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.
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!
Tags: application virtualization, Cisco UCS, desktop virtualization, desktop virtualization solution, storage technology, success in VDI, UCS, UDC, Unified Computing Systems, Unified Data Center, vdi, VDI architectures, virtual desktops, virtualization
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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Tags: application virtualization, Cisco UCS, storage technology, UCS, UDC, Unified Computing Systems, Unified Data Center, vdi, VDI architectures, virtual desktops, virtualization
In my last blog, I talked about how much our desktop, or what we know as a “desktop”, has evolved over the past few years. Mobility, cloud and video have redefined a lot of what is included in that desktop, but the need for a high quality and consistent user experience across devices has not waned.
Bringing together all these elements has provided a new workspace environment that is virtualized, mobile and convenient. The best of all worlds really. Now the remaining question is: does this new workspace offer a better collaboration experience? I think the answer is yes. Here is why.
On January 17th Cisco announced a new software that extends the power and reach of Jabber (our all-in-one UC client) to virtual environments, delivered as part of Cisco VXI. And the response from the market and media was really great. Articles published tied the announcement to larger industry trends such as BYOD and mobile workers. Many commented how Cisco’s announcement and the features released were a clear response to the fact that work life is changing, and solutions like these will allow for more flexibility, without compromising capabilities or the user experience.
“What this means is that the reach of Jabber—which includes such features as instant messaging, high-definition video, voice and presence—will grow beyond physical desktops and into the virtual desktop space, which is finding rapid adoption in enterprises…” – Cisco Brings Jabber UC Features to Virtual Desktop World -- Jeffrey Burt, eWEEK
“In light of the escalating trend, the marriage of Unified Communications and VDI is a logical market evolution. The effort is part of a long-term software strategy for Cisco aimed at taking its collaboration and video prowess up a few notches” Cisco Extends Jabber With VDI -- Stefanie Hoffman, Channelnomics.
Cisco pioneered this trend when we announced Cisco VXI over 2 years ago, and since then we have been working on delivering the promise of VDI without the compromises. The announcements we made a couple of weeks ago confirms Cisco’s commitment to this space, and our deep understanding of the market transitions and the customer needs.
This new software direction is not only focused on enabling multiple devices to be part of the VXI ecosystem, it also means that Cisco is extending these capabilities to provide customers more options, in an open, standards based environment, without compromising the level of the capabilities delivered, or the support available. As more than 1,000 VXI customers will tell you, the Cisco Validated Designs are not only a way to have a full multivendor solution tested and validated in a real-world environment, they are a recipe for deployment success.
Since “seeing is believing” let me invite you to see the VXI technologies in action at the World of Solutions Unified Workspace booths at Cisco Live London, and invest some time with our experts at the show. We have a series of very impressive demonstrations lined up for you, showcasing different environments for different user profiles. There is at least one that will be applicable to your work environment, I promise you that.
For those of you that can’t be in London for this event, we have something prepared too. Visit our Virtual Experience online in the Cisco Collaboration Community to see Cisco leaders expand on Cisco strategy and demonstrate the new solutions announced on Jan 17. You can also ask questions to our experts through the discussion forum. We want to hear from all of you.
Tags: Cisco Jabber, Cisco VXI, Cisco VXI Smart Solution, collaboration, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, virtual desktops
As a technology guy, I’m always fascinated to see what new gadgets and technologies get announced at CES. Some are pretty cool; some I think will only make it to the headlines. In the end, which gadget will enjoy large-scale adoption and best empower the user? The one that best meets the user needs with a superior user experience.
Similarly, Cisco’s announcement today is all about providing a superior user experience to virtual desktop users and truly empowering them to reach new levels of productivity. With the new software-enabled Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and integrated UC accessories Cisco is continuing to evolve the virtual desktop into a virtual workspace and pursuing a long-term software strategy for Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI).
According to Gartner, Read More »
Tags: Cisco Jabber, Cisco VMXE, Cisco VXI Smart Solution, collaboration, Gartner, Jabra, Logitech, unified communications, virtual desktops
These are exciting times. Today Cisco announced the latest release of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution and I am very pleased to share this news with you. Cisco has unveiled a new software strategy to support Cisco Jabber for virtual environments as an integral part of Cisco VXI. Cisco has taken this path to innovation based on how our customers use the Cisco VXI Smart Solution today for desktop visualization and from trends in the market. We continue to see strong growth in desktop virtualization and in new collaborative experiences not to mention the ongoing demand for BYOD and mobility.
Cisco VXI was the first desktop virtualization architecture to eliminate the bottlenecks and overloads that often occur with rich media collaboration. Today we are evolving that architecture further by including Cisco Jabber for virtual environments which — thanks to Cisco Virtualization Experience Media Engine (VXME) — leverages the computing and processing power of the local environment to minimize the impact of rich media on network performance and data center resources.
Cisco VXME enables virtual desktop users to take advantage of Cisco Jabber’s suite of collaboration features like voice calling, high-definition video calling, presence and instant messaging. Meanwhile, virtual desktops, applications and collaboration services are centrally hosted on the Cisco Unified Data Center and delivered to a broad array of devices resulting in a seamless user experience. It’s just like using a traditional local desktop.
With today’s announcement, Cisco VXI becomes the first desktop virtualization solution to integrate network-based Quality of Service. The Cisco VXME software makes the network aware of voice and video traffic and automatically prioritizes it, reducing jitter and delays. The result? IT managers are now able to easily deliver a high quality collaboration experience to their virtual desktop user communities.
Not only do these innovations create a stellar user experience, they also meet security needs. Virtual desktops become a mirror of traditional workspaces, and as such provide the same level of secure access to documents, corporate applications, and a full suite of collaboration tools via Cisco Jabber.
Additionally, users are now able to personalize their virtual workspace experience with our new desktop accessories from Jabra and Logitech.You really have to check them out.
We continue to work closely with our partners who are fully enabled to implement an end to end VXI Smart Solution. Find out what this new release means to them.
Right now, Cisco VXME is designed to work with the Cisco Virtualization Experience Client (VXC) 6215 and will be globally available in March of this year. Support for 3rd party thin clients and Windows PCs will follow during the first half of 2013. Cisco Jabber for virtual environments is compatible with Cisco VXI solutions running Citrix XenDesktop, Citrx XenApp, or VMware View 5.1. Read Citrix and VMware perspectives on these innovations.
To learn more about Cisco’s desktop virtualization strategy and see a demonstration of Cisco Jabber for virtual environments and the new UC accessories, I invite you to join me for the Cisco Collaboration Announcement Webcast with live Q&A on Jan 17 from 9-9:30 a.m. Pacific Time (replay available after 11 a.m. Pacific Time).
Tags: Cisco Unified Data Center, Cisco VXI, Cisco VXI Smart Solution, Cisco VXME, citrix, collaboration, desktop virtualization, Jabra, Logitech, virtual desktops, VMware