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Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure Smart Solution 2.6 with Citrix XenDesktop 5.6

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The Cisco® VXI Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (Cisco VXI™) provides an optimized end-to-end infrastructure for desktop virtualization deployments. This system architecture consists of three fundamental building blocks: Cisco Virtualized Data Center, Virtualization-Aware Network, and Virtualized Collaborative Workspace.

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Compatible with

  • XenDesktop 7.1


  • Citrix Virtual Desktops (XenDesktop)

Product Details

The Cisco® VXI Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (Cisco VXI™) provides an optimized end-to-end infrastructure for desktop virtualization deployments. This system architecture consists of three fundamental building blocks: Cisco Virtualized Data Center, Virtualization-Aware Network, and Virtualized Collaborative Workspace (Figure 1). 

The Cisco Virtualized Data Center is based on the Cisco Unified Data Center architecture, which creates data centers that are efficient, agile, and transformative. Ciscos Virtualized Data Center provides the computing, switching, storage, and virtualization capabilities needed to support a hosted virtual desktop solution from Citrix. 

The Cisco Virtualization-Aware Network is based on the Cisco Borderless Networks architecture, which reduces operation complexity and provides the services needed to connect anyone, anywhere, on any device. The Cisco Virtualization-Aware Network connects data centers, enterprise campuses, branch offices, and teleworkers to help ensure that traffic flowing between end users and their hosted desktops is transported securely, reliably, and efficiently. To achieve these goals, the network employs bandwidth optimization, load balancing, quality of service (QoS), security, and other technologies from Ciscos industry-leading portfolio.

The Cisco Virtualized Collaborative Workspace builds on the Cisco Collaboration architecture, extending the reach of the virtual desktop to a wide range of end points while supporting critical collaboration capabilities hosted in the data center. End points can be zero clients, thin clients, or thick clients, and can include USB-based print and storage capabilities. The Cisco Virtualized Collaborative Workspace includes unique capabilities for integrating Cisco Unified Communications endpoints with hosted virtual desktops, including the control of Cisco IP Phones from virtual desktops.

Cisco VXI also supports management tools for both Cisco and ecosystem partner products, as well as a rich services portfolio that helps enterprises make the most of their virtualization investments.

  • In an enterprise network, performance and capacity planning for desktop virtualization (DV) services has three fundamental dimensions:
  • Capacity planning for computing and storage needs
  • Capacity planning for network, network services, applications and other infrastructure necessary to support desktop virtualization
  • WAN capacity planning for delivery of service to remote sites  


The Cisco VXI validated design delivers the following critical advantages:

Virtual Workspace: Cisco VXI supports a comprehensive ecosystem of endpoints that include unified communications and multimedia capabilities. Cisco Virtualization Experience Clients describes Ciscos endpoint offerings, which include the Cisco Virtualization Experience Client (Cisco VXC) 2200 platform zero clients, the Cisco VXC 4000 Series unified communications software appliance, and the Cisco VXC 6215 unified communications-enabled thin client. Endpoints supported by Cisco VXI include industry-leading capabilities such as Power over Ethernet (PoE), hardware and software form factors, mobility support, and native unified communication media engines.

Integration with Cisco Unified Communications: Users can connect to Hosted Virtual Desktops to make and receive voice or video calls from Cisco Jabber, Cisco Unified Personal Communicator (CUPC), or Cisco Unified Communications Integration for Microsoft Lync (CUCILync) which controls the users desk phone. The phones control plane is integrated into the users desktop. The media plane remains outside the virtual desktop display protocol, which enables the network to perform quality-of-service (QoS) functions such as packet prioritization, call admission control, and path optimization.

Simplified Configuration: The Cisco Unified Computing System™ (Cisco UCS®) integrates the computing, virtualization, hypervisor, fabric interconnect, and storage functions in the Cisco Virtualized Data Center. Cisco UCS Manager simplifies configuration and improves manageability for all aspects of the Cisco UCS domain. The Cisco Nexus® 1000V Series Switches provide switching, traffic isolation, and policy-insertion capabilities for virtualized environments, extending full networking capabilities to the virtual machine level.

Network Optimization: Cisco Wide Area Application Services (Cisco WAAS) technologies can improve application response times by optimizing bandwidth consumption. For instance, remote print operations can be launched from a users virtual desktop within the data center to a network printer at a remote branch office. Cisco WAAS can automatically recognize and compress the printing traffic, and spool the resulting print file at the remote location. This capability provides a superior user experience while improving WAN efficiency.

Security: Network connectivity can be controlled at the access layer, using industry-standard IEEE802.1x for port-level authentication. Cisco access switches can thus enforce a security policy at the physical device level and user level by interacting with the credentials-based access control integrated with directory services such as Microsoft Active Directory. Teleworker users, such as mobile users using laptop computers, as well as fixed users, such as home-based teleworkers, can use Ciscos award-wining VPN technology to connect to the enterprise network across the Internet. The users virtual desktop data is fully protected as it traverses the Internet in a VPN tunnel, encrypted. This technology can also be deployed for traffic traversing a managed WAN.

End to End Integration and Validation: Cisco VXI is an end-to-end system, integrating network and collaboration functions into the virtual desktop experience. The system has been designed and tested as an integrated whole, and mitigates the system integration investment typically required when deploying desktop virtualization and related technologies. The design guidelines and best practices provided in this document reduce the risks associated with desktop virtualization deployments.