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Cisco Validated Designs for Cloud – Part 3 – Flexpod

November 9, 2012 at 4:00 am PST

Over the past two weeks, Tom Nallen introduced the concept and benefits of the Cisco Validated Design , then Laszlo Bojtos,  illustrated this concept with the Cloud Service Assurance for Virtualized Multi-Services Data Center 2.2 Cisco Validated Design, with a specific emphasis on the integration with Cisco Intelligent Automation for Cloud .

This week I talked with John Kennedy, a Cisco engineer who put a lot of energy on the FlexPod CVDs.

“So John, what is FlexPod ?
FlexPod is the result of collaboration between NetApp© and Cisco to create a cost-effective, scalable solution for cloud applications as well as standard virtualization support.  The FlexPod(t), a pre-defined, pre-tested solution, includes the compute, networking, and storage customers need in a validated (as in CVD) package. But unlike other validated solutions, FlexPod can be scaled up or out, not just one or the other.

What need does FlexPod address ?
It’s probably been a while since you had to source a motherboard. Many of us have done this in the past, in order to get desktop computer system that met our needs. Pre-configured systems were limited in their abilities, and custom design was beneficial.

But choices of personal computer systems have increased, and most folks don’t need to customize anymore, preferring to buy an entire computer system that’s been tested and designed to meet their needs. On the other hand, customers want to be able to expand the system they have to keep up with new technology, or to add capabilities.

Customers need to support multiple types of applications and have multiple purposes for their infrastructure, and the Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for FlexPod reflect that need. The architectures have been validated by engineers from both companies to ensure performance and stability.
But that’s just the beginning. The Cisco Validated Design documents include multiple configurations with multiple types of application and operating systems  Read More »

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Cisco and Citrix –Better Together Across Networks, Clouds and Mobility

Early this week, there was much buzz and speculation about how Cisco and Citrix will be doing business differently. The news was finally unveiled at Mark Templeton’s keynote, when he introduced Cisco CTO, Padmasree Warrior, and they jointly announced the expansion to the two companies’ current partnership on three strategic areas: cloud networking, cloud orchestration and mobile workstyles.  Details are outlined in this press release.

Read More »

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Citrix Synergy Round-up: Cisco Previews Nexus 1000V on XenServer

October 18, 2012 at 11:00 am PST

In conjunction with the newly expanded partnership with Citrix, Cisco demonstrated its Nexus 1000V virtual switch on the Citrix XenServer virtualization platform based on the Xen hypervisor, with XenCenter integration this week at Citrix Synergy in Barcelona. This is another important milestone in Cisco’s multi-hypervisor strategy for its full Nexus 1000V virtual networking portfolio, following on the heels of our support for Microsoft Hyper-V in Windows Server 2012 (currently in beta) and the demonstration of Nexus 1000V on the Kernel-based Virtual Machine (KVM) open source hypervisor for Linux at Cisco Live in San Diego earlier this year.

The demonstration at Synergy showed the consistent deployment architecture for the Nexus 1000V distributed virtual switch, NX-OS feature-set, operational workflows, and port profile based provisioning of virtual Ethernet ports (vEths) via XenCenter.  Two virtual workloads – Ubuntu server and Windows Client – were shown to interact with each other as in the diagram below.

But wait, there’s more…  Read More »

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Doubling our Business Together: One Year After the Cisco-Citrix Partnership

I’m here today in beautiful Barcelona for Citrix Synergy.   It’s remarkable to think that it was only a year ago that Cisco and Citrix announced a strategic, 5-year agreement to accelerate mainstream adoption of desktop virtualization.

Last night the Cisco-Citrix alliance team met at a local restaurant to celebrate our success together.  Whenever we get together we realize that our visions are so closely aligned that it’s almost scary. But it’s true. We just come at the same problems from different angles—and that’s what makes our alliance so complementary and compelling. That’s great news for you — our customers and partners — because we’re going to continue to innovate together and bring more of our portfolio to market.

In the spirit of celebrating our partnership I wanted to share four interesting facts you may not know about the Cisco-Citrix partnership.

  1. Over the past year we’ve more than doubled our business together.
  2. Together we have deployed tens of thousands of new virtual desktops to small and large customers across the globe.
  3. Channel partners have increased their overall solution margin by as much as 25% by utilizing the resources in the Cisco and Citrix Partner Accelerator.
  4. Citrix XenDesktop is the cornerstone of Cisco’s Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) solution — our strategy to deliver high-quality mobile workspace experience on any device, from anywhere.

Adios from Barcelona!

 

 

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Unified Workspaces That Go Beyond VDI: Built on Cisco Unified Data Center

Today we introduced release 2.6 of the Cisco VXI Smart Solution, offering enhanced performance user experience and faster ROI,  with unified workspaces that go beyond VDI. VXI 2.6 offers new capabilities and enhancements to the underlying platform, spanning Cisco Unified Data Center, Borderless Network, and Collaboration pillars.  I invite you to check out posts from Phil Sherburne and Brian Dal Bello to learn more.  For now, let me turn your attention to the data center pillar, specifically the advancements that are part of this release, and as amply illustrated  in the Cisco Validated Design for VXI.

Reducing the TCO of virtual desktops

With VXI 2.6 we focused significant attention on improving performance, and driving down the cost of deploying end-to-end desktop virtualization through a combination of data center enhancements that are now part of the Cisco Validated Design (CVD) for VXI 2.6.  These include:

  • The Cisco UCS B200 M3 server blade, based on the Intel Romley- platform delivers continued leadership in virtual desktop  density.  We recently commissioned a study with  Principled Technologies to evaluate  B200 M3 performance with virtual desktop workloads – check the results we published for VMware and Citrix based platforms.  We’ve also added the UCS VIC 1240 (mezzanine LOM)  to the CVD, offering up to 80 Gbps aggregate bandwidth per Blade Server.  Bandwidth management capabilities of the VIC 1240 and its effect on delivering QoS in a mixed workload scenario of  virtual desktops and other workload types is covered in detail here.  The CVD also includes the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect, 6296UP, that provides up to 2 Tbps throughput, thereby offering enhanced workload scalability and overall performance
  • Support for published shared desktops with XenApp 6.5, including Jabber for Windows.  With this feature, we deliver much greater scalability while also extending our industry-leading Jabber solution support to this popular application delivery approach, resulting in a more scalable, cost-effective, superior collaboration user-experience
  • Optimizing storage costs is also a key focus area for the release, and VXI2.6 introduces support for a number of capabilities that help reduce storage costs.  With VMware vSphere 5, we have Content Based Read Caching (CBRC) addressing performance bottlenecks associated with the high read IOPS found during O/S boot and AV scans.  CBRC offers host RAM-based caching to reduce read IOPS to back-end shared storage, improving scalability and overall storage performance and end-user experience.
  • With B200 M 3 servers, we support “Tier-0″ Solid State Disk (SSD) which enables the storage of Desktop images internally on the server while user data and personalization can be stored on back end shared storage, allowing for better overall performance and reduced dependency and costs associated with  back-end shared disks  We  have also included validated testing of the WhipTail Flash silicon storage array (SSA) offering  up to 12TB of flash with 250k IOPS in a 2U array.

Want to learn more about VXI Release 2.6?  Check out the following:

And visit our website at www.cisco.com/go/vxi

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