News Release

Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution Brings Unified Voice and Video to Virtual Environments

New Endpoints, WAN Optimization for Citrix XenDesktop, Security Enforcement and Service Offerings Provide Customers with a Complete Solution to Accelerate Virtual Workspace Deployments
Oct 12, 2011

SAN JOSE, Calif., October 12, 2011 – Cisco today unveiled the next phase of its Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) with a series of offerings and innovations that can deliver uncompromised desktop virtualization experiences. Utilizing its expertise in Unified Communications, Cisco announced endpoints that enable high-quality voice and video in virtual desktop environments – a development that could help redefine collaboration in the virtual workspace. Additionally, Cisco announced other significant advancements including:

  • a broad strategic alliance agreement announced today with Citrix. As the first deliverable of this collaboration, Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) will be optimized for Citrix XenDesktop, which will help customers reduce bandwidth necessary to deploy desktops virtually over wide area networks (WAN) – enabling better scalability and optimal end user collaboration experiences.
  • innovations and programs around security, data center infrastructure and end-to-end services that can help IT scale solutions faster and with confidence.

The announcement comes at a time when desktop virtualization is on the rise in the enterprise. The worldwide hosted virtual desktop (HVD) market is expected to reach 70 million units, or 15 percent of enterprise desktops and laptops by 2014.* To further accelerate this rapid market growth, customers need to ensure users receive a rich high-definition experience for voice and video, and an integrated systems approach that reduces the costs and complexity of deployment.

Cisco is addressing this head-on with VXI. Cisco® VXI is an open, validated virtual workspace solution that integrates products and technologies across Cisco's network-based architectures– from Collaboration to Borderless Networks to the Data Center as well as from partners– to help deliver a flexible, highly secure infrastructure with exceptional user experiences and unsurpassed business value.


Superior end-user experiences

o   Building on a portfolio of VXI-enabled devices that includes the Cisco VXC 2000 Seriesand Cisco Cius™ tablet, the VXC 6215 is a thin client that, with an optional firmware upgrade, provides unique voice and video-processing capabilities that help to provide uncompromised end-user experiences.

o   In many cases, customers have attempted to route voice and video calls back and forth through the data center, which can consume large volumes of bandwidth, create significant latency issues and lead to poor end user experiences.

o   Cisco, unlike other vendors, enables point-to-point connections to occur directly from one device to another in a virtual desktop environment, solving many of these problems. End users can see and hear each other with exceptional clarity, prompting workers to collaborate face-to-face on a more frequent basis, which can help increase productivity.  

o   The Linux-based platform supports VDI, voice and video services in conjunction with Citrix XenDesktop, and VMware View. The Cisco VXC 6215 is orderable in the fourth quarter of CY 2011 and is targeted for global availability in the first quarter of CY 2012.  


o   Cisco is announcing a software appliance, the Cisco VXC 4000.

o   The VXC 4000 helps repurpose a traditional PC into a media-capable, virtual desktop client. Consequently, in addition to being able to access corporate applications and data virtually, the VXC 4000 provides great access to real-time collaboration capabilities using local media processing on the PC.

o    This software appliance also enables information technology (IT) staff to maximize existing PC investments.

o    The appliance works in conjunction with Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View™ on either Windows XP or Windows 7 desktops. A voice-supported version is targeted for global availability during the fourth quarter of CY 2011.


  • Cisco WAAS Now Optimized for Citrix XenDesktop
    • Today, when virtual desktops are accessed from remote locations or on mobile devices users expect a high-definition experience that delivers a rich multimedia, collaboration, voice and video performance.  In addition, IT administrators want to deliver these virtual desktops and applications to branch and mobile users with the lowest possible bandwidth.
    • As a part of a strategic alliance agreement unveiled today, Cisco will deliver WAAS optimized for Citrix XenDesktop and HDX technology to further enhance the performance of virtual desktops and applications over the WAN.
    • Specific benefits include:

-          delivering virtual desktop and applications up to 70 percent faster to remote devices: Cisco WAAS enables customers to optimize their WAN to increase performance of Citrix XenDesktop when accessed from remote devices, including PCs, Macs, laptops, thin clients, smartphones and tablets. 

-          supporting up to twice as many virtual desktop users, while optimizing WAN usage: By optimizing the network for XenDesktop, twice the amount of virtual desktops can be accessed remotely, reducing bandwidth required per virtual desktop user by up to 60 percent, helping to reduce networking costs.

-          accelerating desktop virtualization deployments through simplified management:CiscoWAAS will be jointly tested, validated, supported and verified as a Citrix Ready™ solution at the time of availability, and will provide automated interoperability with Citrix HDX technology, including the Independent Computing Architecture (ICA) protocol. Cisco WAAS will also be validated to work seamlessly with Citrix XenDesktop encryption, compression and network management features.

  • This optimized Cisco WAAS solution for Citrix XenDesktop is targeted for global availability during fourth quarter of CY 2011.


IT simplification


  • Security Enforcement

o    The "bring your own device to work" phenomenon is driving more devices per user on the network, and that can increase security risks. IT professionals are challenged in scaling security for these devices in virtual environments.

o   With physical desktops, the Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) knows what type of devices are accessing the network, what information those devices can obtain, and where – whether, for example, they are inside a company firewall or at a public area.  Cisco is now leveraging ISE to support virtualized environments.

o   By extending ISE to virtual desktops, employees can use devices that cater to their individual needs while the IT staff can mitigate risks associated with accessing data on virtual desktops. This offering is globally available now.


