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From desktop to Data Center…changing the game with graphics

What if you were able to give everyone in your organization the flexibility and freedom to securely work anywhere in the world and on any device? What types of productivity gains would your company see as a result? What efficiencies or cost savings might your IT department receive from moving desktops to your datacenter and managing these virtual workstations through one single pane of glass?

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Our Cisco UCS team is excited to present the new Maxwell generation NVIDIA Tesla M6 GPU for the Cisco UCS B200M4 Blade and the NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPU for Cisco 2U Rack Rack Servers. Cisco and NVIDIA have joined forces to deliver this new graphics solution.  Combining security, reliability and manageability from Cisco UCS and adding NVIDIA’s GRID technology, we’re able to deliver performance and speed needed to run high-end applications on virtual desktops. What’s better is that you have two form factor options to fit your organization’s’ data center footprint. 

The M60 Rack GPU is supported with UCS Manager 3.1(1) and later & Cisco Integrated Management Controller (CIMC) 2.0(9) and later; the M6 Blade GPU is supported with both UCS Manager 3.1(1) and 2.2(7) and later.

 

With Cisco UCS & NVIDIA GRID, you can now expand your virtualization footprint without compromising performance or user experience while also increasing security. This means, you can empower your workforce to create anything around the world, from any location with the ease and flexibility.

 

The new Cisco & NVIDIA M6 Blade GPU solution is fully integrated with the flagship B200M4 Server, supporting all CPU configurations and performance on par with NVIDIA K2 GPU, at less than half the power profile!  With two of the M60 GPU’s on Cisco UCS C240M4, you can now enable high density NVIDIA Tesla Compute and GRID 2.0 VDI user consolidation, which is over 8,000 CUDA cores & 32GB of GPU memory for up to 64 GPU-accelerated virtual desktop users.
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This is especially exciting for organizations in the Oil and Gas, Manufacturing and Design industries since historically, this type of work demanded high-end applications like ESRI, AutoCAD, Petrel and Siemens to be used in on-site with workstations. But now, these types of applications can be powered virtually through your data center to any device.

Take an airplane manufacturer for example. With a follow-the-sun working model, this organization can now empower its employees to design from anywhere in the world with the device they prefer, while all working on the same application in real-time. This helps the company save time, money and fuels rapid innovation. Last but not least, this is all done while maintaining security for the organization.

Empower your employees to create flexibly, securely and from any device and any location in the world. Now possible with Cisco UCS & NVIDIA GRID.   

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Productivity, mobility, security, and flexibility for all. This changes everything.

Learn how others are transforming their data centers with Cisco UCS.

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Agile Application Delivery with UCS-Powered VDI

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We’re off to another edition of VMworld with some great technology to showcase. Our theme this year is your data center is everywhere, the center of innovation. And talking about innovation we will be demoing some recent work around our desktop virtualization solution with VMware. We will have demo pods showcasing our UCS solutions for Virtual SAN and VDI as well as a demo showing graphic acceleration for VDI with Cisco UCS and NVIDIA GRID on Horizon. By the way, did you catch NVIDIA’s announcement today about GRID 2.0. This is pretty exciting news as graphic acceleration is key to a seamless user experience when you virtualize desktops or applications. With Cisco UCS a market leader in blade servers we’re looking forward to bringing virtualized GPUs to our B-series servers. As we see more and more graphic-intensive applications being virtualized to protect intellectual property by keeping data safely in the data center Cisco is working with NVIDIA and ISVs to qualify hardware configuration for specific applications. Read about Esri ArcGISPro recent testing on Cisco UCS C240-M4 and NVIDIA K2 GPU. Read More »

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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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Build your Ark – prepare for the GPU VDI flood!

