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Citrix And Cisco Snuggle Up For Virtual Desktop Push

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Cisco and Citrix are looking to make it easier to deploy large-scale desktop virtualisation projects

Bosom buddies Citrix and Cisco have expanded their existing partnership to develop new solutions they claim will ease the deployment of large-scale desktop virtualisation projects.

The new strategic partnership between the two companies is apparently geared towards helping enterprises “accelerate mainstream adoption of desktop virtualisation.”

The partnership builds on an existing relationship between the two companies that began in September last year. Back then, they revealed that Citrix XenDesktop virtualisation software and Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) networking had been combined as a prepackaged offering.

Expanded Partnership

So what specifically is on offer with this new alliance, bearing in mind Cisco’s expertise is mostly network-based, and Citrix is predominately server and desktop virtualisation focused, with a little bit of networking thrown in for good measure?

Both are claiming the new partnership will allow them to “simplify the deployment of high-definition virtual desktops and applications and improve end-user experiences over a highly secure Citrix HDX-enabled Cisco network.” This, they hope, will encourage more businesses to try the technology.

And according to Cisco and Citrix, as the industry “transitions from the PC era to the cloud”, staff need to be able to access media-rich applications whilst out and about, via any device. This, they say, means that enterprises are increasingly turning to desktop virtualisation, which allows businesses to deliver a desktop and application suite as a centralised service.

It seems that Cisco’s networking products will be “enhanced” with full support for Citrix HDX Technology. The first product set for release under the new alliance will be an update of Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) optimised for Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix HDX. It is expected to arrive in the fourth quarter.

Another benefit from the partnership is that both Cisco and Citrix will collaborate to deliver an optimised user experience for virtual desktops and applications for Cisco endpoint devices. This includes tweaking Cisco’s media, voice, video and collaboration devices (including the Cisco Cius tablet) to integrate fully with the virtual desktop and application capabilities of Citrix XenDesktop, and the Citrix Receiver universal software client.

And whilst the partnership is mostly focused on desktop virtualisation specifically, the two tech giants said they would also work together to build on their existing data centre and cloud solutions, again in an effort to increase enterprise take-up.

Marketing Push

Both Cisco and Citrix will also invest in joint go-to-market activities to tout their wares to potential customers.

“Cisco is collaborating with Citrix on a broad range of virtualisation technologies,” explained Phil Sherburne, vice president of enterprise systems and architectures at Cisco. “Our first deliverables will be focused on giving end users a rich multimedia experience of voice, video and data on their virtual desktops and apps over the Cisco Intelligent Network, so that from any device from wherever they are, IT managers can deliver the same superior experience at a lower cost.”

Citrix, meanwhile, made clear the reasons for the expanded partnership between the two companies.

“Citrix and Cisco have completed the first year of a very successful collaboration in desktop virtualisation that has helped to expand the market and accelerate the success of customers worldwide,” said Bob Schultz, group vice president and general manager, enterprise desktops and apps group at Citrix.

“This expanded agreement will lay the groundwork to deliver a wide range of market-leading, integrated solutions that allow customers to embrace consumerisation and deliver IT services with unparalleled efficiency and impact,” he concluded.

One potential fly in the ointment of this beautiful relationship could be posed by Cisco’s decision to launch its own desktop virtualisation system last November, along with new products including ‘zero-client’ clients and video conferencing endpoints.

The new system, called Cisco Virtualisation Experience Infrastructure (VXI), works with both Cisco systems and third-party devices.