Workers who use virtualized desktops often have to contend with an experience that’s nowhere near as rich as the typical enterprise unified communications system, but Cisco is aiming to change that. Cisco is bringing its Jabber unified communications platform to virtual desktops with a new software product called the Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME).
Jabber’s HD voice, video, and instant messaging runs quite smoothly with superior video quality on all devices. VXME is an additional piece of software added to Jabber that enables it to run in virtualized environments supported by top virtualization firms such as VMware.
As employees demand increased flexibility in how they work, more and more companies are turning to desktop virtualization. According to a 2012 Cisco IBSG Horizons Study, 68% of U.S. respondents agreed that most knowledge-worker roles within their company are suitable for desktop virtualization; over half of these U.S. respondents have already implemented – or are in the process of implementing – a desktop virtualization strategy. Respondents indicated that the top three drivers of desktop virtualization for their organizations are data protection, employee mobility, and business agility.
“The definition of an enterprise workspace is changing as users demand increasing flexibility in where and how they work. With Cisco Jabber now available for virtual environments, we are enabling our customers to deliver a complete ‘anywhere’ desktop to their employees without sacrificing the exceptional enterprise capabilities they have come to expect,” Phil Sherburne, vice president of engineering in Cisco’s Enterprise Smart Solutions unit, said during a press event in San Francisco on Wednesday.
The initial roll out of Cisco Jabber for virtual environments will initially be made available for Cisco’s own thin client system, which ties together all of the elements of a full-blown unified communications station. The thin client itself carries the Cisco brand and can run either the Citrix or VMWare virtual desktop solutions. Logitech supplies the webcam, Bluetooth mouse, and a special keyboard with designated keys for various call functions like answering a call and switching it to speaker, as well as a built-in LCD caller ID display.
In thin client installations, the VXME software sits locally in the thin client system while Windows or another desktop operating system runs on a server that can support multiple end users and thus save an organization money on hardware and servicing costs, while offering a more easily manageable security framework.
Another plus for the new virtualized Jabber is that it can be folded into an enterprise’s existing network infrastructure without needing to overhaul the network as the new product was designed to work within existing Cisco Medianet-managed network environments.
The Jabber voice, HD video, telepresence, and instant messaging package is currently used by about 1.4 million enterprise users, according to Cisco. Now making those tools the centerpiece of its efforts to tailor its unified communications and collaboration product lines. Meanwhile, virtual desktops, applications and collaboration services are centrally hosted on the Cisco Unified Data Center and delivered to a broad array of devices resulting in a seamless user experience. It’s just like using a traditional local desktop.
Cisco VXI becomes the first desktop virtualization solution to integrate network-based Quality of Service. The Cisco VXME software makes the network aware of voice and video traffic and automatically prioritizes it, reducing jitter and delays. The result? IT managers are now able to easily deliver a high-quality collaboration experience to their virtual desktop user communities.