Citrix today announced new models in its CloudBridge line of branch repeater hardware, along with a software update to Version 7.0, which adds WAN optimisation capability and direct support for public cloud services.

The company says that the new software can help relieve pressure on overtaxed data centres by allowing branch locations to connect directly to a public cloud resource hosted in, for example, Amazon's AWS - bypassing the need to route the connection through the data center.

This adds flexibility for companies that might want to host different parts of their infrastructure in different places, according to Chalan Aras, Citrix vice president and general manager.

"An example of that might be an airline - [they] want to run the boarding pass and ticketing and reservations, obviously, in their own data centre, but they have a lot of 'nice-to-have' applications like weather reports for the displays at the airport - those they want to run in the public cloud because it's less expensive," he says.

IDC analyst Brad Casemore says the market has been ready for this type of play from Citrix - not least because the company's competitors have been making this sort of move as well.

"It's something they needed to do. There will be increased demand for this sort of functionality as customers look to leverage the cloud. In that respect, Citrix is not too late in meeting market requirements. It's true that other vendors have made similar announcements and are positioning their portfolios along the same lines, but the market opportunity is definitely there for Citrix, especially when you consider their ICA/HDX applications and technology partnerships," he told Network World.

The 2000 and 3000 models of the CloudBridge hardware, designed for use in mid-range data centres, are available immediately, with prices starting at $15,000. Upgraded versions of the existing 600/700 series branch appliances and 4000/5000 series data center models will be available in June. Capacities range from 1 to 10Mbps for small branch devices up to 2Gbps for data centre appliances.