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DuCUG 2017-1

On the 7th of April our first full day DuCUG 2017-1 event took place at De Oude Duikenburg in Echteld. Personally I found it a wonderful location with good facilities. As usual I blogged my experiences of the day.

Niek Boevink started the day with the opening keynote including thanking our sponsors which make the event possible. Logically there was a special attention for our platinum sponsors. We also asked special attention for supporting a charity organization Dream4Kids.

After the opening Jeff Pitch of Citrix kicked of the first session. Jeff provided a deep dive about Citrix Application Layering (formerly known as Unidesk). He started with an overview of the product about the available type of layering. He described in detail about the Elastic Layers. Jeff also showed which features are available for which Citrix license type. Platinum offers multi-hypervisors support as an addition, all other features are available in all other editions.  Jeff is stating that both cloud as on-prem is and will be available (via the LTSR). Jeff also showed how you start with App Layering right now. The “product” is available, for now you need to request the trial also if you have the correct license available (will be changed shortly).  The session ended with a good Q&A where lots of good questions out of the audience were askes (like priorities between layers: highest priority wins, Multilanguage support, migrating, different browser versions and so on).




Second on stage was Tim Mangan with a session titled App-V as an alternative for Application Layering. Tim started with explaining the use cases for App-V like physical devices (where Application Layering is no go). Tim also touched the way of working with application layering and the different layers. Tim compared the layers with the possibilities and challenges with App-V and those are pretty similar. Tim continued with the App-V client (enabled in Win10 1607+ and Windows Server 2016, available for older Oss via install; licensed with OS, RDS or MDOP/EA). Tim discussed the backend (standard file server share, optional App-V Server, optional SCCM Server). Tim also discussed an App-V Multi-Site Design. Tim continued with the App-V layer format (and shows which can do what a VHD layer cannot do) and the App-V driver stack. Also the App-V support/limitations are mentioned by Tim. Tim also touched the Dual Admin (7.7 and above) and Single Admin (7.9 for Apps form 7.11 also Isolation environment). Next topic was the Citrix XenDesktop and App-V integration including the best way to configure the App-V client (use GPOs). Tim also shared some best practices about sequencing including the free App-V_Manage tool. Also Tim ended the session with good Q&A.

After a coffee break we had the customer case session by Thales presented by Behroez Moosavi and Bart Groot Zevert. They started explaining Thales as the company and the products they are producing (which are pretty cool). They continued why they have Linux VDA based on XenDesktop (already running XenApp and Windows VDI, already many Thinclients available). They also discussed the Linux VDI specifications (including NVidia M60 GPU). Bart explained how they use 32GB for each VDI using memory overcommit (as the large memory requirements are just a few moments per day). Bart also explained the enrollment and maintenance via Puppet and HIERA. Behroez continued with AD authentication for Linux VDA (Winbind, SSSD). Bart also touched Profile Management in Linux (which is arranged by default) and 3D pro vGPU. They also tested Windows Published Applications from XenApp on the Linux VDA, however the user don’t like it, so they are publishing a full published desktop. Next topic was the performance benchmarks, where the compared the physical machines with the Linux VDA. They also shared tips and tricks for Linux VDAs, followed by some issues (the Linux Receiver on the Thinclient, CUDA coding, specific peripherals, sensitive network latency, and heavy windows managers on endpoints). Last optic was the Thalesstick (Windows to Go for remote external access).

Next was the first session provided by one of our platinum sponsors Bitdefender. This session was provided by Mihia Barpascu. He started directly with the content of his session with a question about XenServer 7. Mihia explained that virtualization changed the way for antimalware and explained the weak points currently. He continued explaining how Bitdefender works in combination with XenServer 7 using the security virtual appliance. He ended with describing the characteristics of Defender HVI

After a good lunchbreak Dave Bett continued with his session NetScaler and Octoblu. Dave started why Citrix NetScaler and Octoblu, followed by an introduction to Octoblu. Next Dave discussed the connectors and things. Dave described the steps of configuring a connector for Citrix NetScaler. Dave used a nice format of his presentation after configuring the connector he continued with building a first flow. Next topic was using functions and logic, followed by using Nitro and a Shell “Thing”. Dave had some nice examples of useful flows out of the real world.

