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Category Archives: VMware Partner: Cisco

VMware and Cisco Extend Collaboration in Support of ROBOs

Screen shot 2012-06-13 at 1.18.36 PM
Posted by Sean Gilbert
Sr. Alliance SE

I’m the proverbial “man on the street” at Cisco Live 2012 today, asking attendees to comment on the two exciting joint announcements from VMware and Cisco this morning. Both pieces of news highlight the joint development our companies have undertaken to transform remote-office and branch-office (ROBO) operations.

First, let me quickly recap the announcements:

The New Cisco Cloud Services Router (CSR) is supported on VMware – What this means is your business can now connect its remote branches and mobile users to your cloud with a great user experience and consistent security—a key success factor in cloud deployments. Supported on VMware, Cisco’s CSR enables enterprises and cloud providers to have consistent networking capabilities across branches, datacenters and clouds. The CSR features a virtual IOS router with enterprise capabilities deployed off-site, in a cloud. The solution is optimized for single-tenant edge-router use cases such as virtual private network (VPN) and Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) termination and is seamlessly integrated into Cisco ISR and ASR end-to-end WAN architectures. 

VMware technology is a critical component of the UCS-E Series Generation 2 – The Intel architecture blade server, based on UCS hardware design, enables a converged networking, computing and virtualization platform for hosting essential infrastructure services and mission-critical business applications in the lean branch office. The VMware platform is once again a critical component of this platform, enabling various Cisco vApps and vServices to run on a single blade for both ROBO and retail locations. While more than one-third of today’s business applications reside outside the datacenter in remote locations, the servers and desktops running these applications have traditionally been hard to manage, difficult to protect and costly to maintain. The combination of VMware and Cisco UCS-E can break down these barriers and provide an easy to deploy, secure and low-cost solution for ROBOs.

So what do attendees think? I caught up with a Director of IT for a Fortune 500 Manufacturing Company, outside of our theater session on Cisco VXI and VMware View who said, “This is an exciting integration announcement, it will increase flexibility and options for our move to the cloud while providing added security.”

Mark Douek, Solutions Architect for Strike Cloud agrees, “Cisco and VMware continue to be leaders in innovation. This solution will help accelerate customer's journey to the cloud and is just another example of their leadership in this space.”

So there you have it: A few reactions from the show floor to share the excitement of yesterday’s news. I look forward to keeping you apprised of implementation successes. If you’re here at the show, come by the VMware booth to attend one of the many theater sessions outlined by James Lomonaco in his previous blog post.

  Cisco Live execs

Also here is a photo taken at our booth yesterday with some very special guests, from left to right:

Rick Snyder, Cisco VP Global Partner Organization
Vittorio Viarengo, VMware VP for Desktop Product
John Chambers, Cisco CEO
Nitin Brahmankar, VMware Sr. Director, Global Cisco Alliance
Hatem Naguib, VMware VP Cisco, EMC, VCE Alliance

Reporting live from Cisco Live, I’m Sean Gilbert for VMware.

Cisco and VMware Enable Communication and Collaboration in the New Virtual Workspace

Posted by Vittorio Viarengo
VP, Desktop Product

There is no doubt about it, the post-PC era is here. More than a million mobile devices ship everyday, and end-users are bringing these personal devices with new applications into the enterprise—whether IT teams like it or not. We understand this new reality. That’s why our end-user computing vision focuses on giving end users freedom, while allowing IT to maintain control.

A key element of our strategy in building the enterprise platform for the post-PC era is to bring legacy applications forward using desktop virtualization. Yet, one of our biggest challenges was how to handle unified communications in the virtual desktop. I’m pleased to say that together with Cisco, we’ve solved this issue.

Cisco and VMware have partnered to provide desktop delivery as a service with the rich multimedia experience end users expect and the control IT requires. I recently caught up with Jeff Platon, senior director of engineering at Cisco, to hear about how customers are using our combined solution.

Cisco VXI with VMware View minimizes the cost of infrastructure and improves ROI without sacrificing performance, according to a recent Principled Technologies Test Report.

To support enterprises embracing our joint solution on their journey to greater end-user productivity and IT agility, a new Cisco Validated Design is available for Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure 2.5 Implementing VMware View 5.

