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Navigate Hybrid Cloud Complexity With VMware NSX


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Chances are, if you’ve been thinking about cloud, or you’ve started on your cloud journey, you’ve heard about hybrid cloud. It’s becoming the future of not only the IT departments that run the organisations, but the very culture and fabric of the organisation itself. Employees can no longer afford to be sitting in an office all day; the very definition of a lot of roles requires the flexibility and fluidity of working remotely. With that, organisations are having to modify and modernise along with this new wave of thinking. IT has had to move away from centralised data centres to a model where applications and data are mobile and easily distributed. In the race to stay relevant and dynamic, many organisations have taken the leap from managing a single data centre to adopting cloud- which usually involves more than one. But the trick with all of this digital transformation is meeting the needs of users without jeopardising security. Having so many clouds can be tricky. We’ve already discussed the issue of cloud sprawl storing data all over the place, which makes it somewhat of a challenge to identify it all and ensure that it remains secure.

Cloud promises so much. Remote working, secure storage, content collaboration, scalability, flexibility…. Plenty of yummy buzzwords that organisations want to achieve. Though, they have quickly realised that it’s not as easy as it looks, especially when it comes to incorporating and managing multiple clouds. And it’s not that they’re foolish or unprepared; deploying cloud can be a significant nightmare, full of terrors and bumps in the road, and sometimes it’s just not possible to foresee the need for something until you’re too far gone. In the haste to join the Cool Cloud group (who wouldn’t, there are badges), many organisations just didn’t have the time to address the divergent expectations and demands on IT and the business, leading to misalignment and a lot of frustration.

VMware solves the issue of the multi-cloud with their NSX solution. VMware has been a leader in the IT industry for decades, and is known for providing the modern network virtualisation solution that aligns business and IT around the same objectives, which is pretty important when IT is what drives your business. It’s comprised of several solutions that work together to create a well-rounded solution. NSX Data Centre reproduces your entire network model in software, making it easy for you to create and provision any network topology in seconds, whether they’re simple or complex multi-tier networks. It creates a common operating environment for all of your applications, either on-premises or off. A streamlined workflow is enabled by automation, meaning that you’ll be able to get more work done faster, with security that’s built-in and tied to your apps and data. NSX Cloud provides consistent networking and security for applications that run natively in public clouds, while delivering enterprise-class capabilities- just like micro-segmentation, to enable easy control over your east-west traffic. It results in precise control over your cloud networking and increases network visibility and analytics. NXS Hybrid Connect delivers secure, seamless application mobility and infrastructure hybridity on-premises and in the cloud. This provides high-performance, highly secure and optimised multi-site interconnects.

That all sounds fab, but what does it actually mean for you? What VMware NSX delivers is a unified platform, which is exactly what you want when you’re dealing with complex cloud environments. Since it’s a common operating environment, it provides a single point of control to break down silos and give you more freedom. It delivers high operational efficiency, eliminating manual network configuration and reconfiguration with its super smooth automation, which allows you to quickly grow or shrink applications across environments. With high workload mobility, NSX enables a fast, low-touch migration process that allows you to realise secure, seamless app mobility across all of your sites and clouds. And finally, with NSX technology, you can easily improve standardisation, by provisioning and managing networks and security services within a single management interface, for consistency and scale across all of your environments.

VMware is a leader in virtualisation, that buzzword you’ve been hearing about a lot but figured you’d look into it at another time. It has been a leader in enabling organisations to navigate multi-cloud complexity in this digital era. With the cloud freedom that it delivers, your IT and your organisation can become partners in innovating across clouds, without adding to cost and complexity. Here at Cetus, we love VMware, and we think that NSX is the bees knees (last year we earned VMware’s specialist competency in Network Virtualisation for our experience and expertise in delivering NSX)  If you want a bit of cloud freedom for yourself, make sure to have a chat with our experts, who love a good multi-cloud challenge.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Cloud, IT Solutions, Security, Technology, Uncategorized

