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A Look Back at 2012: Evolution of Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI)

As 2012 came to a close, I found myself looking back not only on the events of world at large but also on just how much progress we have made here at Cisco with the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. I took a moment to reflect on the incredible value VXI delivered to our customers last year.

Since its inception in 2010, the Cisco VXI Smart Solution has been at the center of successful virtual desktop initiatives. VXI brings together compute and collaboration in a complete solution and lets people seamlessly experience their desktops anywhere--on any device. I am very pleased to say that we have more than 1,000 VXI customers and that number is growing. With every new release, VXI has evolved with innovations that maximize performance, scalability, security and user experience while minimizing complexity and risk.

In 2012, we delivered major enhancements across the solution. We introduced optimization that reduces storage costs--often one of the biggest investments in a desktop virtualization program. We have enhanced data center performance and scalability with the remarkably successful Cisco UCS, or Cisco Unified Computing System. Now customers can easily scale from 500 to 29,000 virtual desktops on a single system by simply adding blades. The advantage of these performance enhancements becomes very obvious when large user groups are logging on at the same time—just imagine a call center at 8 am on a Monday.

Security is always at the top of the list for any organization thinking about virtualization. In 2012, Cisco VXI enhanced security for end users with support for Cisco AnyConnect VPN and single sign-on with Citrix Receiver. Security policy was also improved with integration of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) into the solution. ISE gives customers greater control with policy-based security services for both corporate and employee devices, protecting organizations from data loss, compliance issues, loss of revenue and brand damage.

The VXI Smart Solution has always been a leader in user experience for desktop virtualization. We pioneered a new collaboration architecture for voice and video by eliminating the primary cause of poor quality in virtual desktop environments--namely the hairpin effect. We went even further this year by integrating Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Software, which reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to deliver workspace traffic over the WAN by up to 70%. Now, people are able to collaborate with voice and video calling on their virtual desktops – or as we like to call it– the Unified Workspace.

Complementing the VXI technologies are comprehensive design guides, services, support and our technology partner ecosystem. The Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for VMware and for Citrix give our customers an end-to-end blueprint for implementation and they are updated with every release to facilitate success. To further assure a premium experience and exceptional flexibility, we have expanded our ecosystem of technology partners to include smartcards, endpoints and accessories.

While it gives me much satisfaction to reflect on the past 12 months I am even more enthusiastic about what’s in store for VXI in 2013. Right off the bat, you’ll hear about the next chapter in the evolution of the VXI Smart Solution with our upcoming announcement. Join us on January 17 to learn what’s new.

Phil

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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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