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Don’t Take Your Eyes off VDI – We’re Certainly Not!

This blog post promises to avoid telling you about all the fantabulous (I know that’s not a woUCSrd) growth expected in the number of hosted virtual desktops to be deployed by 2016.  What I do want to share, is how Cisco is ramping up our investments in accelerating your path to virtual desktop success, and how we’re tapping into the fundamentals of our Unified Computing System (UCS) to deliver new VDI efficiencies; the same efficiencies that have made Cisco the 2nd most preferred x86  blade server vendor* worldwide, in just 4 years!  So why are so many organizations moving away from their legacy compute solution, and choosing UCS for VDI workloads and more?

Differentiated capabilities that address VDI pain points: TCO and Manageability

It’s no secret to anyone that VDI is not simple to deploy.  You essentially have to bring together multiple seemingly disparate solution elements (server, storage, virtualization, broker, network, security, etc.) and make them work in a cohesive manner, and then be certain that your implementation will scale from a small pilot of 50 users to hundreds, thousands, or more!  Clearly with such complexity, the last thing you need is a complex compute infrastructure underneath it all.  There are 3 key things at the heart of this, that speak to why UCS is better for VDI:on-board

1.)    Server-resident flash.  Our “On-Board” Architecture for VDI intercepts the rapidly proliferating use of flash based storage solutions that offer expansive IOPS capacity and huge performance.  UCS takes it a step further by offering an integrated solution leveraging our partner Fusion-io.  We’ve additionally delivered reference architectures that extend the use cases and attractiveness of flash-based solutions with appliance approaches (that direct-connect the storage array to our fabric interconnect) as well as more traditional multi-tiered architectures.  More on that in a moment…

service profile2.)    We’ve made it easier to provision and manage the hosts for your virtual desktop deployments.  UCS Service Profile Templates enable rapid deployment from bare metal, creating a zero-touch, mistake-proof, stateless operations model.  Now, when you add the On-Board, server-resident flash to the configuration, you extend the reach of this management model to include high-performance, economical storage, completely provisioned and managed as part of the blade configuration/profile!  No SAN or associated expertise required!  Perfect for floating, non-persistent desktops.VIC

3.)    Granular visibility across the virtualized infrastructure.  With user desktops now running amidst other mission-critical workloads in the data center, there’s more reason than ever to ensure that you can impart QoS, security and manageability across the multitude of virtual machine traffic flows traversing the data center.  Cisco Virtual Machine Fabric Extender (VM-FEX) and Cisco Nexus 1000v provide the visibility and controls that make this possible, extending physical world policy and administration to virtual.

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Wristwatches, Bicycle Helmets, and VDI…

A long time ago, it used to be comforting, to hear the words “One Size Fits All”.  As though our interests were surely represented within that catch-all, assuring us that we weren’t going to get left out in the rain.  You could safely make that impulse-driven purchase, bring it home (or have it delivered), and know with certainty, that you wouldn’t be disappointed.  It’s almost laughable to think that we subscribed to this way of thinking for about 50 years.  But thankfully, we live, work and play in a world where it’s not about one-size-fits-all, and the only things we’ll accept as such, are wristwatches, and bicycle helmets! (unless you have a gargantuan sized cranium)

And so it is with your IT environment – “One-Size-Fits-All” feels too much like hand-cuffs (which coincidentally are also one-size-fits-all).  We’ve done away with the notion that a solution that’s optimized for a Fortune 500, is going to be at all suitable for a medium-sized business with almost 1,000 employees.  While both organizations might have a strategic imperative around workspace mobility, and have set out to virtualize the desktops of say, 5% of their workforce, they’ll approach this problem in two completely different ways.

  • One of these organizations will have an extensive , multi-tiered networking and security infrastructure, optimized for virtual machine traffic, the other may not.
  • One of these organizations will have a mature SAN infrastructure in place, with embedded resources and expertise, and lots of existing mission-critical data already housed there.  The other may not.
  • One of these organizations will have a high percentage of virtualized workloads and a highly automated/orchestrated environment for rapidly spinning up new infrastructure.  The other may not.

Carchpicertainly these two environments are not going to take the same solution approach to deploying virtual desktops?  They will however, share many of the same key objectives/demands: future proof scalability, resiliency, streamlined provisioning and operations, consistent user experience for the 1st user as well as the 1000th.  And they’ll want all of this with the lowest possible TCO.

