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Citrix Synergy 2012 US Day 1

Citrix Synergy US 2012 has started officially. I blogged my experiences of the event and the sessions I attended.


The first day of the official Citrix Synergy started pretty early with session starting at 8 o' clock in the morning.I started with a Geak Speak Session by Helge Klein called Sizing your next XenApp farm is not a black art. Helge started with specifying the content of the session and showing the end result. He dived into the details he is using to size the farm based on the current usage of the existing farms based on CPU, RAM, Disk and Network Usage. Helge explains how he determines the resources within the current hardware (WMI), followed by determining how to get the actual usage (taksman and perfmon). Helge dived into detail which counters he is using for the measurement. Helge is using logman to process the profman data included in a little based CMD script. Next topic was analyzing the data. Helge was using a real life example to show how he analyized the data. Helge continued how to determine new values with the current data and the challenges (different CPU models, IOPS via disks/read and disk/writes, RAM [session 0, kernel ,file system cache]). Helge is using a self determined factor (based on the current usage) to determine which resources are required for the new farm and some other estimated values (like current users, RAM usage by new OS, new CPU models, IOPS per new disk possible and reservations for disaster recovery).  This leads to a calculation about the amount of servers needed and the amount of VMs per host.

Second session I attended was the deep dive of the Citrix Personal vDisk. The session started   with an introduction of the technique and how it compliments XenDesktop. They continued when to use the product (for userneeding control and personalization over profile solutions). 
Next topic was delivering and managing the PvD  desktop (common base setup: install OS, Apps,VDA, create VM pool and entity). PvD assinged on first login, user installed apps, streamed apps). By updating the base images the personal vDisk part is retained. Using a profile solution is still necessary if users are using more desktops than this XenDesktop VM. 
PvD is always installed, so when disable the software is available but idle. But cannot be disabled anymore when enabled. Last step should be run the PvD inventory when creating the base image. PvD disk can be enlarged and is using thin provisioning (when the storage/hypervisor supports this). Next topic is about the PvD Allocation Split between profile and Apps and the factory reset (which deletes the App part, not the profile component). The ratio is by default 50%/50%. They explained how the app part is mounted a hidden drive (V:), while the P: mapping is made for the profile part. After this Mike took over from Dave for a technical deep dive of the technique. Mike started with the PvD inventory and catalog technique. It's important to know that PvD captures ALL changes for the VM, followed by the update proces of the base image and how PvD acts (mount VHD, merge changes from previous inventory, after merge PvD restarts VM). Also the conflict between base image and PvD was explained (same data, removed from PvD, other data base image will win over user changes by default). Mike continued with advanced configuration via registry values and locations where data is stored, check the slide deck for this information. Conflict rules can be added on file level, but it's not recommend according to Mike. Next topic was the clarify that PvD is not block-based difference solution and why this technique can be used. Mike continued with troubleshooting and support (PVD maintains logs in the base of volume attached to the VM). Most support cases are failure of PvD, installing unattended apps and trying to move PvDs between VMs, Mike dived in those cases (ivmsupervisor.log). Dave wrapped up with some questions from the audiance via Citrix Synergy Live and some questions of attendees. 