Together with Cisco, we continue to tighten our integrations to maximize the value of our solutions. Post a comment letting us know how our joint solutions are working for you.

Entry Level FlexPOD Architectural Overview

Wen Yu
Posted by Wen Yu, Alliances
Staff Systems Engineer

Looking for a low risk, agile and efficient architecture for your small cloud infrastructure deployment?  Look no further because the VMware, NetApp and Cisco Entry Level FlexPod will be your answered.   Entry Level FlexPod provides the value of FlexPod sized right for smaller workloads. Suitable for uses that include midsize enterprise workloads and remote or branch offices, FlexPod ES brings large-enterprise-class IT infrastructure to smaller deployments at a price that fits limited IT budgets.  Let’s take technical dive into the architecture, and the built-in joint integrations that make life simple for IT architects and administrators.

Unified Highly Available, Scalable Architecture
Flexpod 2
Compute: Cisco UCS C200 rack mountable server connects directly to the Nexus 2000 fabric extender

Network: Cisco Nexus 2000 series Fabric Extender provides scalable unified server access across 1Gb to 10Gb Ethernet, and also serves as the extension to the access layer Nexus 5000 switch.  All C200 servers connected to the fabric extender become a single unified highly available management domain

Storage: NetApp FAS2240 storage, with built-in 10Gb support, and also capable of running Data ONTAP Cluster mode

Cloud Infrastructure
The above hardware architecture serves as the solid foundation for VMware Cloud Infrastructure, which consists of vSphere, vCenter and Site Recovery Manager, to provide end customers with a highly available, scalable solution with built-in automation, hardware acceleration, management and business continuity capabilities.

Built-in Integration At a Glance
Flexpod 2
In addition to the built-in integrations above, the following VMware Cloud Infrastructure features help providing additional benefits for IT Architect and Admin, please refer to NetApp and VMware joint best practices paper TR3749 for further details.

Key Takeaway
Want to be part of the cloud journey?  The first step is to lay the right foundation. VMware Cloud Infrastructure, together with Entry Level FlexPOD, provides customers with simple, low risk, highly available, highly efficient and highly scalable architecture – we can take you there!

News Around the Network

Gina Bollenback
Posted by Gina Bollenback
Global Alliance Marketing
Communications Manager

In today’s edition of News Around the Network, we’ve got details about new integrated partner solutions, evolving vCloud management tools, and more blog posts from around our Alliance network:

Accelerating Customer and Partner Success with VXI and VMware View (Cisco Data Center Blog)
Cisco and VMware’s partnership continues to blossom, with Cisco now offering VMware View 5 as a streamlined part of its VXI solutions.

vCloud Client for iPad (Cloud-Buddy)
If you haven’t heard the news, vCloud client is now available for the iPad – so you can manage your vCD environment right from your tablet!

vExpert 2012 Applications Now Open (VMTN Blog)
Are you an active and enthusiastic VMware user? Apply to be 2012 vExpert and you could help us spread knowledge and expertise about VMware technology.

VMware and Mitel Bring Desktop Virtualization to the Contact Center

This week VMware and Mitel announced an integration of Mitel's Unified Contact Center Solution and Unified Communicator Advanced client software with VMware View, which allows customers to deliver modern virtual desktops and applications to end users as a managed service from the data center or the cloud.

VMware customers, if you want to see anything specifically highlighted in this blog please respond in the comments section or on Twitter or Facebook. VMware partners and community, please let us know if you have any stories you suggest we highlight in future weeks.

Cisco UCS Reaches 10,000 Customers

James Lomonaco
Posted by James Lomonaco
Global Cisco Alliance
Marketing Manager

Last week Cisco reached a significant milestone with the Cisco Unified Computing System – reaching the 10,000 customer mark in a little less than three years since its announcement.  The Cisco UCS solution is purpose-built for virtualization and underpins significant VMware and Cisco joint solutions from server virtualization and private cloud with VMware vSphere 5 to collaborative desktop solutions integrating unified communications with VMware View.

