Every 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms – Flexibility and Choice with Architectures That Fit
I recently had the opportunity to host several customers in a roundtable discussion, exploring their experiences in deploying desktop and application virtualization, the challenges encountered, and the benefits they’ve reaped. It was an engaging dialog with organizations spanning mid-market, enterprise to large service provider environments deploying either Citrix XenDesktop or VMware Horizon View desktop virtualization software. In case you missed it, you can check out the event here. I mention this because it provides a valuable backdrop to some important news Cisco is sharing today, centered on helping IT organizations (like those I met with) more quickly achieve success in VDI.
Over the last few years, Cisco UCS has rapidly established itself as a leader among competitors with a much longer history in the server marketplace. Why is that? If you talk with anyone who’s implemented UCS in their data center, they’ll instantly tell you about the operational streamlining and simplification that UCS Service Profile Templates offer, the value of a unified data center fabric for LAN and SAN, and the performance derived from a platform that was purpose built for highly scalable, virtualized environments.
It should be no surprise then, that when organizations evaluate their options for server infrastructure to host virtual desktop workloads, the same UCS core value proposition extends nicely to desktop virtualization – the benefits of which are multiplied, in fact, given that virtual desktops can consume infrastructure resources and capacity in unique ways compared to other mission critical enterprise applications. We’ve therefore seen great response from our customers (as demonstrated in our webinar/panel discussion) when it comes to the fitness of UCS in hosting virtual desktops.
What we’ve come to find through our customer’s experiences, is that the vendor marketplace has traditionally taken a one-size-fits-all mentality around VDI architectures that either forces organizations to overspend CAPEX on approaches that are tuned for much larger environments, or wrestle with an economized approach that results in poor desktop user experience. Clearly, there’s a spectrum of IT implementation use cases that apply, when we’re talking VDI. Persistent desktops vs. floating, SAN in place vs. greenfield, one-hundred seats vs. tens of thousands, etc. so one size will never adequately fit all!
For this very reason, we’re expanding our portfolio of desktop virtualization solution architectures, along with the ecosystem of technology partners who are helping us accelerate the path to VDI success for environments of all sizes. While Cisco enjoys a strategic relationship with NetApp and EMC, we’re now offering desktop virtualization solutions that also include technologies from partners such as Nimble Storage, Nexenta, Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, Tegile and others in process.
With these partners’ technologies come new capabilities that exploit key trends in the VDI and data center marketplace, including the proliferation of flash-based storage solutions, and appliance based approaches that mitigate the need for embedded SAN infrastructure and expertise (especially in smaller environments). Additionally, unlike our competitors who are narrowly focused on their own storage portfolio, Cisco can offer our customers the flexibility and choice they desire in selecting the storage technology and solution for VDI, that best fits their environment.
I encourage you to learn more about this exciting new portfolio of architectures by checking out the assets below.
Desktop virtualization continues to gain traction. According to a recent Gartner forecast, companies are projected to add 59 million more virtual desktop users worldwide between 2013 and 2016. Despite that growth, we found that significant challenges remain for getting VDI implementations off the ground. These include:
Up-front CAPEX often associated with upgrading the data center and network infrastructure required to support VDI
Complexity associated with combining multiple disparate technologies together in a way that’s cohesive and easy to manage
Guesswork and risk associated with ensuring that the success seen in a small pilot is replicated in larger production environments
Today Cisco is introducing an expanded architectural portfolio and partner ecosystem in support of our successful desktop virtualization solution built on Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). Cisco UCS market traction has been phenomenal over the last 3 years. In fact, desktop virtualization has been one of the top workloads deployed on UCS as IT organizations apply the benefits of our stateless, simplified operations model, expansive I/O, and scalable performance to desktop workloads in the data center. Combined with unique product integration and the software eco-system partners such as VMware, Citrix and Microsoft, Cisco has delivered a number of reference designs with our strategic storage partners such as EMC and NetApp. Typically, these architectures were based on designs that easily scale from supporting a few hundred virtual desktops to thousands of desktops.
We have seen an inflection point with the perfect storm of the evolution of storage options, desktop software maturity, and data center architectures. One of the important changes in the storage market is the emergence of flash storage to address performance problems.
Taking advantage of enhanced UCS features and expanding the eco-system of storage partners including Atlantis Computing, Fusion-io, LSI, Nexenta, Nimble Storage and Tegile, Cisco is defining a broader portfolio of data center architectures for delivering desktop virtualization solutions – on-board architecture, simplified architecture and scalable architecture. “Converged” or “Unified” infrastructure stacks such as FlexPod and vBlock have, and will continue to be another successful option for desktop delivery infrastructure. Let me walk you through each of these architectural approaches.