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NGN Citrix Day 3

On the 11th of June the third Citrix Day of the NGN took place. . Unfortunate less people were attending than the previous edition, while the content was really good. Beside presenting two sessions I blogged my experiences of this day.



The day started with a session  of Ruben Spruijt Don't W8: Desktop Virtualization with Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012. Ruben started with the main overview of Desktop and Application Delivery. He started with the keyplayers in the VDI space (Citrix, VMware, Quest as the largest players) and Client Hypervisors. According to Ruben currently tablets like iPad and Android cannot be compared with Windows 8 tablets (because these are not based on ARM at this moment). Use cases for Windows 8: tablet/laptop/ultrabook (x86), tabblet (ARM), server host desktop, client hypervisor and Windows 8 ToGo. ARM tablet is mainly consumer focused, while the  x86 is more enterprise ready. Client Hypervisor engine is good, however CHV Management is not. Ruben continued with What's new in Windows 8: RemoteFX (RFX Adaptive Graphics, RFX for WAN, Metrostyle RDP Client) and What's New for RDS (Remote Desktop Management Servers, Fair Share Resources, Active/Active Connection Broker, User Profile Disk, Image Management VM streaming, pooled/personal VM patching). Also Hyper-V, SMB3.0 and FileServices improvements will help in RDS environments. Currently RFX Client is only available for Windows 8, Ruben hopes it will be made of other operating systems. According to Ruben the protocol WAR is not over, as stated by Brian Madden earlier. Then Ruben started his demo, using a Windows 8 tabblet and a Windows 8 laptop mainly based on RDP sessions (video streaming, application start-up, touch). RemoteFX everything will be rendered on the host side, big difference with for example HDX). It depends if you need a GPU videocard, because also the CPU can handle the actions. The demo ended with a demo using  Splashtop on the iPad, which can connects to a Windows 8 machine (also a Splahstop component is needed on this machine). In this way you can use touch and Windows 8 on iPad (and probably Android if a client is available). Performance was really OK.


The second session was by Timco Hazelaar and Anton van Pelt about Citrix Remote Access: Web Interface or CloudGateway. They started the session with available products (on the Citrix Remote Access site) like the Citrix Secure Gateway, Citrix NetScaler/Access Gateway, Citrix Web Interface and Citrix CloudGateway Express and describing the charasteristics.The VPX NetScaler appliance can only use on core and can offer a maximum of three sites, so that could be another reason to use a physical netscaler besides security and complexity. Timco is mentioning the Web Interface for NetScaler, because WI is still needed for Access Gateway/NetScaler deployments. According to Timco this features is not suitable for deployments because of missing features. The last topic was CloudGateway Express, the new follow-up of Web Interface (because it is based on C# Sharp). Currently the CloudGateway Express is not production ready. Also the Enterprise edition is described, which adds Web, SaaS components, arranging the same look and feel on client devices.

After these two sessions the break-out sessions started. I visited the Provisioning Services 6.1 session by Anton van Pelt and Roy Ramlagan. They started the session with explaining the  infrastructure and the way Provisioning Services works. Next topic was attention points like boot options (PXE, DHCP, Boot Device ISO, local partition), vDisk (Shared Storage, attached storage, fixed/dynamic, updates), vDisk Cache (location, sizing), Network Configuration (vNIC,  seperate vLan for PVS traffic), Anti-Virus (exclusions, which part should be scanned, Virus Updates)  with their advantages and challenges. Troubleshooting (logging PVS, Tools: WireShark, Offline database support, bootstorms. The session ended with a demo of PVS.

Next I presented a beginnersguid in architecting Citrix XenApp infrastructures. First time I actually run out of time, so we could not finish the case completely. I will my opinion into the presentation, so the outcome is available for the attendees.. I heard some good responses, but love to hear more feedback about this style of presenting.

After lunch I attended the back-up session by Louis Gohl, because Ben was ill unfortunate. Kudos for Louis to volunteer to fill in the gap. He presented RES Workspace Manager 2012. He started with explaining RES Workspace Manager and the current challenges the product solves. He continued explaining User Workspace within the product and the position of the product in the market and where RES combines with. After the good overview he started showing the product in a live environment update RES Workspace Manager 2011 to WM 2012.

After Louis I presented freeware tools for virtualization infrastructure. Hopefully the crowd enjoyed this session, the slide deck will be available with all the download links.

Before the panel discussion there were one more round of break-out sessions. I attended Niek Boevink about the Citrix Universal Print Server. Nick started with mentioning the current printer challenges which are still there, followed by tools available (Stressprinter, PrintDetective and Process Explorer). Next he compared the Universal Printer Driver and Universal Printer Server. Differences are client<=> server against server <==> server and only windows clients <=> both windows as non clients. Next Niek showed the process behind the Universal Print Server. Requirements are XenApp 6.5 or XenDesktop 5.6 and Windows 2008 (R2) print server. Advantages are: less drivers (1), less bandwidth, 32bit print server support, more stable, mix UDP/native driver possible and direct printing on both Windows and Non-Windows Client. Printers need to be added via Windows Add Printer option, two services will be installed (Citrix UPS and Citrix XTE). You can configure:  enable/disable Universal Print Server, fallback, ports and a few policies. With a demo showed how quick 35 printers are connected using the Universal Print Server. Niek ended the session with his practises (no staples, no pin codes, low CPU load, no driver synchrozation) and mentioned Project Taser, which is UPS 2.0 (possible features: advanced printer features, printerservers on location without a VPN connection).

We ended the day with the paneldiscussion. Timco lead the discussion and we got some nice statements. The audiance also parcipated pretty well. A good end of the day. I enjoyed it again a lot and looking forward to a next one. Hopefully more people will attend, because there was a lot of good content.