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DUCUG 2013-1

On the 15th of March our third DUCUG event was held. As I was both part of the organization team and also presentated a session I was really looking forward to this event. As usual I blogged my experiences of this third DUCUG event.


We were fully booked and Jon Jager as chairman opened the event. The first speaker was Guillaume Le Tyrant, Citrix Product Marketing Manager EMEA about the vision and strategy of Citrix. The vision is still based on any any any, but now expanded to many many many. He continued with new face of the enterprise: multiple devices (3 average),multiple locations (50% work from multiple locations), and Application Profiferation (X25 Apps in 2015). Two platforms Citrix is aiming on are mobile workstyle and cloud workstyle. Guillaume continued with unified storefront, user virtualization and cloud convergence. He explained how to connect the mobile workstyle with the cloud services using bridging. Next topics were the Transform your activity idea of Citrix (free your users with mobile cooperation, applications and data access) and empowering executive of the future (with the mobility they need today) and free you user (any user on any device. BYOD without comprising security). He continued witht a quick look in the future of Citrix: Focus on Enterprise Mobility (XenApp, XenDesktop, Mobile Solutions Bundle, ShareFile, NetScaler). Receiver, HDX, Flexcast and Unified Storefront  are the 4 corners for desktop virtualization. This will deliver Follow-me Apps across devices and follow me data, which leads to Project Avalon. Excalibur expected first half 2013 (Synergy?), Merlin is expected 2H2013. Excalibur is the merge of XenApp and XenDesktop. Merlin is about cloud orchestration. Xenapp 6.x and XenDesktop 5.x can be merged within this cloud style service orchestrationn in both directions. Guillaume mentioned some new things in Excalibur (major innovative UI re-design, Re-invented for mobile and devices, HDX EdgeSight, HD Audio and video collaboration are just a few, because he went to quickly to type all those down. For Merlin this features are(self service provisioning, service automation and built on CloudStrack. Last topic was XenMobile (based on the acquistion ZenPrise). Citrix Mobile Solutions Pack exists of CloudGateway and XenMobile. He discussed the intergration in 2013 of XenMobile : XenMobile GA (1Q2013), Project Ares (2Q20132) and Project Artemis (2H2013). 