  • Data Center Infrastructure

o   Another key challenge for IT managers is supporting a data center infrastructure that can host ever-increasing numbers of virtual desktops with simplicity, scalability, security and a low total cost of ownership.

o   Through recently announced innovations to the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS™) platform, Cisco is continuing to improve virtual desktop scalability and performance. These enhancements include doubling the fabric capacity, quadrupling bandwidth to the server, reducing latency by 40 percent and expanding the number of virtual desktops supported in a single UCS management domain by over 500 percent.

o   In the past year, hundreds of customers have rolled out Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View™ deployments based on the portfolio of Cisco Data Center solutions.


Deployment with Confidence


  • Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs)

o    Many IT managers are looking for innovative ways to  design their virtual workspace solutions and speed large-scale deployments.

o    Cisco is addressing that challenge by offering Cisco Validated Designs. CVDs provide a blueprint of how to design workspace solutions end-to-end and have been tested to work with vendor solutions.

o    The CVDs extend to Citrix XenDesktop 5.5, VMware View 5 and a broadsystem of ecosystem partners. Cisco CVDs are targeted for global availability during the fourth quarter of CY 2011.


  • End-to-End Services

o   Cisco and its partners are offering servicesdesigned to remove the hassle of dealing with multiple vendors if an issue arises, and deliver post-installation support that optimizes application performance for end users using desktop virtualization.

o   Cisco Allied Services for VXI offers customers a service contract where Cisco acts as a single point of contact for technical support across the entire VXI solution set, including Cisco and third-party partner products. The service provides access to Cisco cross-domain experts trained to troubleshoot and drive resolution with third-party products that are part of Cisco VDI and VXI Validated Designs.  The service is scheduled to be globally available during the fourth quarter of CY 2011.

o   The Cisco Optimization for VXI Service helps customers maximize the performance of applications running on their VXI infrastructure.  This service is available globally now.


William Lewkowski, CHCIO, executive vice president and chief information officer,
Metro Health Corporation

"It was very challenging to stay current with the constant changes and additional technologies coming in, especially the mobile devices. We needed to support a variety of form factors. That's why we chose the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) solution."

Brian Kachel, director, Global Network Services, Core IT, Quintiles

"Cisco VXI and Cisco WAAS for Citrix desktop virtualization has allowed us to meet our goal to centralize desktops, applications and storage to the data center, allowing branch offices to run with less infrastructure while maintaining dependable access to resources over the WAN without sacrificing end user performance."

Jake Hughes, chief technical architect for infrastructure, Seattle Children's Hospital

 "For the same reasons that Cisco Unified Computing System is the right thing for desktop virtualization, it is also the right thing for our server virtualization, our security infrastructure, and for management efficiency."

Garry Druitt, CIO of South West Alliance of Rural Health in Victoria, Australia

"A key objective of our Cisco Virtual Experience Infrastructure initiative is to reduce complexity, mitigate risk and increase the productivity of our clinicians by providing them with reliable and simple access to the voice and video integrated virtual desktop that has the health applications and collaboration tools critical to patient care.  Cisco's end-to-end, open and validated architectural approach and pre-testing with Citrix, EMC and VMware was an important factor in partnering with Cisco to bring the benefits of integrated and centralized collaboration services to clinicians to enhance medical care to over 2,000 patients across rural Victoria."

Sumit Dhawan, group vice president and general manager, Receiver and Gateways group at Citrix

"Enterprises are rapidly adopting desktop virtualization for mainstream use in order to enable a mobile workforce, and they are looking for their strategic partners like Citrix and Cisco to deliver end-to-end integrated solutions. Our new five-year strategic alliance agreement will allow our two companies to enable customers to scale their virtual desktop deployments with increased confidence and security, while also ensuring a high-quality desktop, voice and video experience for their users."

Christopher Young, vice president and general manager, End-User Computing, VMware

"VMware is pleased to continue our ongoing partnership with Cisco on VXI to help our mutual customers solve their traditional desktop challenges and enable a new way to work in the post-PC era. By bringing together the strengths of VXI with VMware View™, organizations can deliver a highly secure, scalable and mobile solution that addresses the broadest set of use cases – from a handful of virtual desktops to large-scale deployments for enterprises."

Tarkan Maner, President and CEO, Wyse Technology

"As the business desktop continues to morph to the Post PC era, Cisco's latest VXI innovations benefit enterprises who require uncompromised, scalable, secure voice and video capabilities in virtual environments. By partnering with Cisco, we deliver end-to-end, best of breed cloud client computing solutions that help deliver lower TCO, better security, and superior user experiences – everything the PC is not."

Manny Rivelo, senior vice president, Engineering Operations and Systems, Cisco

"With the innovations we are announcing today, Cisco is accelerating our customers' journey to desktop virtualization and the next-generation virtual workspace. We're giving customers an easy way to scale highly secure solutions, optimize bandwidth and enable more users to enjoy great video and voice-centric virtual experiences. Desktop computing is changing, and Cisco, along with our valued partners, is continuing to lead the way."


Technorati Tags: virtualization, desktop virtualization, Virtualization Experience Infrastructure, VXI, VDI, desktop virtualization infrastructure, video, voice, endpoints, thin clients, WAAS, WAN, wide area network, CVD, Cisco Validated Designs, Data Center, Collaboration, Borderless Networks, thin client, software appliance

Availability Disclaimer: Many of the products and features described herein remain in varying stages of development and will be offered on a when-and-if-available basis.  These products and features are subject to change at the sole discretion of Cisco, and Cisco will have no liability for delay in the delivery or failure to deliver any of the products or features set forth in this document.

*Source: Gartner, Inc., Forecast: Hosted Virtual Desktops, Worldwide, 2010-2014 (2010 Update), Ranjit Atwal, December. 2010

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