Application Testing in the Cloud


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If you’ve been keeping up with the hype, you’ve probably been looking into deploying a cloud of some form in your organisation. Be it public, private or hybrid cloud, the possibilities that they come with are endless and revolutionary. I’m sure you’ve heard all of those buzzwords before, building the idea of ‘the cloud’ into an amazing, it’ll-fix-any-problem-you’ve-ever-had-and-more! miracle that’s more of a unicorn than anything else. But you might have discovered that it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to cloud. Application testing has become one of the little bugbears that people forget- or choose to ignore- when putting together a cloud strategy. When you roll out anything new, it’s important that it’s a success- your bottom line could very well depend on it. And without regular testing you don’t even know what you’re throwing out into the world.

Several years ago, virtualisation became a new focus for IT departments. This new ideology of sharing computing resources across multiple operating systems increased productivity through reduced costs and increased scalability and easy administration. This fabulous new way of running IT infrastructure observed the evolution of virtualisation of cloud in the form of cloud computing. It paved the way for the dream of ‘Everything as a Service’, essentially creating a foundation for many of the technological advances we have today (but for some reason I still can’t get a delivery from the McDonalds a mile away, so there are clearly more worldly advances yet to be achieved).

Cloud testing is the actual testing of the resources on demand; think hardware, software etc. Testing is crucial for the health of your IT environment, especially when it comes to your cloud offerings, ensuring that it not only meets functional requirements, but also non-functional. Securing and managing performance of your applications is essential regardless of where they are; in the cloud or on-premises. It’s not the case of testing an application when it first gets deployed and never needing to bother with it again; the status of applications can change over time.

There are so many benefits for cloud testing that are easily obvious when you experience them. The normal testing approach is to invest in the adequate hardware and software infrastructure needed to carry out the testing. Since the environment supplied to the testing team very rarely matches that of the user, testing applications in the cloud can alleviate the issue of rapidly-changing requirements, allowing the tester to easily replicate the user environment and find defects early in the cycle. Migrating apps to the cloud can also reduce the cost of infrastructure licence renewal, as the organisation doesn’t have to purchase the infrastructure that won’t all be in use at the same time. With the end user environment in the cloud, it’s a simple enough task for an IT department to customise the testing environment match. This customisation reduces the cost and time of regular testing. The testing team can easily perform load and performance testing scenarios in various permutations and combinations.

But, as with everything, there are downfalls. I hate to have to list them, but here we are. By relying on and using the cloud as infrastructure, we do face a few hiccups. But nothing too scary, I promise. Security is one; user privacy needs to be protected, while also allowing the necessary protections that hold up to standards. The security of applications that run in the cloud and security testing techniques also need to be addressed by organisations when it comes to cloud infrastructure. The performance of an application in the cloud is another significant issue that regularly gets overlooked. How are we to know if an application works the same way, especially when hosted in a private cloud? The application itself will be shared amongst plenty of users, so that could cause a delay, especially if bandwidth isn’t good enough for testing. It’s surprising that in certain instances, the particular configurations of a user can be that complex that they just simply aren’t supported by that cloud provider. I don’t get it either. Bottom line, that can make it that much more difficult to emulate a user environment. The last little issue is that of integration testing. It’s easy enough to test the network, database, servers, and whatever else needs to be done. The tester already won’t have control over the underlying environment, but on top of that they’ll have to essentially guess how it would behave. If there are interactions between two components, the tester can only anticipate risks, such as crashes, network breakdown, or your server going on a sudden holiday.

Ensuring the maintenance and performance of your applications in your chosen cloud is crucial for your organisation. Where a lot of people would just love to ignore the finicky bits of testing, here at Cetus we like to dot the Is and cross the Ts, and that includes your testing. Our experts are specialists in application testing and making sure that everything works just right. If testing of your applications is something you’d like to master, make sure to have a chat with one of our experts who will show you first-hand the benefits, while eliminating as many downfalls as possible.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Cloud, Cloud Hosting, Technology, Uncategorized

Why Cloud Needs SD-WAN


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What a wonderful day it is when I get to write about two of my favourite things; cloud and SD-WAN. Both have been making quite a splash in the world of IT since their conception, but it’s only recently that they’ve been put together to create an easier transition to cloud.

