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Accelerating Desktop Virtualization deployments for Small and Medium Business (SMB) customers

As part of the comprehensive desktop virtualization portfolio, Cisco is providing a solution for the small and medium business customers, typically up to 500 desktops environment. The Cisco Solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box offers a simple and affordable desktop virtualization solution combining the benefits of Cisco UCS C-Series Rack servers with Citrix VDI-in-a-Box software.

SMB businesses account for more than 70% of the PC install base and significant proportion of these are potential candidates for desktop virtualization. Many of the SMB environments have uniform workload, defined workload characteristics and nominal application requirements.

The Cisco Solution for Citrix VDI-in-a-Box integrates connection brokering, load balancing, desktop provisioning, HA, and management functions in a single software appliance that runs on Cisco UCS C260 M2 server – this server is based on Intel Xeon processors and provide expanded memory configurations for the most demanding VDI workloads.

There are 2 defined solutions – Balanced Configuration targeting 60 to 70 users and Performance Configuration targeting 140 to 150 users per server node. Customers can scale either of these solutions by adding servers in a grid or cluster fashion. Cisco provides simplified single SKU ordering process for the Balanced and Performance configurations.

This solution is apt for small service firms, healthcare institutions, educational institutions, state and local government organizations.

For more details on the solution, please refer to the Solutions Brief and for Cisco desktop virtualization offerings please visit http://www.cisco.com/go/vdi

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Fabric Computing at scale

November 6, 2012 at 9:13 pm PST

Tune in to the webcast, this Thursday, Nov 8, which specifically addresses large-scale fabric computing to find out more.  Research firm, Gartner, defines fabric computing as “A set of computing, storage, memory and I/O components joined through a fabric interconnect, and the software to configure and manage them”.  In a study on fabric computing adopters earlier this year, Gartner researchers called out the following three major impacts:

  • External service providers justify fabric-based infrastructure (FBI) based on operating cost savings and density (for greater revenue per square foot), while enterprises base their FBI acquisitions primarily on capital cost savings.
  • Gartner clients found that FBI’s use of templates and profiles improves resiliency because, in the event of infrastructure failure, they can recreate servers in minutes.
  • Virtually all clients with FBI in production found a reduction in time to provision from two to three months to a few hours to three days.

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is leading this industry transition to fabric computing, and with Cisco UCS Central, catapulting it to an unprecedented scale.  In his blog, Todd Brannon, Unified Computing Product Marketing Senior Manager, explains UCS Central in a nutshell. Cisco UCS Central lays the foundation for disaster recovery by providing the ability to recreate the infrastructure environment in a different data center. With Cisco UCS Central, customers can manage dynamic environments efficiently without higher-level software and complex setups. With an open API, UCS Central allows users to retain existing data center processes and tools. It also provides role-based administration to support collaboration across disciplines and to accommodate necessary organizational changes.

The basic underlying configuration capabilities are provided by Cisco UCS Manager, which is embedded in the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect:

  • Policy and model-based management with service profiles and templates
  • Auto-discovery to detect, inventory and provision system components that are added
  • A comprehensive open XML API for integration and automation

Cisco UCS Single Wire Connectivity

Cisco UCS Manager 2.1 brings additional benefits to fabric computing adopters

  • Customers will get blade server benefits such as reduced cabling and ease of management on rack mount servers. Cisco UCS Virtual Interface Card (VIC) 1225 with the Nexus 2232PP Fabric Extender drastically reduces the cabling and number of switches needed for rack-mount servers as shown in the figure above.
  • Customers will also get more options on storage topology including Multi-hop FCOE

Cisco UCS is expected to reduce the total cost of ownership for fabric computing as Gartner clients have verified.  Find out how, in our webcast, which will include a customer perspective.

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Introducing Network Services Manager for Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1

The release of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 (Cisco IAC) begins to address one of the key questions of our customers who are building public and private clouds:  How can I automate the network services configuration in my data center pod to enable policy-based network infrastructure as a service for my customers?

Some of you may be familiar with the Cisco Network Services Manager (Cisco NSM), part of the Intelligent Automation software portfolio.  With the release of Cisco IAC 3.1, Cisco NSM is now integrated with and bundled as part of Cisco IAC, laying the foundation for infrastructure as a service.

Let’s take a look at some of the features in NSM for Cisco IAC:

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Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 — for Partners and Customers

November 2, 2012 at 12:38 pm PST

Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 was announced this week in a blog article by Director of Marketing Jason Schroedl.

Why are Customers and Partners excited about this new release?

The release this week of Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud 3.1 further demonstrates Cisco’s commitment to help its enterprise and service provider customers with innovative technology for private, public, and hybrid cloud deployments.

Today I would like to talk about the three ways an enterprise company can implement their cloud with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud:

  1. Cisco Advanced Service -- cloud enablement services
  2. Authorized Technology Provider Partner — professional services delivery engagement
  3. Customer Implementation — following upcoming customer training
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Introducing Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud – Version 3.1

November 1, 2012 at 5:48 am PST

Just the other morning, my 3.5 year old daughter said “Daddy, can you make me a waffle?” And like any self-respecting parent, I of course responded with “Poof. You’re a waffle.”

It reminded me of something we frequently hear from customers: they effectively ask us to “make my data center a cloud.”  Now we could wave our arms and say “Poof. It’s a cloud.” But it’s not that easy.  Despite what some cloudwashers may say, virtualizing your data center does not mean you have a cloud – and self-service provisioning of VMs is not cloud computing.  Real clouds require much more.

Fortunately, we have solutions to help our customers deploy real clouds – with market-leading compute, network, and management products in our Unified Data Center portfolio as well as our cloud enablement services.  In fact, today we introduced yet another innovation in our Unified Computing System (UCS) portfolio with Cisco UCS Central.

I’m pleased to also announce the latest release of our cloud management software solution today: Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud version 3.1.  This release introduces several exciting new features, and I’ve highlighted a few of these new product capabilities below.

Virtual Data Centers – In simple infrastructure-as-a-service use cases, virtual machines and other resources may be provisioned from a shared pool of resources on-demand.  In more advanced infrastructure-as-a-service use cases, virtual data centers (VDCs) can be established to provide project teams or departments with a dedicated resource pool of compute, storage, and network capacity for their own organization. I’ve written in the past about this concept of a virtual data center and this is what Cisco IT deployed for our own internal private cloud.

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