by Derek Mitchell, Alliances Partner Architect
There was a lot of buzz around the Lean Branch Office joint solution that was highlighted in the VMware Theater at CiscoLive. I had a discussion with a gentleman that works for a national chain that is currently struggling with the centralization of apps from branch offices. He has a mandate to significantly reduce costs and simplify management of hundreds of location into several datacenters across the country. The good news is that his organization is a customer of both Cisco and VMware, and many of the branch locations currently leverage the ISR G2 technology. Needless to say, he was extremely excited to learn about the joint offering.
Talk about buzz, look who stopped by the VMware booth to discuss our joint offering.
In the picture, we have Gary Moore (COO, Cisco), Sanjay Katyal (VP Global Alliances, VMware), John Chambers (Chairman & CEO, Cisco), Nitin Brahmankar (Senior Director, Alliances, VMware) & Rick Snyder (Vice President, Global & Strategic Partner Organization, Cisco).
The trend over the last 3-5 years has been all about the centralization of apps and infrastructure. Apps have been moving from the branch office to the datacenter or the cloud and being delivered over the WAN. This simplifies IT operations, increases resource utilization and drives down costs.
While full application centralization is ideal, it is often difficult to implement. Geographic distance, corporate WANs, and the Internet have several inherent limitations that impact the quality of the user experience:
- Performance – WAN limitations impact the performance of centrally hosted apps. Some business requirements dictate certain performance targets that will require a particular app to be hosted locally.
- Availability – WAN outages and congestion can occur and backup links can be expensive. Due to WAN quality limitations, business availability targets may require local survivability.
- Compliance – Storing application data off-site, or accessing via the WAN or Internet can affect data privacy regulations. The health care industry in the US has HIPAA, which dictate that patient data is always available. This is often easier achieved when the data is local.
The solution that Cisco and VMware have proposed is the Lean Branch Office. It’s not completely serverless, i.e no local servers with complete reliance on the WAN. Nor is it full-service, meaning all servers local, with no reliance on the WAN. It consists of a few local servers and full reliance on the WAN with the exception of mission-critical applications.
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Combined, these industry-leading technologies provide a dynamic datacenter infrastructure that reduces CapEx/OpEx and allows IT to shift from reactive to proactive. Customers can also extend and simplify IT across sites, which enable them to standardize deployments across remote sites, manage multiples sites from a centralized location, and eliminates the requirement for exactly the same hardware configuration across sites. Lastly, this solution provides the foundations for both virtual desktops: which allows users to access their desktop form anywhere and with any device, and cloud computing: there are over 2,000 vSphere-enabled vCloud Providers available today.