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Transforming Seattle Children’s Hospital with UCS and Desktop Virtualization

June 7, 2011 at 6:42 pm PST

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 »

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3 Best Practices for Protecting Virtual Environments

Virtual servers and storage environments need regular backups to protect them from downtime, data loss.

Smaller companies are adopting virtualization technologies more than ever, according to AMI-Partner’s “2010 SMB Virtualization Market Analysis and Assessment”. Small businesses are applying virtualization to their servers and storage infrastructure, which can drastically change how and where employees store data and access applications, quickly making virtual environments as important to a company’s day-to-day operations as its physical equipment.

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The Role of Layer 4-7 Services in Scaling Applications for the Cloud-Computing Data Center

The Cloud Challenge
Cloud computing is increasing demands on applications and the application-delivery infrastructure must change to meet the challenge. Virtualization does not solve the problems with applications scaling, in fact it adds complexity. Infrastructure alone does not solve the challenge either. You don’t want to oversubscribe or just add capacity on demand. The infrastructure needs to respond to user demand based on business value and maintain a favorable cost structure. This means that you need intelligent load processing to manage scale, especially given the evolution of applications, which now make numerous backend function calls, which create more traffic than at the front end.

The Need for Scale
Cloud-computing applications are characterized by stateful access, with differentiated service levels, charged to the end user using the pay-per-use pricing model. Implicit in this model is the assumption that a cloud application is always on. Scaling the cloud delivery model to an Internet scale (millions of users) is a challenge that next-generation Layer 4–7 infrastructure needs to overcome.

Scaling a cloud application involves scaling three mechanisms: location (mobility), replication, and load balancing. Virtualization was an early catalyst for cloud computing because it substantially lowered the cost of replication and mobility of a prepackaged application. It does not, however, solve the load-balancing problem. Load balancing involves scaling the address, name space, transport, session, identity, and business logic of the application. Clustering enables scaling of application business logic but leaves the rest of the problem to a proxy infrastructure.
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Cisco UCS & Cisco Nexus – Making M&Ms and VMs Awesome!

Based on the positive feedback I received from my Cisco UCS videos, I decided it was time to tackle a slightly more complicated set of topics. While it’s fairly easy to come up with a set of keywords that spell out C-I-S-C-O, sometimes it’s valuable to take off the training wheels and go a little broader. So in today’s video, we combine the simplicity of M&Ms with the complexity of VMs. How do we take technology that provides tremendous value to customers and explain it in a way that’s fun and easy to replicate? Well, let’s see what happens… Read More »

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Video and Virtualization: Just Another Day at Citrix Synergy

May 26, 2011 at 6:03 pm PST

If what I saw at the Citrix Synergy conference in San Francisco this week is any indication of what will be coming soon, I’d better invest in a personal hairstylist.

With video becoming more and more prevalent on the network, whether it be mobile phones, Cisco Cius and other tablets, IP phones, or TelePresence – there isn’t a question of whether or not video is here to stay. But one question remains: Is your network ready? (And maybe one more question: how does my hair look?)

If your customers haven’t prepared their networks yet, here’s something that might give them the extra boost that they need: Cisco’s Visual Networking Index (VNI) Forecasted that videos will account for 90% of network traffic by 2013.

By selling Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), you’ll help customers prepare for that change. We visited the Cisco booth at the conference and caught up with Cisco’s Operations Director Jeff Platon. He gave us a full tour of the end-to-end VXI system with products that utilize high-definition video.

Watch the full tour:

What else did we see at Citrix Synergy? Read More »

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