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Wristwatches, Bicycle Helmets, and VDI…

A long time ago, it used to be comforting, to hear the words “One Size Fits All”.  As though our interests were surely represented within that catch-all, assuring us that we weren’t going to get left out in the rain.  You could safely make that impulse-driven purchase, bring it home (or have it delivered), and know with certainty, that you wouldn’t be disappointed.  It’s almost laughable to think that we subscribed to this way of thinking for about 50 years.  But thankfully, we live, work and play in a world where it’s not about one-size-fits-all, and the only things we’ll accept as such, are wristwatches, and bicycle helmets! (unless you have a gargantuan sized cranium)

And so it is with your IT environment – “One-Size-Fits-All” feels too much like hand-cuffs (which coincidentally are also one-size-fits-all).  We’ve done away with the notion that a solution that’s optimized for a Fortune 500, is going to be at all suitable for a medium-sized business with almost 1,000 employees.  While both organizations might have a strategic imperative around workspace mobility, and have set out to virtualize the desktops of say, 5% of their workforce, they’ll approach this problem in two completely different ways.

  • One of these organizations will have an extensive , multi-tiered networking and security infrastructure, optimized for virtual machine traffic, the other may not.
  • One of these organizations will have a mature SAN infrastructure in place, with embedded resources and expertise, and lots of existing mission-critical data already housed there.  The other may not.
  • One of these organizations will have a high percentage of virtualized workloads and a highly automated/orchestrated environment for rapidly spinning up new infrastructure.  The other may not.

Carchpicertainly these two environments are not going to take the same solution approach to deploying virtual desktops?  They will however, share many of the same key objectives/demands: future proof scalability, resiliency, streamlined provisioning and operations, consistent user experience for the 1st user as well as the 1000th.  And they’ll want all of this with the lowest possible TCO.

 

Last month, Cisco introduced our expanwebcastded suite of solution architectures for desktop virtualization.  This portfolio was struck with the objective of ensuring our customers would never have to settle for a One-Size-Fits-All approach to deploying VDI, recognizing that they’re deploying this solution from a multitude of possible starting points in their IT maturity.  With four new solution architectures, each built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and each backed by design guides and reference configurations co-developed with industry-leading partners in storage and storage-optimization technologies, we’ve taken the risk and guesswork out of choosing the deployment methodology that’s right-sized for your organization.  Check out my friend Ashok’s more detailed post on the new reference architecture portfolio.

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Where do you do your best work?

May 21, 2013 at 9:07 am PST

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Most of us have the ability to work in different places these days. I am personally very mobile. I love all my little tools -- I carry my Air, iPad and iPhone plus a few other bits whereever I go. Now, just because I can work anywhere does not mean that I always like to. Depends on what I need to get done. My home office space is my ideal working environment. This is the one spot I have invested the most time in making comfortable for me and as such, this is where I do my best work. For you, it may be your office at work.

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Why?

I had never given much thought to why I like this space the most..it seems obvious…but one item that makes this spot ideal: my desk phone.

My desk phone is large, reliable and comfortable. It has an easy interface, great speakerphone and a good headset always attached. This communication device, sitting right next to my iMac, makes communication rich and easy. When I sit here -- I can get anything done. Anything.

So as silly as it seemed when I first heard it, the idea that Cisco was investing in the deskphone, now makes sense. Mobile phones, tablets..these are all obvious, well worn markets with lots of people fighting for a toe-hold. The desk phone? How delightfully contrarian. Cisco is really good in the business space..selling to consumers…not so much. But the enteprise…at all levels…have very unique needs.

Cisco’s move with the DX650 is brave, and based on what I have seen…really smart.

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Making it Easier to Bring the Power of Video and Collaboration to Your Desktop

April 18, 2013 at 8:32 am PST

Trends like pervasive video and cloud computing are inherently changing the way we collaborate. Increasingly, organizations are looking for ways to enable rich interactions amongst employees, partners and customers.

To address this need, Cisco recently announced the Cisco Desktop Collaborate Experience DX650, an Android based phone that delivers traditional voice functionality, high-definition 1080p video, and many features commonly associated with today’s smartphones  straight to the desktop. This new next-generation Cisco IP phone extends the possibilities of desktop collaboration and delivers a reliable and high-quality audio and visual experience.

Snorre Kjesbu, vice president of Cisco Collaboration Endpoints Technology, recently took time out at Enterprise Connect to discuss the DX650. Read his post to hear more on Cisco’s newest endpoint, including what Snorre’s favorite feature is! A New Paradigm for Desktop Collaboration.

 

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The Changing Enterprise Desktop Environment

March 20, 2013 at 4:00 am PST

Today’s workplace is radically different from ten or even five years ago.  Work has changed. The way people work has changed, and technology needs to be in synch with these changes. In the office, people still want access to traditional conveniences, including a desk phone.  They also want access to high quality video from the desktop, and, some want to use many of the capabilities they use every day on their smart phones.  It’s the whole “consumerization of IT” in action.

At Enterprise Connect 2013 this week, Cisco is debuting our latest addition to the enterprise desktop: the DX650. The DX650, orderable globally today, is an Android based phone that delivers traditional voice functionality, high-definition 1080p video, and many features commonly associated with today’s smartphones  straight to the desktop.

