Cisco and VMware Team Up For Virtual Desktops

Cisco and VMware Team Up For Virtual Desktops

Cisco and VMware are joining forces to provide a virtual desktop solution with "channel initiatives" to help accelerate Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployments. The plan is based on Cisco's Unified Computing System and VMware View 4.5. Will the incentives attract more channel partners to the VDI discussion? Read on for the details...

The big question: Are businesses really ready to abandon traditional PC and desktop software configurations in favor of virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)? The answer so far is yes and no. Plenty of customers are interested in VDI as a way to:

  • centralize and manage desktop applications;
  • eliminate Patch Tuesday fire drills, which often requires VARs and IT managers to update individual PCs and servers; and
  • drive down the total cost of owning and managing individual computers.
Still, VDI is a market filled with dozens of startups and no clear standards. To that end, Cisco and VMware are pushing their brands -- and their R&D efforts -- into the VDI spotlight. Together, Cisco and VMware say their VDI solutions will deliver:
  • great user experience with simple physical and virtual management for deployments;
  • a consistent security policy;
  • a lower-cost per seat due to "greater hosted desktop density"; and
  • two new Cisco Validated Designs based on Cisco's UCS and VMware View 4.5. The designs seek to mitigate VDI migration risks (coming December 2010, with EMC and NetApp support)
So what are the key incentives for the channel? Cisco and VMware are providing "SET" which stands for "Solution Enablement Toolkit." Currently there aren't any details on what's inside that bag of tricks, but Cisco and VMware are also funding partner-led assessments and a 12-city road-shows for partner education. Also, watch for "seminars in a box" -- which Cisco and VMware hope will generate VDI customer leads for partners.

Admittedly, Cisco and VMware aren't the only VDI game in town. Together, Microsoft and Citrix have been talking up VDI. Red Hat hopes to disrupt the entire market with an open source approach to VDI. And dozens of upstart MSPs are launching hosted VDI solutions for  small business customers.

Sounds like a growing but confusing market ... which means The VAR Guy will be keeping a close eye on the situation.

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