Cisco, Citrix Offer Combined Desktop Virtualization Solution

Cisco and Citrix have partnered on a prepackaged solution that pairs networking and desktop-virtualization technology into a holistic system.

Cisco and Citrix unveiled a prepackaged solution that combines the former's networking technology with the latter's desktop virtualization software, in theory creating a cost-effective way for businesses to deploy high-definition virtual desktops and applications.

With businesses trending towards a decentralized IT model, and with employees and their varied devices spread over a wide geographical area, virtualization has increasingly been seen by many IT administrators as a vital tool for managing systems and distributing applications.

In a Sept. 7 press conference, both companies angled the combination of Cisco UCS (Unified Computing System) with Citrix XenDesktop technologies as a way for businesses to accelerate and simplify their virtualization adoption. For end-users, the universal Citrix Receiver software client allows access to corporate desktops and applications from not only PCs, but also smartphones and tablets. For IT administrators, the solution's tools allow for controlling, installing, and updating devices across a business from one central location.

"By combining our innovations in unified computing with industry-leading desktop virtualization, from Citrix, we are delivering an integrated solution that drives down the cost and complexity of virtual desktop environments, while improving security and operational control," Prem Jain, senior vice president of Cisco's Server, Access and Virtualization Technology Group, wrote in a Sept. 8 statement.

The solution leverages Cisco's UCS to lower data-center infrastructure costs per user, through a combination of higher user density per system and tight integration of network computing and virtualization. Citrix's XenDesktop technology can be used to customize users' systems for virtual applications that fit specific security and performance needs; a series of customized kits for XenDesktop user scenarios could accelerate deployment times. Overall, the merging of technologies is meant to increase security and enterprise-wide virtualization support, while reducing the overall price tag for such services.

Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution with Citrix XenDesktop is available through joint channel partners. Both Cisco and Citrix are offering coordinated support, in addition to hardware and software.

Citrix recently announced the acquisition of virtualization-management software maker VMLogix, which will add life-cycle management capabilities to Citrix's OpenCloud platform. The acquisition will also give Citrix a self-service interface for XenServer, a key part of that OpenCloud platform. The company is also busy integrating OpenStack, its open-source orchestration and management technology being developed in conjunction with Rackspace, Dell, NASA and other partners.

Cisco also has a long tradition of embracing virtualization, partly in an attempt to head off similar initiatives from the likes of HP ProCurve and Juniper.