This is shaping up to be another great outing – as a number of my peers have already highlighted, there is an endless buffet-line of learning opportunities while you’re spending the week with us in Vegas. This year marks the entrance of the Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) into the Cisco Live realm, and with it comes my favorite part – the opportunity to meet with customers from across the globe who are coming to this event, armed with the objective of getting the info they need to help get their desktop virtualization initiatives off the ground.
Very often these conversations turn to the “essential infrastructure” we see as the underpinning for successful desktop virtualization. And that inevitably leads to a discussion on how the Unified Computing System (UCS) is ideally suited to hosting desktop workloads, so let me share some thoughts on this.
You can think about hosting desktop workloads in terms of 3 critical axes that affect virtual desktop performance and scalability: Memory footprint, I/O, and computing power. In each of these dimensions, UCS is a market and innovation leader, offering expansive low cost large memory footprint to host larger pools of virtual desktops on a single blade, a converged data center infrastructure that simplifies wiring and management while consolidating LAN and SAN on a single 10Gbps Ethernet fabric, and a stateless computing platform purpose-built for virtualization, based on the latest generation of Intel x86 processors.
From there, the discussion eventually turns to the question, “how many virtual desktops CAN you host on a UCS blade?” While some might be interested in chasing the marketing appeal of citing ever-increasing hosting densities, I’m not sure that makes sense for our customers at the end of the day. Without question, we’re continuing to exploit the advantages of UCS as mentioned earlier. Sure enough, this is enabling us to reach increasingly higher densities of hosted virtual desktops. In fact, we have Cisco Validated Designs that prove we can reliably host 160 desktops on a single blade without impacting performance. Do we think that customers will deploy 160 or even 100 on a blade? Many have told us that they’ll strictly limit their implementation to a much smaller number. That’s their call, and a number of best-practices come into play in figuring that number out. However the real story here is that with Cisco Validated Designs for Desktop Virtualization, we’re offering our customers a detailed, prescriptive means to design and implement their infrastructure, from endpoint to virtual machine. Our customers also now have the confidence that their virtual desktop initiative will scale reliably from tens of desktops to tens of thousands of desktops, while delivering the same level of expected performance and application responsiveness.
We’ll continue the discussion on CVD’s on Monday, but in the meantime, to help you plan your week I’d like to offer some key VXI-focused opportunities to explore while you’re in Vegas. If you’re at Cisco Live, look for me at the VXI Demo in the Cisco Data Center Booth and say hello. As you’re building out your schedule for next week, check out these VXI-related sessions of interest:
DID YOU KNOW: “VXI – Desktop Virtualization” is one of our 3 most-requested topics in the Cisco Executive Briefing Center?