UK Citrix User Group XX: Birmingham so much more to offer than a Motorcycle Museum

Covering topics on Netscaler, Multi-factor Authentication, Windows Profiles, Citrix layering and XenApp Essentials, this was our 20th event, and our first in Birmingham. Thanks to our excellent sponsors Liquidware Labs, Lakeside SoftwareFS Logix, Unicon Software, AppEsnure, Ivanti, Bitdefender, eg Innovations, ControlUp, 10Zig, Atrust, Cloudhouse and Igel this was, for the big 2 zero, a free-to-attend meeting.

 

The UK Steering Group would like to thank all the presenters for their time, effort and engaging presentations: especially for those presenters presenting for the first time at our user group. Thanks to the 3D-realtime-non-augmented-VR attendees for providing insightful feedback and great questions – possibly one of the most vocal and interactive we’ve had to date. It is always splendid to meet and greet new faces and there were a lot more for our first visit to Birmingham: and see, we do read the feedback forms with suggestions for venues.  Thanks also to those attending on-line via Go-to-Webinar. For those of you keen to know how the fancy gold microphone is getting on, it is doing just fine thanks.

post event drinks.. soft drinks for those driving – obviously

Who attends UK Citrix User Group events? For XX we had almost 100 registered and we had a good turnout on the day. While we had an international lineup in-keeping with the location’s airport, we did manage at least some people actually from Birmingham (thanks guys). That said, we appreciate the feedback that many found the venue location handier than London, we’ll bear that in mind for the future.

Again, thanks to our sponsors for this free-to-attend event. Significantly, fsLogix for the lovely lunch which had some great pie, and Unicon Software for refreshment and appreciated cookies and Lakeside Software for the post-event drinks and nibbles.

We covered…

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Migration, Migration, Migration….

To Migrate, or not to migrate, that is the question?

Will desktop migration ever end?  It wasn’t that long ago that we were all hurtling headlong towards April 8, 2014, the date when Microsoft ended the extended support of the Windows XP operating system.

Some of us made it in time, while others didn’t, and the rest just took the decision to carry on anyway and accepted the risks involved. There were even a few that decided to pay out the extortionate amounts of money required for Microsoft to continue supporting them until they had completed their migration.

Move the clock forward to today; here you are now having successfully completed your migration, and for those that moved to Windows 7, or were deploying new machines that came pre-built, you are happily running on Windows 7 with an end of extended support date until January 14, 2020, which is way off into the future. Migration is probably one of the last things on your project list, right? Well maybe not if you are looking to deploy the latest Intel-based client devices.

desktop OS share Nov2016In August 2016 Intel announced the latest ‘Kaby Lake’ processors, with the mobile versions first shipping in Q3 2016, followed by desktops and workstations due to ship in Q1 2017. So, all good so far, new, faster CPU’s, faster clock speeds, and improved graphics architecture/performance. What’s not to like?

I hate to be the one to spoil the party, but I’ve got some bad news for you. Microsoft are only planning on supporting Windows 10 on the Kaby Lake platform, which means for those of you still running Windows 7, which, by the way, is just over 40% of the market if you take a look at the figures on the graph. If you are wanting to deploy Kaby Lake-based hardware in your current Windows 7 environment, then you could end up finding yourself being unsupported yet again.

So, what are your options?

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UK Citrix User Group XIX Review: Civilised Engineering

Citrix UK User Group logo

Thanks to our excellent sponsors (AppEnsureExtraHopLiquidware LabsNutanix, Uniprint, AppSenseAtlantis Computing, eg Innovations  FS Logix and UniDesk) this was, yet again, a free-to-attend meeting.

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The Steering Group would like to thank all the presenters for their time, effort and engaging presentations: especially for those presenting for the first time at the user group. Thanks to the 3D-realtime-non-augmented-VR attendees for providing insightful feedback and great questions. It is always splendid to meet and greet new faces. We had more chairs this time with your own special little desk: see, we do read the feedback forms.  Thanks also to those attending on-line via Go-to-Webinar. We a couple of niggles early doors, but also a fancy new microphone that just about survived the event unbroken, hopefully that helped.

2016-12-01-10-20-10

Who attends UK Citrix User Group events? For XVIX over 110 registered and we had about 70% turn up on the day – with a number of on-the-door registrations (which is always possible btw). It is mainly end users of attendees on the day but, you know here in the UK, we enjoy inclusivity. Of those attending  :-

  • 70% end users/partners – we did see lots of new faces (looked to be about a third). Thanks to the experienced hands who made the trek down/across/up and for the select group who caught a cheeky mid-session pint, but still came back.
  • 10% from Citrix. As always, good to see you – especially during the Interesting Licensing and Value Questions that came up in the Round Table. A user group needs the support and focus from the vendor to be successful and we appreciate your contribution. All being well we could well have a special event in 2017, focused on meeting with the engineering teams directly. I’ve likely already said to much… LOOK..! Over there! Its a squirrel!
  • 1% came from Sponsors
  • The rest put “other” for those of you who like completeness.