Its been 9 months since we first discussed VDI 2.0 and the evolution of how and why GPU is becoming a necessary piece of a modern VDI environment. If you missed that blog, have a look here to catch up on this exciting transition. There have been many confirmations of this shift over the last several months but none as exciting or enabling as the early access program for vSphere 6 and VMware’s first stab at NVIDIA GRID vGPU. As a refresher, GRID vGPU is what many would consider the “Holy Grail” of GPU and the primary purpose of the NVIDIA GRID vGPU technology. By physically partitioning the GRID cards, you get the best of scalability and performance without the overhead of technology like vSGA or the limited scale of pass through GPU’s.

As you probably know, Citrix XenServer and XenDesktop have supported vGPU for a little over a year. It was amazing to see staunch vSphere environments start to implement XenServer just to get access to the benefits of GRID vGPU. This appears to have caught VMware a little off guard as they are typically the first to enter new innovative spaces with the vSphere hypervisor. As a result of Citrix beating VMware to the punch on GRID vGPU, work on GRID vGPU shot to the top of priorities at VMware. Who wins in this punch/counter punch contest of GRID vGPU? WE ALL WIN! Competition drives innovation and in this case, very timely innovation.

So lets talk about the early access program for vSphere! Oh… I almost forgot – the restrictions on the early access program prevent discussion outside the people that are part of the early access program. So unfortunately there isn’t much we can discuss specifically about the program, but we can discuss its inevitable impact. vSphere is the leading hypervisor, NVIDIA is the leading GPU enabler for VDI and Cisco is the leading enterprise compute platform that just launched the C240 M4 with the latest Intel Haswell E5-2600 v3 series processors. NVIDIA‘s GTC (GPU Technology Conference) is March 17-20 and VMware is indicating that vSphere 6 should be available around then. You couple all of this with some exciting things that Cisco is working on relative to Compute and GPU’s (maybe an announcement at GTC.. J )… the perfect storm is brewing for sure. Learn more about NVIDIA GRID vGPU here:  http://www.nvidia.com/object/virtual-gpus.html

 

 

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Changing the Economics of Desktop and App Virtualization at the Enterprise Edge

Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 3.21.53 PMIn my last post I discussed how Cisco UCS Mini is helping us expand beyond the traditional confines of the data center, to deliver desktop and app virtualization with exceptional user experience, manageability and TCO savings – at the enterprise edge.

We’re only going to see more investment and focus in this space, thanks to the general trend towards making VDI and app virtualization more tenable in a wider array of use cases across the enterprise, pushing from data center to enterprise edge.  This week, I want to offer a proof point I alluded to in my last post, enabled by our partners Nimble Storage and VMware.

Let’s take a look at the Nimble Storage SmartStack for ROBO (Remote Office / Branch Office) Desktop Virtualization.  As you know, we’ve seen incredible traction with our friends at Nimble.  Their CS array has seen wide market acceptance, and is now offered as an Integrated Infrastructure solution in the form of SmartStack, delivering the modularity, scale and manageability that IT demands.

I’m pleased to highlight that SmartStack now offers a solution optimized for ROBO.  In case you missed it, check out Nimble Storage’s announcement.   Bringing together best-of-breed components including VMware Horizon 6, Nimble’s CS300 array, and UCS Mini, this offering delivers on the key attributes critical to the enterprise edge:

  •  ­­Greater Consolidation: dense storage, compute and expansive I/O capacity of the Nimble + Cisco UCS solution, allows for hundreds of users in a small footprint, 50% of what traditional solutions might occupy.
  • Simplified Management: anchored on UCS Manager, this platform enables centralized IT to remotely spin up desktop and application virtualization capacity at remote/branch offices, without the error-prone, manual intervention required by traditional compute platforms.
  • High Performance: the combination of Nimble’s large IOPS footprint, low latency and Cisco UCS processing power delivers adaptive, exceptional performance in a compact form factor. This, along with VMware Horizon, allows IT to maintain an exceptional user experience through heavy application use and periods such as boot/login storms, patch operations and upgrades.

For more information on the Nimble SmartStack for ROBO Desktop Virtualization, please check out Sheldon D’Paiva’s blog on SmartStack ROBO.

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