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Using TrustSec to simplify Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) deployment

We recently discussed the perfect IT storm that is currently brewing in business. BYOD, Unified Access, Video, the Many Clouds, SDN… all happening at once, on current infrastructure, and yet demanding more.

Some of the comments you made further emphasized the need to have an architectural approach.

VXI/VDI deployments are no exception.

Discussing VDI deployments with our customers in EMEAR, two things really are at the centre of our discussions from an infrastructure standpoint.

-         Security, which I’ll  discuss in today’s post.

-         Latency and user experience.  Two recent posts, here and here, provide great insight on how to tackle this challenge.

I have therefore asked Steinthor Bjarnason (sbjarnas@cisco.com), Senior EMEAR Security Consultant, based out of Norway, to give me his perspective.  He has 15 year experience in the security space and his perspectives are drawn from numerous customer projects, both in the Enterprise and the Service Provider space. Read More »

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Cisco Smart Solutions: What Makes Them So Smart?

Here at Cisco, we believe that Smart Solutions are game changers: a way to start new conversations with your customers and expand your sales. Now is the time to make sure you understand the Smart Solutions conversation so we can build new business opportunities together.

What is a Smart Solution?
The Smart Solutions concept is designed with two goals in mind: first, how do Cisco and our partners make it easier for our customers to achieve their business objectives by leveraging the full breadth of the Cisco portfolio? Second, how will we scale these solutions, especially through a Partner Led approach, where sales and full life cycle support is provided exclusively through partners?

The simple answer is that a Cisco Smart Solution integrates, pre-tests, and validates Cisco products for how they work together. In some cases, these Smart Solutions include third party technology which is also tested as a part of the whole offer. The idea is to include intellectual assets such as design guides, implementation guides, and customer use cases that partners can use to build a practice and accelerate pilot to profit. Cisco includes a full suite of pre-sales tools such as sales enablement and demand generation programs. Soon we will offer customer intelligence, including market insights and information on buying behaviors to help partners prospect and qualify customers.

What does it mean for the partner community?  Read More »

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Real world ROI results with UCS servers – a detailed study at Loughborough University

March 25, 2013 at 4:35 am PST

I recently worked with Loughborough University on a financial impact study of their initial deployment of Cisco UCS. The study documents their findings of a dramatic improvement in IT efficiency, bearing out the advantages that attracted them to the UCS solution. Loughborough’s Customer Case Study has been revised with the results of this TCO study as well new details on the next stage of their deployment of Cisco Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI) Smart Solution.

We examined Loughborough’s projected growth rates and compared the continuation of their previous rack server environment against a UCS solution combined with an expansion of their virtualized environment. Server consolidation and reduced administrator workload contributed to exceptional results: a total savings of US$878,789 (40% OpEx and 60% CapEx) with a 225% ROI and 22% IRR. Compared to the previous environment, Loughborough’s UCS deployment will drive down cost in several key areas over the coming five years:

  • server hardware – 38%
  • switching infrastructure and cabling – 80%
  • power and cooling – 49%
  • new server provisioning – 79%
  • virtualization software – 39%

“When we compared the legacy server and network with one based on Cisco UCS, TCO effectively halves over a five-year investment lifecycle.”

Dr. Phil Richards, Director of IT, Loughborough University.

As a result of Cisco’s Unified Fabric approach, the study shows that Loughborough will need only six switches (three redundant pairs) to support their end state vs. 30 in their legacy environment and a corresponding reduction in cables from 646 to just 44.

These results are typical to what other customers achieve when they switch to UCS. See my first blog post, Yes, Cisco UCS servers are that good.

Would you like to learn more about how Cisco UCS can help you? There are more than 250 published datacenter case studies on Cisco.com. Additionally, there is a TCO/ROI tool that will allow you to compare your existing environment to a new UCS Solution. For a more in-depth TCO/ROI analysis, contact your Cisco partner.

Loughborough University TCO Study Waterfall

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VDI “The Missing Questions” #7: How memory bus speed affects scale

March 13, 2013 at 11:59 am PST

This was the test I most eagerly anticipated because of the lack of information on the web regarding running a Xeon-based system at a reduced memory speed. Here I am at Cisco, the company that produces one of the only blades in the industry capable of supporting both the top bin E5-2690 processor and 24 DIMMs (HP and Dell can’t say the same), yet I didn’t know the performance impact for using all 24 DIMM slots. Sure, technically I could tell you that the E5-26xx memory bus runs at 1600MHz at two DIMMs per channel (16 DIMMs) and a slower speed at three DIMMs per channel (24 DIMMs), but how does a change in MHz on a memory bus affect the entire system? Keep reading to find out.

Speaking of memory, don’t forget that this blog is just one in a series of blogs covering VDI:

The situation. As you can see in the 2-socket block diagram below, the E5-2600 family of processors has four memory channels and supports three DIMMs per channel. For a 2-socket blade, that’s 24 DIMMs. That’s a lot of DIMMs. If you populate either 8 or 16 DIMMs (1 or 2 DIMMs per channel), the memory bus runs at the full 1600MHz (when using the appropriately rated DIMMs). But when you add a third DIMM to each channel (for 24 DIMMs), the bus slows down. When we performed this testing, going from 16 to 24 DIMMs slowed the entire memory bus to 1066MHz, so that’s what you’ll see in the results. Cisco has since qualified running the memory bus at 1333MHz in UCSM maintenance releases 2.0(5a) and 2.1(1b), so running updated UCSM firmware should yield even better results than we saw in our testing.

 

As we’ve done in all of our tests, we looked at two different blades with two very different processors. Let’s start with the results for the E5-2665 processor. The following graph summarizes the results from four different test runs. Let’s focus on the blue lines. We tested 1vCPU virtual desktops with the memory bus running at 1600MHz (the solid blue line) and 1066MHz (the dotted blue line). The test at 1600MHz achieved greater density, but only 4% greater density. That is effectively negligible considering that the load is random in these tests. LoginVSI is designed to randomize the load.

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EdChat with Cisco Experts on Technology Trends and Solutions

March 11, 2013 at 7:41 am PST

Edu-Virtual-Forum 540x420 Cisco Now v3Education leaders and innovators around the world are transforming education today. Please join us on March 19th (Americas and EMEA) or March 20 (Asia Pacific), for the Cisco Virtual Forum for Education Leaders, to see how they are shaping the future of education.

During this free global conference, which you can attend from the convenience of your desktop or mobile device, you can participate in live roundtable discussions on leading-edge strategies and practical solutions that are improving the quality of education.  The Forum opens with a keynote session with Dr. Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium, and Dr. Ellen Junn, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at San Jose State University, on Trends Shaping the Future of Education. The keynote will followed by  breakout sessions for K-12 schools and higher education. There will also be a virtual exhibit hall featuring resources and information on how Cisco solutions can help transform teaching and learning.

The Virtual Forum will also feature live Moderated Chat sessions with Cisco education experts on the technologies supporting the latest trends in education including BYOD, flipped learning, social collaboration, ICT education, desktop virtualization and more. We’ll also include a session in Brazilian Portuguese.

Read More »

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