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NGN 2nd Citrix Day 2011

Today the second Citrix day of the Dutch organization NGN was held. The day started logically with a keynote by Ruben Spruijt and Roy Ramlagan. The session kicked off with the question of to create the best workplace leading to an overview of the current developments. The first topic was the amount of devices available currently especially smart phones and tablets.  Ruben continued with Consumerization of IT and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). 

Also Bring Your Own IT (BYOIT), (application) stores and (logically) the cloud were mentioned. Roy continued that current techniques are still valid and used a lot (virtualization) and that virtualization is one of the building blocks of a cloud. Ruben ended the presentation by mentioning that cloud computing is a useless word, because it's hyped. It's all about functionalities and end-users. With a Gartner chart Ruben shows the current status of the cloud possibilities and touches the three Citrix clouds (personal, private and public). Combines this delivers SHIT (out of control of IT), called SHadow IT. According to Ruben everything should be configured ad IT as a Service.

After the keynote there were two tracks. A main track and a deep dive track. I started with the session of Arjan Beijer about Open Cloud. Arjan started with explaining the terms IaaS, PaaS and SaaS and what they are offering and which is your own responsibility. Next topic was the development that data could me moved between the cloud providers (Occi), which leads to OpenStack (enable any organization to create and offer cloud computing services on standard hardware). Arjan mentioned the acquisition of Cloud.com by Citrix in July 2011. Next topics were the products of Citrix in this market like Cloudstack, Cloudportal, Cloudgateway and Cloudbridge.

The next session was by Peter Sterk about Citrix Provisioning Server 6. Peter started with a general overview what Citrix Provisioning Server is offering and the infrastructure requirements (Provisioning Services, SQL Database, Network, Storage and target devices). Peter continued with the advantages (one vDisk/image, updating vDisk is eay, all systems are identical and after reboot the system is a clean state again). Next topic was the new features starting with the setup wizards (streamed VM setup wizard, xendesktop setup wizard. Also the new Versions features were described by Peter (difference disk of the parent, less storage needed, quicker updates of a vDisk, based on VHD chaining. Peter deeply discussed the version feature with the status (maintenance and the possibility to revert the difference disk). Also the merge possibility was described (new base image or consolidating difference disks). Next topic was the replication status, only a check if the vdisk is available (you should arrange in another way that the files are synchronized). Another new feature is the automated vDisk Update (SCCM/WSUS, possible manual as automated) for anti-virus or patches.

After Peter I presented my first session which was about What's new in XenApp 6.5. For those attended I hope you enjoyed it. Next was lunch I after that my second session was scheduled about restarting Citrix servers.

Next after my session Ruben started his session VDI & Storage. He started with a general overview of the Virtualization techniques with a more detailed about the VDI concepts (pooled standard/assigned private) and the pro's and cons. Definitely check the slides from this session (I'm sure they are availability somewhere). Ruben also mentioned that business cases are subjective and that in scenarios fat/rich client could be cheaper than VDI. After this he went further with the VDI and storage using a real life case of one of their customers. He started with the theory IO and practical IOs on the storage. Think of topics about RAID set, blocksizes and  latency, After this Ruben continued with the Ultra Deep Impact by large blocksizes that shows as a single IO, but will cause much more IOs on the storage spindle level. The session ended with solution strategies (buying more disks, minimize IOPS, cache, SSD, IO Consolidation, Random/Sequential, AutoTiering).

Ruben had a lot of presentations again this day. After this session he also presented the session Project VRC. Ruben started the presentation why and when Project VRC started. Which phases are passed and reported, the used hardware, software (Login VSI), goals (what's the maximum load that can be generated) and methods. He continued with describing Phase IV: Application Virtualization. He described the test setup for this phase using Citrix Application Streaming, MS App-V and VMware ThinApp in different scenarios. For the results you should check the available white paper or the slides o this presentation. He continued with the hypervisor comparison about memory (vSphere overcommit, Hyper-V Dynamic Memory), Address Space Layout Randomization, overall comparison. Summarized: performance differences are small, dynamic memory is an important feature, xenserver is impressive with high load. Next topic was anti-virus on VDI desktops. Ruben showed which anti-virus products are tested currently.  A pre-scan of images is best practice; otherwise lots of loads are generated. Different scenarios are used (directly installed, agents deployed on VM and service VM (deep security). In current test there are differences between the several vendors, where forefront has the lowest impact in general.

The day ended with a discussion with all presenters using red and green cards to agree or disagree with a theorem by Ruben. It was good fun and a nice day again. I hope that the visitors enjoyed the day as much as I did.