After these sessions it was time for the keynote by Mark Templeton. As Citrix Bloggers we got reserved seating in front of the room. Session stared with annoucement of GoToAssist for Android and a new Thin Client by Wyse (Xenith). VDI-in-a-Box will offer a license upgrade path to XenDesktop. There is the official announcement in the keynote of Virtual Computing. It will become Citrix XenClient Enterprise. If you already have XenDesktop Enterprise you get XenClient Enterprise in this license. Innovation awards won ESA. Keynote continues that earlier exceptions become assumptions about IT usage. Lifeslicing, word of the year? -> Seamless cotinuum (shortest distance between work and life. Annoucement that HD faces for GoToMeeting is available for the iPad. Session continued with introducing Podio with a demo of the product. Looks like Facebook lay-out and colors with the functionalities of SharePoint. This has lots of potential. It's free up to five users in a team. Next is ShareFile with StorageZones, which enables on-premise follow me data. Jesse Lipson is showing the enhancements via a demo including tablet apps, ShareFile sync and the storage zones. Techpreview with StorageZones is available now. Next is the integration of Citrix Receiver with ShareFile functionalities, they have done some good work with remote wipe. Will be shipped in July. Mark continues with Citrix CloudGateway announcing two new content controllers: data and mobile management. Brad Peterson is demoing this functionality and shows some real cool features. How many devices can you carry, Brad? RemotePC is also mentioned, personally I think this is real cool feature to enable Fat Clients for home workers, where resources are needed. DeepCompression is mentioned and now heading forward to System Center Configuration Manager. This techniques are demoed again starting with RemotePC, HDX Deep Compression and connecting to Windows 8. HDXonaChip is the next topic, will be offered for $125 and the new HP All-in-One Zero Client. Followed by a demo again by Brad about those Thin Clients. Next topic is CloudBridge 2. Connect your data center to any cloud provider, will be shipped in June. Last topic is Netscaler, mentioning the release of NetScaler 10 a few weeks ago and the TriScale Technology in this release. OneMoreThing this year is project Avalon. Connecting all Citrix products together, hughe project with many challenges I think. The product is shown in a demo. AppDNA shows percentages without modifications and after action summary percentages (following AppDNA guidelines to get the application ready for that platform). AppDNA can start the package process including their remidations to get the application to work. The product has several reporting possibilities.

After the keynote we had a good CTP meeting with the Podio team after which I attended the session Simplify app migration with AppDNA. The session started wit the challenges when migrating to a new platform (application profile, virtualization, OS compatability, delivery method and app format). The AppDNA process is based on discovery, modelling, automate, migrate, manage and evolve. AppDNA practical experience is that there are always unmanaged applications and that package process is difficult and is taking a long time. AppDNA can "import" the DNA of the current operatingsystem including tweaks into their product. Also current ESD information will be used for analyzing the data. Detailed information should be provided with results if the app is working on which OS combined with several factors like bit version, virtualizing possibilities and what can be done to get it up and running. All possibilities can be used combined and run parallel next to each other. 

Next session was the CloudGateway Deep Dive. The session started with the vision behind the CloudGateway (unified solution/access point), followed  by the way CloudGateway is being used for delivery Xenapp/XenDesktop access and Web/SaaS option via the Controller. They explain the process of using the connectors based on roles (connected to AD groups, incl. support for Federated Users). Next the flow is described when a user connects and would like to use a SaaS application including a deep dive into the traffic and the security. Next this part is demoed how to configure it in the product. The session continued with CloudGateway.Next (aka CloudGateway 2) including data and mobile. The dived into the app preperation tool (for mobile managent) and ShareFile (data). They demoed importing an already prepared Mobile App, followed by a demo enabling ShareFile. Data can be wiped from the device (both for user leaving the company as stolen/lost devices). CloudGateway intercepts between the native apps and the cloud, so CloudGateway is in control.

Last session of the day was Finally, let's talk about real-world Citrix XenApp experiences in the Geek Speak session. On stage Rene Vester, Nico Leudermann, Gary Bardon, Shawn Bass  and Thomas Koetzing. The first topic was XenApp 6.0 versus XenApp 6.5. The life cycle is mentioned again of XenApp 6. Also the mobility pack is discusses and explained why troubleshooting is difficult (caused by the mobility devices). Next topics were Load Balancing and session-sharing and XenApp policy. Some good examples were mentioned with plusses and improvments. Thomas touched the next topic XenApp printing and the UPS functionality. Gary stated that Citrix will not offer all options as third party soltions, but UPS will be enhanced. Gary also advices to use driver isolation by default.  Thomas advices the compatability options offered by Microsoft to get applications working on W2008R2. User Profiles was the next topic. Nico touched a good point with the User Profile v1 and v2 and logically Folder Redirection came into play. Redirecting Favorites according to Shawn will cause lots of network traffic. The last topic was about memory and CPU shortly, time was up.