With thousands of joint customers implementing VMware-based solutions with Cisco UCS, it seems like a good time to reflect on some of them by highlighting a couple recent posts and a customer white paper.  Learn how Lone Star College System achieved dramatic cost savings and rapid ROI with the post, Lone Star College System Moves to the Head of the Class with VMware, Cisco & EMC, how Seven Corners built a private cloud solution in the post: Seven Corners Builds Private Cloud Based on Cisco, NetApp and VMware Solutions and how VMware and Cisco enabled Metro Health to enhance patient care and reduce costs through improved workflows in the Optimizing Clinical Workflows with VMware View and Cisco VXI white paper.

For a more complete list of VMware and Cisco resources, you can visit the Cisco Alliance page on www.vmware.com.  And for the recent announcement from Cisco, you can visit the Cisco blog.  

Seven Corners Builds Private Cloud Based on Cisco, NetApp and VMware Solutions

Seven Corners Inc.
Industry: Travel Insurance
VMware, Cisco, NetApp, Netech
Challenges addressed: Frequent server outages and implementing a private cloud

7corners Link Alander

Posted by George L Reed II, Seven Corners,
CIO and Pearl Goitia, VMware,
Sr. Customer Reference Manager

When travelers need international health insurance, trip insurance and specialty benefits, they look to Seven Corners, Inc. for protection. When Seven Corners needed to improve the availability, agility and efficiency of its IT infrastructure, it looked to solutions from Cisco, NetApp and VMware, delivered by Netech Corporation. 

We recently talked with George L. Reed II, Seven Corners CIO, to get his perspective on how he and his team went from wanting a new solution to stop frequent server outages and improve efficiencies to implementing a private cloud that will take Seven Corners to the next-level of self-service IT.

VMware: Can you give us some insight into what you were facing in mid-2010 when you put out your initial request for information?

George L. Reed II: We were still reliably delivering 24/7 services, but much of our technology was approaching end of life, and daily outage and recovery costs were approaching $3,000. We calculated that without new technology by December, we could be facing business-disrupting failures. We needed to quickly design and build out a more reliable infrastructure and look for ways to increase efficiencies that would reduce the time and costs of delivering new services to market and support the company’s eight-year plan for continued double-digit annual growth.

VMware: What did you do first?

Reed: I contacted three integrating partners and asked them prove to me that they understood my problem, then put together a solution from best of breed practitioners and a project plan that would show us up and running in three to five months. Netech, a Midwestern U.S. provider of IP-based integration services and participant in Cisco, NetApp, and VMware partner programs, came in with exactly what we needed—an already validated and proven Cisco UCS, VMware vSphere Enterprise Plus and NetApp storage solution that could be implemented quickly and without a lot of maintenance. That was the first step.

VMware: Was speed of implementation for the VMware, Cisco and NetApp solution a factor?

Reed: Yes. Speed to implementation was as critical a factor as scalability. In our business, customers are clamoring for new services and time to market determines which company gets their business—typically the first to deliver wins 60 percent of the revenue. The agility and flexibility we’ve gained from this infrastructure help us deliver products faster, quickly identify and reduce losses on unproductive programs, and rapidly capitalize on successes.

VMware: Did the joint solution deliver immediate results?

Reed: Absolutely. When the infrastructure went live mid-November, Netech helped with our initial physical-to-virtual (P2V) migrations, including a critical Web server scheduled for testing in the new environment before it was moved into production. Perhaps fortuitously, the failure we thought might happen in December occurred within just minutes of P2Ving our first Web system. When the physical server blue-screened, we were forced to forego testing and move the full production environment onto the new virtual server. It ran perfectly the first time and has worked flawlessly ever since.

VMware:  Since that time, what other results have you been able to achieve?

Reed: The biggest overall gain has been ROI. For example, by successfully reducing daily outages from an average of 12 across our core physical servers to zero, we’re saving at least $750,000 in annual downtime costs. In addition, in our test-driven software development environment that makes use of agile software development, we expect we’ll save more than $200,000 in development costs and take more than three months off delivery time. Since deploying the new shared IT infrastructure, we’ve also experienced other significant benefits, including:

  • Spending less time running reports - Aggregate performance reports that used to take up to six hours to complete now run in less than 10 minutes
  • Using less storage - With NetApp deduplication technology, we’re using 60 percent less storage, the equivalent of a year’s worth of new capacity
  • Gaining more time for new projects - Last year some 80 percent of our IT dollars went into break-fix. In the last three months, that percentage has dropped to 16 percent with recovered resources being applied to new-project work
  •  No downtime

We thank George for his time and invite you to learn more about the private cloud solution at Seven Corners.

