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Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms – Flexibility and Choice with Architectures That Fit

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 prVirt_during Webinar w_Jim Mchughovider 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 shouldVirt_info graphic_UDC to End User 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.

Please also check out the webinar “Customer Insights: Desktop Virtualization On Your Terms

Our featured guests include:

  • Mark Balch, Director UCS Product Management, Cisco
  • David Johnson, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research
  • Charles Rosse, Baptist Memorial HealthCare
  • Udaya Kiran, WiPro Technologies
  • Robert Dixon, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • And myself (Jim McHugh) as your Host/Moderator

Check it out and let me know what you think in the Comments section!

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Accelerating Your Success with Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions

Earlier today, Cisco introduced an expanded portfolio of desktop virtualization solution architectures, based on Cisco UCS, that extend Cisco’s value proposition, solution breadth and market reach.  This is very important for our partner ecosystem, which continues to be the foundation for selling Cisco’s Desktop Virtualization Solutions.

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

Read More »

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Architecture Options for Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solutions

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.

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#EngineersUnplugged S2|Ep14 Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Sure, there are many events and conferences going on this week, but stick a reminder on your calendar to watch this week’s episode of Engineers Unplugged. Ed Saipetch (@edsai) of Speaking in Tech and other fames and Andre Leibovici (@andreleibovici) of VMware talk about the evolution of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device), VDI, EUC, and the changes brought about by new devices.

Bringing the 1970s office to you, unicorn style.

Welcome to Engineers Unplugged, where technologists talk to each other the way they know best, with a whiteboard. The rules are simple:

  1. Episodes will publish weekly (or as close to it as we can manage)
  2. Subscribe to the podcast here: engineersunplugged.com
  3. Follow the #engineersunplugged conversation on Twitter
  4. Submit ideas for episodes or volunteer to appear by Tweeting to @CommsNinja
  5. Practice drawing unicorns

What have been your challenges (IT or client side) as we move into the world of mobile employment and endlessly proliferating devices and apps? Post a comment here, or join the discussion on Twitter, #EngineersUnplugged.

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MegaTrends: The Need for Securing Data Center Traffic

Data Centres are evolving rapidly, in response to the many industry IT Megatrends we have previously discussed. Services and applications are increasingly being delivered from very large data centres and, increasingly, from hybrid and public clouds too.

Specifically, a good example of services being delivered from data centres is Hosted Desktops. I discussed in my last post how technologies such as TrustSec can help secure VXI/VDI deployments. VXI is a good example of a service originally delivered only from private data centres, now being delivered As A Service as well.

Video is (and will be) increasingly delivered from data centers as a service. Infrastructure services (servers/VM, storage…) are also delivered internally more and more through Private Clouds.

Consequently, securing those environments is now perceived by our customers CTOs and architects, as the biggest barrier to adopting clouds on a much larger scale.

We will therefore look at how TrustSec can pervasively help secure all data centre traffic. Read More »

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