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Perspectives from Two Customers: Cisco UCS for VXI / Desktop Virtualization

Cisco hit an important milestone recently: in just over 2 years, well over 9,000 customers worldwide have deployed the Unified Computing Solution (UCS) in their data center.  In that time, Cisco has amassed a dozen top industry awards, supported over 10,000 applications, held 51 world-record performance benchmarks, and achieved over $1 Billion annualized run-rate.  Customers across every industry vertical have put UCS to work in a myriad of environments: business analytics and data warehousing, mission critical CRM, ERP, enterprise collaboration, email, databases, RISC migration, and in a very big way – desktop virtualization.

We thought a great way to celebrate this, while sharing some valuable experiences from our customers, would be to invite them to a roundtable discussing Cisco UCS and desktop virtualization.

So, on December 14th, we’re joining Diebold and Seattle Children’s for an IPTV event to discuss the challenges they faced and the UCS-based solutions they selected while making the move to virtual desktops.

I’m happy that within this venue, you couldn’t have two more diverse organizations to have a discussion with (a global leader in integrated self-service delivery and security systems, including worldwide ATM services and, one of US News’ “Best Children’s Hospitals” providing inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, emergency, and outreach services.  And if you look at their implementations, both offer some very important drivers for embracing this solution:

Diebold

Of paramount importance to Diebold was the need to improve security of bank ATM’s by moving to a zero-client ATM model, and minimizing risks from malware and cyber-crime.  They also needed to improve the ATM user interface, responsiveness and user experience overall.  And, they needed to be able to respond to installed base upgrade opportunities more quickly, doing all of this without increasing complexity, operational cost, while delivering better manageability.

Seattle Children’s

Seattle Children’s needed to improve and optimize clinician workflow, reducing login cycle times, reducing support costs associated with chasing workstation issues and image complexity.  They also needed greater performance and scalability across their network and compute infrastructure that their previous solution wasn’t delivering.

The shared experiences of these two organizations reveal that the Cisco UCS platform for desktop virtualization and VXI offered several common benefits that set UCS apart when selecting a server infrastructure optimized for delivering virtual desktops:

1.)    Machine density without sacrificing performance or scalability was key.  Both teams leverage the UCS architecture and expansive memory footprint to achieve densities of over 100 desktops per server blade, helping to drive down TCO, but most importantly, without sacrificing user experience  as the system scales.

2.)    Rapid deployment and faster time-to-service are critical.  Especially given that these organizations are dealing with an ever-expanding, distributed end-point population, capabilities like UCS Service Profile Templates allow them to pre-stage the system configuration before hardware even arrives.

3.)    Firmware/driver updates need to be fast, easy.  UCS’s “set-it-once” approach to server configuration, dramatically reduced the level of effort to keep the infrastructure current with limited/constrained set of support resources.

This promises to be a very informative event… if you want to hear first-hand accounts of why having the right data center fabric matters for desktop virtualization, register for the session here.  After you attend, come back and let me know what you think.

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