Software-defined (that’s the SD part) wide area network (aaaand that’s the WAN part) is a particular application of software-defined networking (SDN- this is going to get complicated) technology that’s applied to WAN connections. The purpose of SD-WAN is to integrate every aspect and corner of an organisation. And cloud….well, it’s cloud. If you’ve managed to find this blog post without knowing what cloud is I think you may be lost. Try Googling ‘cat videos’ instead.

Cloud, cloud, cloud. IT departments just can’t get enough of it. And for obvious reasons; easier analytics, scalability, cheaper cost- I could spend all day going on about
how fabulous cloud is (and I have). It’s getting to the cloud that can be the problem.

Once upon a time, at the very beginning of the story of the internet, organisations would connect computers through an internal network to move data around the building. Then, with the ability to connect outside the building, came the problem. With business branches scattered across the globe, the ability to connect, share and collaborate has never been more important. But getting everything safely and securely from A to B can be an issue. Once you leave the confines of the building network, all bets are off. With the increase in cybercrime, the threat of sensitive information getting hacked, or- worse yet- having an unknown infiltrate the once-secure network through small gaps in your architecture becomes more likely.

The importance of the network might not always be clear. In fact, unless you really have enough time to sit and think about it, its purpose might never have crossed your mind. Being able to virtualise a number of network functions from a central point, creating an abstraction layer that is custom-built for each organisation and each user is the ultimate goal. But where does SD-WAN fit into all this? It’s been said that SD-WAN will be the vehicle to bring virtualisation to the network, and without it, virtualisation to the cloud or data centre will never be achieved. Think about it, in this day and age we live and work on the edge of the cloud. It’s not a fad, it’s here to stay. But what exactly is the ‘cloud’? Nothing more than several computers, storage and plenty of cooling systems that all connect together to the outside.

Digital transformation has become another big thing in the last few years. Organisations are falling over themselves to adopt or transition to this mass integration into all areas of their business, fundamentally changing the way they operate and deliver value to their customers. But all of these new ways of doing and thinking can’t be built on foundations that were designed and created well before the idea of cloud. SD-WAN allows a more agile take on digital transformation, creating a cost-effective infrastructure that enables the leverage for cloud. With this level of agility, sites and their teams are easier than ever to support, and it’s all thanks to SD-WAN.

Additionally, traditional WAN architectures haven’t been designed to support the fast-changing consumption model of apps efficiently. Legacy WANs are past their sell-by date. Plagued from being MPLS-based with low bandwidth per site, with limited visibility and, crucially, not built for cloud, time is up. Under current legacy WANs, when a user needs to access an app in the cloud, they will do a sort of shuffle around until they hit it. This can lead to wasted bandwidth, extra costs and higher packet loss and latency. Under the traditional WAN model, organisations tend to not be able to afford them when management can be rigid, complex and cause network changes to be lengthy, All in all, it results in numerous inefficiencies and an expensive operation model. Finding the right SD-WAN solution will eliminate all of these issues, while supporting the new app consumption model. This basically means that policies can be defined based on business intent, resulting in steering traffic to where the app actually resides without having to take unnecessary shuffles or compromising on security.

In essence, SD-WAN is cloud’s best friend. And with cloud fast becoming the future of most organisations, it will be your best friend too. Provisioning for SD-WAN will not only make your move to cloud easier, but also more efficient. Contact us today to hear what we can do to help your transition to cloud, or book a free business case assessment to see how your IT environment can be improved.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

 

Blog, Cetus Solutions, Cloud, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Busted! Top Cloud Security Myths


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In the lead-up panic to GDPR enforcement on the 25th of May, I thought I’d go ahead and clear up a few of the cloud security myths that have been knocking around lately. As it is, according to Steve Morgan in the Cybersecurity Business Report, malware is projected to cost the world a whopping six trillion dollars a year- and that’s by 2021. And with cloud hosting getting more popular by the day, it’s nice to know where your priorities should lie while you’re trying to sort out your GDPR compliance. So, here we go! I’m counting again (if you missed that disaster on reasons to move to cloud in 2018), so we’ll see how it goes.

