During a recent Desktop Virtualization Webcast titled VDI with Unified Communications: What Architects Need to Know, one of the key takeaways was that Unified Communications (UC) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) teams need to work together and look at the larger user environment in which they are delivering the IT services. When the audience was asked how many of them were collaborating with their UC teams, 53% said they were currently engaging with their organization’s UC teams in their desktop virtualization projects.
Of course, this may be a biased sample, since the survey is of the webcast attendees, which mainly include IT professionals who are interested in the intersection of VDI and UC. However, I believe this is a sign of a growing trend in enterprise IT.
Within the Data Center marketing organization, we spend quite a bit of time focused on activities that announce new products or solutions, as well as educating customers, partners and analysts. Sometimes this is done via launches and other times it’s at events like EMC World 2011, SAP Sapphire, Citrix Synergy, CiscoLive 2011 or the upcoming VMworld 2011 (Cisco is a Diamond-level Sponsor). But once that information leaves our hands and gets out into the community, it’s important for us to remember that it’s often discussed, dissected, and evaluated by a broad range of IT professionals.
Over the past few weeks and months, Cisco Data Center technologies have been features in several industry podcasts.
I must confess, the first time I heard about virtual desktop infrastructure it made me think of a scene from the 1985 movie Brazil. (The movie is old enough that I trust I’m not spoiling anything here. If it’s sitting in your Netflix queue and you don’t want anything revealed, though, skip the next paragraph.)
In the scene Sam Lowry, the movie’s main character, struggles to work at his too-small desk that adjoins a nearby wall. The desk shifts, and begins to retract into said wall, causing Sam to yank mightily on it in hopes of recovering some usable desk space. After a brief tug of war, he discovers the source of the problem.
Fortunately, that’s not how virtual desktop technology truly works.
This week’s Data Center Deconstructed question raises the issue of how to determine the ratio of physical servers to virtual desktop instances. As my meandering thoughts of Brazil indicate, I’m not your go-to guy for such information. Ashok Rajagopalan, a product manager in Cisco’s Server Access Virtualization Technology Group, steps in to addresses the topic.
One of the key takeaways I heard consistently at the recent Citrix Synergy conference was the fact that you shouldn’t just do IT for IT’s sake: Your top consideration should be the end user experience. That’s one of the key lessons Seattle Children’s Hospital learned when it recently deployed Cisco’s Unified Computing System (UCS) blade to support a 3000-plus deployment of virtual desktops and zero clients. This deployment and Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) as a whole was the topic of a panel discussion at the conference.
The panelists included Aaron Cockerill, Senior Director of Product Management at Citrix; Doug Dooley, Director of Product Management for Desktop Virtualization at Cisco; Jake Hughes, the Chief Technical Architect at Seattle Children’s Hospital; and Harry Labana, VP and CTO of AppSense. Aaron and Doug offered up their thoughts on the Cisco-Citrix partnership, and how Cisco is leading virtualization charge with its end-to-end solution. Harry provided insights around desktop virtualization and AppSense’s role in creating flexibility and a rich user experience. Jake, as a customer who has implemented virtual solution, discussed the nuts of bolts of implementation, and talked about key points to take into consideration when contemplating a deployment.
I chatted with the panelists after the session, and they each offered up their top takeaways from the discussion.
Want to learn more about the details of the panel discussion? Read on for tips and lessons learned around implementing a virtual desktop solution.Read More »
Last week at Citrix Synergy in San Francisco, I got the chance to see FlexPod in action. Partner MTM Technologies hosted sessions nearby at the W Hotel, showcasing their Virtual Desktop Alliance solution, which is based on Cisco Validated Design for Citrix XenDesktop, Cisco UCS and NetApp storage. They even offered attendees the opportunity to win a Mini Cooper! (Unfortunately, I wasn’t eligible to win, so I’m still stuck driving my old VW).
During the demonstration, MTM showed how businesses can move from device-centric traditional desktops to user-centric virtual desktops. Application Delivery Architect Rich Brumpton of MTM explained that a lab in Boston hosted the UCS and NetApp storage, and was outfitted with 10GB Ethernet. That was then connected over VPN to their setup at the hotel.
Rich walked through the virtual desktop solution, showing how customers could use the technology to collaborate, move between desktops yet retain their individual user experience, and even access data remotely. After the demo, I chatted with Rich about the value that selling such a solution brings MTM, and how Cisco partners can benefit, as well.
Here are a few more benefits a virtual desktop solution can offer to your customers.