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Can Workspace-Aware Infrastructure Deliver Better End-User Outcomes?

July 12, 2011 - 1 Comment

Yesterday I had the opportunity to sit down with a panel comprised of the following folks here at Cisco Live!  First off, my thanks to Friea Berg (@friea) for creating this opportunity.  Events like Cisco Live are a great venue, but pulling together a group of industry peers to have a meaningful dialog around the challenges our mutual customers face, and how we can better serve them is something that magnifies the impact of these events.  So, yesterday I was lucky to join the following folks:

  • Mike McCabe, VMware (@mmccabe22)
  • Amy Lewis, Cisco (@commsninja)
  • Mitch Ratner, VMware (@mrratner)
  • Vaughn Stewart, NetApp (@vstewed)
  • Friea Berg, NetApp (@friea)

We covered a number of great topics, including:

  • the evolution of VXI and where we’re at 9 months since its introduction
  • how we enable our partners for success in delivering VXI to their customers
  • the value in using infrastructure packages like FlexPod to simplify and accelerate the adoption of desktop virtualization and
  • the real end-user impact that infrastructure can make on virtual desktop users

On this last point I shared the following when asked about whether workspace-aware infrastructure can actually impact end-users in a favorable way.  We’ve discussed this several times in various blog posts, highlighting that with desktop workloads, choosing the right infrastructure can drastically impact the path to success.  What I find most exciting however, is when we can talk about improved “outcomes” and prove this in terms of customer successes we’ve been a part of.

Nowhere is this more apparent than in the Education and Healthcare industries – the idea of infrastructure creating favorable, better outcomes for end-users, ie: students, patients – immediately drives the point home.

Think about your child’s school environment and the teachers responsible for shaping these young minds.  School systems everywhere are facing the challenges of shrinking budgets, decentralized and limited on-site support capabilities (often shouldered by teachers and other faculty), limited student access to computing resources.   If you know your child’s teacher, you know their day doesn’t end at 2:30 in the afternoon.  Educators will work into the night to mark papers, prepare lesson plans, etc.  When Oak Hills School District turned to desktop virtualization, built on an infrastructure tailor-made for virtualized workspaces for students, they in fact created better educational outcomes for those students by delivering secure 1:1 access to computing resources, persistent virtual workspaces that are accessible at home and at school, and across a range of devices to facilitate a more effective, pervasive learning environment.  This same infrastructure serves not only students, but educators as well.  Yakima Public Schools is another great example of how choosing the right infrastructure can affect better outcomes for students.

We’ve all spent time in the care of clinicians, and have seen the impact of technology on delivering better outcomes for patients.  This is readily apparent when the technology actually makes “contact” with the patient such as imaging for example.  But what’s less obvious to the casual observer is where there’s an underlying infrastructure that’s essentially enabling clinicians to do their jobs more effectively.  As we’ve discussed in prior posts including this one, healthcare providers such as Metro Health in Grand Rapids MI, have pioneered the way in using scalable infrastructure packages like FlexPod to deliver a workspace-aware infrastructure that enables physicians to access radiology images from any place on any device,  to improve the timeliness and accuracy of patient records, and to streamline the ease of access of critical applications central to delivering patient care.

As the last year has unfolded, we’ve seen increasingly stronger resonance of the impact that workspace-aware infrastructure has on delivering better outcomes for end-users.  I think we’ll be seeing a lot more of these proof-points emerging over the coming year, which we’ll be sharing with you.

Well, it’s Wednesday at Cisco Live – have you had a chance to check out one of the several VXI demonstrations available through Cisco and its partners?  If not, there’s still time to do so – share what you’ve learned at Cisco Live and VXI here!

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  1. Large up front investment with shrinking budgets makes this a difficult sale. I know from experience that in house support (or experience) is lacking. I commend those that can make the jump or have networks that can support VDI. Across the board not so much the case today…