Cisco surprised a few people last Monday morning with two press releases announcing that it was to start reselling both Citrix XenDesktop and VMware View.
Unsurprisingly, the two press releases have more than a little bit in common:
“Cisco today announced that the company will resell <Vendor> <Product> as part of an integrated desktop virtualization solution that is based on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) … [The] Solution is one of the core module of Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) that delivers a complete virtual workspace by unifying virtual desktops, voice and video to enable an exceptionally flexible, secure work environment and uncompromised user experience.”
Considering the success of Cisco’s virtualization friendly UCS platform it should come as no surprise to hear that Cisco is intending to extend its data center virtualization footprint to include desktop virtualization as well. However as last week’s announcement of the Cisco Virtualization eXperience Infrastructure (VXI) shows Cisco does not expect a straight repeat of its server virtualization strategy to win the day. While Cisco’s plan to encourage mass adoption of desktop virtualization is based on the same Unified Computing System (UCS) that is behind Cisco’s current server virtualization strategy, it’s approach is distinctly different.
Instead of offering a tangible product platform like the Vblock, Cisco is basing its strategy on bringing together a combination of its own networking and compute technologies with third-party storage and desktop virtualization software then packaging the whole thing together as a reference architecture for server hosted virtual desktops. In a further deviation from its Vblock strategy, VXI is much more open in its implementation. Cisco has chosen to partner with both Citrix and VMware to provide the software components necessary to deliver virtual desktop environments. However Cisco still prefers to partner with VMware over Citrix for the core hypervisor and virtual infrastructure management services that underpin the provision of virtual desktops.