Cisco Canada Blog

What Cisco WAAS Optimized For Citrix XenDesktop means for your business

February 21, 2012

As the leader of borderless network architecture for Cisco Canada’s partner organization I am excited to work with the ecosystem partners who can bring value to our products. Our announcement last week that we will resell Citrix XenDesktop® as part of an integrated desktop virtualization solution does just that to our next generation Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) platform.

If that sounds like a mouthful, it is.  But it just may be one of the most important announcements we’ve made this year with our WAAS platform, and I’ll tell you why.

This announcement builds on our strategic alliance with Citrix, allowing us to create and deliver scalable and secure end-to-end virtualization deployments for our partners and customers. More importantly, Cisco is the only vendor who has access to the Citrix code. This means we are not reverse-engineering a solution and forcing it to work with Citrix’s applications, like our competitors. Instead, Cisco WAAS was optimized for Citrix XenDesktop, resulting in greatly improved performance delivery over the network.

And just what is WAAS? Simply put, Cisco’s WAAS platform is a set of cost-effective Wide Area Network (WAN) optimization solutions that accelerate applications over the WAN, provide local hosting of branch-office IT services, optimize end-user experiences and reduce bandwidth and latency problems. Now back to why this announcement is so important.

Think of this as the difference between driving a car with one steering wheel, and trying to drive a car with two steering wheels, and two drivers, maneuvering through traffic.  In a traditional virtualization deployment, each driver – your WAAS platform and your virtualization application – is fighting for control. If a business deployed Citrix XenDesktop it would compete with other applications on their network. The end result was that the performance of Citrix, or of the other applications, would suffer. In order for one driver to take control of the car, the other had to acquiesce.

Now this is where the magnitude of this announcement truly hits home. Integrating Cisco WAAS with Citrix now allows the Virtual Desktop application and all other applications to work together. There is now one steering wheel, and that steering wheel is Cisco WAAS.

The result of this integration is an improvement to the end-user experience by up to 70 per cent while accessing applications, data, video and printing using virtual desktops.

At Cisco, we continue to help customers and partners optimize the delivery of virtual desktops and applications to anyone, anywhere and any device. With this announcement, we are excited to offer a solution that goes the extra distance to improve the virtual desktop infrastructure end-user experience, while allowing IT to centrally manage and monitor network performance.

Leave a comment


  1. Hi. I work for a company that has around 100 sites within USA.
    We use WAN (MPLS) and most sites are T1 and we use alot of Citrix.
    The problem is when I tried to use WAAS with Citrix compression it made it worse.
    I had to disable compression on WAAS and rely only on CITRIX compression or disable Citrix compression and enable WAAS compression.
    The problem is that on Citrix I can only disable compression globally and I have only few WAAS deployed, so my is that I definitely can’t disable compression on citrix.
    My question: is this what you guys are talking about something new and would work even if I have citrix compression/encryption enabled? do I need to upgrade my WAAS software?

    • Thanks for reaching out!

      Previously, WAAS did not support native Citrix ICA compression/encryption. However, as of WAAS Release 4.5.1, we now support native ICA compression/encryption (i.e. there is no requirement to modify any Citrix settings on either the server or client side).
      You can make an upgrade to Release 4.5.1 to take advantage of this new feature. It is not posted on CCO yet, but the upgrade is available on a per request basis. You can ask your Partner or Cisco account teams to look into getting the code.

  2. Hi Tracy,

    Sorry, I should have included my contact details in the last comment:
    P: 403-538-0105

    I do believe there is a tremendous opportunity that exists for Cisco’s SMB market of which I would like to expand on. Time permitting on your end, just send me an email indicating a date and time which works best for you to expand upon.

    Laura Armstrong

  3. Similiar to Citrix’s Kaviza (VDI-in-a-box) or XenApp / FlexCast delivery technology, is Cisco considering at any point offering a application / desktop delivery solution that would combine RemoteApp / Hosted RDS desktops and VDI, in any combination, to businesses? as part of remote application / desktop management and deployment, in particular, for SMBs who maintain their own hardware / application infrastructures?

    • traceymt

      Great question. We’re continually looking at how we can meet customer demand in all market segments and provide scalable products across our borderless networks portfolio. Stay tuned.

  4. Hi Tracy,

    Does the Cisco WAAS work with Microsoft’s Hyper-V? (VDI / RDS desktop / RemoteApp Deliveries).

    • traceymt

      Yes, WAAS supports RDP/ICA optimization and vWAAS will work with Hyper-V 3.0 as part of Nexus 1000v vPath.

  5. In addition to the Nemertes Pilot House Award & Cisco/Citrix VXI/VDI initiative, WAAS 2nd. generation WAVE appliances & integration in ISR routers (i.e. SRE, vWAAS 200/700, & WAAS Express), have received very positive research & analysis:

    -> NETWORKWORLD – Cisco WAAS Shows Pizzazz, November 22, 2011
    – WAVE-8541 is a “speed demon” / “the best performance we’ve seen”

    -> ESG – Next Generation Cisco WAAS, December, 2011
    – “Cisco’s next-generation WAAS offerings mark a significant step in Cisco’s
    presence in the WAN optimization space.”

    ->EMA Impact Brief, December 14, 2011
    – “Cisco Systems has been very successful with the integrated WAAS solution on the router…a major step forward for the WAAS product portfolio and an aggressive counterpoint to competitors.”

  6. This is very cool. This shows that our investment into Cisco WAAS technology is paying for itself. We are looking at Citrix solutions potentially for this exact thing. We did look at Riverbed but their cocky nature and arrogance turned us off. Glad to see Cisco is charging ahead with some innovation like this.

    • Thanks for your comments Shaun. I’m glad you agree that your investment in Cisco WAAS was well worth it! I speak with customers and partners every day, and many echo your sentiments. We’re proud to be well ahead of our competitors in this space and offer leading-edge offerings through our strategic alliances with companies like Citrix. This is why Cisco was awarded #1 overall for the 2011 Nemertes Pilot House Award for Application Delivery Optimization. We’ll continue to lead this charge with our partners to bring you the best products and solutions across Canada. Thank you again!