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The #1 x86 Blade Server Is Also Your Best Choice for VMware Horizon

Cisco VMware infographic-v4In case you missed it, last week Cisco partners, ecosystem, and customers everywhere applauded the latest IDC worldwide server tracker report citing Cisco UCS as the revenue market share leader in North America, eclipsing HP for the top spot in x86 blades.

Cisco VP/GM Paul Perez said it best: “Customers are adopting UCS because our innovation drives positive business outcomes for them.”  That’s a sentiment echoed in every case study highlighting the tangible business impacts our customers have experienced when deploying mission-critical workloads on UCS.  Nowhere is this more evident, than with desktop virtualization, where organizations are transforming end-user computing to unleash greater employee mobility, productivity, business continuity and agility.  Check out this infographic if you want to see a nice snapshot of what real Cisco customers have done with VMware Horizon on UCS.

It should therefore be no surprise when industry luminaries like VMware’s Sanjay Poonen (EVP/GM of VMware End User Computing) highlights the importance of Cisco UCS in helping his team gain market traction in end user computing.  This Business Insider interview is an insightful read – especially if you’ve only heardSanjay Poonen the competitive narrative between Cisco and VMware, and were not aware that our two companies actually have a differentiated, compelling joint offer around desktop virtualization built on VMware Horizon deployed on UCS.

Is your organization in the midst of transforming your desktops into mobile workspaces?  Do you want to learn more about how organizations just like yours are turning to the market leader in x86 blades for their VDI deployment?  Next week VMware is hosting an online virtual event (think of it aVMW_EUCInsightBanner_240x96s a free virtual tradeshow) – VMware EUC Insights.  From the convenience of your office (or home, or coffee shop, etc.) you can listen in on keynotes, breakout sessions, and engage desktop virtualization experts from Cisco and VMware.  I encourage you to check out Cisco UCS at VMware EUC Insights on June 17th!

PS: if you visit our booth and complete a short survey, you’ll have a chance to win an iPad Air!

 

 

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Breaking through Performance Barriers: Desktop Virtualization at Cisco Live

We’re halfway into Cisco Live!  Each year I find more and more attendees are coming to talk to us about running various desktop delivery models on UCS.  Some observations from folks I’ve chatted with:

More and more of you are asking about NVIDIA GRID solutions for graphics intensive use-cases.  I had several in fact, from the oil and gas industry who were especially interested in our C240 M3 solution with GRID – which conveniently we’ve been demo-ing here, remoted out of our San Jose lab.  If you’re not familiar with it, check out our solutions for both Citrix and VMware.

CAPEX-friendliness with great performance, for small seat count environments is key.  Lot’s of folks asking about solutions that are optimized for 100-200 seats of Horizon or XenDesktop, that are completely self-contained, including compute, storage, broker and the infrastructure assets.  I’ve shared this brand new whitepaper on our C240 200 seat config with everyone I talk to – just a single rack footprint that includes the LSI Nytro MegaRAID Controller with 200 GB of flash for write-caching, plus 12 x 600GB SAS drives.  Here’s what’s been tested:

Hardware Components:

  • Cisco UCS C240-M3 Rack Server (2 X Intel Xeon processor E5-2697 v2 @ 2.70 GHz) with 384GB of memory (16 GB X 24 DIMMS @ 1866 MHz), hypervisor host
  • Cisco UCS VIC1225 Converged Network Adapter/Rack Server (Optional for 10GB Connectivity)
  • 2 x Cisco Nexus 5548UP Access Switches
  • 12 x 600GB SAS disks @ 10000 RPM
  • LSI Nytro MegaRAID Controller 8110-4i

The infrastructure/user file volumes are on the 1st 4 drives set up in a RAID 5 config, and the 2nd and 3rd groups of 4 drives (combined in RAID 10) are for XenDesktop MCS (Citrix) or Floating Assignment / Linked Clones (VMware).  Extremely cost-effective for 200 seats with great performance that doesn’t max out the system and has plenty of room to breathe.  Check out the Citrix and VMware configs of this “in-a-box” solution.