1. The cloud is still a new concept, and is therefore insecure.
It’s been over fifty years since the idea of cloud became an actual thing. And it was around then that the distrust started surrounding the concept. It’s an understandable worry- data in your control is far safer; you know exactly where your data is, how it got there and who has access (in theory- but we’ll save that for a further point). The point is, the cloud isn’t new. Neither is encryption or the risk of malicious people hacking in to cause chaos. As issues surrounding these breaches have come up, cloud providers have kept up and ahead, upgrading and designing new cloud solutions to ensure continuous improvement of cloud.

One of the advantages to cloud hosting is the investment cloud providers make into security. Since your data is being stored with a cloud provider, it’s up to them to update all its firmware and configuration changes. I don’t know about you, but I’m not very reliable when it comes to updating my malware or firewall. It’s so easy to ignore that annoying notification that pops up on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen when you boot up your laptop first thing in the morning. Cloud providers have much greater expertise in the area of data hosting, and they have the technical staff to deal with any issues that arise. Isn’t that one less headache to worry about?

2. On-premise hosting is best.
You gently brush your fingers down the server casing, cool to the touch, like a whisper shared only between the two of you. You know your server, it knows you. Stored in this piece of tin is not only data, but years of intimacy between you, an intimacy that you have been relying on for so long.

Except you can’t actually rely on it.

There’s a weird concept that when your data is stored on-premise it’s safer. I understand how, in our current GDPR-focused reality, being able to see exactly where your precious data is being housed can help quell fears. But in reality, on-prem hosting brings with it a whole other host of issues- issues that are your responsibility to deal with.

Take, for example, the destruction of your building. Fire, flood, paranormal activity- you get the idea. Everything goes, and it stays goes- er, gone. Then you have the possibility of questionable back-up processes, that aren’t questionable until you actually need to rely on them and realise that they haven’t been done in the last month. Oops. Then you have to ask yourself if the security measures that you’ve put in place are up to a high enough standard to protect all of your data.

And while you’re so worried about protecting yourself from the threats of the outside, what about that troublesome employee that you’ve finally gotten rid of after years of problems? Or an accidental or negligent security breach? These are far more common than getting hacked, but they could have the same disastrous consequences for your business.

3. All cloud systems provide the same levels of security.
There is a difference between a personal ‘data cloud’ and a cloud business system. One would understandably have to have far more stringent levels of security; I’m sure you can guess which. At the same time, you can’t assume that all cloud business solutions employ the same levels of security, and it’s important to make sure that you have a checklist for the kind of security measures that are required.

A ‘best in class’ cloud provider would normally have a top-quality data centre architecture that would be geographically apart (see ‘fire, flood, paranormal activity’ of the above point). Access is a big one; a good cloud provider would ensure plenty of application security that would comprise the industry standard SSL encryption. Restricted user access; does this person work for your company, and if so, are they allowed access to the data that they’re looking for? On your checklist should also be a dedicated security team who would identify and deal with any suspicious activity. And, of course, look out for ‘best in class’ security certifications to make sure that you’re in the right hands.

So that’s the myths of cloud covered. Now, imagine this; it’s gorgeous outside, you don’t fancy sitting in your grey office for the day, and your boss agrees to let you get your work done from home. Except you don’t. You find the nearest Costa/Starbucks/Café Nero with free wifi and big bay windows to let the sun in, and you plonk yourself there for the day. With your tiny laptop, you have all the power that you’d have if you were sitting in your office building. You’re able to connect to your company desktop through Citrix, and you’re able to write and edit the documents you were working on back at the office, thanks to Office 365.

