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Cisco, Customers and Partner Speak of Possibilities at ITxpo

October 2, 2012 at 3:32 pm PST

We all know something about the evolution of agriculture.  Once upon a time, a horse pulled a plow, led by a man who spent days upon days in the fields.  And small, local rivers were dammed to redirect water to crops.  Today, monster machines plow acres in minutes.  And irrigation systems feed farms that are hundreds of miles away. 

The long-term evolution of productivity and efficiency was dramatic.  But what does the near-term evolution of business processes look like?

I hope you can join Cisco at Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo.  You’ll get near-term business evolution insights from folks like Barry Libenson, CIO of Land O’ Lakes, Inc., and Ron Gilson, CIO of Johnsonville Sausage, Inc.  They’ll join Marie Hattar, Cisco’s Vice President of Enterprise Segment Marketing and Bhavani Amirthalingam, World Wide Technology Inc.’s Vice President of Information Technology on Monday, October 22nd at 3:30 pm to discuss the topic, “Work Your Way: A Mobility Strategy for Business Success”.

Cisco’s Unified Workspace makes “Work Your Way” possible

Just a short decade ago manufacturers communicated by phone, by email and by foot. Many business conversations occurred in the same geographic location. Product management, operations meetings and training often occurred on the same campus. A company’s culture and reputation was defined by things like face-to-face meetings, hallway conversations, employee recognition and the attention provided to customers.

Today, employees, supply chains and processes are widely dispersed.  Meanwhile, skilled workers are retiring and they’re harder to replace.  What evolutionary solutions are manufacturers choosing in order to bring remote and shrinking resources together?   Read More »

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Education Turns to Desktop Virtualization for Increased Collaboration

October 2, 2012 at 8:54 am PST

Of course, we at Cisco are aware of how desktop virtualization benefits organizations. However, we also know that it isn’t just about desktop-only virtualization. This is why we created Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) to not only deliver desktop virtualization but also provide secure access to data, voice and video for fixed and mobile devices.

I recently read several success stories of educational institutions who turned to Cisco VXI and Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) to help reduce costs and IT management overhead while increasing internal and external collaboration. Two of these case studies -- one from K-12 and one higher education -- are listed below. If you are interested in the topic, they are definitely worth the read. Read More »

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Unified Workspaces That Go Beyond VDI: Built on Cisco Unified Data Center

Today we introduced release 2.6 of the Cisco VXI Smart Solution, offering enhanced performance user experience and faster ROI,  with unified workspaces that go beyond VDI. VXI 2.6 offers new capabilities and enhancements to the underlying platform, spanning Cisco Unified Data Center, Borderless Network, and Collaboration pillars.  I invite you to check out posts from Phil Sherburne and Brian Dal Bello to learn more.  For now, let me turn your attention to the data center pillar, specifically the advancements that are part of this release, and as amply illustrated  in the Cisco Validated Design for VXI.

Reducing the TCO of virtual desktops

With VXI 2.6 we focused significant attention on improving performance, and driving down the cost of deploying end-to-end desktop virtualization through a combination of data center enhancements that are now part of the Cisco Validated Design (CVD) for VXI 2.6.  These include:

  • The Cisco UCS B200 M3 server blade, based on the Intel Romley- platform delivers continued leadership in virtual desktop  density.  We recently commissioned a study with  Principled Technologies to evaluate  B200 M3 performance with virtual desktop workloads – check the results we published for VMware and Citrix based platforms.  We’ve also added the UCS VIC 1240 (mezzanine LOM)  to the CVD, offering up to 80 Gbps aggregate bandwidth per Blade Server.  Bandwidth management capabilities of the VIC 1240 and its effect on delivering QoS in a mixed workload scenario of  virtual desktops and other workload types is covered in detail here.  The CVD also includes the Cisco UCS Fabric Interconnect, 6296UP, that provides up to 2 Tbps throughput, thereby offering enhanced workload scalability and overall performance
  • Support for published shared desktops with XenApp 6.5, including Jabber for Windows.  With this feature, we deliver much greater scalability while also extending our industry-leading Jabber solution support to this popular application delivery approach, resulting in a more scalable, cost-effective, superior collaboration user-experience
  • Optimizing storage costs is also a key focus area for the release, and VXI2.6 introduces support for a number of capabilities that help reduce storage costs.  With VMware vSphere 5, we have Content Based Read Caching (CBRC) addressing performance bottlenecks associated with the high read IOPS found during O/S boot and AV scans.  CBRC offers host RAM-based caching to reduce read IOPS to back-end shared storage, improving scalability and overall storage performance and end-user experience.
  • With B200 M 3 servers, we support “Tier-0″ Solid State Disk (SSD) which enables the storage of Desktop images internally on the server while user data and personalization can be stored on back end shared storage, allowing for better overall performance and reduced dependency and costs associated with  back-end shared disks  We  have also included validated testing of the WhipTail Flash silicon storage array (SSA) offering  up to 12TB of flash with 250k IOPS in a 2U array.

Want to learn more about VXI Release 2.6?  Check out the following:

And visit our website at www.cisco.com/go/vxi

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The Optimized Secure Network for Cisco VXI

Today, Cisco announced the new release of the Cisco VXI Smart Solution. Part of the announcement is, of course, enhancements in our Borderless Networks architecture to enable our customers to deploy a secure, reliable, and fast virtual desktop infrastructure.

Read More »

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Classrooms Go Mobile to Enrich Student Learning

October 1, 2012 at 9:40 am PST

School is back in session, and from all the parents I’ve talked to, there’s been a new addition to the old school essentials list -- notebook, lunch and now,  a smartphone. We’ve reached a time where mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets, are entering classrooms at an accelerated rate. In fact, recent numbers in Canada showed that the back to school season is starting to rival the holiday season for buying cellphones.

In 2011, we asked nearly 3,000 college students and young professionals how fundamental they feel the Internet is. An astounding one in three respondents equated the Web’s importance with air, water, food and shelter. It’s safe to assume the younger set feels the same:  Research conducted by Project Tomorrow found that from 2009 to 2010 smartphone use for middle and high school students jumped 42 percent, so younger student are obviously adapting early expectations of anywhere, anytime online access.

If schoolchildren are using mobile devices on their own time to connect with parents and friends, it makes sense for schools to be working these devices into the learning mix, too. In fact, according to The Journal’s Mary McCaffrey, schools must go mobile to better personalize their students’ learning experiences.

Here are three ways mobile collaboration contributes to the learning environment: Read More »

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