Flash – Flash and more Flash.  It’s hard to move around SF without seeing a Cisco UCS / Flash-Forward advertisement promoting UCS Invicta Solid State Systems.  Invicta is changing the economics of desktop virtualization with industry-leading wear life rating, expansive write-IOPS capacity, and superior manageability within the UCS fabric with UCS Director.  We’ve got a nice demo of 600 XenDesktop seats booting off an Invicta appliance, in under 9 minutes.

There you have it – great performance that goes beyond the traditional barriers associated with cost-effectively delivering desktop virtualization.  Definitely check out these three solutions if you have some time remaining at Cisco Live this week.

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Powering the New Citrix Mobile Workspace – built on Cisco UCS

Did you catch the news from Cisco and Citrix yesterday?  Here at Citrix Synergy, we announced the new Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix.  This new jointly integrated solution brings together best of breed technologies from both companies to deliver a pervasively accessible end user workspace – One that can be delivered on any device, anywhere, seamlessly and securely integrated with the applications and productivity suite necessary for workers to be productive.

Central to this solution are the following tenets of the new mobile workspace:

  • Supporting any device, any OS
  • Maintaining secure access to the corporate network
  • Facilitating rapid expansion and control of mobile applications
  • Protecting data and preventing data loss

Foundational to the New Mobile Workspace is a best-in-class workspace virtualization platform built on Cisco Unified Computing System and Citrix XenDesktop.

Check out this infographic which Cisco and Citrix have compiled highlighting some nice proof points of business impact enabled by Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions with Citrix XenDesktop – then, ask yourself – “Can Your Server Deliver Results Like These?

Is your organization ready to enable a mobile workforce? from Cisco Data Center

While here at Synergy, I’ve had numerous conversations with VDI implementers who’ve resonated with the unique benefits and performance advantage associated with deploying hosted VDI as well as hosted shared desktops on UCS.  Surprised in fact, at the number of attendees I run into who are already well familiarized with:

  • The performance advantage VMFEX brings to XenApp environments
  • The simplified manageability of UCS Service Profile Templates, enabling rapid turn-up of XenDesktop environments starting from bare metal servers
  • The linearly consistent performance with scale, proven through Cisco Validated Designs for Citrix XenDesktop

The roster of clientele that have tapped the benefits of XenDesktop deployed on UCS continues to grow, providing these organizations an accelerated path to delivering an enterprise-wide mobility strategy, built on this differentiated virtual workspace infrastructure.

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Desktop Environments Go Virtual and Mobile in a Flash

Of course you’re aware that virtualization and mobility are taking over the traditional office workspace.

More and more, employees are using their own mobile devices and working from home or remote locations, meaning work is no longer a 9-5, at-the-office thing. So to enable efficient practices within this changing environment, your IT needs to change with it. Resources need to be accessible from anywhere, not just in the office. Moving desktops to a virtual environment addresses this concern—while increasing employee productivity and responsiveness, and decreasing costs.

Citrix Synergy 2014 is taking place this week in Los Angeles. And it’s no surprise that this year’s hot topic is enterprise mobility. Technologies such as Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, and XenMobile, combined with Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) and Cisco UCS Invicta™ Series Solid State Systems,  or Citrix NetScaler 1000v with Cisco Nexus vPath, and Cisco mobile workplace solutions, are tools that enable you to move your work environment to the cloud, enabling you to provide full-time, fast, and secure access to your applications and crucial information.

“It was sometimes taking 10 minutes for our clinicians to log on, open an application, and get the information they need,” says Hughes. “That time should be spent with a patient instead of a workstation. We wanted to make it easier and faster for our clinicians to access applications and information, so we started looking into VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure).”  says Jake Hughes, Chief Technical Architect for Infrastructure Systems at Seattle Children’s.

