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Your Workspace – Your Way

As you may have seen in the announcement on December 17th, Cisco along with its partners Citrix and Desktone by VMware, are announcing our joint solutions for Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS).  Clearly our customers demand choice and flexibility in how they choose to implement desktop virtualization, not just in terms of the delivery technology, but also in terms of the ownership model.  You’ve told us you want virtual desktops and apps that fit your business and IT consumption models.  You want it “your way”.  And for a growing constituency, it just makes sense to shift the burden of designing, implementing and managing the solution to an affordable OPEX model, outsourced to a Cisco-powered Service Provider.  Cisco DaaS offers our customers the choice and flexibility they expect.

What you may have also noticed with this announcement is that Cisco and its partners are continuing to bolster the underlying infrastructure/fabric of our desktop virtualization platform, to the benefit of both our premises-based and cloud-based (DaaS) clientele.  To that end, we’re sharing some important enhancements we think make the overall platform an optimal underpinning for virtualized desktops and apps.

Raising the CPU Performance Bar

The Cisco UCS B200 M3 Series Blade Server continues to be our flagship VDI workhorse delivering industry-leading performance for virtual desktops and apps.  We’ve updated this server to incorporate the latest Intel Xeon E5-2600 v2 Series Processors (Ivy Bridge), and with that we’ve delivered unprecedented performance gains.  For example, based on single-blade characterization testing conducted by Cisco, and using the industry-recognized LoginVSI for workload testing, we’ve successfully deployed 252 VMware Horizon View desktops on a single blade (based on LoginVSI Max threshold).  This represents a 31% increase in server hosting density over the previous CPU.

VMwareIvyBridge

CitrixIvyBridge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Economics of Flash

Nowhere is the benefit of flash technology seen so forcefully as with VDI workloads where the IOPS bottleneck has traditionally driven the up front CAPEX hurdle of desktop virtualization, out of reach for many environments, especially smaller ones.  Cisco has worked extensively with our portfolio of industry-leading storage technology partners to continue to offer prescriptive design guidance on how to tap into the benefits of the flash and hybrid-flash arrays.

Nimble Storage has been a featured joint solution on which many of our customers have experienced the economics of this hybrid-flash solution first-hand.  Many organizations are increasingly tapping into the efficiencies of this solution in conjunction with Hosted Shared Desktops (ie: Citrix XenApp), for which we’re announcing a brand new reference architecture based on Nimble’s CS240G-X4 with Cisco UCS, Citrix XenApp 6.5 on Microsoft Hyper-V.  The Citrix Validated Solution supports 1,000 hosted shared desktops running on the Nimble array.  The compact 3U solution provides cost-effective performance and capacity through its flash-optimized hybrid storage architecture, that combines the exceptional performance of flash with the favorable economics of high-capacity disk.  The validated architecture allows customers to eliminate risk, speed time to deployment, and scale as needed using the modular design.

Making Physical and Virtual Indistinguishable: Immersive Graphics

You may have caught my blog in support of the Citrix/NVIDIA/Cisco joint solution announcement on Dec. 11th.  Similarly, customers like SSOE are reaping the benefits of our joint solution with VMware and NVIDIA.  It’s no surprise that end users need (no, demand) that their virtual environment behaves akin to the physical one they left behind.  Just talk to any designer, healthcare clinician or researcher in an academic setting.  This has been one of the stumbling blocks around expanding the number of use cases that can be targeted by VDI, specifically where graphics-intensive applications are used..  I encourage you to learn more about our joint solutions with VMware and Citrix

Accelerating the ROI of VDI and App Virtualization – It’s All in the Bundles

To close this out, I want to shift focus to the “last mile” problem of the journey to virtual desktops.  No, not the “networking” last mile, but rather that point at which you’ve made the determination to implement a solution, to get your feet wet, ie: how to get started.

Earlier this month, Cisco released brand new Solution Accelerator Paks for Desktop Virtualization with VMware and Citrix.  These bundles offer attractive discounting, along with single-SKU ordering simplicity.  Organizations seeking to get into desktop virtualization can take advantage of Solution Accelerator Paks to deploy small pilot or proof-of-concept environments that offer great scalability when the need arises.

These bundles also offer expansion and upgrade options for adding more users, tier-0 flash storage from Fusion-io and LSI, as well as GPU options based on NVIDIA GRID K1, and K2.  Check out our brochures for VMware and Citrix as well as the ordering guides if you want more detail (VMware , Citrix )

January 12-14: Citrix Summit

Let me conclude by pointing out that next week is Citrix Summit, and for our channel partners attending the event, you’re encouraged to stop by the Cisco booth, and also check out the following:

Monday:

  • Cisco’s Frank Palumbo, SVP Worldwide Data Center Sales takes the stage for the keynote at 9am ET
  • Cisco’s breakout session, SUM 142 “Driving Success with Mobile Workspaces: the Citrix and Cisco Go-To-Market Framework” is at 3pm ET
  • And I’ll be in the Citrix Booth Theater at 1pm covering the Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution with Citrix

Tuesday: Cisco’s Ram Appalaraju, VP Data Center Business Group delivers breakout session SUM 111 “NetScaler Roadmap and Vision” at 10am ET

