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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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Architecture Options for Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions

Today Cisco is introducing an expanded architectural portfolio and partner ecosystem in support of our successful desktop virtualization solution built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  Cisco UCS market traction has been phenomenal over the last 3 years. In fact, desktop virtualization has been one of the top workloads deployed on UCS as IT organizations apply the benefits of our stateless, simplified operations model, expansive I/O, and scalable performance to desktop workloads in the data center. Combined with unique product integration and the software eco-system partners such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Cisco has delivered a number of reference designs with our strategic storage partners such as EMC and NetApp. Typically, these architectures were based on designs that easily scale from supporting a few hundred virtual desktops to thousands of desktops.

We have seen an inflection point with the perfect storm of the evolution of storage options, desktop software maturity, and data center architectures. One of the important changes in the storage market is the emergence of flash storage to address performance problems.

Taking advantage of enhanced UCS features and expanding the eco-system of storage partners including Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, LSI, Nexenta, Nimble Storage and Tegile, Cisco is defining a broader portfolio of data center architectures for delivering desktop virtualization solutions – on-board architecture, simplified architecture and scalable architecture. “Converged” or “Unified” infrastructure stacks such as FlexPod and vBlock have, and will continue to be another successful option for desktop delivery infrastructure.  Let me walk you through each of these architectural approaches.

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Cisco UCS at EMC World 2013

May 13, 2013 at 7:37 am PST

new button

We handed out a stack of these buttons for the Cisco booth staff to wear this year and that sums up my favorite part of EMC World:  it’s an infrastructure party.  This is a place where you’re going to talk with people at the heart of the data center and IT, and the conversations all start there.

Our alignment with EMC couldn’t be any clearer than what we had on display last week. VBlock continues to rock and roll and Trey Layton of VCE summed that up quite nicely here.   On the VSPEX front, Cisco recently released 7 new and updated integrated infrastructure designs that combine UCS, Nexus and VNX Storage.  Moreover, Cisco offers these as single-part-number SmartPlay Solution Pak bundles that make them even easier for our partners and customers to order.   Cisco’s VSPEX offerings span the gamut on choice of virtualization platform and application, paving that second of the three paths to cloud we talked about at EMCworld.

Cisco Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX with VMware vSphere 5.1 for 50 Virtual Machines

Cisco Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX VMware vSphere 5.1 for 100, 125, and 250 Virtual Machines

Cisco Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX with Microsoft Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V for 50 Virtual Machines

Cisco Solution for EMC VSPEX: Microsoft Private Cloud Fast Track 3.0 Enterprise Medium M250

Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX with VMware View 5.1.2 for 500 and 2000 Desktops

Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution for EMC VSPEX with Citrix XenDesktop 5.6 for 500 Desktops

Cisco Solution for EMC VSPEX: Microsoft SharePoint 2010

booth

On a product front the big news for Cisco was the new MDS 9710 and that brought a lot of visitors into the booth.  I was also really happy by the amount of people that came by to talk with us about UCS and the things we’re doing around data center automation.  Each year the conversation has changed and the evolution has been fun to experience:

2010

Customer: “What’s that funny looking switch there?”

Me: “That’s the Unified Computing System, are you familiar with Cisco’s new server platform?”

Customer:  “What? No, really, what’s that funny looking switch there??”

 2011/2012

Customer:  “Do you have any UCS on display here?  Our team in XYZ division just deployed it and I’d like to take a look”

Me: “Certainly, let me take you through an overview of the system

 2013

Customer:  “Hey, I really like what you folks did with the switch-based Fibre Channel zoning in the last release of UCS Manager.  When does version 2.0 of UCS Central come out? We’re deploying UCS in three more data centers and I want to talk about implementing global ID pools”

Me:  “Fantastic.  Let me find our systems management expert.”

I speak geek pretty well, so when customers come in and want to go deeper than I can on operating the system instead of asking me “Cisco sells servers?”…I know we’re in the right place and on the right vector.   Thanks to the EMC and Cisco teams for putting on such a great event.