And, on top of the Android operating system, we’ve added Cisco software, which provides better security, quality of service, manageability and higher fidelity audio and video. In short, this new disruptive technology is doing for the desk phone what smartphones did for mobile devices. Imagine – a smartphone experience for the desktop where users will never have to worry about battery life or dropped calls.

New capabilities include:

Cisco DX650

Cisco DX650

  • High quality video: In addition to extending the 1080p high quality video experience to the desktop, users can also dial directly into a TelePresence meeting or connect to any standards-based video endpoint from the device.
  • Smartphone capabilities at the desktop: The phone has many “smart” features or attributes, including a familiar Android user interface, instant access to critical applications and the ability to create multiple unique user profiles. Each profile can easily integrate with the user’s email and calendar as well as a full directory of contacts and speed dials. Applications such as Cisco Jabber, WebEx, and AnyConnect come preloaded on the phone.
  • Cloud-readiness: This new phone enables users to access on-premises or cloud-based applications. Given that this is a fully compatible Android device (Compatibility Test Suite certified), users can now access enterprise applications such as customer service portals or CRM solutions from the DX650’s built in browser. Or, they can view content and share video with colleagues through cloud collaboration applications such as Cisco WebEx, available natively on the phone or through the Google Play store.
  • Teleworking: We’ve also ensured that the DX650 supports multiple connectivity options. The DX650 can connect to the network wired or wirelessly. It also has a built in VPN client so remote users, working from home or in branch locations, can access their enterprise applications as needed.

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VMworld and… Customer Experiences with the Business Value of VXI

Are you making last minute plans for VMworld?  Filling out your agenda, and realizing there just isn’t enough time to take it all in?  This year like last, will be packed with valuable sessions, labs, keynotes, and the like, but before we get to the shenanigans taking place there, let me share something hot off the presses.

Just this week, we posted a brand new study, conducted by Cisco’s Customer Business Transformation Team, sharing their analyses of two customers who’ve deployed the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution.  More specifically, they looked at the savings associated with the migration of user workspace (traditional desktop along with a traditional TDM phone) to a fully virtualized workspace delivered via Cisco VXC endpoints (phone replaced with VXC 6215 delivering unified voice, video and virtual desktop), underpinned by Cisco Unified Data Center.

The tangible impacts are progressively revealed in incremental stages of implementation as customers go from:

Incremental Savings Derived from Implementing VXI at Various Stages

 A big contributor to the cost savings is not just the evolution of the telephony and video solution, but also the underlying data center infrastructure leveraging Cisco Unified Data Center, built on Cisco Unified Computing System.

I was going to paste a nice graphic from the analysis here, but that would be a spoiler, and I’m so not about spoiling stuff, so download the full document >> here <<

Now onto the shenanigans, I mean, VMworld…

If you’re exploring desktop virtualization, and more closely thinking about specific use cases you’re trying to address, like mobile power users, or business process outsourcing, this year’s event will be especially valuable to your organization.

Cisco and VMware have teamed up to deliver an holistic solution approach for organizations seeking to better empower mobile users to become truly untethered from the confines of their brick and mortar office.  These users are not solely defined by the need to access apps and data on a myriad of device options, but on the ability to collaborate with peers, partners, and customers, using enterprise-grade real-time communications media.  I blogged about it here.  Similarly we’ve plowed considerable focus into the use case of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO), one which bears increasing relevancy as businesses seek to leverage a global talent pool to handle functions like customer service, tech support, payroll, etc.  These environments depend on an extensive WAN infrastructure and uncompromised collaboration and communications, delivered securely.

So, what’s being served up at VMworld this year, from VMware and Cisco that will help you navigate these opportunities?  Here’s what:

Monday! 

2:30pm -- SPO3336, “A Healthcare Provider’s Perspectives on Going Beyond VDI with Unified Workspaces, Moscone West, Level 3, Room 3007 – check this session out to hear from a major regional healthcare provider who’s implemented Virtual Workspaces, reducing IT OPEX, while improving clinician workflow

Tuesday!

Are you going to the Steve Herrod keynote?  I can’t reveal details here, but if you’re not familiar with the Cisco UCS Express Solution for virtual desktops and simplified branch office infrastructure, you don’t want to miss this!  Not only that, but our own TechWise TV Guys (Jimmy Ray Purser and Robb Boyd) will be there, and to call it entertaining would be an understatement!  FYI – there’s a specially prepared music video involved, way better than Carly Rae Jepsen, so please vote for them!

All week long!

Visit Cisco at Booth 1213 – why you ask?  Well like last year I’m sure we’ll be in excellent proximity to the afternoon drinks/food reception, but besides that:

  • See the Business Process Desktop and Mobile Secure Desktop with VMware View, built on Cisco VXI, in action!
  • Learn about how Cisco Unified Data Center delivers a simplified, more scalable solution with consistent performance, for virtual desktop workloads
  • Attend our theater presentations on Cisco VXI, as well as our Ask-the-Experts whiteboarding area where you can fire-off your questions (of course with drinks and food from the reception in hand).

If you’re going to be at VMworld, definitely stop by and say hi.  (If not, it will likely be a very quiet, productive week at the office for you – so it’s a win-win either way I guess)

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