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VDI Roundup: Cisco and VMware – Better Together

Screen Shot 2013-09-09 at 12.59.59 PMIt’s a beautiful thing when you can hijack four not-quite random people off the VMworld show floor and get them to tackle a discussion on desktop virtualization.  And that’s exactly what we did a couple weeks back, when the opportunity presented itself.  With Courtney Burry (VMware), Mike Brennan (Cisco), Dave Kinsman (WWT) and myself on hand, we did a sort of VDI blogger “round-up”.  You should check out the video below, but a quick recap as follows:

  • Courtney discussed some of the latest improvements in Horizon View that improve desktop TCO by optimizing storage footprint through technologies like SE sparse (or Space Efficient Sparse) which provides the ability to reclaim blocks of storage that are unused or deleted by the guest file system.
  • I also shared some thoughts on our joint solution with VMware that’s expanding the number of use cases addressable by VDI, through our support of hardware-accelerated 3D Graphics with nVidia as part of our C-Series rack server solution, as well as the improving economics of 1:1 persistent desktop images using the latest generation of flash-based partner technologies we support through our VDI storage ecosystem.
  • Mike discussed how we’re offering a more consolidated management approach with VMware through things like integration within vCenter which includes a snap-in for UCS, allowing administrators to see our UCS infrastructure inside the vCenter web client as well as open API’s that introduce more opportunities for automation, which combined with combine with UCS Manager and our automation tools, can help our customers provision desktops from bare metal, much faster.
  • And to help round-out the round-up, we snagged Dave Kinsman from WWT, to give us his feedback on how he sees all of this coming together, both for channel partners like WWT, and they customers they serve.

 

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Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX: Collaboration Helps Build Momentum

Cisco and EMC continue to partner closely to speed our customers journey to the cloud via our “three paths to the cloud’ strategy. The strategy enables customers to implement custom-design infrastructures with best-of-breed products, validated reference architectures via Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX, and pre-integrated converged infrastructure from VCE.

In the last year, Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX have generated significant momentum with customers and partners.  In this short period of time we have:

  • Signed up more than 850 channel partners
  • Nearly 1,000 VSPEX customers around the world
  • Published 9 CVD’s focused on virtualization and desktop virtualization
  • 60% y/y growth in viewership on our VSPEX CVD pages

Cisco and EMC will continue collaborating on VSPEX to expand the solution portfolio and accelerate growth. As a preview of future VSPEX CVDs, two new solution briefs have just been released. These solution briefs enable customers to choose their desired hypervisor, Microsoft Hyper-V 2012 R2 or VMware VSphere 5.1, and get a validated configuration for up to 1000 virtual machines based upon Cisco UCS servers and networking with next-generation EMC VNX Series storage. The next-generation EMC VNX Series storage will complement VSPEX solutions by enhancing virtual application performance through multicore optimization software taking advantage of the latest multicore CPUs.

Building your own infrastructure solutions can not only take time and resources but also can introduce additional risk and complexity. This is exactly the problem that Cisco solutions for EMC VSPEX solves by offering presized and validated solutions that give customers confidence that they are deploying the right balance of computing, networking, and storage resources.

Congratulations to the Cisco and EMC teams for their momentum with Cisco Solutions for EMC VSPEX and thank you for making it easy for organizations to quickly deploy a powerful, secure virtualized environment without the expense or risk entailed in designing and building a custom solution.

To learn more about Cisco’s solutions for EMC VSPEX please visit www.cisco.com/go/vspex.

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Step off that old, familiar path

Venturing off the beaten path may just be the only way to stay ahead of the competition.

And while IT-as-a-service and cloud computing concepts are not as precarious as once perceived, there are still a lot of unknowns as businesses and organizations set out to explore new possibilities.

Discover how industry thought leaders are paving new roads by enabling new business opportunities.

Subscribe to Unleashing IT today, or log in, for a fresh perspective and innovative approaches to business.  Hard copies of the Summer 2013 edition—produced in collaboration with Intel®—are now available in addition to the electronic PDF. And don’t hesitate to check out the newest event listings, offers, and resources on the website.

To get in touch with a Cisco representative regarding any solutions found in Unleashing IT, fill out this form or send a message to info@unleashingit.com.

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And now, finally, you can afford to let your VDI administrator go on vacation ….

 

Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions Video

Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions Video

I know I know.. You are already familiar with the fundamentals of Desktop Virtualization. So we are not going to talk about that.  However, if you do not know much about Cisco’s capabilities in the space and you have three minutes and twenty seconds of your busy day to spare, you can watch this short video and get the ‘Bonsai’ rendition.  While tempting, I will not dwell on the strengths of our UCS platform which is at the core of our Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions portfolio.

I will focus instead on a question that our services team often gets from our enterprise class customers; “How do I best manage my desktop virtualization environment on a day-to-day basis?”

Let’s face it. Designing and configuring production-ready Desktop Virtualization Infrastructures takes planning and expertise. Frequently, that expertise comes in the form of a Professional Services contract. But the challenges that many of our customers experience is expanding their platform after the implementation team has moved to other projects …

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