Again, thanks to our sponsors for this free-to-attend event, especially Liquidware for the lovely lunch which had some great pie, and Appensure for refreshment and Extrahop for the post-event drinks and eats.

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Death, Taxes and The Evolution of the Enterprise Desktop – are you prepared?

In life we all know a few things are for certain — besides the obvious “death and taxes” — another certainty is that there will also ALWAYS be change.

This maxim can especially be applied to the IT industry and certainly about the desktop/workspace/user/BYOD/DAAS/VDI/SAAS landscape we are seeing morph before our eyes. All of these options certainly raise plenty of questions to an organization trying to figure out what their go-forward desktop strategy should look like.

  • “How do I get started?”
  • “What are the best options for me now and in the long-term?”
  • “How do I keep from making expensive mistakes?”
  • “Am I actually PREPARED to act on my decisions when I want to or more importantly when I NEED to?”

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Welcome to the new UK Citrix User Group!

Welcome!

Citrix UK User Group logo

Welcome to the new-look UK Citrix User group!

Introducing the UK Citrix User Group

A few dedicated Citrix engineers and consultants decided the UK had gone without a proper Citrix user group for long enough. So over a beer, a plan was hatched and the results of which you are now reading. It’s still early days, but it’s a start and we look forward to growing the group to become an established part of the Citrix community in the UK over the next few years.

Meetings

We don’t want the group to become a London-only user group, and plan to hold meetings around the country. We welcome suggestions on suitable venues and you can post your own suggestions in the various regional group forums.

Membership

Membership is currently free, although we are investigating the option of having a tiered membership system where a paid membership gives you a number of additional benefits such as discounts on Citrix courses and exams, and access to the Citrix Community Lab infrastructure.

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UK Citrix User Group XXVIII – a review

The 28th XL edition of the UK Citrix User Group (we only do XL over here in Blighty – none of this half day madness) took us to the north of England, to the lovely city of Manchester. Once the London lot had gotten over their shock of finding civilization beyond the Watford Gap, we settled down into the surroundings of the Renaissance Hotel, where our attendees were mad for a day of interesting and lively presentations and debate.

It always rains in Manchester, so we’ve had to use a photo from the Renaissance Hotel website 🙂

The last foray out of London into York had proved to be a perfect storm of travel disruption, severe inclement weather, and an absent Master of Ceremonies, so it was good to see that our Manchester event didn’t turn out to be similarly cursed. Although newly-minted CTA Jake Walsh threatened to force a rejigging of the schedule by his conspicuous absence not long before kick-off time, he turned up in true rockstar style at the last minute and allowed us to all continue as promised in the agenda.

UK Citrix User Group events are always free to attend, but it’s only through the generosity of our lovely sponsors that we manage to keep it so – so we should always give them a mention here! Our new Diamond sponsors are the people over at ControlUp, FSLogix, LiquidWare and eG Innovations fill the Platinum spots, and Flexxible IT provide the Gold. Please feel free to visit these vendors and if you feel the urge partake of their wares – they’re the reason we can provide our insightful speakers, tasty lunches, free sessions and of course post-event beers.

Where to start with the roundup? Well with Neil’s CUGC News section, naturally, once we’d established he was actually fit enough to present, contrary to pre-event rumours of plague. Neil did a wonderful job of managing to concentrate on positive things, despite the overarching interest being in a) Citrix’s much-publicized hacking incident, and b) Microsoft parking their Windows Virtual Desktop tanks on Citrix’s lawn. Also worth a mention is a community initiative from Kev Howell and Leee Jeffries to provide access to Citrix Cloud – worth signing up for. The details are included in the news slides – available here.

After that we had one of our three new UK-based Citrix Technology Advocate awardees, Jake Walsh, kicking off a very-much-network themed day with his Citrix ADC – nothing to GSLB afraid of presentation, which overcame his disastrously cheesy choice of pun to actually become an interesting guide on the theory and setup of GSLB in Citrix environments. If you’re after Jake’s slides, then download them here.

Following Jake we had a very unique session indeed, where we welcomed the world’s youngest CCA Charlotte Beijer to deliver her maiden presentation in front of her peers. She was due to be at the Dutch User Group, but wasn’t sure whether she’d have to go to school or not (a problem I haven’t had for nigh on thirty years), and eventually managed to simply do a Q&A session there, allowing the UK user group to have the exclusivity of her first session delivery. Charlotte’s session was very much a change from the usual fare as it was much more a personal and emotional story than strictly technical, and for a 17-year old to deliver this in front of a crowd of cynical old techies in a non-native language was doubly impressive. Hats off to Charlotte.

Charlotte’s slides are available for download here, and if you want to watch her YouTube video of the session (cos that’s what all teenagers do, innit), the link is embedded below.

Following on from Charlotte we had the diamond sponsors ControlUp trying to shoehorn all of their monitoring goodness into a 15 minute session, which is easier said than done. Kudos to Lindell and Rob for keeping it short and punchy. And I apologize for forgetting to take a photo of them – I was too busy loading up on cookies. To temper my forgetfulness, go out and ask them to do you a PoC 🙂

After the sponsor session we had another very interesting and potentially life-saving session, as Steven Wright from Citrix talked about the little known ADC feature of duress codes. This certainly piqued my interest, as the capability to avoid having your brains blown out while being forced to transfer millions of pounds to criminals is a much more flashy use for Citrix ADC than we would usually associate it with. If you don’t want your kneecaps smashing, you can download Steven’s slides from this link.

