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Cisco-Citrix: A small first step, but where’s the virtual switch?

Any concerns that Cisco would not open up to virtualization partnerships beyond VMware have been quashed. Today Citrix and Cisco announced a deal linking XenDesktop with Cisco’s Unified Computing System. The problem is, this deal may not be offering the exact technology that networking folks actually need right now.

The Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution isn’t quite technically tantalizing, but it assures customers that Citrix virtual desktop will work on Cisco’s California servers, and it offers pre-configured deployment kits and integrated customer services, among other features. The companies claim the partnership was a result of user demand for confirmation that XenDesktop would work in UCS, a complex combination of servers, storage and networking on a unified fabric.

But the partnership might have been sexier if the two companies had announced that the Cisco Nexus 1000v – a virtual traffic switch that only works in VMotion – could be used in a Citrix environment. As network admins are called on to manage networking within heavily virtualized environments, what they really need is visibility and manageability of traffic between virtual servers within a physical server. Cisco’s Nexus 1000V enables routing of this traffic in a VMware environment, but many enterprises with Cisco networks are opting for alternative virtualization technology from Citrix and Microsoft.

For now, Citrix customers will be able to use the Open vSwitch but this technology is aimed more at the public cloud as opposed to the enterprise data center.

Hopefully this initial Cisco-Citrix partnership announcement will only be the first of many in an ongoing relationship.

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