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Colton Wright
Colton Wright

Cisco Virtual Desktop __TOP__


A Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) application suite runs on top of a hypervisor on Intel x86 hardware platforms, allowing IT departments to host and manage user desktops on virtual machines (VM) in the data center. Users access server-hosted virtual desktops from a device using a remote display protocol.




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VDI decouples the user's desktop computing environment from the hardware. The virtual desktop is hosted on a server VM and delivered across the network using a remote display protocol. The end device no longer stores the user's applications or data, which are housed in centralized storage in the data center.


Applications can be installed and shared from the server or virtual applications can be provided. This technology can be referred to as Remote Desktop Services (RDS) or Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH).


Key applications are virtualized and made available to users based on their role. These applications are then delivered to the end user and can appear as part of their device's installed applications.


A Windows or Linux desktop OS that can include installed applications and/or virtualized applications. The end user has defined control over what they can modify on the virtual desktop. This use case is the definition of VDI. Virtual desktops can be assigned to specific users or can be randomly assigned.


The Virtual Machines for the HVDs can be either Citrix-, or VMware-provisioned. Citrix-provisioned virtual machines can be dedicated, or have multiple users connected over multiple remote sessions. To support multiple remote sessions, the virtual machine must be running a supported Microsoft Windows Server operating system.


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Although the remote access VPN has been dutifully providing secure, remote access for many years now, the advantages of centrally administering and securing the user desktop through Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) are driving rapid growth in adoption. With options including hosting of the virtual desktop directly in the data center as VDI or in the public cloud as Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS), organizations can quickly scale the environment to meet business demand in a rapidly changing world.


Cisco Secure Workload (Tetration) provides zero trust segmentation for VDI endpoints AND applications. Founded on a least-privilege access model, this allows the administrator to centrally define and enforce a dynamic segmentation policy to each and every desktop instance and application workload. Requiring no infrastructure changes and supporting any data center or cloud environment, this allows for a more flexible, scalable approach to address critical security concerns, today!


With Secure Workload, administrators can enforce a dynamic allow-list policy which allows users to access a defined set of applications and resources, while restricting any other connectivity. Virtual desktops are typically connected to a shared virtual network, leaving a wide-open attack surface for lateral movement or malware propagation so this policy provides an immediate benefit in restriction of desktop to desktop communication.


This flexible policy allows rules to be defined based on context, whether identifying a specific desktop group/pool, application workloads or vulnerable machines, providing simplicity in administration and the flexibility to adapt to a changing environment without further modification.


With a single policy rule, Secure Workload can enforce a desktop isolation policy to restrict communication between desktop instances without impacting critical services and application access. This simple step will immediately block malware propagation and restrict visibility and lateral movement between desktops.


Secure Workload will identify the desktop instances and application workloads by context, continuously refreshing the allow-list policy rules to permit this communication as users log in and out of their virtual desktops and as the application workloads evolve.


All offered from SaaS, this can be achieved without any change to existing infrastructure, with distributed enforcement at scale from virtual desktops to application workloads for end to end protection.


I have therefore asked Steinthor Bjarnason (sbjarnas@cisco.com), Senior EMEAR Security Consultant, based out of Norway, to give me his perspective. He has 15 year experience in the security space and his perspectives are drawn from numerous customer projects, both in the Enterprise and the Service Provider space.


The deployment of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) solutions has dramatically increased during in recent years, primarily due to the increase of remote workers but also due to the increased use of Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD). VDI solutions consolidate the user working environment within a virtual environment, creating pools of virtual machines (VMs), which give the users access to their workspace from any location using any type of device.


Answer the questions by typing in this worksheet as you build the virtual computer. You may find the first 40 slides of the Slide Presentation: HowComputersWork presentation helpful. Save your worksheet and check your answers with the answer key. Submit your finished worksheet to google classroom.


Expedient Enterprise Workspace utilizes VMware Horizon virtual desktop technology. In order to provide a high quality audio/video meeting experience for users running the Webex app within a VDI desktop, Cisco provides VDI optimized releases of the Webex software. This document outlines the process for how to properly configure Webex VDI integration with the Expedient Enterprise Workspace platform.


If you are looking to install the Webex VDI app on persistent desktops, you can do it one of two ways. The first method would be to install the Webex VDI app during your initial desktop image creation. If the Webex VDI app is installed during the image creation phase, any persistent desktops created from the image will contain the Webex VDI app. This is identical to the steps outlined in the following section for installing the Webex VDI app for non-persistent desktops. The second method for installing the Webex VDI app would be for persistent desktops that have already been provisioned. If you have already provisioned desktops from a persistent desktop image you can install the Webex VDI app manually on those desktops. If you are using a software management solution to manage your persistent desktops you can also push the software to those desktops via your software management platform.


If you are using non-persistent desktops you will need to add the Webex VDI app to your desktop image during your image creation process. Install the Webex VDI app prior to converting your desktop to an image.


On the devices that your end users use to connect to their virtual desktops you will need to install the Horizon Client and then the Webex Thin-client Plugin. The order of installation is important. You must install the Horizon Client before installing the Webex Thin-client Plugin.


"The definition of an enterprise workspace is changing as users demand increasing flexibility in where and how they work. With Cisco Jabber now available for virtual environments, we are enabling our customers to deliver a complete 'anywhere' desktop to their employees without sacrificing the exceptional enterprise capabilities they have come to expect," Phil Sherburne, vice president of engineering in Cisco's Enterprise Smart Solutions unit, said during a press event in San Francisco on Wedensday.


VXME is an additional piece of software added to Jabber that enables it to run in virtualized environments supported by top virtualization firms like Citrix and VMware. Cisco is promising that the virtual desktop Jabber experience is the same as it is on thick client PCs, and from what we could see, that's pretty accurate.


The initial rollout of Cisco Jabber for virtual environments will initially be made available for Cisco's own thin client system, which ties together all of the elements of a full-blown unified communications station. The thin client itself carries the Cisco brand and can run either the Citrix or VMWare virtual desktop solutions. Logitech supplies the webcam, Bluetooth mouse, and a special keyboard with designated keys for various call functions like answering a call and switching it to speaker, as well as a built-in LCD caller ID display. Jabra's Handset 450 and Speak 450 speaker phone complete the picture.


At some point after the release of Cisco's own thin client, VXME will come to Dell's Wyse Z50D thin client and also other Windows-based thin clients and full-fledged PCs, Cisco said. In thin client installations, the VXME software sits locally in the thin client system while Windows or another desktop operating system runs on a server that can support multiple end users and thus save an organization money on hardware and servicing costs, while offering a more easily manageable security framework.


Another plus for the new virtualized Jabber is that it can be folded into an enterprise's existing network infrastructure without needing to overhaul the network as the new product was designed to work within existing Cisco Medianet-managed network environments.


VXI is an end-to-end solution that Cisco calls "the first desktop virtualization architecture to eliminate the crippling network bottlenecks and server overload often caused by real-time voice and video traffic traveling between an end user device and a virtual desktop hosted in the data center."


The upshot is that you'll soon be able to use Cisco Jabber for enterprise-class communications and collaboration on the desktop, mobile devices, and thin clients. Or at least you will if you're part of an organization with the bucks to shell out for Jabber licenses and these customized thin client rigs, which Cisco wasn't offering a price on just yet. 041b061a72


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