Lone Star College System Moves to the Head of the Class with VMware, Cisco & EMC

 Link Alander Link Alander
Posted by Link Alander, LSCS, Associate Vice
Chancellor for Technology Services and Pearl Goitia,
VMware, Sr. Customer Reference Manager

When an organization is in the throes of a large virtualization initiative, it’s sometimes hard to remember the beginning. That isn’t the case at Lone Star College System (LSCS) where Link Alander, Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Services, is crystal clear on how they got started, the goals they have achieved and what they have left to accomplish. I recently caught up with Link Alander to ask a few questions about how things are going at LSCS.

VMware: Tell us about LSCS and the number of students you support.

Link Alander: LSCS is a publicly funded, two-year community college located in Houston. It’s the largest institution of higher education in the area and the largest community college system in Texas. We’ve had tremendous student population growth in six years. Today, LSCS has 78,000 “traditional” students pursuing two-year associate degrees from multiple campus locations. We also provide educational opportunities to 23,000 “nontraditional” enrollees through nondegree courses and adult education programs.

VMware: What challenges were you looking to overcome that led you to consider virtualizing your datacenters?

Alander:  When our new CIO, Shah Ardalan came on board in February 2008, LSCS already had a small VMware installation. I was tasked to redesign our core systems. Instead of supporting a confederation of multiple sites, I wanted us to move to a consistent, centralized model for all IT services, which meant reining in our six campus sites, as well as the eight smaller satellite centers that accessed our data, but couldn’t afford their own datacenters. Our team believed that virtualizing the majority of our physical servers was critical in order to efficiently manage the centralized environment and provide high availability for our key campus applications. We started at about 5 percent virtualized and have quickly moved to 93 percent virtualized.

You can hear Link describe our progress at LSCS in some detail:

VMware:  Why did you subsequently choose the VMware, Cisco and EMC solution?

Alander:  We evaluated Microsoft’s Hyper V, but it was very immature compared to VMware vSphere. When we completed a virtualization assessment to evaluate the consolidation opportunities and calculate the potential savings, the ROI on a joint VMware, Cisco and EMC solution spoke for itself and we got approval to move all of our campuses to the new environment quite easily.

VMware: What advantages has the VMware, Cisco and EMC solution provided to LSCS?

Alander: There are many, but let me give you one example. LSCS is committed to guaranteeing “five nines” availability for Tier-1 applications. VMware, Cisco and EMC provided the only solution that could provide the high availability we required. Now, we have virtualized nearly every Tier-1 and -2 application, including our new ERP system, Active Directory, Exchange, and SQL. We’ve also built a private cloud, which has enabled us to achieve greater elasticity and flexibility.

VMware: What impact has the VMware, Cisco and EMC solution brought to your IT infrastructure?

Alander: We’ve experienced tremendous benefits from improving operational flexibility and efficiency to improving environmental savings. We’ve dramatically reduced deployment times, achieved high availability and improved disaster recovery. On the cost side, we’ve achieved significant savings in power, space and cooling. We’ve obtained ROI in just three years and nine months—and we’ve reduced hardware and capital costs by about $600,000, which is a tremendous improvement.

VMware: Thank you for your time, Link. We hope to catch up with you again next year at VMworld.

Teaming with Cisco to Accelerate Virtual Desktop Deployment

James L
Posted by James Lomonaco
Cisco Alliance
Marketing Manager

The introduction of VMware View 5 has us more excited than ever about our strategic alliance with Cisco. Together, we are simplifying the physical and virtual infrastructure and management associated with desktop deployments and providing a rich end-user experience on a foundation optimized for performance and availability.

Both Cisco and VMware have diligently delivered on our joint vision to regain control of the corporate desktop environment. We’ve integrated VMware View with the Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS). We’ve made the Cisco Desktop Virtualization Solution with VMware View a core module of the Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI) system. Known simply as Cisco VXI with VMware View, the solution addresses today’s IT and end-user challenges: achieving scalable, high-performance desktop virtualization with media-rich communications, unified management, pervasive security and an uncompromised user experience. The integration of voice, video and virtual desktops transforms desktops into virtual collaborative workspaces. 

