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Cisco and Citrix: Delivering the Unified Platform for Desktop and Application Virtualization

Today Citrix announced the latest advancements for XenApp and XenDesktop, built on the fourth release of their FlexCast Management Architecture (FMA).  With this evolution come significant improvements in Citrix Provisioning Services, Citrix Receiver, FIPS compliance, single console manageability across hybrid cloud environments, Workspace Suite, user experience, and much more.

Cisco UCS: The Optimal Foundation for XenDesktop and XenApp

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 9.52.47 PMCisco is pleased to be a leading technology and infrastructure partner to Citrix, providing the optimal foundation of this unified platform for desktop and app virtualization, benefitting organizations everywhere that seek to evolve their traditional desktop environments into mobile, virtualized workspaces.  At the core of this foundation is the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS).  Check out this animated whiteboard if you’re not already familiar with how UCS has rapidly become the preferred x86 compute platform for XenDesktop and XenApp deployments.

Proof Points!

We believe that the latest features of XenDesktop and XenApp will continue to drive exceptional end user experience and accelerate the pace at which organizations embrace desktop transformation initiatives.  The benefits of this best of breed joint solution are evident in the customer success stories exposed in the following infographic.

Citrix Infographic_06 (final)

In addition to our joint integrated solutions supporting desktop and app virtualization, we also share a common vision of cloud architectures and services.  As demonstrated in today’s announcement we see the end user computing landscape evolving to embrace customer choice and flexibility as organizations seek a “portfolio approach” in how workspaces are delivered, whether that be via on-premise solutions, public cloud or a hybridized approach.  This is a key benefit of the FMA platform combined with Cisco Intercloud, enabling customers to derive the maximum benefit from cloud economics.  And don’t forget, as part of Cisco’s Cloud Network Services portfolio we offer the Citrix NetScaler 1000V application delivery controller, integrating virtual applications to Cisco Unified Fabric, delivering scalable, reliable application services to users.

Transforming Desktops into Mobile Workspaces

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our joint workspace mobility solution.  With this announcement comes Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop 7.6 providing enhanced support for Citrix Workspace Suite.  You may recall that back on May 6th, we announced the Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix -- bringing together the technologies of two mobility leaders as a complete and validated business to employee (B2E) mobility solution.  This groundbreaking solution allows organizations to deploy mobility at their own pace with a modular approach that builds on the Cisco Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) and Desktop Virtualization Solutions.  It combines all the essential hardware and software technologies, services, and support needed to embark on mobility projects with confidence, speed, and reduced risk.  Together, Cisco and Citrix are delivering a complete, unified solution for mobile, Windows, web and SaaS-based apps.

How to Get Started…

Before I close, I want to share one more solution for your consideration.  The Citrix Pilot Accelerator is a great way to get one’s feet wet with desktop and app virtualization.  This 200 seat configuration provides all the infrastructure and software elements needed to deploy a pilot environment, or outfit a small office/branch.  It employs a UCS C240 rack server, equipped with on-board flash storage and SAS drives in an extremely economical bundle, with ample performance, and ability to scale.  If you’re wondering how to get started with Citrix and Cisco, this is a great solution that neatly fits in just 2 RU.  And, if you weren’t aware, Cisco offers XenDesktop 7.6 software and other new products as part of our resale program with Citrix.  A great way to build the perfect bundle!

Additional Resources:

Cisco Validated Design (CVD): Cisco Mobile Workspace Solution with Citrix -- includes XenMobile, Unified App Store, WorxHome, Receiver, XenDesktop and ShareFile

www.cisco.com/go/citrix

www.cisco.com/go/vdi

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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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