Still not sure what exactly you should be worried about? Come speak to one of our experts about our free-of-charge security posture review. It will provide you an opportunity to discuss your endpoint security challenges, as well as your wider cyber security posture with regards to perimeter, data centre and cloud components.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Cloud, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Seven Reasons to Move to Cloud


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You might think that the whole hype around storing your data in the cloud will die out in 2018- especially with GDPR enforcement just around the corner. You’d be wrong.
The truth is, cloud hosting is only going to get bigger, and you’d better start getting on board! Not quite sure exactly why cloud hosting is revolutionary (and here to stay)? These are the seven reasons why you need to move your data to the cloud in 2018;

1. Flexible monthly costs.
For most organisations, an IT department- or just a room for data storage if you’re not in need of an entire department-, is one of those niggly necessities that come with running a business.. For starters, there isn’t a need to invest in a pricy mini data centre that you need to find a spare closet for (and don’t forget that you’ll need a great aircon system too- that’s an expensive closet). Installing in-house servers, data centres, additional desktop software, back-up servers…. It all adds up. Fast. But with cloud hosting, that’s an issue from days gone by. One of the biggest benefits of cloud is the reassurance of flexible monthly costs; instead of having to spend a big chunk of money on the cloud in one go, it’s easier on everyone to set up a handy monthly payment plan. So you pay for what you need, not for extra storage that won’t get filled up for a time.

2. Easy management.
Yes, easy management. Since you’re paying for a provider, all of the nightmarish installation and maintenance that comes with a roomful of tetchy technology fall onto them. You’ll never have to toss and turn all night over an IT problem, because it will all be magically fixed by morning (in theory). Regardless, with all the competition of new technologies and plenty of solutions to choose from, cloud vendors work far harder to ensure that your experience runs smoothly and that your data remains secure.

3. Flexible scalability.
Your business is fluid. We get that. One day it’s the end of the month with all of the reports to write and file away safely, the next it’s the week before Christmas and everyone is too busy chatting around the box of Roses to do much work. Maybe you’re growing as a business and need that extra bit of space? You’ll love the cloud so. Just scale up or down depending on your needs, it doesn’t matter. Cloud hosting provides the flexibility for you to access and add new features without the need to buy more hardware. What’s not to love?

4. Automatic updates.
Yep, automatic. We know that a reminder to restart your laptop for an update at 9:30am when you’ve just gotten into the office is a nuisance. Since the cloud is outsourced to a provider, any updates won’t affect you, ever. Which means that you just have to focus on what you do and let us work on the rest.

5. Affordable redundancy.
This could technically go under ‘costs’, but I can’t count to seven* and this is cool enough to have its own little paragraph. So, where does your resilience cost lie? How many back up servers do you have, and are they separated by 25 miles, nice and safe in the case of a flood or fire? All of these clever back up solutions can cost £12 million to buy, cable up and run. Which are acceptable costs for big organisations, but not so much for smaller ones. With a public cloud provider, instead of renting a big chunk of server all for yourself, you can share it with other small businesses to split the cost. Since you’re just renting a space in the cloud to store your data, unless there is a disaster it’s not actually running through to your desktop. Sharing is caring, and saving you money.

6. Disaster recovery.
Technology is finicky. Printers misbehave for fun, computers freeze for the craic, servers decide to give up on you out of the blue. You can never be quite sure about the physical box of cables sitting in front of you, and the smallest disaster could wipe all of your data in a second. Everything just gone. Which is why cloud hosting is business continuity made easy. Should disaster strike, the cloud makes it even faster to get back up and running- if you even notice it at all. The beauty of cloud is all the backup that runs seamlessly in the background. If something were to occur, provided your backup solution calls for it, your data stream would simply switch over to another bandwidth and you’d be none the wiser. That peace of mind really is priceless, isn’t it?

