Before and after VXI

Recent studies have revealed that over 60% of enterprise companies plans to deploy desktop virtualization in some way over the next 3 to 4 years.  From a TCO point of view the advantages of desktop virtualization are simply amazing. As we move further into the so called “post-pc era”, having the ability to “port over” the virtual desktop environment to other devices or let’s say locations than the traditional office desk brings unseen flexibility and mobility.  Think of our Cius business tablet that offers you a full desktop environment in the office, while keeping access to the virtual desktop  over wi-fi or 3G/4G connectivity while on the go.

Desktop virtualization however just doesn’t prove to be that good a solution when it comes to integrating real-time audio and video. Using a soft phone or video client over a display protocol such as Citrix ICA or VMWare PCOIP simply doesn’t scale. “Hair-pinning” all the real-time traffic back and forth to the data center where the virtual desktop resides causes delay and jitter and puts a heavy burden on data center resources, not to mention possible bandwidth exhaustion…

Thanks to our Virtual Expirience Infrastructure or simply VXI, we are able to separate real-time traffic out of the VDI display protocol, routing voice and video traffic directly between end points, bypassing the data center.

Please take a moment to view a short video on our VXI solutions, showing you how separating voice and video traffic from the display protocol enhances the user experience. To start with, you will first see what you get without VXI. They say that seeing is believing. Well,  this video really speaks for itself.

 

 

To find out more about our VXI offering and VXC clients, please visit the link below, and see how we effectively bring the best of our borderless networking, virtualization and collaboration technologies together.

http://www.cisco.com/go/vxi

Trusted Relay Point configuration

The Cisco Unified Communications system can be deployed in a network virtualization environment. Cisco Unified Communications Manager enables the insertion of trusted relay points (TRPs). The insertion of TRPs into the media path constitutes a first step toward VoIP deployment within a virtual network.

The underlying network infrastructure comprises one of the key shared assets in an overall network design. A number of customer use cases require support for network infrastructure virtualization, such as the following examples:

-Guest internet access

-Partner access

-Departmental or divisional separation

-Subsidiaries/mergers and acquisitions

-Application segregation (data/voice)

All these applications include a requirement to maintain traffic separation on the network device as well as between network devices.

Traffic separation translates into concepts such as Virtual Routing and Forwarding (VRF). VRF allows multiple instances of a routing table to co-exist within the same router at the same time. In a virtualized network, these different routing domains, or VRFs, typically cannot communicate directly without transiting through the data center.

This situation challenges applications such as Cisco Unified Communications, where devices in the data VRF domain, such as software endpoints running on PCs, need to communicate directly with hard phones in the voice VRF domain without hairpinning media in the data center and without directly exposing the voice and data VRFs to each other.

Below a sample configuration off TRP.  This sample setup will force softclient RTP streams (voice or video) through the MTP control point in the router. In this router you might want to add additional security settings (FW, ACL, QOS,…). We will focus here on the basic TRP configuration in the  Cisco callmanager and  ISRG2 router.

Basic Principle:

Setup:

As you can see in this setup we make a direct call between a Cisco EX90 and the CUPC client. Both devices are registered to the Callmanager 8.6.

 

Configurations: 

Continue reading

Cisco ISR G2 Video Conferencing Services

The Cisco Integrated Services Routers Generation 2 (ISR G2) routers with the packet voice and video digital signal processor 3 (PVDM3) have introduced the ability to do multipoint video conferencing for Ad Hoc and Meet-Me video conferences with Cisco Unified Communications Manager (Unified UCM) or Cisco Unified Communications Manager Express (Unified CME) as call agents. The Cisco IOS Software integrated video conferencing services on the ISR G2 extend the long-supported audio conference feature with its digital-signal-processor (DSP) resources to include a broad portfolio of video endpoints for video conferences to meet customers’ visual communication needs.

This an ideal MCU solution for Cisco 89XX and 99XX video-enabled ip phones, the Cisco desktop video clients (CSFand CUVA) as well as the TelePresence E20, EX60 and EX90 video devices. It offers a great way of providing a local multipoint video service at branch sites, limiting the video bandwidth usage over WAN links.

Find out more about this enhanced ISR-G2 functionality on the following url:

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/partner/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6790/gatecont/ps4952/data_sheet_c78-649427.html

and

http://www.cisco.com/en/US/partner/prod/collateral/voicesw/ps6790/gatecont/ps4952/qa_c67-649850.html

Announcing Availability of Cisco Jabber for Mac

Since this month customers will be able to enjoy the industry’s richest UC experience for the Mac platform.

WebEx Connect customers will be able to use the service on Macs for the first time, while Cisco Unified Personal Communicator Mac users will find a tremendously enhanced client built and designed specifically for the Mac.

