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3 Paths to the Cloud (Workspace)!

I’ve been spending the last couple weeks with friends from EMC, discussing what’s top of mind re: desktop virtualization and capabilities that we agree are effectively attacking the elusive ROI of virtual desktops.  So it’s no surprise that when you put Cisco and EMC solutions together, (something we’ve done well, for a LONG time) towards the common goal of making virtual desktops and applications easier to deploy, with reduced cost and improved manageability, you end up with a very compelling end-to-end offer.

Essentially, our joint value nets-out as follows:  i) enabling implementers to balance costs, while meeting SLA’s, ii) making virtual desktops less complex and time-consuming , especially where rapid provisioning and recovery is key, and iii) addressing the desktop management equation with a simplified approach that eliminates what used to be multiple tools

In these areas EMC and Cisco are offering an industry-leading platform with best-in-class desktop hosting density and performance, engineered solutions that absorb I/O storms and dramatically improve boot times, rapid provisioning of server infrastructure using service profile templates and self-service data recovery, and simplified desktop creation with automated deployment capabilities.

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VMware Mobile Secure Desktops – built on Cisco VXI

As I was preparing for a webinar recently, some stats came across my desk reinforcing what we’ve suspected for a while, namely that employees and the organizations they belong to, are increasingly embracing a cloud workspace – one that’s mobile and deliverable on any device, and that this imperative is a reality that IT managers are wrestling with not months from now, but now.

These nuggets are certainly no surprise:

  • Three of every five employees believed it was unnecessary to be in the office to be productive.
  • Two of every three employees surveyed expect IT to allow them to use any device – personal or company-issued – to access corporate networks, applications, and information anywhere at any time.
  • 69% of IT decision makers surveyed (by Forrester Consulting) advise that implementing a BYOD policy for smartphones/tablets is a top priority (study commissioned by Cisco, May 2012)

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Transforming Clinical Workflows with Workspace Virtualization

In my previous blog, I talked about how virtualization is picking up momentum in the healthcare industry and how this is resulting in simplified clinical workflows and providing nurses and physicians with fast access to the applications and information they need to support positive patient outcomes.  In this blog, I would like to touch on one of the key areas where virtualization has made a significant impact – desktop virtualization.  

Hospitals frequently use shared dictation terminals to host their clinical dictation applications. As doctors complete multiple patient rounds, they make their way to one of these dedicated workstations, plug their personal microphone into the workstation, and dictate their notes from their previous rounds.  The delay between completing rounds and dictating patient data is inefficient, but more importantly, it creates the potential for errors.  Access through shared and dedicated workstations also tethers the clinician to specific terminals that can only be used when the doctor is in the clinic. For example, there is no easy way to access clinical reference imaging applications when the doctor is away from the clinic and wants to quickly review images for a specific patient. Instead, the doctor must either call a peer at the hospital to review the images, or incur travel time to go to the hospital. 

Finally, although the shared workstations distributed across the clinics and hospitals are centrally managed, the software operating on each workstation can quickly drift away from its original configuration as users install specific applications not hosted by the data center or use the workstation in other ways that compromise the original “golden image.”  As a result, every workstation and application that a caregiver uses can behave differently. A hospital’s IT group can potentially spend most of its time chasing repetitive workstation issues and errors, as well as managing different instances of almost applications. IT administrators constantly face the challenge of unwanted installations, as well as the incompatibility between images from one shared workstation to the next. Upgrading desktops and applications can be a difficult task, requiring many hours of effort on each workstation. 

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Quintiles Embraced VDI for Next-Gen Work Space

Change. It’s part of how we work, live, and play. Change is inevitable and often feared rather than embraced. However, change could be a catalyst for innovation, a new way of doing things faster and more efficiently. It allows companies to capitalize on opportunities, creating strategic long-term value while also meeting immediate operational needs.

The market is changing and so is the IT landscape. By 2014, more than 70 million virtual desktops will be connected and 90% of organizations will allow work applications on personal devices (Gartner, 2010). Similarly, by 2015, 1.5 billion mobile devices will connect to the network (Gartner, 2011). These transitions add intense burden to the network, from manageability to security, availability, and scalability.  IT leadership often turns to stopgap measures such as getting faster WAN links to handle increased traffic. But that doesn’t solve everything. Organizations that want to propel forward (i.e. be competitive) must change their focus – that is focus not only on bandwidth management, features, and bytes, but also on business agility – giving themselves room to grow. One pharmaceutical services company did that with Cisco Borderless Networks infrastructure.  Read More »

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Desktop Virtualization Perspectives at Cisco Live 2012

At Cisco Live, I had the good fortune to sit down with Steve Kaplan of Presidio (@ROIdude), and Sreekanth Kannan of VMware, to discuss the current landscape of desktop virtualization as seen through the experiences of our customers, key enabling technologies we’re excited about, and some thoughts about what to expect looking forward. Watch the session 

Desktop Virtualization Panel with VMware and Presidio at Cisco Live 2012

Clearly our friends had a lot to share, and were excited about the transformation happening in our customers’ desktop IT environments.  Some highlights from our chat:

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