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A deeper dive into Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure finds Cisco WAAS

October 12, 2011 - 2 Comments

I started to link  to my fellow Cisco Bloggers for their posts on Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) but already there are too many for which to build the links.  I’m a WAAS guy so I thought I would draw you attention to  the other press release that mentions Cisco WAAS.

The next layer as we peel the old onion is that Cisco WAAS is now optimized for Citrix XenDesktop.  More explicitly, the Cisco WAAS engineering team has been collaborating with engineers from Citrix so that Cisco WAAS can understand the Citrix HDX and ICA protocols well enough to be able to optimize the traffic without Citrix administrators having to change any compression or encryption settings. And because it’s a a collaboration born of the strategic agreement between Cisco and Citrix, it will be jointly validated, marked as Citrix Ready prior to general availability, and will be supported by both vendors, with clean hand off mechanisms defined between both companies’ support teams.

Why is this is good for customers?

There are ten million Cisco Integrated Services Routers deployed around the world. I don’t have the proportions (and maybe one of my new friends in Cisco Borderless Networks will comment) but I believe the majority of them can accommodate a dedicated WAAS module or Cisco WAAS on SRE. This means that thousands of customers may already have the Cisco ISR infrastructure in place to add Citrix-validated Cisco WAAS optimized for Citrix XenDesktop.  Do you want to talk about simple?  If you put Citrix XenDesktop on VMware vSphere, then, you can switch traffic with Cisco Nexus 1000V and then elastically deploy as many head end WAAS appliances as you need, as you instantiate virtual desktops, with Cisco Virtual WAAS.

Why is this important?

  1. We think that around the world, there remain too many bandwidth-constrained branches.  And, if more bandwidth is available, it can be very expensive.  So, the desktop virtualization ROI calculations might hang up against bandwidth limitations.  WAN optimization helps bring the ROI calculations back into line.
  2. With Citrix ICA being the world’s dominant application virtualization protocol that global organizations use to serve mission-critical applications, Cisco WAAS now optimized for Citrix XenDesktop (and XenApp) will allow organizations to accelerate their deployments of application and desktop virtualization to more users in more branch locations.

Just a reminder:  Riverbed’s ICA optimization, along with nearly every other of Riverbed’s application-specific protocol optimizers, is reverse-engineered and therefore supported only by Riverbed and not the protocol author/vendor.  If something goes wrong, there’s a risk of finger-pointing.

In a future blog entry, I’ll explain why the companies are working together.  Plenty of good reasons…

If you are an impatient techie, then read the white paper.

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  1. In what version will this come? Jan