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The New Collaborative Workspace Experience

January 27, 2013 at 12:30 pm PST

In my last blog, I talked about how much our desktop, or what we know as a “desktop”, has evolved over the past few years. Mobility, cloud and video have redefined a lot of what is included in that desktop, but the need for a high quality and consistent user experience across devices has not waned.

Bringing together all these elements has provided a new workspace environment that is virtualized, mobile and convenient. The best of all worlds really. Now the remaining question is: does this new workspace offer a better collaboration experience? I think the answer is yes. Here is why.

On January 17th Cisco announced a new software that extends the power and reach of Jabber (our all-in-one UC client) to virtual environments, delivered as part of Cisco VXI. And the response from the market and media was really great. Articles published tied the announcement to larger industry trends such as BYOD and mobile workers. Many commented how Cisco’s announcement and the features released were a clear response to the fact that work life is changing, and solutions like these will allow for more flexibility, without compromising capabilities or the user experience.

“What this means is that the reach of Jabber—which includes such features as instant messaging, high-definition video, voice and presence—will grow beyond physical desktops and into the virtual desktop space, which is finding rapid adoption in enterprises…”Cisco Brings Jabber UC Features to Virtual Desktop World -- Jeffrey Burt, eWEEK

“In light of the escalating trend, the marriage of Unified Communications and VDI is a logical market evolution. The effort is part of a long-term software strategy for Cisco aimed at taking its collaboration and video prowess up a few notches” Cisco Extends Jabber With VDI -- Stefanie Hoffman, Channelnomics.

Cisco pioneered this trend when we announced Cisco VXI over 2 years ago, and since then we have been working on delivering the promise of VDI without the compromises. The announcements we made a couple of weeks ago confirms Cisco’s commitment to this space, and our deep understanding of the market transitions and the customer needs.

This new software direction is not only focused on enabling multiple devices to be part of the VXI ecosystem, it also means that Cisco is extending these capabilities to provide customers more options, in an open, standards based environment, without compromising the level of the capabilities delivered, or the support available. As more than 1,000 VXI customers will tell you, the Cisco Validated Designs are not only a way to have a full multivendor solution tested and validated in a real-world environment, they are a recipe for deployment success.

Since “seeing is believing” let me invite you to see the VXI technologies in action at the World of Solutions Unified Workspace booths at Cisco Live London, and invest some time with our experts at the show. We have a series of very impressive demonstrations lined up for you, showcasing different environments for different user profiles. There is at least one that will be applicable to your work environment, I promise you that.

For those of you that can’t be in London for this event, we have something prepared too. Visit our Virtual Experience online in the Cisco Collaboration Community to see Cisco leaders expand on Cisco strategy and demonstrate the new solutions announced on Jan 17.  You can also ask questions to our experts through the discussion forum. We want to hear from all of you.

Roberto

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What’s New with VXI for 2013?

Desktop Virtualization the Cisco Way

Now that 2013 is officially here –  it must be time for the next wave of innovations for the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. The first of these enhancements is Jabber for virtual environments, which we are announcing today.

In 2012 we saw the 1000th customer deploy VXI to meet their desktop virtualization and VDI needs. You can read Phil Sherburne’s blog for a look back on 2012. Granted, these VXI deployments are not all 30,000 seat environments -- they cover a complete spectrum of implementation scale, from small pilots to large production environments with tens of thousands of seats.

We recognized an interesting trend in 2012. Many IT departments were expanding on their initial deployments by simply adding UCS blades to scale the installed pilot VXI infrastructure – one of the great benefits of having a VDI architecture that scales seamlessly from zero to 5000 virtual desktops in just 30 minutes.

It’s rare for an IT department to roll out an enterprise-wide desktop virtualization deployment from day one. There are technology and operational lessons that are often best learned though a pilot production deployment numbering hundreds, rather than thousands of seats. With Cisco VXI we are assisting IT organizations with the initial pilots through attractive bundles that are targeted at pilot deployments, pre-production pilot service offers and the like.

However, once the pilot is successfully deployed, IT needs to consider how best to expand the deployment on three dimensions:

  1. Efficiently scaling the number of virtual desktops
  2. Supporting additional work profiles and use cases and
  3. Operationalizing the provisioning and administration of large deployments.

The VXI roadmap is well aligned with helping customers expand and scale their desktop virtualization deployments across all three dimensions.

diagram for 2.7 DC blog

Phase 1 of the roadmap has been focused on providing the most scalable, efficient and simplified infrastructure for desktop and application virtualization. Together with partners, including Citrix and VMware, we continue to expand on the capabilities of VXI in this area with greater virtual desktop densities, storage optimization, network and security enhancements -- and the like.

In phase 2 of the roadmap we have been focused on expanding the use case support by enabling greater levels of mobility, broader device support and just as importantly greater support of integrated collaboration and voice/video services in a virtual desktop and application environment.

In the 3rd phase we will focus on helping enterprises and service providers enhance the operational efficiencies of large deployments through private, public and hybrid cloud workspace models.

