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Looking for Action? Citrix Synergy or Disneyland – or Both

I am looking forward to next week’s Citrix Synergy conference in Anaheim, Los Angeles with sense of great anticipation. If you are fortunate enough to be attending, I am sure you are looking forward to next week too – and surely not because of the proximity to Disneyland. Whether it’s Mark Templeton’s keynote or the CTO innovations session or the Citrix party – there is always lots to learn and great people to meet.  Just as important for me, we at Cisco have another great opportunity to share and demonstrate the latest innovations in our Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions portfolio for Citrix XenDesktop environments. There is something in store for every IT professional, from self-guided demos to a live expo of what’s going on behind the scenes at the conference.  I want to spend the next few minutes taking you through a virtual tour of the Cisco presence at the event.

Since I visited Citrix Synergy Barcelona in 2012 October, Cisco has made significant progress by expanding on the Desktop Virtualization front to help you choose a desktop virtualization solution ideally optimized to your own delivery model, scale, use case and cost requirements Ashok Rajagopalan does a great job describing these solutions in his video blog

 ashok

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Cisco at Citrix Synergy LA 2013 : Expanding the Relationship

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Our bags are packed  and the demos are built, as Cisco heads out to Citrix Synergy LA 2013 in Anaheim next week.  Synergy will be the inaugural event at the new Anaheim Convention Center, and Cisco a proud Platinum Sponsor , will be  showing up in style, with a larger booth, 8 demo stations, a theater, and our Shindig Party.

Cisco continues to build its relationship with Citrix, and we’ll be expanding on the announcements made by Padma Warrior, Cisco CTO and Strategy Officer, during the Synergy Barcelona 2012 keynote, with booth demos of innovations in desktop virtualization, cloud networking, mobility, and cloud orchestration.   In addition, we will provide visibility into Cisco and Citrix CVD roadmap for “Excalibur” and preview of Cisco Jabber integrated with Citrix XenMobile.

Cisco will be hosting two breakout sessions during Synergy and Summit:

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Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms – Flexibility and Choice with Architectures That Fit

Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms – Flexibility and Choice with Architectures That Fit

I recently had the opportunity to host several customers in a roundtable discussion, exploring their experiences in deploying desktop and application virtualization, the challenges encountered, and the benefits they’ve reaped.  It was an engaging dialog with organizations spanning mid-market, enterprise to large service prVirt_during Webinar w_Jim Mchughovider environments deploying either Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon View desktop virtualization software.  In case you missed it, you can check out the event here.  I mention this because it provides a valuable backdrop to some important news Cisco is sharing today, centered on helping IT organizations (like those I met with) more quickly achieve success in VDI.

Over the last few years, Cisco UCS has rapidly established itself as a leader among competitors with a much longer history in the server marketplace.  Why is that?  If you talk with anyone who’s implemented UCS in their data center, they’ll instantly tell you about the operational streamlining and simplification that UCS Service Profile Templates offer, the value of a unified data center fabric for LAN and SAN, and the performance derived from a platform that was purpose built for highly scalable, virtualized environments.

It shouldVirt_info graphic_UDC to End User be no surprise then, that when organizations evaluate their options for server infrastructure to host virtual desktop workloads, the same UCS core value proposition extends nicely to desktop virtualization – the benefits of which are multiplied, in fact, given that virtual desktops can consume infrastructure resources and capacity in unique ways compared to other mission critical enterprise applications.  We’ve therefore seen great response from our customers (as demonstrated in our webinar/panel discussion) when it comes to the fitness of UCS in hosting virtual desktops.

What we’ve come to find through our customer’s experiences, is that the vendor marketplace has traditionally taken a one-size-fits-all mentality around VDI architectures that either forces organizations to overspend CAPEX on approaches that are tuned for much larger environments, or wrestle with an economized approach that results in poor desktop user experience.  Clearly, there’s a spectrum of IT implementation use cases that apply, when we’re talking VDI.  Persistent desktops vs. floating, SAN in place vs. greenfield, one-hundred seats vs. tens of thousands, etc. so one size will never adequately fit all!

For this very reason, we’re expanding our portfolio of desktop virtualization solution architectures, along with the ecosystem of technology partners who are helping us accelerate the path to VDI success for environments of all sizes.  While Cisco enjoys a strategic relationship with NetApp and EMC, we’re now  offering desktop virtualization solutions that also include technologies from partners such as Nimble Storage, Nexenta, Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, Tegile and others in process.

With these partners’ technologies come new capabilities that exploit key trends in the VDI and data center marketplace, including the proliferation of flash-based storage solutions, and appliance based approaches that mitigate the need for embedded SAN infrastructure and expertise (especially in smaller environments).  Additionally, unlike our competitors who are narrowly focused on their own storage portfolio, Cisco can offer our customers the flexibility and choice they desire in selecting the storage technology and solution for VDI, that best fits their environment.

