Today I invited Bhumik Patel , Alliance Engagement Architect at Citrix, to write about some aspects of the collaboration between Cisco and Citrix to provide the best workspace experience to our customers. Bhumik is responsible for delivering technical best practices and joint solutions on Citrix XenDesktop and Cisco VXI desktop virtualization solutions for customers and partners. He has been with Citrix since 2007 and is based out of Santa Clara; CA. Prior to this role, Bhumik was part of Citrix’s WW Consulting group leading consulting projects for several enterprise Citrix customers around the globe and has led initiatives for developing best practices while integrating Citrix and partner solutions.
“As a Citrix Architect implementing Desktop Virtualization solutions with Cisco VXI and Citrix XenDesktop in the field, I would like to share some of the successful business use cases that a joint solution addresses primarily from a Citrix viewpoint. Since Cisco VXI is a unique, end-to-end architectural solution integrating virtualized data center, virtualization-aware networks and virtualized collaborative workspaces for optimally delivering virtual desktops with XenDesktop, it is really built to drive multiple I.T initiatives for you at once, all leading towards a flexible, next-generation workspace. Let’s look at the VXI solution at a very high level and then a few practical use cases:
First and foremost benefit is with Cisco UCS providing an ideal platform for hosting Citrix XenDesktop delivering virtual desktops for organizations. With the extended memory technology providing great VM density, and the service profiles allowing customers to dynamically build and scale out their infrastructure hosting XenDesktop. UCS also provides a great end user experience even for some very large VM footprints due to the unified fabric supporting very high I/O bandwidth. The solution with UCS and XenDesktop is completely validated and tested for providing the required density numbers. I had the opportunity to contribute to the initial validations with Cisco and you can read more on it here. So the guess work is eliminated while implementing your VDI solution, which could be a huge benefit in itself.
Among the virtualized datacenter solutions with VXI, another important use case is for providing secure segmentation of the virtual desktops to support a multi-tenant environment with Cisco Nexus 1000v and Virtual Security Gateway (VSG). This supports an overall Desktop-as-a-Service model for service providers. This picture gives you an overview of the horizontal segmentation that can be achieved:
Similarly the virtualization-aware networking solutions provides a range of business use cases by optimally delivering virtual desktop traffic over long distance WAN networks, for example to offshore developers and branch workers. This is achieved by Cisco WAAS inherently optimizing Citrix HDX protocol and is certified to be Citrix Ready.
Another use case that VXI supports with XenDesktop is of a Mobility and BYOD initiatives for customers. With XenDesktop, it is inherent to achieve a great degree of mobility to access desktops and applications with any device and location using Citrix Receiver. And in addition with Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) a secure access to the data center resources within an enterprise network. This can provide benefits such as device profiling, role based access and guest access management for accessing virtual desktops, applications and other resources.
And last but not least, VXI collaboration solutions enable integrating rich media, voice, and video collaboration within a virtual desktop which was previously not possible as the performance degraded making such applications unusable. This is made possible as the Cisco VXC devices are leveraging Citrix’s Virtual Channel SDK to ensure media traffic is flowing point to point when delivered within virtual desktops. This avoids hairpinnig of bandwidth heavy media traffic back to the data center and significantly improves user performance while making video and audio calls. This hugely supports call center initiatives either with thin clients VXC 6215 or with a software appliance VXC 4000 which supports offloading of audio calls (video in future) on repurposed PCs increasing the lifespan of existing assets. See a demo of this solution in action here. For Cisco Unified Communications (UC) customers, this is really the best way to deliver UC within XenDesktop.
In addition, Cisco VXC zero clients (VXC 2112 and 2212) seamlessly integrates to Cisco IP Phones and enables delivering of XenDesktop to end users with traditional phones. In this case, the media offloading is conducted on the desk phone which is controlled by the Cisco UC software.
Now that we have looked at multiple business use cases that your organization can leverage using a VXI and XenDesktop solution, I am sure there are many other interesting scenarios that are already being in use out there. If you are planning to be at Cisco Live, we can discuss those at the Citrix booth #734 or please leave a comment here. ”