Change in a plan based on technical issues. So Mark Plettenberg started a bit earlier with his session Increase Capacity with 45% with using the Windows 2016 Server Template. He started his session about challenges in a SBC/VDI world, followed by explaining how the test methodology works. According to the tests 12% less VDIs can be hosted on the same hardware compared between Win 7 and Win 10, both tuned as default install. Mark also mentioned VMware OS Optimization Tool including the templates which are available (for example their own LoginVSI). There is almost no difference between an optimized and non-optimized Windows 2012 Server. Windows Server 2016 non-optimized 15% less performance, optimized is 7% less performance compared to Windows Server 2012. Mark also touched the availability of cloud services, tested on Amazon and Azure. Especially Amazon did not show the best results. Next topic was image management. Some tips of Mark: experiment, compare, monitor and improve, tune performance, look into blocking advertisements and automate as much as possible and test, test, test.

Matan Nataf of ControlUp continued with our platinum sponsor speaker slot.  After a quick introduction Matan continued with showing the product, which is cool to do that in such a short slot (with so much enthusiasm). Kudos for that from my perspective.  Matan gave a good overview of the product and the features within the product (GPO processing times, HDX bandwidth analysis, screenshot capturing, multiple GPO update, comparing registry were just a few features Matan mentioned). Matan also showed the ControlUp Insights reporting product/feature, a real added value to the product range.

After the break we had our first Bring Your Own Demo session by Magnar Johnsen. He started his session with a nice video showing the difference between a CPU and GPU, followed by some graphs showing the difference. Magnar touched what GPU brings for VDI and RDSH (better user experience, user scalability, enable graphical apps, enable future displays, lower latency). Magnar mentioned that GPU for NVidia is only for VDI. Intel also support XenApp/RDSH. Next Magnar shared the possibilities per hypervisor. Next topic was which GPU you need. The available cards for NVidia were discussed in detail (M6, M10 and M60), the vGPU profiles and calculating the sizing. That brings us to the actual demo of the utilities as GPUperf and GPUSizer, which are really useful for GPU sizing. Magnar also recommends GPUProfiles and RDAnalyzer.

The last session for Geek Speak was the second BYOS of our event provided by Gerjon Kunst about the joy and pain of deploying Windows 10 VDI environment. Gerjon started explaining the two projects used in this presentation. Gerjon continued with the different versions of Windows 10, the features per version and available branches. Next topic were the challenges encountered during the projects (load balancing as VDI in a Box has that embedded, Roaming profiles, Win10 activation for VDI, start menu inconsistency, FTA associations, Win 7 32bit <> W10 32bit, Citrix bugs). Gerjon touched the cleaning of the Start Menu (source: James Rankins) and Telemetry/Scheduled Tasks). Next topic was the implementation: Profiles (local works, roaming kind of, UPM with specific setting, EUM tooling advised) and Win10 login times. Last topic was best practices/lesson learned: performance tests, tweak image, use enterprise version (LTSB or CBB), use a test machine with Windows Insider, use WSUS/SCCM/Third Party Tooling, no in-place feature upgrade, remove telemetry, disable/modern apps, use adjusted Start Tiles layout.xml, determine profile strategy, no disconnect button, update receiver where possible, Citrix LTSR = Windows LTSB preferred).

Last session was the Geek Speak moderated by Jits Langendijk in panel style. Several topics were discussed by the panel like: Everybody will need a GPU in the future. Rumor has it, Citrix is for sale, who should set up? , Seeking a secure VDI solution? Use Linux VDI instead of Windows VDI and Device Guard and Code Integrity white listing is a must have working with sensitive data. Personally I missed a bit of interaction with the audience and there was not a lot of discussion going on, however the opinions of the panel were valuable and informative.