Brian Madden ran a post last week titled, Cisco enters the VDI fray with “VSI” (Related: we have a new leader in the “most press for least actual prouct” race!) that sparked some lively debate. While a bit early to make any defensible conclusions about the ultimate success of VXI, it’s reasonable to expect that it will shake up the under-performing virtual desktop market.
Madden dismisses VXI as a “reference architecture”, but this would be comparable to calling the VCE Vblock simply a reference architechture for a private cloud infrastructure. Vblock is already grabbing huge industry mindshare because customers are intrigued with the idea of a validated, preconfigured, certified solution that is supported as a single product.
Virtual Experience Infrastructure (VXI) is a solution initiated by Cisco, but it cleverly redefines the VDI category to include not only virtual desktops, but also voice, phone, video, Telepresence and collaboration. It incorporates contributions from ecopartners such as EMC, Wyse, VMware and Citrix along with legacy technologies such as WAAS updated to optimize VDI protocols. As with Vblocks, it also is built around the unique advantages that Cisco UCS brings as a hosting platform for virtual infrastructure. VXI leverages the UCS to enable denser VM capabilities, thereby enabling reduced infrastructure costs, along with cost reductions from consolidating voice and virtualization infrastructures.
Piggybacking off Cisco UCS Success
When Cisco UCS debuted last year, it faced skepticism from both competitors and the press who questioned its relevance. HP called it a “giant switch”. Byte and Switch called it, “next year’s servers…shipping this year”. According to ComputerWorld, a Dell executive referred to it as a “one-size-fits-all blade server”. But in only 16 months of shipping, UCS now has 2,800 customers with an annualized run rate of almost $500 Million. UCS has disrupted the data center status quo, set the industry abuzz and is displacing long-term data center competitors seemingly at will because it instills CIOs with the confidence they need to virtualize their mission critical applications. VXI has the potential to similarly impact the virtual desktop space by addressing the enterprise performance, security, user experience and cost issues that inhibit their wider acceptance today.
Author Disclosure: I work for a leading Cisco partner.