Cisco Jabber for Mac delivers presence, instant messaging, voice, voice messaging, desktop sharing, and conferencing capabilities securely into one client on your desktop and can be deployed as an on-premises or cloud-based solution.  HD video with interoperability across standards based endpoints will be added via the Cisco Precision Video Engine and is targeted for a Q1 CY12 release.

This release is an important step in delivering on the complete Jabber vision of enabling rich UC capabilities with a consistent user experience across a broad set of platforms and devices that will include Windows on the desktop, Android devices, the iPhone and iPad, and Nokia and RIM smartphones.

For additional information and resources regarding Cisco Jabber for Mac, please see the below links.

Cisco Jabber page on Cisco.com http://www.cisco.com/go/jabber

Ordering Guide http://www.cisco.com/web/partners/downloads/partner/WWChannels/technology/ipc/downloads/ucbu_uc_og.pdf

Cisco ūmi: Bringing Family and Friends Together at The Touch Of a Button

Video is the new voice !

Following the insights from John Chambers on consumer TelePresence at CES 2010 last January, following the many rumors on industry blogs and news sites recently and as you now most probably have seen else where on the Web, Cisco announced today its new solution for Consumer Video Collaboration: Cisco ūmi


Cisco ūmi will change the way we live, work, play and learn in a way we never could have done it before. Bridging your living-room with the ones from your friends and family, but also allowing people from remote place to access services such as healthcare and education in a totally new way.

Even Greenpeace also posted on their blog about the positive impact Cisco ūmi will have on climate by eliminating some portion of global travel.

Please find below some more details on the product itself :

umi codec

Built-in microphone array with software beamforming
Embedded speaker for incoming call ringing

Compatible with high-definition widescreen TVs capable of 1080p or 720p with available HDMI port.

Video resolution

Full HD 1080p video calling (1920×1080 pixels) and 720p recording at 30 frames per second.
Dynamic resolution scaling based on available bandwidth (1080p, 720p, and 480p supported)


umi camera

Camera

Optical zoom
Multi glass lens
Auto focus, auto exposure and auto white balance
Motorized aim –pan, tilt, and zoom
Motorized shutter for privacy control

Learn more on Cisco ūmi at umi.cisco.com

Oh Crystal Ball …

As an IT department, you are asked to be ready to enable future business directions and related changing end user requirements, enabling productivity increases and efficiency improvements.  But what are those upcoming requirements? What do you need to prepare your IT infrastructure for? When asking the question to your business departments, it might appear that they also have difficulties answering this.

Still, there are already some tendencies appearing that will underpin these business direction changes and, in one way or another, will fundamentally change the IT infrastructure you need to provide. These tendencies all have a direct impact on either or both Cost Reduction/Productivity Improvement or driving Innovation/increasing Differentiation, fundamental forces that will always keep on driving change in companies.

Mobility for sure is one of them. Your company’s workforce is only sitting a low amount of their time behind a fixed desk. They spend more time in meeting rooms, in a virtual desk environment, in flexible workspaces within changing project teams, on the road or even increasingly from their home office. Your companies’ workforce might even go beyond the corporate borders due to increased collaboration with external teams and partners. So, you will need to be able to provide an IT experience wherever the end user would like to connect. The border of location, previously tied to the fixed desk, has disappeared and you will need to provide the end user with a Borderless experience.

Cloud computing is entering the IT landscape. Companies are still figuring out up to what level they need to integrate and take advantage of cloud based applications and business models. Whatever the outcome, IT departments will need to enable high quality and secure access to both applications in the datacenter and applications out in the cloud. So, the location border, both of the end user AND of the application that he wants to access, has gone. IT departments even need to check whether they are still in the path between the end user and the application, especially since the IT department will still be requested to guarantee security and data integrity.

More and more devices of different types will connect onto the network: The Internet of things. Where once an IT department needed to foresee a standard corporate desktop PC and a mobile telephone, it is now faced with an increasing amount of diverse devices connected to the network. Sometimes, these devices are controlled by IT; sometimes they are brought in by the end user and are less IT controlled. The Blackberry was one of the first devices requested directly by end users, imposing IT to support it on their network. This user-driven evolution only increased with the rising popularity of the iPhone, Blackberry devices, Symbian devices, Android devices, the iPad, the Cisco CIUS, … Cisco’s IT, for example, acknowledged that a standard desktop and mobile was not maintainable anymore, and moved to the support of a full catalogue of devices, allowing people to use devices that optimally support their personal business requirements. Beyond that, new non-user based devices are becoming IP based: access control devices, physical security camera’s, building management sensors. In short, the device border is disappearing. IT needs to adapt to these increasing demands in supported devices and non-user devices on the network, while of course maintaining a coherent and uniform network access control policy.

