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Cisco, VMware Team On Simplified Desktop Virtualization

Starter packs based on Unified Computing System servers optimized to run on VMware View 4.5.

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Cisco Systems has teamed up with VMware to bring a packaged form of desktop virtualization to market based on Cisco's Unified Computing System (UCS) servers.

Cisco will offer UCS starter packs optimized to run VMware View 4.5. The UCS servers are heavily loaded with CPUs and memory, allowing "a lower cost per seat realized through greater hosted desktop density," said the company.

Among other things, UCS allows a distributed Cisco software switch, the Nexus 1000V, to take over from the software switch in each VMware ESX Server hypervisor. Previously, the hypervisor's software switch handled the communications and storage traffic as separate streams for each virtual machine on the host server. The need to address them as distinct network protocols was time consuming and lead to I/O backs on the virtual machine host.

The Nexus 1000V is a distributed virtual switch that can handle all the traffic flowing from all the virtual machines under ESX hypervisors in a given data center environment. The Nexus 1000V switch moves converged network and storage traffic off the virtual machine host and out into Cisco's network fabric, where it is subdivided into its distinct protocols and sent on to its destination. The converged traffic can be moved off the virtual machine host faster than individual hypervisor switches can move it on their own, freeing up more CPU cycles for application logic.

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