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ACI Walkabout at CiscoLive 2014, San Francisco

In a few days at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, we will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of Cisco Live. This year we are expecting record attendance exceeding 20,000 participants, 9 amazing keynotes, 600 sessions, live demos at world of solutions, big analyst and partner presence, and last but not least, the opportunity for you to meet and network with top minds in high-tech. If you are new to Cisco Live and feel overwhelmed by the grandness of the event, let me assure you that you are not alone.  I have been there before. I have set out in this blog to give you an easy walkabout of Cisco Datacenter highlights, particularly the Cisco ACI key activities over the duration of the event.

Much like you I will also be eagerly looking to attend John Chambers’ majestic keynote that starts the proceedings on Monday, May 19. John in his unique style will lead with the Theme “Tomorrow Starts Here” covering leading industry trends such as Internet of Everything (IOE), Fast IT, and Application Centric Infrastructure (ACI) among many others. So, do not miss this opportunity. I want to shift gears and take you on a fast cruise of Cisco Data Center and Cisco ACI highlights at the event.


In less than a year since the announcement, Cisco ACI has taken the industry by storm with a large customer base  and several of the industry’s key partners such as Microsoft, Red Hat, Citrix, F5, et al endorsing and building joint solutions. There is so much excitement around ACI at this year’s Cisco Live. I want to give a structure to how I am planning to cover the topic in this blog. Essentially, I consider them as Cisco-led and Partner led.

Cisco has a packed agenda of ACI activities and announcements. Cisco APIC, which enables ACI Fabric mode on Nexus 9000 networks, will be available this summer along with a robust Go-To-Market (GTM) strategy that includes additional eco-system partners, Cisco Validated Designs (CVD), additional platform support and leading-edge hardware innovations across the portfolio. We are also introducing two new additions to the existing portfolio of Nexus 9000 to meet scalability, flexibility and performance requirements of standalone and ACI mode deployments.

Executive ACI speaking sessions feature prominently this year with Cisco President Rob Lloyd’s session “Infrastructure for the Agile Enterprise” keynote, May 20, 10 AM, at the North Hall.  Rob’s keynote also features Soni Jiandani, who will present how ACI delivers agility. Rob Soderbery and Soni Jiandani are presenting a technology trends keynote (GENSK 1109) on May 21, 8.30 am, titled “Fast Track to Fast IT: Cisco’s Application Centric Infrastructure”, another choice from a catalog of exciting offers.

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Powering the New Citrix Mobile Workspace – built on Cisco UCS

Did you catch the news from Cisco and Citrix yesterday?  Here at Citrix Synergy, we announced the new Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix.  This new jointly integrated solution brings together best of breed technologies from both companies to deliver a pervasively accessible end user workspace – One that can be delivered on any device, anywhere, seamlessly and securely integrated with the applications and productivity suite necessary for workers to be productive.

Central to this solution are the following tenets of the new mobile workspace:

  • Supporting any device, any OS
  • Maintaining secure access to the corporate network
  • Facilitating rapid expansion and control of mobile applications
  • Protecting data and preventing data loss

Foundational to the New Mobile Workspace is a best-in-class workspace virtualization platform built on Cisco Unified Computing System and Citrix XenDesktop.

Check out this infographic which Cisco and Citrix have compiled highlighting some nice proof points of business impact enabled by Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions with Citrix XenDesktop – then, ask yourself – “Can Your Server Deliver Results Like These?

Is your organization ready to enable a mobile workforce? from Cisco Data Center

While here at Synergy, I’ve had numerous conversations with VDI implementers who’ve resonated with the unique benefits and performance advantage associated with deploying hosted VDI as well as hosted shared desktops on UCS.  Surprised in fact, at the number of attendees I run into who are already well familiarized with:

  • The performance advantage VMFEX brings to XenApp environments
  • The simplified manageability of UCS Service Profile Templates, enabling rapid turn-up of XenDesktop environments starting from bare metal servers
  • The linearly consistent performance with scale, proven through Cisco Validated Designs for Citrix XenDesktop

The roster of clientele that have tapped the benefits of XenDesktop deployed on UCS continues to grow, providing these organizations an accelerated path to delivering an enterprise-wide mobility strategy, built on this differentiated virtual workspace infrastructure.

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Get Your Mobile Workspace Solution now – from Cisco and Citrix

Mobility and Strategy InitiativesHaving an enterprise-wide mobility strategy provides a competitive advantage as a recent IT survey from Cisco concluded.  Working with many customers over the last couple of years we have come to recognize that mobility is a multi-stage journey that every organization is taking at its own pace. While some of you might think of this journey as just getting your employees’ devices onto your network, there is significantly more to the journey – device-focused leads to application-focused, which then leads to experiences-focused.

Being a dad to my 5-month old son, I can relate our customers’ mobility journey to the 3 stages a child goes through in his first year as they learn to be mobile – roll, crawl, and walk!

