Digital business transformation is driving renewed interest in desktop and app virtualization as a mean to provide secure application and desktop delivery to a mobile, distributed and fluctuating workforce. Keeping the desktops and apps securely centralized in the data center provides many benefits. It eases the headache associated with managing thousands of desktops, keeps your intellectual property protected and provides the deployment flexibility needed to keep up with the ever faster pace of business.
Desktop and app virtualization has evolved a lot in recent years. If you’ve tried it in the past and had a bad experience – slow, cumbersome, poor user adoption – you should give it another look. A lot has changed in the underlying infrastructure, allowing an on pare, if not better, experience as with physical desktops. Storage has evolved tremendously and Flash arrays have been a game changer. Similarly, the advent of virtual GPU support by Citrix and VMware, the leading desktop and app virtualization platforms, has improved user experience enormously. It even opened up new use cases such as 3D graphic workstations replacement, helping industries like automotive, manufacturing, architecture and design benefit from desktop and app virtualization.
At the core of a great desktop and app virtualization solution you need a solid foundation that is easy to manage and allows for growth. This is where Cisco Unified Computing Systems (UCS) shines. What is unique about UCS is that it was designed from the ground up for virtualization. It integrates compute, storage, networking, virtualization, and management into a single platform through a fabric Interconnect which delivers consistent networking across physical, virtual and cloud environments. It offers several form factors delivered as one system.
First, we have our core blade and rack servers which are the foundation of our solutions. They can be combined with Cisco networking and third party storage to provide custom built solutions on which you can deployed your virtualized workloads.
Then we have our integrated infrastructure where we’ve combined our UCS blade and rack servers with Nexus switches and third party storage such as Pure Storage with FlashStack.
Then moving down to even more integration and convergence, we have our recently released hyperconverged solution, Cisco HyperFlex systems. HyperFlex is also built on UCS but we integrated the compute, network storage and hypervisor nodes delivered as clusters in an appliance that can be stood up and one hour. The real benefit of hyperconvergence is you don’t need a SAN network or separate storage; the storage is part of the appliance.
Each architecture delivers specific benefits and customers will lean towards one architecture or the other based on storage vendor preference, deployment size and internal IT skills.
One recent entry in our portfolio of integrated infrastructure is FlashStack, based on Pure Storage all flash arrays and Cisco UCS blade servers.
Cisco’s technical team tested and documented the deployment of a 5000-seat mixed workload on FlashStack with VMware Horizon 6.2. With over 2,000 work hours in average in design and testing, Cisco Validated Designs (CVD) provide trusted, scalable and predictable guidelines for configuring and deploying your virtual desktop infrastructure. This CVD documents a mix of RDS server-based sessions and Linked Clone Windows 7 virtual desktops on vSphere 6. Read the CVD here.
This enterprise-grade solution delivers a highly adaptable architecture with non-disruptive scalability. The combination of Cisco UCS and Pure Storage FlashArray//m provides a high performance, easy to manage platform for a successful large-scale VDI deployment. Read the Pure Storage blog detailing the CVD process.
We will be showcasing our recent work with FlashStack and VMware Horizon at VMworld, Sun Aug 28- Wed Aug31. Come by Cisco booth #1739 to catch a theater presentation, or stop by our demo pod to talk to one of our VDI expert.
On a personal note, let me know if you have intel on where the good Pokémon hide in Vegas!