not managing all the infrastructure yourself. It can be offered as a Saas service. So that's been the evolution. While the core, what it does, and what value it does has not changed, the flexibility, the manageability, and the cost of it have all greatly improved.


Validated Way for Moving Between Private Data Centers and Public Cloud

Jason Lopez: Well, on this as a service theme, it seems like, you know, there's a big demand for hybrid multi-cloud.And in the sense of, uh, cloud as a service, but wanting the tools to achieve that scale of hybrid multi-cloud, is that a trend that you're also seeing?

Sridhar Mullapudi: Yeah, we've, we've started seeing this trend, I would say seven, eight years since AWS started. But what happened was the pandemic happened so suddenly everybody had to work from home and there was just not enough time or capacity for them to build this infrastructure by themselves or hire people or buy hardware, anything else. So they're like, "Hey look, I want to tap into the cloud for flexibility and other stuff." So now customers are like, "look, I never want to be in that situation."So now they're investing in infrastructure, they want to have a hybrid market by cloud. I think some of the recent trends where customers are saying like, "I also want to use my spend on cloud just because the market conditions are changing, the economic times are changing." So I think we'll come back to an equilibrium where they want that flexibility. "Hey, for certain use cases and workloads, I want to put it in my data centers or private clouds. I think that's most, and some I want to use public and I want that flexibility back and forth." I think now there's a little bit of normalization and people understand, but I don't want to get locked into any single cloud. I want to have that flexibility. So now they're coming to their partners like Citrix and Nutanix as well to say like, "Hey, how do you provide that hybrid multi-cloud solution? Give optionality, don't lock me into a single cloud provider and have that flexibility and choice." So customers want that choice more.

Jason Lopez: Right. And so choice, on that idea of having options if they're running in the public cloud, are you seeing them move from one public cloud to the next?

Sridhar Mullapudi: Yeah, I think a few things are happening there. One, if they're a pure data center, kind of a private cloud type of a customer doing it themselves and their data centers or maybe cos their strengths were like, "look, I don't want to be in the data center business and I want to use uh, somebody else data center, public cloud, kind of a data center." So that trend has been going on for a while. I think second, they also understand the power of these clouds and the relationships they have whether it's, you know, Azure or Google Cloud or AWS or others and they don't want to get locked in. The move away from a data centerIthink is driving the hybrid discussion. The move to adopt multiple clouds for flexibility, and best-of-breed solutions, is driving a multi-cloud discussion. And I think that's creating opportunities for vendors like Citrix and Nutanix because they look at it and say, "Hey look, I don't want to triple my operational complexity if I have one here, another cloud, and others. So like I would rather have that flexibility without paying the cost." So that's where they look at hybrid multi-cloud vendors and how they can help.

Jason Lopez: Well, just one more question, and this one looking to the future. On that idea of being able to work from anywhere, you know, where we started our discussion, what are the challenges that still remain in your estimation?

Sridhar Mullapudi: If there was one thing the pandemic kind of showed us that I think we made, you know, quite a big progress in technology evolution, whether it's bandwidth service, availability device and everything else. For us to actually collaborate sometimes jokingly say "if covid happened 20 years ago, we all probably would've been screwed because, you know, there was not a lot of tech stack to actually help us collaborate." Citrix always talked about this notion of work is not a place, work is what you do. And we believe in providing those tool sets and infrastructure so people can work from anywhere, right? I mean, you know, we pioneered the delivery of, you know, applications way back in the day we did GoToMeeting, I mean now we have Zoom, you know, and a bunch of other tools as well. So we always believed in that model. I think both in terms of infrastructure, whether it's device or network or applications and everything else. Now we are a little bit more hybrid. I do believe innovation drives growth and value and sometimes you've got to figure out how to bring people together and so I think hybrid becomes very important. What does that hybrid experience look like, right? I think past two years we are all remote. If you're all remote, I think you all feel equal when you're in the office, when you're remote, you know, you might feel collaboration is challenging. So I think there are some technical hurdles there, probably social, personal and that kind of thing as well. So I'm sure there are the next 10 years of innovation ahead of us to really make the hybrid work like you are in person.

Jason Lopez: Sridhar Mullapudi is the general manager of the Citrix Business Unit in the Cloud Software Group. He's been with Citrix since 2001. This is the Tech Barometer podcast. I'm Jason Lopez. Tech Barometer is produced by the Forecast, a publication of Nutanix. Check us out for other stories on technology and the people in tech at

Jason Lopez is executive producer of Tech Barometer, the podcast outlet for The Forecast. He’s the founder of Connected Social Media. Previously, he was executive producer at PodTech and a reporter at NPR.

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