Rackspace hopes to make using virtual desktops easier by hosting Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, it announced on Monday.

Enterprises will be able to run virtual desktops for employees using Rackspace’s dedicated or public cloud services. Typically, enterprises host virtual desktops in their own data centers. 

Users will be able to run Citrix virtual desktop offerings from a private cloud at Rackspace, so that they can comply with security requirements. Customers can also sign up to use storage offerings from NetApp through a partnership Rackspace has with the company. 

Rackspace also plans to work with resellers that will be able to offer hosted virtual desktop services to their customers, rather than hosting such offerings themselves. 

Rackspace is offering a 30-day demonstration environment that companies can sign up for to get a feel for how it works. The environment comes loaded with common desktop applications and is combined with NetApp storage. 

For now Rackspace is only working with virtual desktop software from Citrix, but it could start hosting VMware and Microsoft products if customers demand them, a Rackspace spokeswoman said. 

Virtual desktops have struggled to take off, partly due to performance issues. But as networking and hardware speeds up, the idea is becoming more viable. Gartner expects 70 million virtual desktop users by 2014.

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