Finally, after decades of productivity improvement through process optimization, companies are now seeking the next wave of productivity improvement through increased collaboration. Being able to flexibly bring the right people and specialists together to solve problems or accelerate innovative ideas, being able to take advantage of the knowledge in a globalised world, drive richer interaction with customers to increase their customer experience, satisfaction and loyalty will all be important drivers behind collaboration. So, IT departments need to be ready to support the next wave of collaboration tools. Where today this translates into the movement from telephony to IP telephony to Unified Collaboration, this will increasingly mean the usage of rich video to increase the impact. Get the expert – from wherever in the world – in front of your customer in a High Definition real live experience, bring teams dispersed worldwide together in a seemingly same meeting room, drive video rich messages to your customers, … The result : a much higher level of impact and interaction. Based upon my own experience with several collaboration tools, I can only confirm that the level of attention and efficiency of a video based Telepresence meeting approaches the one of a live meeting, and is way above the impact of a voice-based conference call. The IT impact: an important increase in bandwidth requirements (video is already more than 50% of the bandwidth on Cisco’s network), and a network that needs to be aware and be able to cope with rich media and video.

Can we see into a Crystal Ball … not really. However, you will have recognized several of the above mentioned changes starting to play into your IT environment. We can help you to move forward in this challenging journey through our Borderless Networks architecture. This architectural approach goes beyond switch ports, access points, speeds and feeds; but will combine these network infrastructure building blocks to interoperate together to drive infrastructure functionality that addresses above mentioned IT challenges :

– Mobility: Cisco Motion & CleanAir, Cisco AnyConnect and Cisco TrustSec

– Cloud: Cisco AnyConnect and Cisco Application Velocity

– Internet of Things: Cisco TrustSec and Cisco EnergyWise

– Unfied Collaboration and Video: Cisco Medianet

For more details on each of these functionalities, please visit: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/ns1015/solutions.html

Let’s confidently start the journey …

The impact of video on your network

Last week Cisco held its annual Global Sales Meeting with nearly 1.100 conference rooms in 162 locations around the world.  What used to be around 20.000 people flying towards the United States and to the event location, has now been transformed into a worldwide virtual experience. Needless to say the enormous cost reduction achieved through this, as well as the enormous challenge to support such an event. Making usage of all available Web2.0 technologies such as extensive Telepresence usage, High Quality video streaming and interactive Webex-sessions for collaboration and discussions. In short, full rich media session enablement to all participants.

This is just an example that shows the potential of video to transform internal collaboration in the company. Video is becoming central to how we work, how we live and how we communicate and if you have a look at the expected evolution of traffic, you can clearly see the increase of video usage and overall bandwidth growth. Given the impact on quality of interaction and collaboration as well as on cost reduction, IT department’s will be challenged with the daunting task to be ready to serve these media demands and rapidly growing content volume. Cisco’s Borderless Networks architecture, incorporating Medianet, can help IT departments to address this challenge.

TB = Terabyte (1000 GB)
PB = Petabyte (1000 TB)
EB = Exabyte (1000 PB)

A Medianet-ready network is an intelligent network that understands the specific requirements and has been optimized for video traffic and rich media traffic. With medianet, your borderless network optimizes traffic flow and bandwidth utilization, while reducing the effect of network congestion. And it does all this while lowering the complexity and risk associated with video rollouts.

The medianet approach gives you unprecedented quality, scalability and efficiency, allowing you to:

–          Deliver all types of media over a single end-to-end IP architecture.

–          Provide reliable extraordinary customer experiences.

–          Increase revenues and reduce operating expenses.

The Medianet will make the required bandwidths available (Gbps to the desktop, 10Gbps in the backbone, 100Gbps in SP backbone) but will also ensure a constant rich-media user experience, independent of where you are (wired or wireless) or on which device you want to view the content (thanks to the Media Exchange Engine). The Medianet will also make the network understand video devices and their requirements, through build-in end-to-end functionalities such as Auto Smartports, Quality Of Service, RSVP (Resource Reservation Protocol), Performance Routing (PfR), …

Let’s take a look at Performance Routing (PfR). It complements traditional routing technologies in order to improve application performance and availability. This technology can select the best path for each application based upon advanced criteria such as, reachability, delay, loss, jitter, and Mean Opinion Score (MOS).

And probably, we are only still at the beginning of the video era. Maybe the STAR WARS holographic virtual meetings are not that futuristic anymore …. Cisco Telepresence Magic

Is Your network ready for it ?

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