Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Citrix & Cisco UCS - Makes Perfect Sense

One of the best posts I have seen coming out of VMworld is from Harry Labanna - CTO of Citrix. What a few may not know is that prior to joining Citrix - Harry was a critical contributor to the overall desktop architecture of Goldman Sachs (nearly 80,000 desktops at one time). In starting - I must be the first to admit - as a long time Marimba customer - I have admired Goldman Sachs for their top notch Architecture and Innovation. They were one of the first to do a virtual desktop solution before it was the in thing to do.

His latest blog posts articulating the value of the Cisco & Citrix relationship is refreshing because it brings the customer experience and reality into the overall virtualization media hype. For those that have not read it yet -

Of course it has the "Vendors" glasses on - as we all would expect but to further Harry's point - Cisco UCS & Citrix combined with NetApp - do make perfect sense in order to bring Desktop Virtualization from a point solution to the mainstream. Why?

UCS brings a host of different technology (not just the network and the routers) but also key integrations with existing management frameworks (like BMC, HP, MS, others) to help simplify the transition from legacy hardware/software to virtual environments and the cloud.

UCS was designed around Policy Orchestration, Templates, and ITIL - key success factors in Systems Management (and BSM) that the biggest and best datacenters have recognized and adopted over the years.

NetApp has been a key VMware partner for years and has built up the credibility and IP around optimizing storage access and control not only in virtual server environments but also virtual desktop environments almost since their inception.

Starting with Presentation Server - Citrix has tried to solve the "problem" application issues for desktops delivered in the server realm for years.

Many Johnny-Come-Lately vendors speak of the revolution, suggesting rip and replace existing systems without understanding the true implications from a customer perspective or in some cases without understanding what it takes to build out and maintain the infrastructure needed to manage a large number of distributed endpoints. Not just in regards to technology but also the overall business impact.

Why is this important?
  • Customers don't have a greenfield - they have legacy systems management, hardware, OS, and apps that in some cases they can not easily swap out. But where they can - it makes sense to look at the whole solution (Network, Storage, Desktop Experience). Their existing systems help them report on and prove compliance (HIPAA, PCI, SOX, etc). Whatever they add needs to work with what they have today versus where they will be eventually in a few years.

  • Desktops have a bigger impact on the business - Many companies are starting with niche deployments because they can not afford a minute (hour, week) of down time across their entire call center, work group, or other key individuals that rely on the system to sustain their primary job function. This will be even more prevalent as EMR and other regulatory requirements around technology are forced to become more mainstream. For example - A doctor with out patient history (meds, ailments) is like a fish out of water. Same rings true for a Marketer without Power Point, Lawyer without case law/contracts, etc. It is even bigger for the Small to Medium Business Owner obtaining services from the Cloud without on site IT.

  • Rising Energy Costs & Impact on Datacenter - Many companies I have worked with over the years moved to server virtualization because they were running out of power in the datacenter. Energy costs have continued to climb (particularly in areas like Phoenix that have a high number of data centers) and in the down economy - many IT shops can not justify adding another POP or expanding power consumption. Remember IT usually is not their primary business but a means to do business...

    The key take away that I saw in this article is that they are looking at it from a different perspective (the one that counts) the customers..

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