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DuCUG 2013-2

On the 18th of October we held our fourth DuCUG event with lot of good content delivered by the community and four CTPs. Between the preparations and daily tasks to run an event I wrote down my experiences.


The day started with the opening by Jon Jager, which I didn’t see it because people were still entering. The first presentation was by Andrew Morgan about Deepdive Reverse Seamless. Andrew explained the technique, where it came from and going into details about the feature in the Citrix products. Andrew described in detail how the shortcuts get to the virtual desktop (XenApp/XenDesktop) and some special characteristics (auto hide taskbar), followed how the process is launched. Andrew demoed the seamless applications, which are represented in a special folder. Also tray icons will be shown of the local applications used within the session (RES VDX does not do this). You can also create a custom shortcut and another folder name via registry keys. Use the client ADM template to configure the client is the advice of Andrew. Next topic was centrally management of the shortcuts, which can only be done via Desktop Studio (so not supported for XenApp 6.5). Provisioned shortcuts are the way to go for XenApp. Andrew explained how to enable local app access in studio, followed by a demo including a work around for some connection issues Andrew has seen. Next topic was the describing the possibility to create your own custom shortcuts and a way around in XenDesktop 7 where it's blocked by default. Andrew summarized the current version including do's and don't do's. Second large topic of Andrews’s session is URL Redirection. Supported are Chrome, IE and Firefox. Addin should be installed both on local as remote browser. Andrew mentioned some use cases, followed how it is working. Andrew demoed the URL redirection. It's using the default local browsers, so it can happen the browser is replaced by a different one then used within the virtual desktop. Andrew could not find out what the whitelist settings is for, a pen for the one who knows what is doing. Some good questions were fired-up by the audience. As everything is running locally cookies data is not shared and the local file system is shown and printing can be challenge.

After Andrew Ingmar and I presented our presentation about PVS Design decisions and real life experiences. I really enjoyed providing this session, hopefully the audience enjoyed it also.

After a short break Stephane Thirion continued with a session about XenDesktop 7. He started with describing the installation components and the installation steps to set-up a XenDesktop environment. Stephane also mentions the sites where information can be found about unattended installations. Next Stephane explains the Citrix studio. Stephane also showed a lot of the Citrix Director and also discussed the features which are missing in XenDesktop 7 (available in XenApp 6.5).

After lunch we started with the BYOS session. The first one was Ether Barthel with the StoreFont, entering the big league. Esther started with the architecture of StoreFront. Next were the enhancements made in StoreFront 2.0 (no more databases, change base URL, high availability/multi-site configuration, smartcard authentication,    receiver for web shortcuts, receiver for HTML5 integration, XenMobile App Controller). Esther explained the keywords in StoreFront (TreatAsApp, Auto, Featured, and Mandatory). Esther continued about describing the configuration files which are now in XML format (web.config, two versions one for the store and one for the Receiver for Web) and customizations possibilities of StoreFront. Next was the question if StoreFront is ready to replace Web Interface. Esther focused on the parts which are not available (yet) in StoreFront in comparison with Web Interface, but also features which are available in StoreFront and not in the Web Interface. Esther mentioned that XenDesktop 7 is not supported in Web Interface; also other products   integration like Mobile Devices and Data is better supported. Also add-ons for Web Interface are more available like Prevent multi-launch applications, filter/hide applications and web interface for NetScaler. Last topic was known issues on the StoreFront currently available.

Roland van der Kruk presented the second BYOS session with the title XenDesktop7 automation and monitoring. Roland started which parts we would like to automate during a project and which parts are in scope of this presentation. He talked through several components that are included in the toolkit. Next were tools which can be used to automate (MDT, RES Automation Manager, SCCM), followed by the requirements (of the preparation) and the set-up steps. Ronald also showed some videos of xenapptraining.com, which show the toolkit in working.

The last BYOS session was by Barry Schiffer about the advanced image management toolkit. He started explaining why he started this project. Barry explained the steps of Machine Creation Services including updates to the MCS images. Barry explains why he has RES Automation Manager as his framework, followed by a short explanation of RES Automation Manager (projects, runbooks, and schedules). Barry explains the current status of the project and why it's been going taking longer than expected. He expect that it will be released at least beginning next year. Barry was searching in the audience for which subject should be added to the framework and if there are people interested joining his project.

After a break the last session for the Geek Speak was given by Thomas Poppelgaard with his presentation v GPU a critical component in the virtualization space, learn why. Thomas started with the latest vGPU announcements at Synergy 2013 and the announcements of dVGA is released and supported in vSphere 5.5, which also will work for XenDesktop/XenApp as well as VMware View 5.3. Next he explained the history of GPU milestones in 3D graphics remoting, followed by the modus of GPU acceleration (direct map, sw graphics, shared, pass-thru, hardware virtualized). Thomas touched the industries and business drivers for the GPU virtualization. Next was mentioning the current options in the products of Citrix and explaining the solutions at his customers. Thomas mentioned that one size does not fit and the solution should be defined per case. He showed some examples that will work for the mainstream. The bandwidth differs on the usage of the application; however the bandwidth needs are reducing. The decision between the K1 and K2 is a difficult one. Thomas dived a bit more into details of the different methods to explain how the methods are working. Next Thomas connected Alexandro of Nice, a company specialized into Desktop Cloud Virtualization, explaining who their techniques works which makes it possible to use one GPU for more VMs both for Windows and Linux. Followed by some demoes based on the solution of Nice, based on VNC Viewer.

We ended with our traditional Geek Speak. There were very good discussions and good interaction from the audience. In my opinion one of the best geek speak sessions on our DuCUG events. Personally I really enjoyed the event again and look back to another successful event,