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DuCUG 2014-2

On the 26th September we hold our sixth event at Cisco Amsterdam. With around 130 attendees we again accomplished to get a nice group of attendees. Traditionally I blogged my experiences of the day.

Traditionally Jon (our chairman) opened the event by thanking our sponsors and welcomes the attendees. Ingmar came on stage telling he is leaving the steering group because he is now working for Citrix and he wants the User Group to be independent.

The first official session was provided by Rachel Berry, Citrix HDX Product Manager, Graphics & Peripherals. Rachel started explaining that she is actually a product manager of a product that does not exist, because it's embedded in the Citrix products. She showed all components that fall in the HDX range. Next Rachel went more in detail about the 3D Graphics. She started explaining the markets and business drivers for 3D Graphics. Rachel segmented the user population (Professional Users, Power Users, Knowledge workers and their Graphic needs. Rachel also shares some figures of bandwidth usage of the H.264 Deep Compression and mentions CloudBridge for WAN optimization. Next topic was GPU acceleration. Rachel discusses CPU Pass-through for XenApp/RDS workloads and GPU Virtualization for VDI workloads (vGPU). Rachel continued with describing the similarities and differences of XenDesktop (VDI) and XenApp (RDS). Also the NVidia Grid cards   characterise was mentioned by Rachel. Rachel also mentions the DirectX implementation and HP Moonshot. Rachel shows a nice list of application manufacturers published an article about supporting this technology. Next Rachel mentioned the focussing areas for HDX 3D Pro, followed by the vGPU architectural changes to XenDesktop, generic USB redirection for XenApp (RDS), Desktop Composition Redirection enhancements. Rachel also mentioned several roadmap ideas for future releases, ending the session.

The second session was a customer case titled ShareFile in education by Martijn Hulsman and Rink Spies. They started describing the customer and the vision and goal of the customer, both for the teachers and the students. Martijn continued describing the Citrix products which are used in the total solution including the functionality they used of each product. Martijn described the requirements for ShareFile: all data at one place, everything mobile, uniform user experience and simple. Next topic was the ShareFile architecture. Martijn mentioned different clients for the different platforms. At the school Apple was the standard Martijn and Rink focusses on these devices and explained why they had chosen for the ShareFile sync. The client has one disadvantage that the long file names are not shown completely. They also needed to support Windows 8.1 as many PC's were just bought and XenDesktop (Windows Server 2012) and the issue that more teachers are using these systems and downloading all the data again and again. Martijn touched some enhancements that would be nice if Citrix would implement those. Rink continued with the back-end challenges, while moving all data to ShareFile (together 2 TB). CIFS share connector is only available for mobile devices, so they decided to use Storage Zones (as the customer wanted a single interface for all devices). Rink discusses the difficulties with importing the data into the Storage Zone. Next topic were the challenges about the creating the StorageZone and NetScaler configuration. Rink also shared some tweaks for NetApp (MaxDirSize). Also the creation of the ShareFile user, the considerations about this process, the ShareFile User Management Tool and Security Distribution Groups were also described. Last topic were the lessons learned: many distribution groups slows down adding users, transfer big data takes time, sync for Windows/sync for Mac don't support CIFS share integration, think about restore (7 day user recovery, 30 days in Citrix managed storage zone via Citrix support), > 1000 users Citrix Success Manager program, User Provisioning via UMT, instruct your users, big environments need API and they will share this during the E2E VC Barcelona.

Third session of the day XenMobile App edition: experiences from the field by Daniel Wedel. Daniel started that large in Norway can be small. His experiences are from a 4000+ employees so that also large in the Netherlands. He described the customer quickly (they are using Lotus Notes), followed by the characteristics and features of XenMobile App Edition. Daniel also discussed why they only needed/required the App Edition (without MDM). Also the historical of the product was touched by Daniel. Daniel continued with topics like Control data exchange, App Access Control, available applications, microVPN, specific NetScaler versions including supported XenMobile versions, AppController, StoreFront (no longer required for MDX, but for HDX Apps), and AppWrapping including his experiences. Daniel continued mentioning Cerebo tool for troubleshooting and discusses to use one or two NetScaler Gateways.

For more detailed information I missed during this notes check my notes during Citrix Synergy 2014 as Daniel also presented this session at Synergy. Daniel mentioned the issues and specific characteristics they had during the implementation. Also he mentioned that with the latest release many issues with the differences between the available devices and which are still there. Daniel ended with summarizing his experiences.

After lunch we started with our CYOS. The first CYOS was presented by Gerjon Kunst with the presentation 1000 Seat VDI-in-a-box implementation. Gerjon started explaining the simple infrastructure of VDI-in-a-box including the features and supporting platforms. The implementation was about converging two companies, where Gerjon discusses the company characteristics. Next Gerjon described the advantages and disadvantages of VDI-in-a-box, followed by the design decisions made for this customer. Gerjon mentions the VDI (Reverse) Server Sizing Calculator to determine the hardware sizing. Next Gerjon did a walkthrough of the implementation both of the infrastructure and the migration steps. Gerjon ended with the lessons learned/best practices of this project.

The second CYOS session was by Ruben Giaccotto about design and implementation differences between midmarket and enterprise companies. Good to have a non-technical session, but still full reflecting the IT people. Ruben started with explaining the differences at the starting point of the project between those kinds of companies (total solution versus knowledge). Ruben started with showing the difference in detail about design between the midmarket and enterprise, followed by the build phase differences. According to Ruben the design differences are getting smaller and design are out-of-the-box are scalable. Next topic was the project properties differences. Ruben also discusses the Enterprise challenges (bandwidth/latency, HDX multimedia, older Thin Clients). Ruben provides some tips to get involved in Enterprise environments.

After Ruben I presented mine session PVS Resource Usage. It was fun presenting this session. Hopefully the audience enjoyed the session.

The last presentation was provided by David Cottingham. He presented the new XenServer - Features and Strategy. David started with some facts and figures about XenServer and NetScaler (where the SPX runs on XenServer). David also touched the GPU graphics in and logically mentions vGPU a bit more as this is (currently) XenServer only. Next David discussed the updates and new features in the current release (6.2) on several topics (scalability, density, licensing, and hot fixing). David continued with the possible upcoming features: fully 64bit platform, greater vGPU density, networking performance. The Technology Preview of this version (Credence) is already available. David also discusses some enhancements and features for upcoming releases like improved Intellicache. The session ended with some Q&A.

Traditionally the official part ended with a geek speak Live. The GSL started with Peter Bats explaining how Citrix responds to security threads like Heartbleed and Shellshock. After this interesting story Barry and Kees started with the first topic XenServer v the others. As there was a real good interaction and discussions about this topic; to migrate or not to migrate was the second and last topic. After the GSL there was time for some networking with some drinks.