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Optimizing Windows 7 Desktop Delivery over the WAN using Cisco WAAS

As the migration to Windows 7 as the desktop operating system picks up, IT organizations are looking at hosting desktops in the data center using Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) as the desktop delivery method. We are finding that this is especially popular in the finance, healthcare, and federal verticals where security and compliance makes VDI an attractive choice. Moreover, IT managers in other vertical industries are interested in this technology as a flexible option to serve their employees while assisting with their desktop management goals.

One of the ongoing dilemmas for IT continues to be ensuring a good user experience for any new method used for delivering applications to end users. Many users are in remote branch offices, campus locations, or are mobile; as a result these users are separated from the data center by the Wide Area Network (WAN). Limited bandwidth (per user) on the WAN pipes, high WAN latencies, packet loss, and more often a combination of all three, impacts the user experience significantly. This is where the Cisco WAN optimization solution (Cisco WAAS) can assist IT with delivering a rich Windows 7 user experience to remote users while reducing the need for bandwidth upgrades.

If one looks at the usage profile, users are typically using productivity applications (eg: email, web, document preparation, presentations, etc), and accessing corporate videos for training as well as printing documents. These users are accustomed to getting a rich experience using applications locally on their Windows 7 desktops. The goal of the Cisco WAAS solution is to maintain this rich experience when the desktop moves to the data center, and is delivered using a VDI delivery protocol such as Microsoft RDP over the WAN.

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Meet the Newest Member of Your Data Center Operations Team

Today you are one happy data center manager, because you just made the perfect hire. Your new operations staffer is savvy, with extensive networking knowledge and experience with some of the largest, most sophisticated, and most secure networks in the world. This guy knows the network like the back of his hand. And he’s a demon in the data center: he can optimize data center operations task by task, almost minute by minute. He can predict problems and pre-empt them. It’s as though he is one with your data center and your network.

Actually, he is your data center and your network—with Cisco Intelligent Automation.

Okay, you say, everyone knows that automation is a good thing. It frees highly skilled IT staff from essential but time-consuming routine maintenance tasks and processes, which typically consume from 70% to 80% of an organization’s IT operational expense, allowing them instead to concentrate on innovation and creating new business value. Automation captures best practices, domain knowledge, and analytics and transforms them into repeated processes triggered by policy and defined events, thus improving efficiency, response time, compliance, visibility, and business continuity. So what’s so special about this Intelligent Automation?

Cisco Intelligent Automation embeds domain knowledge, analytics, and best practices into the network that connects every aspect of your business. It is one with the infrastructure. Think about it. The network is the ideal platform for automation IT operations, not only because the network touches and connects every part of your business, but also because it can capture events and information close to the source, enabling rapid, precise response to events and changes. This network-centric approach to intelligent automation takes advantage of the network’s ability to sense and control data center and IT operations.  It also delivers the benefits of Cisco’s innate strengths, including:

  • Networking Expertise—Leveraging the vast collection of Cisco’s networking intelligence, best practices, methodologies, and tools to support customers better.
  • Collaborative Partner Approach—Applying the combined expertise of Cisco and our global partner ecosystem to meet the total needs of customers worldwide.
  • Smart, Personalized Services—Gathering, correlating and analyzing data against Cisco intellectual capital to provide proactive or preemptive service experiences.
  • Innovative Solutions—Creating network-centric architectural solutions to fully align technology investments to customer business goals.

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The Crux of Pervasive Cloud Security

In my previous blogging, I’ve noted how customers have been very clear in our market research on their concerns around cloud, and security is top of that list  When I first became involved in Cloud Computing, as part of my role in Cisco Services product management defining our Cisco Cloud Enablement Services, you couldn’t read an article on cloud with our hearing about “security” as one of the major issues, if not indeed the major issue, for cloud.  What I noticed was that many of these articles talked about cloud security as a major challenge to cloud adoption (which it is), and some would talk about point solutions to specific problems. However, most didn’t say much from a holistic perspective on how to address the challenges of cloud security.    Thankfully, since then, organizations including Cisco Services’ security consultants and industry forums such as the Cloud Security Alliance have put some meat on the bones, so to speak.  So in this blog, I will give you a brief introduction to the approach our experts in Cisco Services take to ensure cloud security, and I’ll also point you to a free Cisco introductory paper on this topic. Read More »

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Digging into Cisco Data Center Business Advantage

About a month ago, Cisco announced our Data Center Business Advantage architecture. Within the architecture, we highlighted several areas:

  • Business Value which can be derived from IT investments in the Data Center
  • The breadth of our Open Ecosystem that helps us deliver solutions to customers today
  • Solution Architecture that brings together Unified Fabric, Unified Computing and Unified Network Services
  • Cisco Technology Innovation across multiple Data Center domains
  • A complete set of Data Center Services that can rapidly drive customer success

Now that the fall trade show season is complete and people are done watching headlines and back to running their businesses, we thought it would be useful to take a deeper dive into Data Center Business Advantage. Read More »

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What does a Company look like with Cisco’s Data Center Business Advantage architecture?

[Part I of our blog series on Cisco Data Center Business Advantage. Part  II, III, IV, V, VI]

The IT department plays an interesting role for most companies. They deliver the digital face of the company via the corporate website. They process orders, collect revenues and manage corporate assets via the ERP, CRM, SCM and other 3-letter acronym systems. They enable collaboration within the company via Phone Systems, IM, Video Conferencing and Wikis. And they enable users to watch clips on YouTube on the iPad brought in from home because HR told them they needed to create a more Gen-Y friendly environment to aid in recruiting.

As we read the lists of the most admired companies, it’s easy to see that almost all of them use technology at the core of their business to drive innovation or differentiation themselves from their competition. These businesses realize, in the 21st century, technology is no longer a supporting function. Technology is a strategic competency that can drive change faster than any element of the business.

But when we put these two things together, why are so many people frustrated with their IT department? And why is the IT department so frustrated with their own ability to deliver the capabilities that create headlines and move companies to the top of admired lists? Read More »

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