I’ll leave you with a photo here for a caption contest.  Leave your ideas in the comment section and try your best to keep it clean.  My first take is “I loved EMC World 2013 thiiiiiiiiiiiis much!”

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What is Cisco and SAP doing together?

3 years ago Cisco entered the server platform market with the Unified
Computing System (UCS). This server platform was built from the ground up
for virtualization and immediately started making an impact and gaining
market share. Today it holds the number 2 position worldwide for blades.

At this same time Cisco began to deepen its partnership with SAP. SAP
customers who had relied on Cisco for their networking gear looked to
expand the Cisco relationship by moving their SAP instances to UCS. SAP
HANA accelerated many of these customers move to UCS. Because SAP HANA
operated outside the bounds of the Data Center, it has allowed the
companies to look at UCS without affecting their current SAP instance
while proving UCS as a fast, reliable, scalable, cost reducing platform,
giving the customers confidence that Cisco UCS can more than handle the
mission-critical application workload

But that was just the beginning of the relationship between these two
giants. The diversity of both Cisco and SAP has allowed for a much more
strategic and far reaching relationship allowing each of us to expand our
business together.

SAP Afaria and Precision Retail in SAP’s mobility area combined with the
Cisco mobility and Cisco UCS platform business is bringing mobility to
the masses in a cost efficient way. In addition SAP has begun
collaboration with Cisco’s Jabber collaboration product again using UCS
as the basis platform for these products. Teamed together, Cisco’s and
SAP’s Cloud business has also made a big impact in the form of Vblock and
Flexpod.

Last but not least, Cisco, unlike its platform competitors, partners with
EMC and NetApp for the storage and SANS product in order to complete all
solutions with SAP. Customers enjoy the flexibility of these solutions
allowing them to keep the vendors they have already standardized on. An
added bonus to these customers is that it allows them to also maintain
their reseller relationships using the massive channel capabilities of
Cisco, where over 95 per cent of Cisco products are sold

Cisco and SAP recently completed a 20 city world wide SAP HANA and Cloud
road show generating millions of dollars of new revenue for both
companies. Cisco and SAP are the world leaders in their respective
areas, reinforcing their position in the market connecting the world in
the Internet of Things.

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Cisco and SAP inaugurate Co-Innovation Labs in both Singapore and Shanghai

Over 200 attendees were present for the opening of two different Co-Innovate Labs (COIL) recently. The COIL is charged with accelerating co-innovation within the SAP partner ecosystem.

This lab is part of the company’s global R&D network and it offers a hands-on environment for SAP, partners and customers to work together on current and future technologies.

The Co-Innovation Lab Singapore is located at SAP’s Asia headquarters in Singapore. It joins a global network of existing co-innovation facilities in Palo Alto (California, USA), São Paulo (Brazil), Walldorf (Germany), Moscow (Russia), Bangalore (India), Shanghai (China) and Tokyo (Japan).

SAP Co-Innovation Lab Singapore is supported by key technology partners Cisco, Intel, NetApp and VMware. Each company provided its latest generation of hardware and software products to the facility’s computing centre, which operates its own private cloud as well as the SAP HANA in-memory platform.

Co-Innovation Lab Singapore has already helped Singapore-based startup ZelRealm Interactive improve their solution, said the company. They developed Sogamo to help game developers optimise and better monetise their online games. Similarly, YFind Technologies, a Singapore-based company, is collaborating with SAP R&D and SAP Co-Innovation Labs to build a product that enables mobile shopping and checkout in retail stores and creates a social network in the supply chain in order to personalise offers and sense demands from customers in real-time for upstream suppliers.

The Coil Lab in Shanghai officially opened March 5th and will server the same purpose as the others around the globe

Cisco, with its Unified Computing System Server Platform and Enterprise Networking Products, and SAP, with SAP HANA, Business Suite, Precision Retail, and Jabber integration, continue to partner in order to bring the best solutions and collaborative products to the world.

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