This blog post promises to avoid telling you about all the fantabulous (I know that’s not a word) growth expected in the number of hosted virtual desktops to be deployed by 2016. What I do want to share, is how Cisco is ramping up our investments in accelerating your path to virtual desktop success, and how we’re tapping into the fundamentals of our Unified Computing System (UCS) to deliver new VDI efficiencies; the same efficiencies that have made Cisco the 2nd most preferred x86 blade server vendor* worldwide, in just 4 years! So why are so many organizations moving away from their legacy compute solution, and choosing UCS for VDI workloads and more?
Differentiated capabilities that address VDI pain points: TCO and Manageability
It’s no secret to anyone that VDI is not simple to deploy. You essentially have to bring together multiple seemingly disparate solution elements (server, storage, virtualization, broker, network, security, etc.) and make them work in a cohesive manner, and then be certain that your implementation will scale from a small pilot of 50 users to hundreds, thousands, or more! Clearly with such complexity, the last thing you need is a complex compute infrastructure underneath it all. There are 3 key things at the heart of this, that speak to why UCS is better for VDI:
1.) Server-resident flash. Our “On-Board” Architecture for VDI intercepts the rapidly proliferating use of flash based storage solutions that offer expansive IOPS capacity and huge performance. UCS takes it a step further by offering an integrated solution leveraging our partner Fusion-io. We’ve additionally delivered reference architectures that extend the use cases and attractiveness of flash-based solutions with appliance approaches (that direct-connect the storage array to our fabric interconnect) as well as more traditional multi-tiered architectures. More on that in a moment…
2.) We’ve made it easier to provision and manage the hosts for your virtual desktop deployments.UCS Service Profile Templates enable rapid deployment from bare metal, creating a zero-touch, mistake-proof, stateless operations model. Now, when you add the On-Board, server-resident flash to the configuration, you extend the reach of this management model to include high-performance, economical storage, completely provisioned and managed as part of the blade configuration/profile! No SAN or associated expertise required! Perfect for floating, non-persistent desktops.
3.) Granular visibility across the virtualized infrastructure. With user desktops now running amidst other mission-critical workloads in the data center, there’s more reason than ever to ensure that you can impart QoS, security and manageability across the multitude of virtual machine traffic flows traversing the data center. Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) and Cisco Nexus 1000v provide the visibility and controls that make this possible, extending physical world policy and administration to virtual.
Businesses are embracing cloud based video services to achieve higher scale and universal reach. Today’s work environment is dynamic and fast paced, with the exponential growth of video enabled mobile devices bringing even more opportunities to leverage cloud based video services. Recently, the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), which tracks global mobile data traffic, predicted that eight billion mobile devices would be in use by 2016. For organizations interested in extending video to mobile users with disparate devices, cloud based video services offer a simple solution to management complexity and device interoperability.
With Cisco ‘s cloud based video services, it’s even easier and more affordable for organizations to enable video on mobile and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) use cases. Cisco’s pervasive conferencing strategy delivers cloud deployment options for multiparty video meetings anywhere, at any time, and from any device. Cisco is working with its partners to deliver simple to use cloud based virtual meeting capabilities, without any compromises on video quality and support. The new Virtual Meeting Room capabilities offer organizations the ability to use business class multiparty video without the need to reserve or schedule meeting resources ahead of time.
A long time ago, it used to be comforting, to hear the words “One Size Fits All”. As though our interests were surely represented within that catch-all, assuring us that we weren’t going to get left out in the rain. You could safely make that impulse-driven purchase, bring it home (or have it delivered), and know with certainty, that you wouldn’t be disappointed. It’s almost laughable to think that we subscribed to this way of thinking for about 50 years. But thankfully, we live, work and play in a world where it’s not about one-size-fits-all, and the only things we’ll accept as such, are wristwatches, and bicycle helmets! (unless you have a gargantuan sized cranium)
And so it is with your IT environment – “One-Size-Fits-All” feels too much like hand-cuffs (which coincidentally are also one-size-fits-all). We’ve done away with the notion that a solution that’s optimized for a Fortune 500, is going to be at all suitable for a medium-sized business with almost 1,000 employees. While both organizations might have a strategic imperative around workspace mobility, and have set out to virtualize the desktops of say, 5% of their workforce, they’ll approach this problem in two completely different ways.
One of these organizations will have an extensive , multi-tiered networking and security infrastructure, optimized for virtual machine traffic, the other may not.
One of these organizations will have a mature SAN infrastructure in place, with embedded resources and expertise, and lots of existing mission-critical data already housed there. The other may not.
One of these organizations will have a high percentage of virtualized workloads and a highly automated/orchestrated environment for rapidly spinning up new infrastructure. The other may not.
Certainly these two environments are not going to take the same solution approach to deploying virtual desktops? They will however, share many of the same key objectives/demands: future proof scalability, resiliency, streamlined provisioning and operations, consistent user experience for the 1st user as well as the 1000th. And they’ll want all of this with the lowest possible TCO.
Last month, Cisco introduced our expanded suite of solution architectures for desktop virtualization. This portfolio was struck with the objective of ensuring our customers would never have to settle for a One-Size-Fits-All approach to deploying VDI, recognizing that they’re deploying this solution from a multitude of possible starting points in their IT maturity. With four new solution architectures, each built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and each backed by design guides and reference configurations co-developed with industry-leading partners in storage and storage-optimization technologies, we’ve taken the risk and guesswork out of choosing the deployment methodology that’s right-sized for your organization. Check out my friend Ashok’s more detailed post on the new reference architecture portfolio.
There are a number of trends that are impacting data centers today, many of which will have a profound impact on how businesses consume data center resources. These can provide a variety of challenges. Perhaps most obvious, is the fact that people and businesses are more connected than ever with the proliferation of mobile devices and tablets. These new devices are driving more applications, more users, and an insatiable appetite for network bandwidth. This blog will discuss a few of these trends and how Cisco is shaping its data center strategy to enable customers to meet these rapidly changing demands.
Another major data center trend that is driving change in the data center is the continued adoption of virtualization technologies. What’s interesting is that although server spending has remained relatively flat for over a decade, there is still a great deal of “head room” for companies to further adopt virtualization.
In fact, IDC studies show that many applications are yet to be virtualized as the chart to the right indicates. However, virtualization is driving complexity elsewhere including the network, software and storage. So what has created a more agile server, has not necessarily created a more agile system.
The next major trend is that of Cloud Computing, with more business leveraging private, public or potentially even hybrid cloud models. Some actually forecast that there could eventually be a small number of mega data centers and companies will all leverage capacity exclusively from these since they can offer extreme efficiencies. The truth is, there are two ends of the spectrum, some customers will prefer to host their own infrastructure and others may choose to use Cloud providers exclusively. We are finding today that many customers are somewhere in the middle and choose their model based on the application needs.
Hi All! This is the first of what I’m hoping will be a weekly recap for the new Enterprise Networks. In this video I give a very short summary of what happened this last week, then I get to do two quick interviews with our TechWiseTV heroes Jimmy Ray Purser and Robb Boyd! Finally, we have an announcement on what we’ll be covering next week. After the jump, I’ve got all the links to things mentioned during the recap. Let me know what you think of this first video!