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Seeing is believing – Graphics Conference first day brings together industry players with Cisco

No longer just the domain of gamesters and young-at-heart, the graphics industry is now providing stunning performance to all sorts of industries such as manufacturing, finance, healthcare and design. Perhaps none more so though than the Oil and Gas Industry, as companies explore in harder-to-get-at places and dangers to workers are greater than ever. The GPU Technology  Conference in San Jose this week showed how far we’ve come in accelerating energy discoveries with less time spent travelling to far off dangerous environments.

So what’s it all about? Well, for starters four partners – Cisco, NetApp, NVIDIA and Citrix have got together to change the way users of high performance graphics applications can be used in remote and local environments. Normally geophysicists and geoscientists using, say, Schlumberger or Halliburton seismic analysis software use powerful (but expensive) workstations or have to work close to large central datacenters to get the kind of performance they need to get their applications running fast enough and their graphics visualizations looking smooth and not jittery.

That’s where the four partners come in. Putting it simply Cisco and NetApp provide a best-in-class virtualized data center with ‘Flexpod’, then NVIDIA provide high-performance  GPUs (Graphics Processor Units) that slot into the Flexpod (remember it’s based on Cisco UCS so have heaps of flexibility), and then remote users can access their graphics applications on inexpensive devices (even tablets!) using VDI (Virtual desktop infrastructure) software from Citrix. This is on show in various places in the Exhibit hall, including Cisco’s booth # 219.

What does it all mean? Well, for starters, really fast loading of the datasets – no waiting around in the break room for ages! Also – remote access to the analysis of the data – so the data never leaves the datacenter so better security. Add to that the possibility that scientists can now work together using Cisco and other collaboration tools, and productivity just got a shot-in-the-arm. The demo stowed the applications running remotely – performance was indistinguishable from running locally on expensive and cumbersome workstations or on local datacenters!

Folks at the booth were impressed. “Wow – that’s graphics visualization and analysis on steroids'” said one visitor. “We could really use that where I work” said another (yes, we’ll be following that one up!).

Other highlights today were Cisco presenting the benefits of UCS to a sizable audience, and Dassault Systems, an accomplished Cisco UCS user, talking about how they use NVIDIA GRID and CISCO UCS for Graphics Virtualization. Laurent Seror, Founder and CEO, Outscale, presents. Tomorrow we’ll hear from the Ford Motor Company with a presentation entitled ‘So you want to Deploy High Resolution Graphics Desktop Virtualization’. Chip Charnley, Technical Expert, Client Technologies, Ford Motor Company will review both the process of doing, and the results of the Proof of Concept for implementing XenApp and XenDesktop that was conducted jointly by Ford Motor Company, Citrix and Cisco. Read More »

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Live at DistribuTECH – Wednesday Recap

While Day One of DistribuTECH wrapped on Tuesday, Day Two delivered more of the same: exceptional networking, education and workshops for utility professionals, industry experts and solution providers. The day kicked off with lively roundtable discussions, followed by another full day of conference sessions, workshops, and demonstrations. With so many great topics and speakers, it was difficult to choose which to attend!

DistribuTECH Day 2

The session I gained the most value from was NERC-CIP version 5 Strategies and Approaches. The panelists addressed compliance approaches for the updated standard, aimed at fending off both cyber and physical attacks. Panelist gave their views on identifying assets and how to address monitoring and controls. Other panelists made it clear that perimeter defense is one of the many tools but by no means the only tool to address grid cyber security. Security teams should focus on approaches that encompass intelligence. Hacktivists, nation states, and cyber-criminal threat vectors are relevant considering the threat landscape.

During the day, I popped into the exhibit hall to check out the product workshops and demonstrations. I was particularly interested in integration of Bitstew’s Grid Director’s analytic into Cisco’s architecture. The ability to get a complete view of the grid with predictive analytics capabilities enhanced the Internet of Everything deployment.

During the evening reception, our booth was abuzz with attendees wanting to learn more about our solutions for Field Area Networks, Grid Security, Substation Automation and collaboration. Field Area Networks was especially popular with the attendees and our reps did a great job articulating the multiservice value and different connectivity options. We had a great evening with attendees, industry peers and our customers celebrating the 25th anniversary of DTECH, complete with the Macarena dance craze to boot!

