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A Look Back at 2012: Evolution of Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI)

As 2012 came to a close, I found myself looking back not only on the events of world at large but also on just how much progress we have made here at Cisco with the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. I took a moment to reflect on the incredible value VXI delivered to our customers last year.

Since its inception in 2010, the Cisco VXI Smart Solution has been at the center of successful virtual desktop initiatives. VXI brings together compute and collaboration in a complete solution and lets people seamlessly experience their desktops anywhere–on any device. I am very pleased to say that we have more than 1,000 VXI customers and that number is growing. With every new release, VXI has evolved with innovations that maximize performance, scalability, security and user experience while minimizing complexity and risk.

In 2012, we delivered major enhancements across the solution. We introduced optimization that reduces storage costs–often one of the biggest investments in a desktop virtualization program. We have enhanced data center performance and scalability with the remarkably successful Cisco UCS, or Cisco Unified Computing System. Now customers can easily scale from 500 to 29,000 virtual desktops on a single system by simply adding blades. The advantage of these performance enhancements becomes very obvious when large user groups are logging on at the same time—just imagine a call center at 8 am on a Monday.

Security is always at the top of the list for any organization thinking about virtualization. In 2012, Cisco VXI enhanced security for end users with support for Cisco AnyConnect VPN and single sign-on with Citrix Receiver. Security policy was also improved with integration of Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE) into the solution. ISE gives customers greater control with policy-based security services for both corporate and employee devices, protecting organizations from data loss, compliance issues, loss of revenue and brand damage.

The VXI Smart Solution has always been a leader in user experience for desktop virtualization. We pioneered a new collaboration architecture for voice and video by eliminating the primary cause of poor quality in virtual desktop environments–namely the hairpin effect. We went even further this year by integrating Cisco Wide Area Application Services (WAAS) Software, which reduces the amount of bandwidth needed to deliver workspace traffic over the WAN by up to 70%. Now, people are able to collaborate with voice and video calling on their virtual desktops – or as we like to call it– the Unified Workspace.

Complementing the VXI technologies are comprehensive design guides, services, support and our technology partner ecosystem. The Cisco Validated Designs (CVDs) for VMware and for Citrix give our customers an end-to-end blueprint for implementation and they are updated with every release to facilitate success. To further assure a premium experience and exceptional flexibility, we have expanded our ecosystem of technology partners to include smartcards, endpoints and accessories.

While it gives me much satisfaction to reflect on the past 12 months I am even more enthusiastic about what’s in store for VXI in 2013. Right off the bat, you’ll hear about the next chapter in the evolution of the VXI Smart Solution with our upcoming announcement. Join us on January 17 to learn what’s new.

Phil

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Virtualization, SDN, and Radically Simplified Operations

Today many look to SDN as the next big revolution in Networking.  But why is there such hype?  What radical change in the economics of networking will shift the industry?  The answer is Virtualization.

Virtualization’s growth is still in its infancy, and many aspects remain unexplored.  Still there are aspects of which we are certain:

  • With an explosion in the number of Virtual devices, it is unaffordable for humans to remain in the loop for routine network operations.
  • Emerging business models are not achievable when (slow) humans are involved in the provisioning process. Read More »

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“Rules of Thumb” for Co-Locating UC Hosts on Cisco UCS Servers

One part of my job involves designing the virtualization model for our internal unified communications (UC) system deployments around the world. A critical task in this design is specifying which UC virtual machines (VMs) can share a Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) server chassis or blade and which ones can’t. When migrating UC servers to a shared virtual environment, we need to make sure we carefully balance each VM’s needs for CPU, storage, network and memory. Read More »

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Cisco Domain Ten: Domain 2: Virtualization and Abstraction

Last week I introduced our new Cisco Services framework to help guide your data center and cloud transformation – Cisco Domain Ten (SM). I also described the types of challenges you should be thinking about in the Facilities and Infrastructure layer, Domain 1.  Now let’s discuss the type of challenges that Domain 2, Virtualization and Abstraction, could present to you.  While Cisco Domain Ten can be applied to help you in any data center transformation, I’ll keep focused on showing you how Cisco Domain Ten helps illuminate your path to cloud transformation.

Domain 2 pic

 

Read More »

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Introducing TPC-VMS: a new benchmark suite for virtualized databases

Server virtualization has become mainstream and has changed the way resources are provisioned and accessed within the data center. (Did you know the number of virtual machine shipments now exceeds the number of physical servers being shipped?). Effective measurement and characterization of complex applications in virtual environments is critical to both vendors and customers.

The Transaction Processing Performance Council (TPC) today announced a new industry standard benchmark suite, TPC-VMS (Virtual Measurement of Single-system), that enables comparison of performance, price-performance and energy efficiency of database applications in a virtualized environment.

The benchmark suite is built upon existing TPC standards: TPC-C, TPC-E, TPC-H and TPC-DS. The benchmark test sponsor chooses one of these workloads, and runs three equally sized instances of the same workload on three virtual machines on the system under test. The primary performance metric is the slowest of the three instances and is reported as VMStpmC (for TPC-C), VMStpsE (for TPC-E), VMSQphH@Size (for TPC-H) or VMSQphDS@Size (for TPC-DS).

References:
(1) TPC-VMS Press Release
(2) TPC-VMS Specification
(3) W. Smith, Characterizing Cloud Performance with TPC Benchmarks, LNCS vol. 7755, Springer 2013
(4) P. Sethuraman, R. Taheri, TPC-V: A Benchmark for Evaluating the Performance of Database Applications in Virtual Environments, LNCS vol 6417, Springer 2010

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