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What’s New with VXI for 2013?

Desktop Virtualization the Cisco Way

Now that 2013 is officially here –  it must be time for the next wave of innovations for the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. The first of these enhancements is Jabber for virtual environments, which we are announcing today.

In 2012 we saw the 1000th customer deploy VXI to meet their desktop virtualization and VDI needs. You can read Phil Sherburne’s blog for a look back on 2012. Granted, these VXI deployments are not all 30,000 seat environments – they cover a complete spectrum of implementation scale, from small pilots to large production environments with tens of thousands of seats.

We recognized an interesting trend in 2012. Many IT departments were expanding on their initial deployments by simply adding UCS blades to scale the installed pilot VXI infrastructure – one of the great benefits of having a VDI architecture that scales seamlessly from zero to 5000 virtual desktops in just 30 minutes.

It’s rare for an IT department to roll out an enterprise-wide desktop virtualization deployment from day one. There are technology and operational lessons that are often best learned though a pilot production deployment numbering hundreds, rather than thousands of seats. With Cisco VXI we are assisting IT organizations with the initial pilots through attractive bundles that are targeted at pilot deployments, pre-production pilot service offers and the like.

However, once the pilot is successfully deployed, IT needs to consider how best to expand the deployment on three dimensions:

  1. Efficiently scaling the number of virtual desktops
  2. Supporting additional work profiles and use cases and
  3. Operationalizing the provisioning and administration of large deployments.

The VXI roadmap is well aligned with helping customers expand and scale their desktop virtualization deployments across all three dimensions.

diagram for 2.7 DC blog

Phase 1 of the roadmap has been focused on providing the most scalable, efficient and simplified infrastructure for desktop and application virtualization. Together with partners, including Citrix and VMware, we continue to expand on the capabilities of VXI in this area with greater virtual desktop densities, storage optimization, network and security enhancements – and the like.

In phase 2 of the roadmap we have been focused on expanding the use case support by enabling greater levels of mobility, broader device support and just as importantly greater support of integrated collaboration and voice/video services in a virtual desktop and application environment.

In the 3rd phase we will focus on helping enterprises and service providers enhance the operational efficiencies of large deployments through private, public and hybrid cloud workspace models.

Today’s “Jabber for virtual environments” announcement is squarely focused on enabling support for a broader set of use cases, by evolving our virtual workspace architecture. This important enhancement is part of a strategy for better enabling collaboration services on any device running a virtual desktop. This capability is enabled by software, called the Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME) that will initially run on Cisco’s thin clients followed by Windows thin clients and Windows PCs.

To learn more watch the webcast or take part in the conversation here

Also if you are going to be at Cisco Live in London at the end of the month –  don’t miss out on seeing the VXI technologies in action at the World of Solutions Data Center and Unified Workspace booths.

And finally, be on the look out for additional VXI developments as we progress through the rest of 2013.


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Automate Migrating ESX Host Interfaces to Nexus 1000V

“We’ve tried, it can’t be automated!” I’ve heard this more times than I can keep track of and if you read my previous blog you will know that I just do not agree. I have written about automation with Linux utilities, UCS PowerTool, AutoHotKey, Excel, etc… 99.999% of operations can be automated. So when a customer tells me that something cannot be automated I usually respond with “Have you tried …?”

Here is the scenario; the customer has an automated build process for ESX hosts. At the point where the host is ready to be connected to the Nexus 1000V the process becomes manual. The customer would like to use VMWare PowerCLI to migrate the host interface but the Cmdlet to retrieve Distributed Virtual Switches, Get-VirtualSwitch, just returns the DVS objects,  there isn’t a Cmdlet to migrate the ESX vmnic interface.

Hold on a second, I know that VCenter knows about the Nexus 1000V because I see it in the interface. I know that VCenter can manipulate the Nexus 1000V because VCenter is where interface migration is done. I am fairly certain at this point that ESX interface migration from the VCenter vSwitch to the Nexus 1000V can be automated. But what to use to do it, there is no PowerCLI command like Set-ESXHostInterfaceToN1kv. This is typically where automation ends for many, sometimes you have to dive deep into the objects that the system manages and figure out what to do. Sometimes someone has already done a deep dive into something like what you are trying to do and maybe you can build off of their work.
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ESG Webinar on Virtual Networking and Physical-Virtual Consistency

Last quarter I had the chance to record a video webinar with Bob Laliberte, Senior Analyst at the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG), where we talked about the basics of virtual networking, as well as why organizations need consistency across their physical and virtual network infrastructures.

Bob presents some great research data on virtual network overlays, and talks about what features customers are looking for, some of the technical challenges in maintaining consistency with the physical infrastructure, and how organizations are rolling out this key technology. Naturally, I relate a lot of his insights to our own Nexus 1000V portfolio, and our own virtual networking strategy. It’s about 36 mins and I really enjoyed working with Bob on this video. Hopefully you’ll find it informative as well.

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New Independent Research Study on Hybrid Cloud Business Trends and Technical Challenges

[Join Cisco for a Live Announcement Webinar on Cloud Innovations on February 5: Register Here]

A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Cisco on Hybrid Cloud technology trends sheds light on many of the business drivers and technical obstacles to creating a seamless connection from the enterprise data center to cloud service providers. This custom research study was sponsored by Cisco, and we’ve been authorized to share some of the data and insights in advance of the publication.

Cisco and Forrester generally define Hybrid Cloud as the integration of an enterprise data center or in-house private cloud which is seamlessly connected to a cloud service provider, at least to the extent that allows for virtual machine mobility and secure communications between the two cloud sites. A real hybrid cloud strategy can provide on-demand flexibility for where applications are hosted, and can help optimize cloud infrastructure costs beyond a purely private or public cloud strategy. In the commissioned study, Forrester showed that over three-quarters of respondents planning or using IaaS were looking for a tightly coupled hybrid cloud strategy, or were currently implementing one:

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Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks continued…

Last month in my blog Journey to “Self-Healing” Enterprise Networks, we discussed reasons why IT process automation solutions for network domain has not fulfilled its promise. Today we will first reason of the two – “Need for out-of-the-box workflow templates for rapid development of network operation process automation for quick-wins”.

In today’s high performance distributed environment, network is vital to maintaining an efficient business. Efficient, scalable and stable network environment requires time and resources from the organization. Information Technology (IT) environments encompass multiple advanced network technologies that include security and wireless for borderless networks, video systems for unified communications, and storage and virtualization management for flexible deployments.

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