It’s been a busy few days, but it’s not over yet. On Thursday, we still have a half-day of networking, engagement and education planned. Don’t miss your final opportunity to visit Cisco Booth #3413. After lunch, we’ll pack up our solutions and start planning for next year’s event! Check back tomorrow for a full DistribuTECH recap!

DistribuTECH Day 2 Image 2

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Live at DistribuTECH – Tuesday Recap

There was a LOT of great activity today in San Diego at DistribuTECH! The day started with a Keynote session from industry executives Jeff Martin and Ted Craver, sharing their insights followed by future prognostications from renowned physicist Dr. Michio Kaku.

Dr. Michio Kaku speaking at DistribuTECH! 2015

Dr. Michio Kaku speaking at DistribuTECH! 2015

Both Mr. Martin, CEO of SDG&E, and Mr. Craver, CEO of Edison International, described their commitment to a greener energy future, accepting the challenges of adding more renewable sources of power to their respective utilities.   Attendees left the session more prepared to welcome the inevitable challenges and opportunities that come with this changing landscape. The best part of the keynote for me was the acknowledgement of how the industry is going to change more in the next ten years than it has in the previous 100 years.

After the session, all attendees, including myself, were ready to gear up for what’s next by attending and learning from the various workshops and sessions planned throughout the day. The afternoon kicked-off with conference sessions along with concurrent product workshops and demos on the exhibit floor. The conference session topics ranged from advanced metering to water utility technology, but I was particularly interested in sessions on security, grid automation and the policy discussion on renewables and transmission. These areas are at the heart of the industry transformation. Regulation of the industry needs to change just as much as the industry needs to change.

Product workshops and demonstrations are always a big draw for our customers and one of my personal highlights from this event. As my colleague Peter mentioned in his last blog, Cisco’s booth doesn’t disappoint! Our featured solutions include Field Area Networks, Substation Automation, Secure Ops Solutions and our FirePOWER threat defense.

The day came to close with the opening reception on the exhibit floor. This networking event provided us a great opportunity to meet with customers and hear their top challenges first hand. The overwhelming feedback was positive and customers are looking to Cisco for how to deal with legacy equipment, security threats, and the new capabilities required by grid transformation.

All good things must come to an end but thankfully for us, it’s just the beginning! The Cisco team is looking forward to another packed day Wednesday, beginning with breakfast round table discussions starting at 7:30am. If you haven’t already, make sure to stop by Cisco Booth #3413 in the exhibit hall and check back tomorrow for another daily recap from your Cisco team, live at DistribuTECH!

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Accelerating the Performance of Graphics-Intensive VDI

The VDI landscape is increasingly evolving to embrace virtual desktops that look, perform, and respond like their physical predecessors.  Whether it’s application responsiveness with low latency across the network, or high-performance storage with expansive IOPS capacity that mirrors  the native experience on one’s desktop/laptop, implementers and users expect their virtual desktops to behave akin to physical.

These technological achievements have led to increasingly successful virtual desktop deployments for knowledge workers and task workers, but not so much so for users of 3D graphics applications traditionally running on high-end dedicated graphics workstations.  Across many industries and verticals like Manufacturing/Design, Higher Ed, and Healthcare, you’ll find end users needing access to immersive 3D graphics applications.

Cisco, Citrix and NVIDIA are pleased to be at the forefront of extending the applicability of VDI for graphics-intensive use cases, enabled by our jointly validated solution architectures based on Cisco Unified Computing, NVIDIA GRID™ vGPU™ and Citrix XenDesktop.  This joint solution offers affordable, scalable performance for graphics-intensive VDI use cases, built on an optimized computing infrastructure from Cisco.  Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is the foundation of Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions. Cisco UCS provides an end-to-end, service-and-application optimized platform for mobile, virtual workspaces.  The embedded NVIDIA GRID solution enables GPU sharing without sacrificing application compatibility or the user experience. Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp deliver desktops and applications as on demand services that tap into the benefits of GPU resources.  With our combined desktop virtualization solution, we’re expanding the utility, reach and performance of VDI.

Learn more about Cisco, Citrix and NVIDIA joint solutions for immersive 3D graphics in virtualized environments by checking out this helpful Solution Overview

For more information on NVIDIA GRID™:

NVIDIA GRID™ main website –
NVIDIA GRID™ K1 & K2 boards -

For more information on Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions with Citrix:


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