Cisco Unveils Strategy to Optimize Virtualization, Collaboration

Cisco Systems has announced a set of solutions that address desktop virtualization and collaboration, enabling the same user experience for video in both physical and virtual desktop environments.

There are a lot of different trends emerging where desktop virtualization adding a lot of value to companies,” said Manny Rivelo, Ciscos senior vice president, Systems and Architectures. But especially with collaboration, the user experience is much different within virtualized environments.”

To address that disparity, Cisco has unveiled the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), an architecture that purports to more efficiently store data at the data center for quicker access to virtual desktops and mobile devices, helping enable a more “nonvirtualized” experience even when virtual technologies are utilized.

We are seeing more real-time and video-intensive collaboration in the enterprise,” said Barry OSullivan, senior vice president of Voice Technology at Cisco. Our view is video will be part of every communication in every company. Video is the new voice in the enterprise, and its a challenge for IT architects to keep pace.”

The architecture addresses in large part the video and mobility issues associated with virtualized environments, especially as more companies adopt virtual desktops as a cost-saving measure. In addition, Cisco VXI reduces the total cost of ownership of desktop virtualization solutions by increasing the number of virtual desktops that can be hosted on each server.

Among the Cisco technologies under the VXI umbrella, the company noted, are the Cius tablet; Quad platform; ACE load balancing and application delivery; wide-area application acceleration software; Adaptive Security appliances; the AnyConnect VPN client; Unified Computing System; Nexus and Catalyst families of data center switches; MDS multilayer SAN switches; and Integrated Services routers. 

Also as part of the architecture, Cisco introduced two zero-client devices designed to utilize desktop virtualization and have a rich-media collaboration experience. The Cisco VXC 2100 is a thin client that physically integrates with the Cisco Unified IP Phone 8900 or 9900 Series and supports Power-over-Ethernet. The VXC 2100 also includes connectivity for up to two monitors and four USB ports for connecting mice and keyboards.

The Cisco VXC 2200, meanwhile, is a standalone tower device that provides access to a virtual desktop and business applications running in a virtualized desktop environment. The VXC 2200 can be powered either via Power-over-Ethernet or an optional power supply, and is equipped with four USB ports and two video ports.

Both the VXC 2100 and VXC 2200 will support VMware View 4.5 and Citrix XenDesktop and are expected to be available in March 2011.

Ciscos Cius unified communications offering also will support VMware View as well as Citrix Receiver and Wyse Pocket Cloud virtualization software, the company said.

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