Babies start off without the ability to move from one spot to the next– think of this as your enterprise 10 years ago before the popularization of smartphones.  Then babies learn to roll.  Suddenly, the world opens up to them.  This is the first stage of the mobility journey – similar to a device focused BYOD strategy.  The focus here is to provide a secure onboarding experience for your users while having the right policies in place to enable context-aware secure access control. The Cisco Unified Access solution – with ISE for policy, Prime Infrastructure for management, and converged wired and wireless network – provides the foundation for enable this BYOD solution.  However, would you really want to stop at the rolling stage of development?

The next step for kids is learning to crawl. This is often the most exciting stage as kids can now move with intent. Crawling provides true mobility to the kid as he can explore the fascinating world around him and get access to all his toys. This is the application-focused strategy in your mobility journey. Now that you have enabled secure access for your workforce, you can decide on the right set of applications to enable your workforce to be productive – on the go. This is where Cisco has been working with our ecosystem partners to provide a complete mobile workspace solution.

One of these ecosystem partners is Citrix and in this blog, I’d like to highlight a first-of-its-kind solution for employee mobility, that Cisco & Citrix have developed in close collaboration.

This new Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrixbuilt on the Citrix Workspace Suiteprovides the complete hardware and software technology stack for delivering all the applications, content, and tools workers need on any device. This new Workspace Solution is excellent for companies moving into the second stage of their mobility journey – where their focus is on providing all the applications, content and services their employees need on their devices.

This solution can help your employees, partners, and consultants work and collaborate on their mobile and desk devices, from pretty much anywhere. Read More »

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Setting the Stage for the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix CVD

CiscoWotrkSpaceSolutionThe times keep changing: first there were devices, then there were apps, and today, if you don’t develop a strategy for enterprise mobility and get ahead of the trend, the mobile wave will leave you behind. A year ago, after talking with many of our customers, partners, and our own technical sales teams, we realized that IT organizations were facing enormous challenges when making the transition from simple BYOD to adopting an enterprise mobility strategy across the business. As is typical during such tremendous market transitions like mobility, IT organizations were spending a lot of time figuring out how to line up the pieces required to support a mobile workforce, sorting through and weighing the many technology and vendor choices.

Today in conjunction with our friends at Citrix, we are happy to highlight the  Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrixbuilt on the Citrix Workspace Suite. We are very excited to deliver this first of its kind, comprehensive solution to our customers. Today I’d like to take a step back and set the stage for the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix by taking you through our thought process in creating the right enterprise mobility solution for our customers. Read More »

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Desktop Environments Go Virtual and Mobile in a Flash

Of course you’re aware that virtualization and mobility are taking over the traditional office workspace.

More and more, employees are using their own mobile devices and working from home or remote locations, meaning work is no longer a 9-5, at-the-office thing. So to enable efficient practices within this changing environment, your IT needs to change with it. Resources need to be accessible from anywhere, not just in the office. Moving desktops to a virtual environment addresses this concern—while increasing employee productivity and responsiveness, and decreasing costs.

Citrix Synergy 2014 is taking place this week in Los Angeles. And it’s no surprise that this year’s hot topic is enterprise mobility. Technologies such as Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenMobile, combined with Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) and Cisco UCS Invicta™ Series Solid State Systems,  or Citrix NetScaler 1000v with Cisco Nexus vPath, and Cisco mobile workplace solutions, are tools that enable you to move your work environment to the cloud, enabling you to provide full-time, fast, and secure access to your applications and crucial information.

“It was sometimes taking 10 minutes for our clinicians to log on, open an application, and get the information they need,” says Hughes. “That time should be spent with a patient instead of a workstation. We wanted to make it easier and faster for our clinicians to access applications and information, so we started looking into VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure).”  says Jake Hughes, Chief Technical Architect for Infrastructure Systems at Seattle Children’s.


With 800 attorneys spread across offices in the United States, London, Shanghai, Melbourne, and Sydney, prominent law firm Seyfarth Shaw relies on its Citrix XenDesktop virtualization platform to deliver Windows environments and in-house applications as an on-demand user service.
DaaS“When you’re sitting in an airport and you need to get something done for a client, you can’t wait for your application to boot up; you want it to be available as quickly as possible and that’s what flash technology provides,” says Andy Jurczyk, CIO, Seyfarth Shaw , experiencing the benefit of the new Cisco UCS Invicta™ features .

Go now to  Unleashing IT   to read  how Seattle Children’s Hospital  virtualized their environment using a combination of Citrix and Cisco solutions or how Seyfarth Shaw law firm is fueling up and serving clients with speed through their VDI implementation.

On Unleashing IT , our on line magazine and resource center you will discover through these examples and many others, how you can utilize Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in combination with other technologies to speed up processes and give your workers flexibility by providing secure access to the information they need, as soon as they need it.
Visiting our resource center on Unleashing IT you will access to numerous documents , including a Forrester Study “The Total Economic Impact of Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions”

Additional resources: Read more on Citrix Synergy 2014

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