S12A8

With 800 attorneys spread across offices in the United States, London, Shanghai, Melbourne, and Sydney, prominent law firm Seyfarth Shaw relies on its Citrix XenDesktop virtualization platform to deliver Windows environments and in-house applications as an on-demand user service.
DaaS“When you’re sitting in an airport and you need to get something done for a client, you can’t wait for your application to boot up; you want it to be available as quickly as possible and that’s what flash technology provides,” says Andy Jurczyk, CIO, Seyfarth Shaw , experiencing the benefit of the new Cisco UCS Invicta™ features .

Go now to  Unleashing IT   to read  how Seattle Children’s Hospital  virtualized their environment using a combination of Citrix and Cisco solutions or how Seyfarth Shaw law firm is fueling up and serving clients with speed through their VDI implementation.

On Unleashing IT , our on line magazine and resource center you will discover through these examples and many others, how you can utilize Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) in combination with other technologies to speed up processes and give your workers flexibility by providing secure access to the information they need, as soon as they need it.
Visiting our resource center on Unleashing IT you will access to numerous documents , including a Forrester Study “The Total Economic Impact of Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions”

Additional resources: Read more on Citrix Synergy 2014

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/cisco-and-citrix-partnership-will-shine-at-citrix-synergy-2014/

http://blogs.cisco.com/datacenter/delivering-workplace-mobility-built-on-cisco-unified-computing-system/

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Ferguson Group Ltd keeps an Eye on Operations with Cisco Physical Security

April 11, 2014 at 9:21 am PST

I remember growing up in the UK years ago during the UK’s  ‘North Sea Oil Boom’. It was a time of great excitement and opportunity for the nation. A whole industry was developed to deal with offshore exploration to ‘bring the energy home’.

It was Aberdeen’s local ‘moon landing’ event -  just five months after Neil Armstrong landed on the moon, the North Sea oil fields were discovered off the east coast of Scotland. Certainly parts of Scotland, Aberdeen especially, saw an uptick in employment from the gloomy ’60s, and the economy changed from rural farming, fishing and textiles to include a more industrial oil and gas setting. Employment, property prices and investment in the City boomed.

Video Surv. from Ferguson Case StudyFerguson is a great Scottish name, but the founder is a great example of how folks were attracted  from outside Scotland (founder Bill Ferguson Jr. is an American) to help further the oil industry in Scotland. Today, Ferguson Group are a key part of the Aberdeen economy, as a leading suppliers of containers, accommodations, and workspace modules for the offshore energy industry (now worldwide).

I thought I’d share how Ferguson conquered a business challenge -- namely protecting high-value equipment and, at the same time, use a standardized system and process worldwide whilst keeping up with industry security standards.

As Graham Cowperthwaite said in a recent article: “For years our headquarters in Scotland relied on an analog video security system”. Graham is director of operations at Ferguson Group, and went on to say “That system wasn’t meeting our needs in terms of image quality and remote accessibility.” He added: “For example, our board members are often traveling between bases, and want to have the ability to check back on facilities from any networked location, even from an iPad. We simply couldn’t do that with an analog system.”

So Ferguson switched from a an analog security system to an IP-based solution, from Cisco. And it wasn’t just cameras and door hardware. They also needed to consider the security and reliability of the network on which camera images and access history would be transmitted and stored.

 ”We looked at other physical security offerings on the market, but nothing came close to Cisco in terms of comprehensiveness,” says Graham Cowperthwaite. “Only Cisco could provide us with a total combination of Cisco IP video cameras, door readers, firewalls, and routers, all available globally with the highest levels of vendor support. We were already a Cisco house in terms of our network infrastructure, and the interoperability of these solutions fit in perfectly with our goals for standardization.”

Ferguson Group now relies on the Cisco® Video Surveillance Manager to monitor its entire facility in Aberdeenshire, including doors, buildings, and the many valuable assets in the company’s storage yard. Supervisors on the Ferguson network can access live, high-quality footage on a laptop or mobile device. They can even review recorded footage as necessary. This all runs on an integrated Cisco architecture (based on Cisco Desktop Virtualization with VMware (VXI), running on the Cisco Unified Computing System™ (UCS®), for the techies amongst you!).

The business results? Read More »

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