The first E2EVC (in Europe) in 2023 was held from the 4th of May till the 7th of May. This time it was again in Berlin in the Novotel Tiergarten (which was also an earlier E2EVC location in the past). On the first day (Thursday the 4th of May) several additional (paid) masterclasses were offered, while the official program was starting on Friday. I attended mostly the sessions on Saturday, from which you can read my experiences in this blog.
Although I did not attend a lot of sessions on Friday I was there to ‘experience’ the opening of the event by Alex Cooper. It was again a typical Alex opening; much longer than as on the agenda mentioned, several funny remarks, his own style of making things clear, his specific reaction on feedback from previous events and of course well-dressed 😉.
The actual experiences of session started on the second day with the first session How Remote Display Protocols Work: DCV by Dennis Gundarev. He started with a quick introduction how he got evolved in computers to fill the time in of his slot which was longer than he expected. Then he started explaining DVC (stands for Deep Computing Virtualization) followed by the components (Session Manager, Connection Gateway) and how it is being used at AWS (Workspaces/AppStream 2.0/Workspaces Web/Robomaker/Systems Manager). Dennis continued with the anatomy of the Display Protocol (Really nice anagram of a magical mirror showing you another computer). Dennis explained that displaying graphics is hard (8ms for each frame, two 4K monitors with 60FPS generates 16 Gbps). He explained some of the features on graphics (Visually lossless color [YUV], GPU Sharing, multi-client collaboration, encoders), input/devices (partners integration with extension SDK, native pen redirection, accurate A/V sync), network (QUIC) and Extensions (SDK, API). The session ended with What's New (which were a lot on a one slide, so check the slide deck for all enhancements).
Second session was Azure Virtual Desktop best practices and lessons learnt from over 2000 Deployments using Nerdio by Neil McLoughlin. He kicked with a quick introduction (optimize to reduce costs, automate to increase reliability, simplify management). Next topic was about the Nerdio reference infrastructure. He continued with sharing his AVD best practices (AVD limits, identity choices ---> ADDS, AADDS, AAD [profiles can be challenging], Workload Sizing Performance, Profile Management, host placement and image/application management [Rimo3/AppCure]).
Next session was IaC framework for MSP's by Leon Wijnhoven and Joep Verhaeg. The session started with the challenges for them as an MSP by using automation. They started with a look back of tools used earlier (Altiris, Ivanti Automation Manager, Ansible). Joep continued with the fears and doubts (it is leap not a step, adoption in the organization and encourage discussion). Next the continued with technology decisions (Terraform/ARM/Bicep, GitHub actions, modules, test frameworks) and technical challenges (code/review guidelines, conventional commits, drift detection, semantic release, branch protection). Joep also explained their way of working (nice way to start with it), compliance testing and adoption/coaching. They ended with the presentation with their advices for those how are going into the transformation (with some good tips).
After a good lunch the sessions continued. I attended Citrix DaaS: Access and Transport layer presented by Thorsten Rood. Thorsten started with the starting point that many customers only use the Delivery Controller in Citrix DaaS only (so StoreFront/NS Gateway still on-prem). With using Citrix DaaS the connection to the internal asset will be outside the (internal) boundary, leading to the main question: how to integrate SaaS into corporate IT? Thorsten explained the (possible) steps in networking security and what could happen. Getting insights in the application traffic definitions is key. Thorsten deep-dived into some Citrix traffics, starting with the WEM service (which is not always using the Citrix Cloud Connector: in the boot phase --> no authentication support). Next topic was using Workspace instead of StoreFront (which is required for using the gateway service). Again interesting insights about the minimized footprint (37 exact FQDN, 5 wildcards) for the service. Thorsten needed to skip some chapters as he less time than expected, so he continued with the IdP NetScaler (customer managed NetScaler simplifies the DaaS integration), followed by IdP AAD/HAADJ (conditional access, Workspace App Domain Joined, Trusted Sites of your DaaS URL). Thorsten continued with Rendezvous Protocol and what you should do it (block HDX traffic from the Citrix Cloud Connector, explicit proxy with machine authentication, explicate gateway FQDNs for 28 POPs, allowed port 443 to allow POPs). HDX Routing Optimization was the next topic Thorsten deep-dived into it (shared outside IPs, VPNs). Last topic was multi-store tenant (also called multi-URL). Eight Workspaces (domain names) could become available by Citrix which is now Technology Preview (with some limited features). The endcap could be that you require an additional (EUC) proxy system (which could be a NetScaler) to set-up the infrastructure using DaaS Gateway/Workspace functionality.
IT Comedy Stand Up by Guy Leech was the next session I attended. Not technically, but ‘jokes’ around the IT space. Some were pretty funny ;-) and kudos for giving such a session to Guy. It was enjoyable, a nice break between the technical sessions and something different throughout the day.
Next was a session with an interesting title Roast a PM. Claus Emrich (Sr Product Manager Windows Cloud Experience) was in the session to answer any questions on W365/AVD. It was just a Q&A session, where the audience could ask anything on W365 and/or AVD. Questions were about (logically) pricing, target audience, vGPU, Teams Optimizations, when to use W365 vs AVD, Intune usability AVD/W365 and Sizing. Good questions and Claus answered them honestly (where possible especially on release dates).
Last session of the day was Samuel Legrand with the session RDP, HDX, Blast PCoIP..., does any customer actually give a *? This was an open discussion session as well which I did not expected. I think the whole audience agreed that the protocol in most cases does not really matter from an (end) user standpoint. Customer who already have a solution running would keep running the existing product, the majority of customers not using a virtual desktop solution at this moment can change any of them. It´s more about the features within the solutions, costs and specific use cases than will make the difference.
With that session E2EVC Berlin came to end for me. Although this time I joined it partly I really enjoyed it again, especially as some old acquaintances were there again which was really good to talk to them again. Already looking forward to the next E2E VC event.