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Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and Citrix Systems (NASDAQ:CTXS) said Wednesday that they will collaborate on desktop virtualization tools to ease deployments.

Desktop virtualization is a concept that looks like it’s finally getting its day in the sun. The Windows 7 upgrade cycle is prompting technology executives to look at desktop virtualization as a deployment option. The push to deliver enterprise applications to a bevy of devices—PCs, Macs, thin clients, smartphones and tablets—also drives interest in desktop virtualization.

Both VMware (NYSE:VMW) and Citrix have noted increasing interest in desktop virtualization. Citrix, however, is actually garnering revenue from the interest.

In a nutshell, Cisco will embed Citrix’s XenDesktop in its desktop virtualization offering, which is part of the company’s unified computing effort. The Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution will include Citrix’s XenDesktop, FlexCast and HDX technology. The Cisco-Citrix combination will be available from channel partners (Cisco blog, statement, Citrix blog). Simply put, Citrix will ride along as Cisco’s Unified Computing System architecture gains steam.

Here’s a look at the high-level Cisco-Citrix-NetApp architecture (the design guide has a lot more):

Citrix said in its blog post that Cisco has the heft—and knack for catching key IT trends—to take desktop virtualization quickly.

Among the key items from the Cisco-Citrix collaboration:

  • Cisco and Citrix will offer preconfigured service profiles for shared desktops. This move should speed up installation and configuration when the Xen Desktop is added to the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).
  • Starter kits will roll out the first 300 virtual desktops easily. Expansion kits can add more desktops.
  • Cisco pretested Citrix technology on its architecture as well as NetApp storage. NetApp is the validated storage platform.
  • Support teams from Cisco and Citrix will be cross trained on desktop virtualization.
  • The Cisco-Citrix offerings will be validated on Citrix XenServer and VMware vSphere. Microsoft’s Hyper-V virtualization platform will come later.

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Source: Cisco, Citrix Team to Push Desktop Virtualization