Uhh…. what!?

Is probably the first reaction that most people will have when they first read about the newly formed partnership between Citrix and Cisco collaborating to combine all the benefits of Citrix XenDesktop, with all the power of the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Well at least that was my instinctive reaction when I first heard the idea proposed internally followed by um, what does this mean for the Citrix and Microsoft relationship?

The Citrix-Microsoft relationship, now what?

Well having been through this thought process a few times, and given that there will be a lot more detail published on the solution specifics. Let me instead add some color on why, and also explain why I am so excited to be working strategically with Cisco.

I’ll begin with an observation. When I joined Citrix just over a year ago, a key industry question was who is the leader in desktop virtualization? To answer that, the best way would be to simply put our heads down and get on with it, focus on our customers and innovate in our product portfolio. Another key element was how we would extend the Microsoft solution set as part of our desktop virtualization offerings. A year later, I am pleased to be able to say that we have achieved measureable success, substantially evolved our Microsoft partnership and are clearly the leader in desktop virtualization. As a result our customers are unequivocally telling their technology providers who they should be working with to help them in their journey as they implement desktop virtualization at scale. This puts a lot of pressure on Citrix to help them be successful. So partnering with others both large and small is a critical component of our strategy to take desktop virtualization mainstream.

Partnering is a natural act for Citrix, as we have demonstrated for over 20 years with Microsoft. It was natural to partner with the leader in OS and Apps, even when it seemed that we overlapped. As we continue to work with Microsoft, our combined reach and unique relationship will further enable solutions for our mutual customers.

Now it also makes sense to partner with the leader in Networking to bring it all together for desktop and application virtualization. Our goal is to make desktop virtualization easier and more affordable for customers to adopt, making it simpler to manage a mix of both physical and virtual desktops.

What did Cisco and Citrix do to deliver this combined solution? Any special product integration?

To deliver this, Citrix and Cisco collaborated using Cisco UCS and creating pre-configured system profiles based on Citrix’ Hosted Shared and Hosted VDI FlexCast Delivery Technology, together with, extensive scalability and performance testing and a joint reference architecture. Cisco and Citrix will be offering integrated support services for customers of this solution. It was refreshing to work with a partner who understands VDI alone is not desktop virtualization.

By picking the new joint Cisco-Citrix desktop virtualization solution, customers not only get the benefits of the leading desktop virtualization solution in the market but also get the benefits of the Citrix-Microsoft collaboration, partnership and technology integration.

The ultimate winner is the customer

Desktop virtualization has the potential to reach 100s of millions of corporate desktops. Cisco has done a fantastic job of providing real meaningful differentiation with this offering. Partnerships like this make desktop virtualization easier to deploy, support and scale. They increase customer confidence, reduce risk and expand choice. When customers win… we all win.