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Cisco Addresses Growth in Desktop Virtualization by Aligning with Citrix

Enterprise ready virtual desktops and apps in the form of preconfigured kits can be deployed swiftly

In light of Cisco's close ties with VMware, many were surprised to see Cisco and Citrix come together to introduce a new product that bundles Cisco's Unified Computing System with Citrix' XenDesktop virtual desktop infrastructure like FlexCast and HDX. The platform would support either XenServer or VMware's vSphere virtual servers on the backend with only Citrix' VDI package on the front. Enterprise ready virtual desktops and apps in the form of preconfigured kits can be deployed swiftly and scaled from 300 employees (starter kit) to thousands on demand along with combined support services.

Cisco's "network as a platform" based approach to cloud computing took the form of Unified Computing System last year. Working with a partner ecosystem, it is designed to deliver integrated computing, networking , storage and virtualization resources to build private clouds for enterprise data centers. VMware has so far been tightly integrated with Cisco's Data Center server virtualization solutions. Now with Citrix, Cisco is making a go at the emerging virtual desktop space which is picking up momentum due to the increasing priority to shift to Windows 7 sans compatibility issues , a growing need to target apps delivery for multiple devices and new measures in network security and monitoring. VMware no doubt comes with its own huge customer base that has already sampled a lot of its server virtualization wares and will be more inclined to stay true to its vSphere roots as it shifts its focus to the desktop. But Cisco is shrewd to remain "open" when it comes to its partner ecosystem and not ignore that section of its clientele already familiar with and impressed by Citrix's applications delivery capabilities.