Cisco expands into desktop virtualisation

Cisco has launched a desktop virtualisation system along with two thin clients, in a new development for the networking company

Cisco announced on Monday it will release desktop virtualisation software and two thin client hardware devices.

Desktop virtualisation allows the user's desktop to be streamed from a remote server, reducing the need for dedicated computing hardware on site. Cisco's Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) system uses Citrix's XenDesktop 5 and VMware's View 4.5 for desktop virtualisation, supports storage systems from EMC and NetApp, and integrates these with Cisco's Collaboration, Data Center Virtualization and Borderless Networks products.

"Cisco VXI helps businesses take advantage of current investments by unifying datacentre, collaboration and networking architectures into one system," Cisco senior vice president for systems and architectures Manny Rivelo said in a statement.

Cisco have previously worked with VMware on server-side virtualisation, but the VXI system is based around desktop virtualisation, which is a new area for the company, a Cisco spokesman told ZDNet UK on Tuesday.

As part of its desktop-virtualisation push the company also launched two Cisco Virtualization Experience Client (VXC) thin clients that work alongside Cisco's Unified Communications systems to provide virtualised desktops that integrate with Cisco VoIP services. The two products are the Cisco VXC 2100 and the Cisco VXC 2200.

The Cisco VXC 2200 is a desktop tower that can be powered by a typical power supply or Power over Ethernet (PoE). It has four USB ports for mouse, keyboard and other peripheral connections and two video ports to support up to two monitors. The Cisco VXC 2100 fuses a thin client with the Cisco Unified IP phone 8900 or 9900 Series and otherwise has the same features as the VXC 2200, according to Cisco.

At the time of writing, UK pricing and availability were not available. In the US, the Cisco VXC 2100 and 2200 are available at between $500 (£312) and $700.

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