7. The beauty of mobile workspace.
We’re always talking about it, but it really is something. In this day and age, to be able to look out at the snow, make yourself a big mug of coffee and ring your boss to tell him that you’ll work from home today is a miracle. In fact, aside from not needing to get out of your sweatpants for the day, you may as well be in your office; you can easily access your custom applications in the cloud and crack on. And if your job needs you to be out in the field with clients, you can bring your entire desk with you in just a smartphone or tablet. That is great customer service and chances are your sales will increase. If you’re looking for a boost in productivity and revenue, then the cloud is definitely for you.

It doesn’t get more concise than that, and if you’re still not convinced of the benefits of cloud, there’s always the option of hybrid cloud. Whichever you’re thinking about, or even if you want to start your journey to cloud, Cetus Solutions is here to help transform your IT challenges into solutions.

*I can absolutely count to seven.

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Directors-9619Missy Beaudelot – Digital Marketing Executive
With a background in journalism and an interest in all things tech, Missy keeps our social media in check while monitoring our websites and developing our digital presence.

Blog, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, Uncategorized

The Age of Change


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I know for those who know me, I ramble on about evolving, keeping with the times etc. but something dawned on me the other day…

The average age of hackers in the UK is 17 (an example of this being the Talk Talk hacking) Then I got thinking about the “millennials”; where, during their interview, the interviewer ends up being quizzed by the interviewee, what device will I have, can I work from home, can I use my own devices, can I work in a coffee shop, do I get an iPhone?

The business world is being influenced by people that 15 years ago were told to make the teas, clean the bins and do other pointless jobs no one wanted to do. Does this make me ageist? Or the world? What is happening with businesses and the usual board of directors who are all waiting for the next two years to retire and get their nice pay-out, so they can sail around the world?

It isn’t the same anymore; not because we have become ageist, it is because for a start we are living longer; which means that the 30’s are the new 20’s and the 40’s are the new 30’s. The average age of C level execs is dropping, the average age of millionaires is dropping. But, it has nothing to do with their age, it is the age of change.

What is the age of change? Well, 5 years ago when I entered IT, conversations were all about simplifying the desktop rollout, enabling users and bringing down TCO of end points; but at the same time getting more from less with the staff. The phrase “making the device superfluous” was coined a lot and still is today. Also, providing a “ubiquitous” environment to users, regardless of where or how they access their applications and data. Has this changed? No, it hasn’t. We still have this need today, even more so. But, something else has changed…

The datacentre, is now superfluous and the datacentre should now be a ubiquitous platform wherever it may be. Cloud, private cloud, public cloud, elastic cloud, sheep with no legs, whatever version you want to give it. It is irrelevant as to its form. No longer is it about it needing to be a yellow widget as “secure” as possible 20 miles from our office. It needs to be secure, adhere to the relevant regulations, policies and procedures of your industry, customer base etc. and deliver for you in the best way a solution to deliver what the business has asked you to do in helping achieve their goals.

I was with a public sector organisation and a well-known vendor who has a solution that is named similar to something bright blue in colour like a cloudless sky. This customer stated that they didn’t want their data and applications in this vendor’s “solution” as it couldn’t pass their rigorous tests of security. The customers own data centre, was a cupboard. The solution that is named similar to something bright blue in colour like a cloudless sky is so secure, it has anti-tank trenches. The next problem was location, we need our data in the UK; well the good news is, the solution is in the UK.

We are no longer talking about which widget is fastest, which whistle is cheapest. It is purely, working towards a goal to enable the business to keep with The Age of Change and, as we can now make the datacentre in itself superfluous and therefor the likes of tapes, the likes of sweating assets for 10 years, using data centres in the cheapest part of the country or a cupboard; these are issues that can be addressed. But only if, you accept the change and embrace.

Oh, and another thing. It is also cost effective, Cetus worked with a Council saving £9,000,000 by helping them in “embracing change”.

