Q and A with Cisco and Citrix: Driving Adoption of Desktop Virtualization

Cisco and Citrix Partnership: A Unified Vision to Enable Users to Work and Collaborate from Anywhere

In September 2010, Citrix and Cisco announced a combined desktop virtualization solution that makes it easier and more cost effective for businesses to deploy virtual desktops and applications to all users across the enterprise. Cisco has now extended its support of desktop virtualization deployments with the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure. We caught up with Phil Sherburne, vice president of Enterprise Architecture and Systems at Cisco and Sumit Dhawan, vice president of Citrix (see his related blog post) to discuss the strong partnership between the two companies and how  Citrix and Cisco are helping to drive enterprise-wide desktop virtualization initiatives.

In what ways do Cisco and Citrix partner and why did the two companies decide to form this relationship?

Customers of all sizes are moving to desktop virtualization enterprise wide in order to capitalize on the business benefits of virtual computing. They are increasingly asking for simpler, more scalable solutions that integrate software, hardware and support. Citrix and Cisco are working together to address these needs by delivering a combined desktop virtualization solution that will make it easier and more cost effective for businesses to deploy high-definition virtual desktops and applications to all users across the enterprise.

Through Citrix Receiver™, Citrix will also support the exciting new devices from Cisco including new zero clients and the Cius business tablet. This allows organizations to deliver secure Windows desktops and communication and collaboration applications to a broad range of devices, giving users choice in where and how they work.

What are the key drivers in the market place that prompted this relationship?

The workforce is becoming increasingly mobile and distributed, and organizations are being asked to address users’ demands for more flexible computing. At the same time, IT needs to lower the cost of desktop computing, increase security, implement initiatives like disaster recovery and address the challenges of a more distributed employee base.

Centralized, virtualized desktop computing addresses these challenges, providing organizations with a more secure, flexible way to deliver Windows desktops to business users in any location, using any device, supporting new virtual workstyles.

What is unique about the partnership that addresses a customer need not already served?

Some of our largest customers have been asking us to work together more closely to help them adopt desktop virtualization enterprise wide. Our respective technologies are incredibly aligned and will help our customers achieve their objective to transform desktop computing.  We are combining world-class technology with Cisco UCS, Cisco UC, Citrix XenDesktop® and Citrix Receiver to deliver the most cost effective and easily managed data center infrastructure; the best performance across networks – there are no two companies that have a better understanding of delivering applications across networks; and a simple and intuitive end user experience for all users.

How do combined solutions like Cisco VXI and Citrix XenDesktop help organizations solve business challenges such as increasing agility and supporting a more distributed and mobile workforce?

Enterprises are seeing the benefits of delivering desktops and applications as a service. These organizations feel that because they’ve centralized desktops, applications and data in the datacenter, they have more control, increased security, and have reduced the cost of administration and provided their users the flexibility they need to work from any location on any device. This enables them to become more agile, making it easier to expand the business, open a branch, add a new employee or contractor, deliver better patient care, or integrate an acquisition.

As desktop virtualization hits mainstream, our partnership with Cisco, which can bring together the full capabilities of the data center with UCS Servers, networks for both LAN and WAN and now communication and collaboration applications with new endpoint devices, VXC 2100 and 2200, and the Cius tablet, allows customers to realize the full potential of virtual computing. Furthermore, when we combine Cisco VXI with XenDesktop and Citrix Receiver, we can deliver high performance, multi-media workspace experiences with enterprise scale and the resiliency necessary for enterprise class performance.

How will new devices like the Cius and VXC 2100 and 2200 that are integrated with Citrix Receiver change the way IT is delivered to users?

Citrix Receiver supports a broad range of PCs, Macs, smartphones and tablets, supporting virtual workstyles and allowing users choice in the device they use and where they work. Citrix Receiver support for Cisco Cius extends the ability to securely deliver desktops and communication and collaboration applications as a service to these exciting new devices.

Cisco just announced two new zero clients. What is unique about these devices that make them an ideal part of desktop virtualization implementations?

The new Cisco Virtualization Experience Client endpoint devices deliver the full desktop experience. The devices support 2 monitors, a keyboard and mouse and contain audio microphones and speakers. Both devices utilize Power over Ethernet (POE), an industry first.

Cisco Virtualization Experience Client 2110 is integrated as part of the Cisco 8900 and 9900 IP phones with integrated video, requiring only a single Ethernet port for both the phone and zero client.  It is available in versions that support Citrix HDX and PCoIP from VMware.

Cisco Virtualization Experience Client 2210 is a small footprint stand-alone device that can be used with any Cisco IP phones. It is also available in versions that support PCoIP and ICA.

What is unique about the Cisco Cius that makes it an ideal part of desktop virtualization implementations?

Cisco Cius is the industry’s first business tablet and truly delivers the full desktop experience, with connections to a monitor, mouse and keyboard. Many tablet devices provide a good viewing experience, but the Cisco Cius enables productivity by making it easy to use full desktop functionality.