In an effort to simplify implementation, we are working with our ecosystem partners including NetApp and EMC to deliver Cisco Validated Designs that provide detailed technical guidance based on validated and tested configurations. Both NetApp and EMC have worked with Cisco and VMware to deliver separate validated reference architectures for shared infrastructure and virtual desktops.

Customers of VMware, Cisco and NetApp, including Metro Health (a regional healthcare provider based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan) have embraced our joint solution, achieving significant cost and efficiency benefits. Read about optimizing clinical workflows with VMware View and Cisco VXI or hear what Metro Health has to say about utilizing desktop virtualization to optimize clinical workflows and improve care.

Beyond healthcare, the integrated Cisco and VMware solution is ideal for academic institutions, as well as organizations operating call centers and those employing large numbers of customer service representatives. If your organization is a Cisco customer, what other ways would you like to see VMware technologies integrate with Cisco solutions?

Promo Extended for VMware View and Cisco VXI

Posted by Neal Mueller,
Sr. Strategic Cisco
Alliance Manager

Psst, I just heard we're extending the deadline on the VMware View for Cisco Triple-V Promotion from October 29 to December 15, 2011 for U.S. customers.

The promotion combines virtualization, voice and video (hence the Triple-V) to accelerate your journey to a virtual collaborative workspace. With this joint solution, you can deliver enterprise desktops as a service and simplify existing infrastructure. You can give your end users freedom without compromising IT control.

Kick-start your virtual desktops with our integrated solution:

  • VMware View Enterprise Edition, the enterprise version of the industry’s leading desktop virtualization platform
  • Cisco Virtualization Experience Infrastructure (VXI), which raises the bar on user and IT expectations by delivering a service-optimized desktop virtualization platform with rich services end-to-end across Cisco architectures

Of course, there are selected promotion components, but you can choose and customize your Triple-V solution to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Get the details, and pssst, pass it on.

VCE: Taking the Next Step in Converged Infrastructure

Posted by Chris Carrier
Director, VCE Alliance Mktg

There have been so many exciting announcements, programs and events from both VMware and alliance partners lately that sometimes it’s difficult to keep up. Personally, I have been working closely with VCE on a number of innovative activities worth mentioning.

Many of you are probably familiar with VCE and Vblock. Recently, VCE has taken the concept of converged infrastructure to the next level. They have taken Vblock beyond a “reference architecture” to a real product that you can order—a complete product with full integration and a single point of support. What VCE has done in a relatively short amount of time is impressive.

We at VMware have been doing a great deal to help you take the next step toward cloud computing by building “your cloud”. In the same way, VCE is providing a platform that helps customers take that next step in providing the physical infrastructure with the flexibility, agility, and performance. A Vblock provides the foundation needed for cloud and is comprised of proven products from Cisco, EMC, and VMware.

To that end, VCE has collaborated with VMware to deliver an interactive “Your Questions. Your Cloud.” tutorial and microsite. It includes videos and whitepapers from industry analysts, as well as our Cloud Readiness Self-Assessment. This is my favorite area because the assessment asks you to answer a number of questions about your current environment and plans. Then, you get immediate feedback and scenarios that you can use as a guide as you move along your cloud journey.

It was also great to see VCE take converged infrastructure one step further. Based on research showing one of the top desired use cases for Vblock is desktop virtualization, VCE integrated VMware View into Vblock and created the FastPath Desktop Virtualization Platform. This solution enables you to rapidly and easily deploy a virtual desktop environment in increments of 500, 1000 or 1,500 users. The installation wizard included with the platform incorporates best practices from VMware, Cisco, EMC and VCE. You should check out the online demo. Similar to Cloud Infrastructure, you can learn more about VCE and desktop virtualization by going to the desktop virtualization site where you can learn more about VMware View, FastPath, and our joint solution. You will find videos, whitepapers, and some industry information from IDC.

I’m excited about the solutions and programs we are developing with VCE and other alliance partners. Together, we are helping customers, IT administrators and CIOs achieve their goals faster and with greater return on investments. Keep checking our alliance blog and let us know what you want to hear about.