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit Tech Series – HDX . NOW & .NEXT


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Sitting in the airport on the way home from Citrix Summit, I found myself mulling over all the cool announcements and updates that had been shared and how exciting being a Citrix mobile workspace architect will be this year. So I thought I would start a blog series and cover some of these topics. Over the next few weeks keep tuned for an architects view on what’s new and exciting from Citrix in 2017.

My core ethos for virtual desktop and application delivery architectures are easy to follow;
deliver an amazing end user experience and be simple to manage.

After this the rest seems to take care of itself (with the right amount of thought and planning) but its these reasons that keep me coming back to Citrix and in delivering the first ethos the HDX protocol is key (and king). Now there are many aspects of HDX that would warrant putting pen to paper but its ability to deliver on the visual elements are what the user will see every time they interact. So let’s have a look at what’s going on here and to start I think a recap on the last 6 months and XenDesktop 7.11 is needed.

HDX.NOW
So HDX.NOW (my term not Citrix) has had some very nice updates in the XenDesktop versions since 7.6 that enable choice for the admin and deliver exceptional end user experiences. Specifically though before 7.11 we had two main (not limited to) protocol modes, but had to make a choice as the session started on which to use, these were known as:

  •  264 (Thinwire Advanced or SuperCodex)
    Great for Video playback and delivering a great user experience but at a cost of CPU on the server side VDA
  • Thinwire+
    Great for more static text environments. Great on server side VDA resource and great for older or low powered end point devices.

With the release of XenDesktop 7.11 we have a new mode known as Adaptive Display v2 that removes the need for administrators to make that upfront choice. This new mode is simply activated by a policy allowing HDX to run Thinwire+ by default and then switch dynamically to H.264 when it detects moving images within the users session or application. This can be seen in the image below, red and blue are ThinWire regions while the green videos will be rendered by h.264.

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This really cool advancement ensures maximum server side scale, least network bandwidth usage and the best end user experience regards less of content type. Delivering on both my primary ethos at the same time! For more info on this see this Citrix blog.

It’s not just for video that HDX.NOW is providing an amazing user experience. Checkout the video below I recorded at Summit with the amazing guys in the Demo Sandbox.

 

What we are seeing here XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro, Windows10, Nvidia GRID and a Raspberry Pi for the end point, delivering seamless 3D graphics.

HDX is working over only 5Mbps of bandwidth and delivering full screen real time 3D rendering with smooth and responsive interactions (even with me trying to master a 3D space mouse for the first time), HDX reduces the image quality during motion and then builds back to a pixel perfect lossless image when you stop moving. This build to lossless technology allows precise movements in high powered applications with zero quality loss when viewing.

These are just two great feature of the HDX.NOW that showcase some of the power HDX is delivering to customers right now. Now you might think that with such amazing results from the existing HDX protocol that Citrix would sit tight and rest for a while, but this is not the case.

Spending some time with the product guys for HDX revealed what they are calling HDX.NEXT, a complete and revolutionary upgrade to HDX that will be available in the next release of XenDesktop. Having watched demos of XenDesktop running HDX.NEXT over 250ms latency and 1% packet loss I can say the results are amazing. Quicker in most tests that a fat client PC, quicker video response, quicker file transfers and smoother graphics, it’s a game changer for virtual desktops for sure.

On top of the amazing performance increases we also get a 60% (yes sixty) reduction in bandwidth usage and a small increase in server density!! Simply incredible news. Don’t believe me see the results from LoginVSI testing below.

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The continued improvements in HDX over the last few years have ensured the solutions we deliver continue to meet our customers end user demands and keep the ICT teams delivering on the original promises of the solution. The world of end user computing is ever changing and the demands on bandwidth and datacenter server capacity ever increasing, HDX is fighting back and remains a core component for delivering our ‘Better than a PC’ experience.

Want to see this and all the announcements from Summit? Come to one of our free update events, network with peers and see how Citrix are delivering on Cloud, Security and User Mobility in 2018.

robRob Sims – Senior Solution Architect
Rob helps customers to understand their business challenges, and guides them to leverage technology as a mechanism for change.