In this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged, EMC’s Craig Chapman (@virtualchappy) and WWT’s Joe Onisick (@jonisick) discuss the evolution of VDI, the business drivers of competing IT architectures, and keeping the core user experience front and center.
Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:
Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
Increased innovation in virtualization, compute and networking technology is steadily increasing the growth and adoption of VDI. Many enterprises are extending VDI deployments to their remote offices and branches but many are also apprehensive of running VDI across the WAN link due to concerns that a single point of failure could disrupt the entire business at a remote location. Similarly, small and medium businesses (SMBs) are exploring VDI. For them to adopt VDI the offered solution needs to be simple, reliable, and able to incorporate other business needs like office communications, PCI compliance, business continuity, etc. They prefer solutions that provide a healthy TCO and can also be deployed and managed easily.
If you’d like to learn more about the evolution of the data center, and how Cisco is supporting that mission, it’s a great time to be in Barcelona. VMworld Barcelona kicks off full force today, and there is a great deal to experience.
Get your I Speak Geek button from a roving reporter here at VMworld Barcelona!
For the first time, we’re taking the Roving Reporters and Engineers Unplugged abroad! This event will be covered by Josh Atwell (@Josh_Atwell) and myself, and we’re shooting several episodes of our new video podcast, which we’ll be releasing every Wednesday.
Today we introduced release 2.6 of the Cisco VXI Smart Solution, offering enhanced performance user experience and faster ROI, with unified workspaces that go beyond VDI. VXI 2.6 offers new capabilities and enhancements to the underlying platform, spanning Cisco Unified Data Center, Borderless Network, and Collaboration pillars. I invite you to check out posts from Phil Sherburne and Brian Dal Bello to learn more. For now, let me turn your attention to the data center pillar, specifically the advancements that are part of this release, and as amply illustrated in the Cisco Validated Design for VXI.
Reducing the TCO of virtual desktops
With VXI 2.6 we focused significant attention on improving performance, and driving down the cost of deploying end-to-end desktop virtualization through a combination of data center enhancements that are now part of the Cisco Validated Design (CVD) for VXI 2.6. These include:
The Cisco UCS B200 M3 server blade, based on the Intel Romley- platform delivers continued leadership in virtual desktop density. We recently commissioned a study with Principled Technologies to evaluate B200 M3 performance with virtual desktop workloads – check the results we published for VMware and Citrix based platforms. We’ve also added the UCS VIC 1240 (mezzanine LOM) to the CVD, offering up to 80 Gbps aggregate bandwidth per Blade Server. Bandwidth management capabilities of the VIC 1240 and its effect on delivering QoS in a mixed workload scenario of virtual desktops and other workload types is covered in detail here. The CVD also includes the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect, 6296UP, that provides up to 2 Tbps throughput, thereby offering enhanced workload scalability and overall performance
Support for published shared desktops with XenApp 6.5, including Jabber for Windows. With this feature, we deliver much greater scalability while also extending our industry-leading Jabber solution support to this popular application delivery approach, resulting in a more scalable, cost-effective, superior collaboration user-experience
Optimizing storage costs is also a key focus area for the release, and VXI2.6 introduces support for a number of capabilities that help reduce storage costs. With VMware vSphere 5, we have Content Based Read Caching (CBRC) addressing performance bottlenecks associated with the high read IOPS found during O/S boot and AV scans. CBRC offers host RAM-based caching to reduce read IOPS to back-end shared storage, improving scalability and overall storage performance and end-user experience.
With B200 M 3 servers, we support “Tier-0″ Solid State Disk (SSD) which enables the storage of Desktop images internally on the server while user data and personalization can be stored on back end shared storage, allowing for better overall performance and reduced dependency and costs associated with back-end shared disks We have also included validated testing of the WhipTail Flash silicon storage array (SSA) offering up to 12TB of flash with 250k IOPS in a 2U array.
Want to learn more about VXI Release 2.6? Check out the following:
Today, Cisco announced the new release of the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. Part of the announcement is, of course, enhancements in our Borderless Networks architecture to enable our customers to deploy a secure, reliable, and fast virtual desktop infrastructure.