Today’s “Jabber for virtual environments” announcement is squarely focused on enabling support for a broader set of use cases, by evolving our virtual workspace architecture. This important enhancement is part of a strategy for better enabling collaboration services on any device running a virtual desktop. This capability is enabled by software, called the Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME) that will initially run on Cisco’s thin clients followed by Windows thin clients and Windows PCs.

To learn more watch the webcast or take part in the conversation here

Also if you are going to be at Cisco Live in London at the end of the month -  don’t miss out on seeing the VXI technologies in action at the World of Solutions Data Center and Unified Workspace booths.

And finally, be on the look out for additional VXI developments as we progress through the rest of 2013.

 

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What Cisco Partners Need to Know About the New Release of VXI

Cisco partners have told us multiple times that the Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) continues to be the Gold standard for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI). We appreciate your input. At the same time, we know there’s more we can do to help you.

So we’re happy to share with you that a new release of VXI comes out today. What does this mean for you?

Let’s have a look first at what’s new, how this meets your customers’ demands, and then how that applies to your business.

First, key to the announcement is an opportunity for partners to now offer Cisco’s collaborative services, enabled by Cisco Jabber. This means customers can select the work style most suited to their needs: mobile, fixed, and now virtual. Cisco Jabber for virtual environments is enabled by Cisco Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME), a new software component that delivers high-definition video and voice communications to be integrated as part of a virtual desktop session.

Why is this important for your customers? Read More »

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Announcing Cisco Jabber for Virtual Environments with the New Release of Cisco VXI

These are exciting times. Today Cisco announced the latest release of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution and I am very pleased to share this news with you. Cisco has unveiled a new software strategy to support Cisco Jabber for virtual environments as an integral part of Cisco VXI. Cisco has taken this path to innovation based on how our customers use the Cisco VXI Smart Solution today for desktop visualization and from trends in the market. We continue to see strong growth in desktop virtualization and in new collaborative experiences not to mention the ongoing demand for BYOD and mobility.

Cisco VXI was the first desktop virtualization architecture to eliminate the bottlenecks and overloads that often occur with rich media collaboration. Today we are evolving that architecture further by including Cisco Jabber for virtual environments which — thanks to Cisco Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME) — leverages the computing and processing power of the local environment to minimize the impact of rich media on network performance and data center resources.

Cisco VXME enables virtual desktop users to take advantage of Cisco Jabber’s suite of collaboration features like voice calling, high-definition video calling, presence and instant messaging. Meanwhile, virtual desktops, applications and collaboration services are centrally hosted on the Cisco Unified Data Center and delivered to a broad array of devices resulting in a seamless user experience. It’s just like using a traditional local desktop.

With today’s announcement, Cisco VXI becomes the first desktop virtualization solution to integrate network-based Quality of Service. The Cisco VXME software makes the network aware of voice and video traffic and automatically prioritizes it, reducing jitter and delays. The result? IT managers are now able to easily deliver a high quality collaboration experience to their virtual desktop user communities.

Not only do these innovations create a stellar user experience, they also meet security needs. Virtual desktops become a mirror of traditional workspaces, and as such provide the same level of secure access to documents, corporate applications, and a full suite of collaboration tools via Cisco Jabber.

Additionally, users are now able to personalize their virtual workspace experience with our new desktop accessories from Jabra and Logitech.You really have to check them out.

We continue to work closely with our partners who are fully enabled to implement an end to end VXI Smart Solution. Find out what this new release means to them.

Right now, Cisco VXME is designed to work with the Cisco Virtualization Experience Client (VXC) 6215 and will be globally available in March of this year. Support for 3rd party thin clients and Windows PCs will follow during the first half of 2013. Cisco Jabber for virtual environments is compatible with Cisco VXI solutions running Citrix XenDesktop, Citrx XenApp, or VMware View 5.1.  Read Citrix and VMware perspectives on these innovations.

To learn more about Cisco’s desktop virtualization strategy and see a demonstration of  Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and the new UC accessories, I invite you to join me for the Cisco Collaboration Announcement Webcast with live Q&A on Jan 17 from 9-9:30 a.m. Pacific Time (replay available after 11 a.m. Pacific Time).

Phil

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Desktop Virtualization and Cloud: Fueling a New Collaborative Workspace and Creating a New User Experience

January 8, 2013 at 1:10 pm PST

Have you stopped to think about how much your desktop has evolved over the past 5 years? Many elements from it have evolved, some have disappeared, and others are still there as they were before. But why haven’t they all changed at the same pace? To me, the answer is in the quality of the experience those elements provide, and the possibility to have your full desktop environment on whatever device you choose.

Take, for example, the personal computer. For many of us, that device became mobile years ago without sacrificing much performance but adding a lot of convenience and new capabilities. Many of us use a smartphone and the availability of new touch-screen computing devices, such as tablets, have considerably changed the way many people interact with applications and information.

But it does not seem to me that we are looking at the “convergence” of those devices into one “universal device” that will replace all those three and deliver the features, capabilities, and convenience we enjoy from all three form factors. Why?

From the user experience perspective, the mobile revolution helped us to be “free” from fixed office locations but it did not provide ease of use, flexibility and capabilities for all the use case scenarios that traditional desktop accessories offer. Most users (me included) would struggle to Read More »

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