Cisco teams with VMware, Citrix to counter Amazon's new cloud-based desktop

The trio of Cisco, VMware and Citrix are teaming up to provide a new cloud-based desktop as a service (DaaS) offering aimed mostly at service providers. The move comes just weeks after Amazon Web Services announced its foray into the DaaS market, and could signal a wave of new DaaS offerings in the market early next year.

The service is based in Cisco's Unified Compute System (UCS) hardware and users can choose virtual desktop software from Citrix or Desktone - which was recently acquired by VMware. This is not Cisco's first DaaS offering, but it is newly enhanced. It's beefed up with higher performing metrics, including the ability to pack more cloud-based desktops on a single UCS blade - now up to 252 - and it has added support for 3D rendering.

+Also on Network World: Amazon: Our virtual desktop will succeed where others have stumbled | Read Network World's Cisco Subnet  +

At AWS's annual customer conference re:Invent last month, company executives announced Workspaces, which is a custom-designed virtual desktop offering, marking the company's entrance into the DaaS market. A limited preview of the program is available now.

The increased attention on virtual desktops comes as their adoption in the enterprise market has thus far been lackluster. Although the technology is not new, these advancements of having more dense and higher performing options could help accelerate the rate at which enterprise customers explore this platform.

Virtual desktops provide a range of benefits compared to a traditional desktop or laptop model. Because the virtual desktops are hosted in a cloud, end users can access their virtual desktops from anywhere, including across a range of devices.

Senior Writer Brandon Butler covers cloud computing for Network World and He can be reached at and found on Twitter at @BButlerNWW. Read his Cloud Chronicles here.  

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