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Architecture Options for Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions

Today Cisco is introducing an expanded architectural portfolio and partner ecosystem in support of our successful desktop virtualization solution built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  Cisco UCS market traction has been phenomenal over the last 3 years. In fact, desktop virtualization has been one of the top workloads deployed on UCS as IT organizations apply the benefits of our stateless, simplified operations model, expansive I/O, and scalable performance to desktop workloads in the data center. Combined with unique product integration and the software eco-system partners such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Cisco has delivered a number of reference designs with our strategic storage partners such as EMC and NetApp. Typically, these architectures were based on designs that easily scale from supporting a few hundred virtual desktops to thousands of desktops.

We have seen an inflection point with the perfect storm of the evolution of storage options, desktop software maturity, and data center architectures. One of the important changes in the storage market is the emergence of flash storage to address performance problems.

Taking advantage of enhanced UCS features and expanding the eco-system of storage partners including Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, LSI, Nexenta, Nimble Storage and Tegile, Cisco is defining a broader portfolio of data center architectures for delivering desktop virtualization solutions – on-board architecture, simplified architecture and scalable architecture. “Converged” or “Unified” infrastructure stacks such as FlexPod and vBlock have, and will continue to be another successful option for desktop delivery infrastructure.  Let me walk you through each of these architectural approaches.

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Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World

It has long been known that a combination of both formal and informal learning is an effective way of turning theory (explicit knowledge) into practice (tacit knowledge). This includes working and learning alongside more experienced people, both online and face-to-face.

The nature of learning is changing, and new learning technologies are proliferating. Additionally, there is compelling evidence that suggests many learners can benefit from alternative models and novel spaces for developing their skills and gaining further knowledge. Couple this with the increase in distance and virtual learning offerings—which offer little opportunity for face-to-face contact for both formal learning and networking—and a significant need for additional learner support begins to emerge.

This need is also being driven by our busy lifestyles: learners may not always have time to study at their chosen institution or study center; entrepreneurs and startups may need access to temporary experts and more formal learning opportunities; and learners and workers may need more than just online support from time to time. Sometimes learners want a place to study away from the distractions of home or work, or they may need an informal learning place to engage with peers and mentors.

Learning hubs” may be the solution. Learning hubs are technology-enabled, flexible, formal and informal learning spaces designed to support learners of all ages. As opposed to study centers or traditional classrooms, learning hubs:

  • Are purpose-built to accommodate more than just tutorial instructions and seminars 
  • Serve as a space for temporary or prearranged meetings and discussions with peers
  • Enable students to meet with experts and mentors virtually or to join a class remotely (from one or more hubs) via high-definition video-conferencing or telepresence facilities

Learning hubs can be located in Smart Work Centers, university and school campuses with spare real estate, community centers, and other places. Or, they can be “pop-up” hubs—physical spaces connected through high-end video-conferencing technology to enable city-to-city and multicity events—that meet specific, short-term needs. Dialogue Café is one example of a pop-up hub. Other types of hubs are shown in Figure 1.  

 Figure 1.  Potential Learning Hub Locations.

Learning Hubs

Source: Cisco IBSG, 2013

A more detailed perspective from Cisco IBSG on learning hubs—including existing hubs and those in development—is available for download at “Learning Hubs: Where Learning Takes Place in a Digital World.”

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Interop, Vegas…Rear View Mirror

May 13, 2013 at 3:37 pm PST

My two favorite days for a Vegas conference: arriving and leaving. Everything in between is a foot numbing, sleepless blur. But we had a great time! It was cool to be on stage hanging with our Cisco friends and getting to re-unite with old competitors, many of which are former peers.

We did not have as many videos as usual for a trip like this since we were doing the ‘stand and deliver’ thing. The topics were good however.

Jacob Rapp on Unified Access trends in the Data Center

Mark Royle catching us up on Unified Call Control

Bill and Ziad: Global Security Intelligence

This was a two-fer that Jimmy Ray and I tag teamed…I feel the urge to call it ‘Unified’ something just to complete my corporate marketing bingo card….but I did giggle a bit knowing that we stood in front of the ‘MOC SOC’ (Mock Security Operations Center). I am not even sure why I find that funny.

Please check out the Success Factors video we did with Marlowe Fenne. . I blogged about Unified Access (BINGO!) yesterday.

My work here is done.

Thanks for watching!

Robb


Twitter: @TechWiseTV, @robbboyd, @jimmyray_purser

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New Addition to the Cisco MPI Team

May 13, 2013 at 3:23 pm PST

I’m very pleased to welcome a new member to the Cisco USNIC/MPI Team: Dave Goodell.  Welcome, Dave!  (today was his first day)

Dave joins us from the MPICH team at Mathematics and Computer Science division at Argonne National Laboratory.

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Cisco UCS Delivers a World-Record VMware® VMmark™ 2.5 Benchmark Result

Cisco continues its cloud computing performance leadership with the announcement of VMware® VMmark™ 2.5 benchmark result published on May 9th 2013. The Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server’s score of 12.00@10 tiles on the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark represents the best cloud computing performance of any 2-socket server in a 2-node configuration as measured by the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark

The VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark uses a tiled design that incorporates six real-world workloads to calculate a virtualization score. Then it includes VMware vMotion, Storage vMotion, and virtual machine provisioning times to calculate an infrastructure score. The combination of these scores is the total benchmark score. 

The system used to achieve this performance included the Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server powered by Intel® Xeon® processors and an industry-leading approach to storage: a Cisco UCS server-based Fusion‑io ION Data Accelerator solution that turns the server into a storage system. The Fusion-io ION Data Accelerator turns Cisco UCS servers equipped with Fusion-io ioMemory into highly available, transparently scalable, shared storage appliances.

For additional insights on the benchmark configuration check the “Cisco UCS C240 M3 Rack Server Delivers World-Record Cloud Computing Performance” Performance Brief. You can also download the official VMware® VMmark™ V 2.5   benchmark disclosure and configuration details at http://www.vmware.com/a/assets/vmmark/pdf/2013-05-09-Cisco-C240M3.pdf

 
VMmark 2.5
With this world-record-setting   VMmark 2.5 benchmark score of 12.00@10 tiles Cisco UCS has delivered the best cloud computing performance of any 2-socket server in a 2-node configuration as measured by the VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark outperforming solutions from AMD, Dell, Fujitsu, and HP. Whether a virtualized data center or a public or private cloud is needed, this VMware VMmark 2.5 benchmark result indicates the degree to which the Cisco UCS can accelerate applications while delivering virtualization and infrastructure performance and agility for cloud computing environments

Better infrastructure yields better performance. With innovations such as unified fabric, large memory capacity, expansion capabilities, and the low-latency performance of Fusion-io ioMemory and ION Data Accelerator software, Cisco’s results demonstrate the architectural advantages of a system built for virtualized environments.

VMware VMmark is a product of VMware, Inc. The comparative results cited in this document were available at http://www.vmmark.com and were valid as of May 9th, 2013..

Girish Kulkarni

Senior Marketing Manager

Unified Computing System 

gikulkar@cisco.com

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