The second presentation was Simon Barnes with the presentation NetScaler - real life experiences. Simon started with the features available in the NetScaler (load balancing, SSL Offload, Integrated cache, CP Multi-plexing, HA, Access Gateway Enterprise/SSL-VPN, Application Firewall, GSLB, SQL Load Balancing, Context Switching, Rewrite and PCI-DSS Compliance). Simon talked through the different models available with their charasteristics. Simon showed a list of acronyms between the networking team and the "other" people. Simon has also some tips: often stated that this is the easiest part, get it wrong and pay the price (poor performance, high switch CPU uitlisation, 0 network connectivity, incorrect network access, loss of faith in solution), befriend of buy the help of the network team, check the rules for connecting devices (speed/duplex, swith capacity, management restrictions), plan, plan and more planning, request IPs in advance, change control procedures, use a aggregated link/channel. Simon continued with HA (no additional licenses, simple to deploy, huge benefits, platforms must be the same) and explained the set-up, how HA works and useful tips (alarms, pairing, INC, test a change [disable propagation,complete change, test and issue a force sync command). A case study was the next topic about load balancing- how to simplify DR, followed by GSLB (active/active, active/passive, proximity, enterprise edition or standard + GLSB --> use Enterprise). Simon showed a script to set-up a GLSB. Last topics were the real life situations (trying to tell Exchange team to set a static port, upgrading a single HA node, deploying command center - automating ns.conf back-ups, high switch CPU utilitization, change the source IP address for connections) and troubleshooting tips (tracing, telnet, create a dummy vServer, nsconmsg, saved vs running config, IP conflicts). 
Because Stephane Thirion could not attend, Remko Weijnen replaced him with the presentation Fixing Apps for XenApp. Remko started his presentation that the difficulities within XenApp are the applications. Via demos Remko showed how you can troubleshoot those issues and find a solution. He used tools like performance monitor, TS/RDS compatability keys, compatability administrator,) and fixing issues like use username in stead of computername, twain redirection, INI files, drivers).
After the lunch I presented my session: The other features of Windows Server 2012 RDS. I hope the audiance enjoyed the session. After my session Niek Boevink was on stage with his session AppDNA real life experience. He started describing the issues there are with fixing applictions to run on a new system (new OS/new delivery platform), followed by the process of packaging and testing currently and how AppDNA can be used to replace that process. Niek shows the process of AppDNA and the outcome that AppDNA arranges. Niek continued with their experiences: they can provide the information to the supplier about the issue and analyze if the issue is removed (with a newer version). Some reports are really detailed which can be difficult to read by the system administrator. Also the licenses were discussed. Demo license can handle 1000 applications and shows how many apps are green, yellow or red. Unlocking all the information is per application license, but you don't know which application to select (which show a yellow/red state). The packages provided by AppDNA for App-V is not so good that with one click a fully App-V package will be created by AppDNA. AppDNA works best with MSI input, also IE check works fine. Attention points are: application installation description, accurate CMDB is necessary, MSI preferable, automatic packaging is not optimal and licenses. VMware was required till 5, version 6 runs also on XenServer for the anlyzing and packaging system. The sesion was ended by showing AppDNA in a demo. 
Next session is by Louis Gohl, I got 99 problems, but VDI ain't one which is about Citrix VDI in a Box (VIAB). According Louis VIAB is about simplicity especially in comparing with traditional VDI, which he explains by showing architecture figures of VDI versus VIAB. Louis described the set-up of VIAB (vdiManager). Louis mentioned some new features/enhancements in version 5.2 (image export, personal vDisk, Citrix HDX, receiver look and feel, support for CloudGateway/StoreFront), followed by a demo how the users will experience VIAB and the administrator console. Next topic was scalability and availability were Louis explained how it works to add more "grid" servers. Updating looks like a bit like Provisioning Services works, same methodology at least. Costs was the last topic, where he explains what's needed for VDI in a Box (hardware, license costs). 
Next presentation was Technology choices in cloud architecture by Anton Opgenoort. He started explaining what Schuberg Philis is about and why they were looking into the cloud (customer requirements) with methods like IaaS, PaaS and integration. Anton is refering to Shannon Williams about the available workloads (traditional, distributed), followed by the clouds offered by Schuberg Philis (shared cloud, dedicated cloud) and they are set-up on an architectural level. Products used are Nexenta (storage), Arista (switching), HP (servers), XenServer (hypervisor), Nicira NVP/Bird/Quagga (network virtualization), .Good arguments to use XenServer versus vSphere (cloudstack offers functionalities, so the hypervisor does not require those functionalities them selves, cheaper, open vSwitch and more). Also on the networks Anton went a bit in detail to solve challenges they had with networking using Nicira (software defined networks), Apache Cloudstack (could orchestration), Chef (Configuration Management). Good questions (and answers) about the possibility to leave Schuberg Philips because of the used product stack. Anton mentions some advantages they have with using this cloud stack (for example building a Oracle Portal server in 18 minutes). Next Anton discussed cloud drivers versus core systems drivers. Via Nicira (bridge) they connect the cloud infrastructure to the traditional workloads (via the STT protocol). Some examples for this bridge model are cloudbursting, PoC. 
Traditionally we ended the technical part of the DUCUG meeting with Geek Speak live. Discussions were about mobile device management, cloud computing, user wishes, how it reacts on it and IP-v6. We ended the day with some drinks.
I personally think it was a good event again with good presentations and a wonderful audiance. Looking forward already to start prepping our fourth event,scheduled for autumn 2013.