The pre-lunch session was occupied by my good self, and it was a chance for the three people in the audience who’d also attended the December event in London to catch up on some sleep as I was doing a slightly-updated version of the same presentation on Windows Virtual Desktop. Naturally, for the rest who hadn’t seen it before, all the talk here revolved around Office ProPlus, RDSH on Windows 10, and just what the hell Citrix are going to do now that the Microsoft beast is potentially eyeing up Citrix Cloud and licking its slavering lips. If you so desire, you can download my deck from this link.

After a spot of lunch, we continued our ADC-themed day by welcoming back the artist formerly known as NetScaler Taylor, Al Taylor, to host a session around his continuing attempt to give away his stockpile of NetScaler-branded swag. Only kidding – Al was waxing lyrical on his favourite subject of SD-WAN and how we can apply it to a Microsoft world. Al’s slides are available here. And yes I continued my theme of forgetting to take photos, but fortunately Al took a selfie which I can use so he won’t get upset with me 🙂

Next up was Guy Leech, another freshly badged CTA who appears to be after my record for consecutive user group presentations. Having talked about dumps in London, Guy’s next subject was logs. Well not really, poor attempt at a scatological joke, it was really about dissecting logons. He even wore an appropriate t-shirt, which luckily you can actually see on the disgracefully poor-quality photo I managed to capture of him. If you want to dissect Guy’s slides, download them from this link.

Had we had enough ADC at this point? Of course we hadn’t, there’s always room for more. Terry Hooper of Citrix publicly gave up his CUGC presentation virginity by talking about everything around Citrix Application Delivery Management (ADM), formerly NetScaler MAS. Never let it be said that networking doesn’t get enough attention at the UK CUG. If you so wish, Terry’s slides are available for download here.

Round table time next, naturally minus the table and anything remotely round. Cue some lively discussion about all things Citrix, and if I remember correctly, a new record in that nobody complained about licensing.

Really what we should have done was take advantage of the facilities available in the room next door (see image below), but the chance for me to defend my E2EVC table tennis title never arrived. How disappointing.

And then there was nothing to do except network over a few beers and snacks. Of course, there were naturally prizes to be given away, and mere seconds after remarking to Jake Walsh that I never ever win any prizes, well, I won one. A robot, to be precise. However, mindful of the fact that my twin boys would never have shared the damned thing, I opted to give it to Charlotte’s younger brother Richard who was clearly intent on trying to steal it anyway 😉

All in all, a successful trip to Manchester. Next up for UKCUG is a June 6 trip to London, for which details will be available in due course. Unfortunately I will lose my consecutive presentations record there, as I will be in the middle of a 1600-mile drive to Sweden, but there will be plenty of engaging and thought-provoking sessions from the community to see – make sure you don’t miss out.

Learn about adaptive desktop strategies with Liquidware

This is a guest post by Jason E. Smith – VP Products, Liquidware

Windows desktops are rapidly evolving to take advantage of cloud and virtual strategies. These changes are also affecting the plans of any organization that delivers desktops for fast-moving and productive users.

At the Citrix User Group UK Meetings in 2019, you’ll find Liquidware discussing how we can help your organization adapt to Windows 10 and newly emerging cloud-desktop strategies, including Citrix on Azure and Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop). Liquidware and Citrix are partners with Microsoft’s forthcoming WVD desktops, and we’d like to share with you how we can help your organization explore options.

Liquidware’s suite of Adaptive Workspace Management solutions complement Citrix’s vision for future of work and ensure that your users and organization can rapidly adopt new desktop strategies and be ready for the next big change in the industry.

  • Liquidware ProfileUnity enables ongoing user-environment management that supports a lift-and-shift methodology and is on-prem and multi-cloud compatible. The solution enables users to log off legacy desktops and log on to next generation OS, virtual, or cloud desktops at a moment’s notice and be immediately productive. Additional features often used in healthcare include follow-me printing, context-aware settings, and secure-application delivery.
  • Liquidware FlexApp application layering unchains Windows applications from the underlying Windows OS and is compatible with physical, virtual, and cloud-hosted desktops. Applications follow users without the need to install them in the OS itself or to modify base images. FlexApp is on-prem and multi-cloud compatible and also supports a lift and shift from one desktop platform to another (i.e. VMware to Citrix or Amazon Workspaces to Citrix or Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop to Citrix and so on). Even large applications such as Epic have been layered with FlexApp.
  • Liquidware Stratusphere ensures that organizations always have user-experience knowledge of their desktops and users to properly plan for a desktop transformation. The solution leverages machine learning to baseline user experience and automatically rate user experience, as well as in-depth diagnostics to provide organizations with a seamless adaptive workspace.

Liquidware has helped numerous organizations to manage their desktops and users with a proven adaptive-workspace strategy in mind. To get started today, visit www.Liquidware.com.