Cisco Moves Into Virtual Desktops Based On UCS


Cisco can now supply its Unified Computer System with software to run “anything, anywhere, on any device”

Cisco has announced it will start to offer two desktop virtualisation solutions, and enable any device to run any operating system in the Cloud.

The company will offer competing software packages – XenDesktop from Citrix, and VMware View 5 – which will let smartphones and tablets work with full-feature operating systems, such as Windows.

Computers far away

When using desktop virtualisation, any device can connect over a network to a server running the operating system and applications requested. Cisco will resell both XenDesktop and VMware View 5 with its popular Unified Computing System (UCS) servers, enabling enterprise clients to take advantage of this possibility.


XenDesktop is a comprehensive desktop virtualisation solution, and Citrix claims it can deliver Windows applications and Windows desktops as an on-demand service to over 1.5 billion devices, including tablets, smartphones, and mobile computers.

“Building on our successful strategic alliance with Citrix, the combined solution will dramatically simplify the deployment of industry leading virtualised desktop environments that are both affordable and secure,” promised Phil Sherburne, vice president of Enterprise Systems and Architectures for Cisco.

Similarly, VMware View 5 provides consistent access to the desktop environment across locations and devices. It prides itself on speed, “with a streamlined operational model that enables the deployment of virtual desktops to users in minutes”.

“This resell agreement with Cisco and new channel enablement resources can help our partners and customers accelerate their virtualisation and cloud journey, and deliver highly secure, centrally managed virtual desktops with advanced multimedia capabilities,” commented Vittorio Viarengo, vice president of End-User Computing at VMware.

The cost of cloud

There is one drawback to desktop virtualisation: higher software costs. Cashing in on the trend, Microsoft has used its enterprise licensing agreements to make it more expensive to use desktop virtualisation than to run its applications directly on PCs. And Microsoft still produces software of choice when it comes to business computers.

However, even when taking into the account higher software costs, virtualisation can still save money when compared with traditional office PCs, by reducing costs in other areas.

Cisco says that when enterprises buy a UCS server equipped with desktop virtualisation software, they will save money in the long run. A lower cost per seat is achieved through greater hosted desktop density, fewer components to purchase and manage, and reduced storage costs. The cost of keeping virtual desktops secure is also lower, and data security itself is easier to manage.

VMware View 5 will be available directly from Cisco by the end of the first quarter of 2012. XenDesktop will join it on the UCS platform by the end of second quarter of 2012.

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