 

Last month, Cisco introduced our expanwebcastded suite of solution architectures for desktop virtualization.  This portfolio was struck with the objective of ensuring our customers would never have to settle for a One-Size-Fits-All approach to deploying VDI, recognizing that they’re deploying this solution from a multitude of possible starting points in their IT maturity.  With four new solution architectures, each built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS), and each backed by design guides and reference configurations co-developed with industry-leading partners in storage and storage-optimization technologies, we’ve taken the risk and guesswork out of choosing the deployment methodology that’s right-sized for your organization.  Check out my friend Ashok’s more detailed post on the new reference architecture portfolio.

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Cisco at Citrix Synergy LA 2013 : Expanding the Relationship

citrix-hero-700x230

Our bags are packed  and the demos are built, as Cisco heads out to Citrix Synergy LA 2013 in Anaheim next week.  Synergy will be the inaugural event at the new Anaheim Convention Center, and Cisco a proud Platinum Sponsor , will be  showing up in style, with a larger booth, 8 demo stations, a theater, and our Shindig Party.

Cisco continues to build its relationship with Citrix, and we’ll be expanding on the announcements made by Padma Warrior, Cisco CTO and Strategy Officer, during the Synergy Barcelona 2012 keynote, with booth demos of innovations in desktop virtualization, cloud networking, mobility, and cloud orchestration.   In addition, we will provide visibility into Cisco and Citrix CVD roadmap for “Excalibur” and preview of Cisco Jabber integrated with Citrix XenMobile.

Cisco will be hosting two breakout sessions during Synergy and Summit:

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Cisco Partner Weekly Rewind – May 17, 2013

Partner-Weekly-Rewind-v2Every Friday, we’ll highlight the most important Cisco partner news and stories of the week, as well as point you to important Cisco-related content you may have missed along the way. Let’s have it.

Off The Top

It’s hard to believe that we’re only a little over two weeks away from Cisco Partner Summit. For anyone that has attended Cisco Partner Summit in the past, you know that you’re in store for a week jam-packed with information, networking, and fun.

So how do partners stay on top of all the information and activities that come out of Cisco Partner Summit? Well, we’ve got a blog post to help you get the most out of your Cisco Partner Summit Experience. You’ll find a list of top social media destinations and information on who to follow, where to find resources, and more.

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Jabber for Virtual Environments

TechWiseTV Spotlight on Jabber for Virtual Environments

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This spotlight takes a look at some of the continual advances being made for Jabber. In particular, we highlight technology where Jabber can run freely (and efficiently) in a virtual desktop environment These desktops, designed to be very thin on the equipment side, still need to be as feature rich as their thicker brethren.

Nothing should be sacrified at the altar of virtualization

Embedded communications that embrace more than just voice are a great start. But as you can see, add in the creature comforts we expect such as normal sized handsets, keypads or caller ID notification….this all helps us forget that amazing technology going on the backside…lets us focus on the communication.

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Behind the Storylines

Our spotlight series continues to morph a bit and try to find its sea legs. We are still going to change a few of story-telling methods in this series going forward…but a couple of fun things we did here that I hope are appreciated. The show is embedded at the bottom of this post so you can watch it..but first, a few notes on what we did here.

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  • We started to make fun of ‘scenarios.’ One of the hardest things about cost-effective corporate video is finding unique visuals. Even the little we did in this episode took an extra day…and that is nothing when it comes to most productions. What we did a little different here, was to create the ‘office scenario’ to help get our point across..but instead of using actors and falling prey to the easy cheese that usually develops here..we tried just doing it ourselves and then ‘breaking the 4th wall’ every so often to explain a point to the audience. Our hope is that we remain educational and a little bit fun. We should never be taken too seriously…but you won’t mistake us for actors anytime soon.

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  • We used a real whiteboard. Most video pro’s (including our own Producer Steve Ewertz) hate whiteboards. I agree with them from a TV perspective. They are really hard to light without getting hot spots/glares, everyone looks washed out in front of them…and the contrast when people write is just not that great. But as a Cisco guy, I love whiteboards. I love how much better every engineer can communicate when they have a pen in their hand. So Steve agreed to let us do this one with Jimmy Ray explaining the ‘tech behind the tech’ and I think with the two cameras and two lights we used…this scene came out great. Plus, I think it feels natural.

Spotlight on Jabber for Virtual Environments

Robb
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Twitter: @TechWiseTV, @robbboyd, @jimmyray_purser

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