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SDN Reflections on the London Gartner Data Center Conference – Part 2

December 11, 2013 at 11:06 am PST
The London Eye

The London Eye

Last week I started my SDN reflections on the London Gartner Data Center Conference, and I found I had quite a lot to discuss.

Last week I covered:

  • Do we need SDN?
  • SDN and the Gartner Hype Cycle
  • SDN Deployment Models

So here is the concluding part. This week I’ll cover:

  • Overlay-Based SDN — and the questionable assumptions being made by others in this area (good for Gartner for calling these out!)
  • The SDN Vendor Explosion Challenge,
  • The “Unspoken Costs” of SDN Deployment, and
  • The “How” of SDN is still missing.

I hope you find this useful and informative and as always, feel free to debate with me around my observations!

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Accelerating the Performance of Graphics-Intensive VDI

The VDI landscape is increasingly evolving to embrace virtual desktops that look, perform, and respond like their physical predecessors.  Whether it’s application responsiveness with low latency across the network, or high-performance storage with expansive IOPS capacity that mirrors  the native experience on one’s desktop/laptop, implementers and users expect their virtual desktops to behave akin to physical.

These technological achievements have led to increasingly successful virtual desktop deployments for knowledge workers and task workers, but not so much so for users of 3D graphics applications traditionally running on high-end dedicated graphics workstations.  Across many industries and verticals like Manufacturing/Design, Higher Ed, and Healthcare, you’ll find end users needing access to immersive 3D graphics applications.

Cisco, Citrix and NVIDIA are pleased to be at the forefront of extending the applicability of VDI for graphics-intensive use cases, enabled by our jointly validated solution architectures based on Cisco Unified Computing, NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ and Citrix XenDesktop.  This joint solution offers affordable, scalable performance for graphics-intensive VDI use cases, built on an optimized computing infrastructure from Cisco.  Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is the foundation of Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions. Cisco UCS provides an end-to-end, service-and-application optimized platform for mobile, virtual workspaces.  The embedded NVIDIA GRID solution enables GPU sharing without sacrificing application compatibility or the user experience. Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp deliver desktops and applications as on demand services that tap into the benefits of GPU resources.  With our combined desktop virtualization solution, we’re expanding the utility, reach and performance of VDI.

Learn more about Cisco, Citrix and NVIDIA joint solutions for immersive 3D graphics in virtualized environments by checking out this helpful Solution Overview

For more information on NVIDIA GRID™:

NVIDIA GRID™ main website –
NVIDIA GRID™ K1 & K2 boards -

For more information on Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions with Citrix:


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Cisco Introduces New Solutions for EMC VSPEX

December 10, 2013 at 10:03 am PST

The Cisco and EMC teams have been working closely to expand the VSPEX solution portfolio to accelerate growth and opportunity. In addition to the new CVDs, we released a new application white paper and management design guide for VSPEX. Wait, there’s more. We also recently published new Cisco marketing collateral for VSPEX and a customer case study. Let’s take a moment and provide some details.

The two new CVDs are designed to facilitate the deployment of virtualized infrastructure. In this instance, customers can choose between VMware vSphere 5.1 or 5.5 for 300, 600, and 1000 virtual machines.

These new presized and validated solutions simplify virtualization deployment for businesses using VMware vSphere software. The solutions use the very latest Cisco UCS Servers and EMC VNX Series Storage. Customers can feel confident they are deploying the correct balance of computing, networking and storage resource using best of breed technology from Cisco and EMC.

One of the key value propositions for VSPEX is that it enables applications to be up and running more rapidly than a build your own infrastructure solution.  Providing application guidance is the next logical step so the team created a SharePoint 2013 on VSPEX white paper. Customers can now rapidly build and deploy robust, high-performance SharePoint 2013 collaborative environments on VSPEX with Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0.

Being able to simply manage an integrated infrastructure is critical. Hence, we introduced a UCS Director Implementation Guide for EMC VSPEX. This new implementation guide provides step by step instructions on how to setup, configure and operate VSPEX via Cisco UCS Director. Cisco UCS Director delivers unified integrated infrastructure management for administering computing, network, virtualization, and storage from one self-service web interface.

Please watch Jim McHugh, VP of Cisco UCS Marketing, discuss VSPEX’s value proposition, momentum, and new solutions.

Finally, and most importantly, our customers are seeing real value from VSPEX. The John Fabick Tractor Company (Fabick Cat) deployed VSPEX to improve performance and reduce costs. Fabick Cat experienced the following results:

  • Up to 25% better performance
  • 78% reduction in software virtualization costs
  • Zero downtime since being deployed

I urge you to read the complete Fabick Cat case study on how they leveraged VSPEX’s flexibility and scalability to easily provision new servers and add additional storage.

Kudos to the Cisco and EMC teams for their timely execution of the CVDs, implementation guide, and white paper. Please also read Chad Dunn’s, Director of VSPEX Business Operations at EMC, blog post on our new CVDs.

To learn more about Cisco’s solutions for EMC VSPEX download our new brochure or visit

Come See How UCS Director Can Work For You!

Cisco UCS Director delivers unified orchestration and management for converged infrastructure solutions by abstracting the complexity of individual devices, hypervisors, and virtual machines.  This provides administrators with a holistic, converged infrastructure management experience.

Some UCS Director advantages include:

  • Open and flexible system, providing multi-vendor IT infrastructure management
  • Turnkey solution, quick time-to-value via setup within an hour
  • Out-of-the-box support for the most widely deployed converged and integrated infrastructure systems: Vblock, FlexPod, and VSPEX
  • Cisco’s unified management approach reduces deployment times from weeks to minutes – for either virtual or bare-metal environments
  • Automate your infrastructure management so that your staff can focus on more important business-critical initiatives instead of mundane manual tasks

But don’t just take our word for it.  Check out a live technical demo and see for yourself the value and benefits that UCS Director can bring by automating your converged infrastructure.  We are currently offering morning and afternoon sessions on December 11th, December 17th and January 14th.

To register for the live webcast, please visit here.

To further familiarize yourself with Cisco UCS Director, watch this video.

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From Pallet to Production – Big Data in Minutes

Behind the Scenes: Ready, Set, Go!

Don’t make your data center refresh more complicated than it needs to be. Installing the Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) is seamless and simple—not to mention advantageous in more ways than one. Cisco UCS is an integrated architecture that establishes one cohesive system for increased business agility -- a unified and virtualized data center that is easy to manage, so you have more time to focus on what matters most: supporting the business for faster, and better outcomes.  

Cisco UCS can be integrated with other leading IT solutions for ideal performance. For example, this solution brief explains how Cisco UCS is the ideal platform for deploying MapR to deliver a fully optimized Hadoop solution.

See for yourself how quickly you can go from pallet to production: watch this video demonstrating start-to-finish configuration of a 16-server rack with Cisco UCS—on the clock the whole time. Try to beat that.