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 entered the server market in 2008 saying its UCS was an ideal server for running virtual machines because its Nexus 1000V allowed them to avoid I/O backups and move converged traffic out into the network fabric. Now Cisco and VMware are saying what's good for server consolidation in the data center is also good for deploying virtual desktops.

Cisco's UCS servers work with VMware View, the virtualization vendor's approach to desktop virtualization. VMware View 4.5 uses a virtual server to build and launch virtual desktops based on individual user settings and push the user presentation out to an end-user device.

The VMware/Cisco partnership has produced two Cisco validated designs for virtualized desktop environments. They're scheduled to become available in December, contained in the starter packs as a tested shortcut implementation. The starter packs and follow-up expansion packs are intended to allow a proof of concept project followed by an enterprise product that could support 10,000 or more virtual desktops, said Soni Jiandani, VP of the server, access, and virtualization technology group at Cisco.

"By combining our innovation in unified computing with VMware View desktop virtualization, we are helping our customers quickly benefit from the operational savings," he said in the announcement.

VMware's Chris Young, VP and general manager of end-user computing, said the approach would provide "high-performance virtual desktops" on a secure and scalable basis.

System integrators and channel partners, such as Dimension Data in Johannesburg, South Africa, and the data center virtualization practice of INX, are being trained in installing the Cisco validated designs and starter packs.

Cisco also partners with Citrix Systems, a VMware competitor, on desktop virtualization. On Sept. 8, the two announced that the Citrix XenDesktop end-user virtualization system would be available on Cisco's UCS. It includes Citrix Flexcast and HDX, its method on the virtualization server of assessing the nature of the end-user device and then delivering video or multimedia over the network in the way that works best with the device. VMware has its own end-user presentation accelerator as well.