I encourage you to learn more about this exciting new portfolio of architectures by checking out the assets below.

Please also check out the webinar “Customer Insights: Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms

Our featured guests include:

  • Mark Balch, Director UCS Product Management, Cisco
  • David Johnson, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Charles Rosse, Baptist Memorial HealthCare
  • Udaya Kiran, WiPro Technologies
  • Robert Dixon, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • And myself (Jim McHugh) as your Host/Moderator

Check it out and let me know what you think in the Comments section!

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VDI “The Missing Questions” #2: Core Speed scaling (Burst)

Welcome back as we continue to dive deeper into advanced CPU (Central Processing Unit -- I had a “tech writer” change a document on me one time, he assumed at this day in age that people still needed to have the CPU acronym translated.. but I digress) and Memory concepts in the land of VDI. Last week Doron answered our first question and told us about Core Count vs. Core Speed for scalable VDI. This week we will focus specifically on Core Speed, bursting and introduce you to a potentially new subject called “SPEC Blend/Core” for high performance VDI. If you are just finding this blog post for the first time, I encourage you to check out the Introduction from Tony as it will help set the stage for our discussion. Here is the full table of contents:

  1. Introduction – VDI – The Questions you didn’t ask (but really should)
  2. VDI “The Missing Questions” #1: Core Count vs. Core Speed
  3. VDI “The Missing Questions” #2: Core Speed Scaling (Burst)  YOU ARE HERE!
  4. VDI “The Missing Questions” #3: Realistic Virtual Desktop Limits
  5. VDI “The Missing Questions” #4: How much SPECint is enough
  6. VDI “The Missing Questions” #5: How does 1vCPU scale compared to 2vCPU’s?
  7. VDI “The Missing Questions” #6: What do you really gain from a 2vCPU virtual desktop?
  8. VDI “The Missing Questions” #7:  How memory bus speed affects scale
  9. VDI “The Missing Questions” #8: How does memory density affect VDI scalability?
  10. VDI “The Missing Questions” #9: How many storage IOPs?

You are Invited!  If you’ve been enjoying our blog series, please join us for a free webinar discussing the VDI Missing Questions, with Tony, Doron, Shawn and Jason!  Access the webinar here!

VM’s are only as fast as their individual cores! Lets look at what this statement means. Example: Assume we have a 1GHz x 4 core processor (hey, it makes math easy for me). When we carve up a server VM or in this case a VM to be used for VDI, we can’t just give it 2 vCPU’s and say it’s got a 2GHz processor. The reality is that it has a dual 1GHz processor. This becomes an important concept in VDI when you are considering the quantity and QUALITY of vCPU’s you allocate to a Virtual Machine and ultimately the end user applications efficiency and the overall scalability of the server platform. This is not a Uni-processor vs. Multi-processor application discussion. We could easily have a very long discussion and debate on the in’s and out’s of application level efficiencies and the Operating Systems ability (and sometimes inability) to properly manage multiple CPU’s. We are going to expand upon the two CPU’s we tested and dig into per core performance.

CPU Burst vs. CPU Reservation. Let’s play around with our example 1GHz x 4 Core Processor a bit more. If we take this single processor and deploy 8 single vCPU desktops on it we will have a 500MHz CPU reservation per VM. The calculation for that is simple 1GHz x 4 Cores = 4,000MHz / 8 total VM’s = 500MHz/VM Reservation. So the Reservation is simply the average amount of CPU that is available to each VM (assuming everything is prioritized equally). But our Burst is different. Our Burst represents the maximum amount of CPU Core that any one VM could ever utilize. In this example, the Burst per VM is equivalent to 1GHz.

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Enhancing Collaboration with New Integrated Audio Accessories

Today, I am pleased to post a guest blog from Cisco partner, Jabra, authored by Chris Briglin, Vice President of Strategic Alliances at Jabra. 

One of my favorite quotes in the technology business is: ”The next big thing is whatever makes the last big thing usable.” To me this really speaks to the importance of a great user experience in driving the widespread adoption and deployment of technology solutions. While there are lots of business problems out there and many technology-based solutions created to address those needs, solutions that address business needs through a superior user experience are typically the ones that thrive.

As noted in Cisco’s announcement last week, Jabra partnered with Cisco to co-develop audio devices that enhance the collaboration experience on Cisco Jabber for virtual environments. By combining Jabra’s expertise in audio engineering, product design and software integration with Cisco’s leadership in unified communications, we created two audio devices Read More »

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