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The VXI Journey Continues…

It’s the week before VMworld Copenhagen, and there’s already a lot of buzz around the big VXI news that came out today. If you missed it, you can get access to the web event via the Cisco Collaboration Launch Experience page here.  I’ll get back to Copenhagen in a minute, but let’s take a moment to discuss why these announcements have such a significant impact on delivering what we call the next-generation virtual workspace…

Last fall, we introduced VXI, delivering a groundbreaking system-level approach for simplifying and optimizing the delivery of virtual desktops to any end point, leveraging the industry’s fastest growing compute infrastructure purpose-built for large scale, high-performance virtualization, the Cisco Unified Computing System.  We also announced our new portfolio of Virtualization Experience Clients (VXC’s) providing new device form factors and capabilities not previously seen in the marketplace, underpinned by an end-to-end validated design that takes the guesswork out of moving from a small pilot to full-scale production.

With today’s announcement, we’re delivering on the promise of the next-generation virtual workspace, unifying virtual desktops, voice and video.  Why is this a big deal?  If you’ve ever tried to use a VoIP soft-client within a virtual desktop, you know exactly what I’m talking about.  If not, imagine the following: you start a video call from your soft-client.  After some hand-shaking and negotiation with your telephony solution’s call manager and the other end-point, a connection is established with the other party, and your webcam fires-up, streaming raw, uncompressed USB video from your end, across the network, back to your data center virtual machine, where that stream is processed, hairpinned over to the other party’s VM, then back out to their endpoint device.  Now imagine that in two directions.  Oh, and imagine dozens of users at a branch office using a couple T1’s doing this at the same time.  You’re about to hit the panic button as the network grinds to a halt, and your users become irate over the jittery, low-quality, borderline-unintelligible conversations they’re having with colleagues and customers.  Thin clients, laptops, USB cameras and headsets fly through the nearest plate-glass window!

And so, the sensible thing to do has traditionally been to keep voice and video as far away from virtual desktops as possible. But guess what… this isn’t a new problem.  Convergence of this sort has always been the eventual landing spot of seemingly disparate technologies that need to come together for the users’ benefit.  Remember when enterprise voice came through a different jack in the wall than network?  Folks thought those two things would never converge either. Guess what, virtual desktops and media-rich collaboration are no different.  These NEED to converge within a single environment in order to have an adaptive workspace follows the user everywhere, and delivers the full suite of productivity tools and applications they need to be successful, on any device they choose.

Now Cisco is making that happen with the new products we announced today as part of the next phase of VXI. Through our partnerships with VMware and Citrix, our extensive experience in delivering enterprise-grade collaboration, advanced media-processing technology, and the distributed intelligence of the Cisco network, you now have a viable means to deliver on the promise of a consolidated workspace that simplifies the desktop by converging your telephony, video and desktop environment in a single high-quality experience.  Check out this demo, if you want to get a better feel of what we’re talking about.

Now back to VMworld Copenhagen… are you going? If you are, and you want to see Cisco VXI in action, delivering media-rich communications, integrated with virtual desktops in a common user workspace, you’re in luck.  In fact, there’s a great set of VXI content we’ve pulled together to expressly help you get up to speed, so please consider checking out the following:

1.)    Cisco VXI Demo Room (on show floor, booth #95) – experience our latest innovations in the VXC portfolio, in-depth / up-close in this dedicated demo environment specially carved out for VXI

2.)    Cisco VXI-focused Breakout Sessions:

#SPO3989: Cisco VXI: Optimized Infrastructure for Scaling VMware View Desktops with Confidence (Tuesday 12pm)

#EUC1572: VMware View with Rich Unified Communications & Cisco VXI (Tuesday 12pm)

3.)    Super Session with Chris Young (VMware SVP/GM, EUC) - will include an on-stage Cisco VXC demo, followed by a panel/Q&A with our own Brian Dal Bello, Sr. Dir., Cisco VTG (Tuesday 10:30am)

I’ll be at the show as well – if you’re going, stop by and say hi. I’ll make sure we get you connected with a great demo where you can experience the next-generation virtual workspace first-hand!

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