Meeting Review: UKCUG XII Newcastle 2nd April 2015

The twelfth UK Citrix User Group Meeting saw us return to Newcastle and the city served us very well indeed. The venue for the meeting on 2nd April was the very conveniently located Thistle Hotel.

Newcastle 2015

We’d like to express our gratitude to our event sponsors in helping us to make sure this event remains open and free to attend. We’d also like to thank the most important people at the event, our community members who came in person or contributed by joining us online via GoToWebinar

There was a slant towards application delivery in this meeting and we saw some great presentations and discussions around this topic and much more besides. Like other recent meetings, we broadcast the event via a GoToWebinar session to allow attendees to share the love by connecting remotely. On the whole, this again went well, though some technical improvements can certainly be made to enable more of you to enjoy these meetings in full. This is something we’ll continue to work on.

We began with a rapid fire summary of the developments Citrix has announced in the last quarter. This included: the acquisition of Sanbolic, XenServer 6.5, Receiver X1 Tech Preview, the X1 mouse, XenMobile 10, FP1 for XD/XA 7.6 and receiver for Chrome 1.6

More information on these announcements can be found here.

The running order then proceeded as follows:

Know your Enemies - Application Analysis in Virtualized Environments: James Rankin: Independent Consultant
James focused in on how insight is gained into your existing application estate with a comparison of a number of solutions which can be used to help organisations do this. James delivered a common sense presentation with a “no one size fits all” message with some great examples and recommendations.

Implementing XenApp and XenDesktop Case Study: Dan Butler: Virgin Money
Dan very kindly agreed to share his experiences in transforming the applications delivery at Virgin Money for both existing environments and brand new commercial ventures they are undertaking. With user performance being the focus, Dan discussed the key contributors in the solution they have implemented.
Download Dan's presentation here

An Introduction to FSLogix: Jim MoyleCitrix Technology Professional
Jim always tells it as he sees it and in his presentation on Platinum Sponsor FSLogix, an application “layering” solution which functions at the operating system level, was no different. He showed us what makes it a really interesting product, where delivering application versatility at the OS layer allows FSLogix to not only be hypervisor agnostic but also to operate on a fat-client architecture. He also stressed the importance of the acceptance from Microsoft that FSLogix is a valid, auditable way of controlling license usage.
Download Jim's presentation here

Delivering with AppDNA : Sheldon Lachambre: Director, Product Engineering App Management, Citrix Systems
Sheldon returned to the UKCUG to press home the benefits of having AppDNA at your fingertips and how it can really help streamline the process of application management as well as integrate with a number of supporting technologies. Those customers with Platinum licenses are strongly advised to make full use of this advantage, including within your license subscription.

Key Things To Know Storefront/Receiver Deployment in 15 Mins or LessSimon Frost, Product Architect, Citrix Systems
Simon has as near to a rock-star status as anyone at Citrix. Over the years he has contributed significantly to the community and this presentation added to that. Simon not only highlighted the architectural changes in Storefront that have made it simpler to use but also the thing holding development back as well as changes constantly being made by other vendors which organisations such as Citrix need to rapidly react to, to ensure a consistent experience for their customers (example given of changes made by Google affecting operation of Chrome). This reinforces the importance of the relationships Citrix maintains with the other vendors in the App Delivery ecosystem a d helps us all understand how constant the need for change is.
Download Simon's presentation here

Sponsor Session: Nutanix
We then heard from one of our long standing gold sponsors, Nutanix who demonstrated that their army of hyper-converged specialists is growing by sending UKCUG first-timer James Sturrock to enthusiastically extoll the virtues of the “webscale” vendor.
Download James' presentation here

Sponsor: Pernix Data
James Smith from Platinum Sponsor, Pernix Data. Described and demonstrated how this VMWare-focused storage acceleration approach decouples performance from capacity and breathes new life into existing storage assets.
Download James' presentation here

On Understanding AppVolumes Peter Schraml: Senior Engineer VMware
As part of the “the UKCUG is friends with everyone” approach, we invited Peter Schraml from VMware to provide a great presentation on AppVolumes….and this is exactly what he did! AppVolumes allows application layering to be put into place to deliver individual and groups of apps to specific users running on virtual desktop infrastructure hosed on VMware.
Download Peter's presentation here

Sponsor: Liquidware Labs
Event sponsor, Liquidware Labs were represented by Fraser Norman who educated us in how they are evolving their User Environment Management portfolio, including their FlexApp approach to layering applications. This drastically simplifies base image complexity.
Download Frasers presentation here

Why I tweeted "My best user experience for me is #Citrix XenApp and @AtlantisSDS combined with @NVIDIAGRID and managed with @ressoftware" Thomas Poppelgaard, Citrix Technology Professional, Technology Evangelist
We were then on the verge of delaying Thomas Poppelgaard’s presentation has he’d not arrived from his mammoth journey including a flight from Denmark to Edinburgh and a car journey from Edinburgh to Newcastle. But as the words were leaving my mouth, in rolled Thomas - living up to the “Rock Star” persona of a CTP - with 14 seconds to spare. Following this dramatic entrance Thomas went on to explain why the integration of GPU is becoming more and more important, including some interesting data based on his experience that it is becoming a requirement for users to have access to a physical GPU and is no longer the reserve of those using high-end specialist applications. Thomas's deck is available here and he promised some more GPU demos will be made available too.

NetScaler - An Update : Andrew Scott: Lead Systems Engineer, Citrix Systems. 
Andrew Scott gave us some specific examples of the impact of recent updates to the Netscaler platform, with some nice canned demos including GeoIP policy restrictions to restrict access from specific regions.
Download Andrew's presentation here

Understanding XenServer Storage Performance : Felipe Franciosi: Staff Software Engineer, Citrix Systems.  We then, as every conference seems to have at some point, a slight technical hitch in hooking up Felipe, who was connecting to us via GoTo Webinar from Germany (or was it Italy…?). We continued to have some audio challenges however Felipe’s content cut through this and he delivered some really great information around the ever-improving performance output of XenServer, particularly in the most recent 6.5 release including how remapping the network datapath into Dom0 gives enormous benefits. He also demonstrated various methods of measuring this performance ourselves. By the time Felipe was done, we were also left in no doubt that Felipe loves a good graph (or 3).

Sponsor: Atlantis Computing
We then left it to our long-standing gold sponsors, Atlantis Computing do deliver the final presentation of the day. Andrew Wood was tasked with delivering “something different” and certainly did that, going through the answers to five specific questions which ranged from “do fish sweat?” (they don’t). Through to why so many CTP’s are now at Atlantis Computing (they now number 5 worldwide in 3 continents).
Download Andrew's presentation here

Round Table
Finishing the recorded session was the obligatory “GeekSpeak” session where we recalled the topics of the day and specifically discussed thoughts and opinions from the attendees around all of the above and specifically how application delivery approaches can simplify complex app environments and how we need to plan for GPU to be a standard part of app virtualization from now on.

Review the twitter interaction on Storify

Congratulations to Sylvie and Ben who won prizes from PernixData and Atlantis Computing respectively.

Following this, a short stroll around the corner saw some further networking opportunities and free-flowing conversation, where the final topic of the evening in my particular social circle was “Egg in a Hat”. Interested to find out what on Earth THAT is? Well, come along to the next meeting and perhaps you’ll find out.

Once more, a massive thank you to our sponsors in enabling the UK Citrix User Group to remain free to attend and to be a totally community-focused event and thank you to the attendees for making it a truly worthwhile experience. We literally couldn’t do it without you!

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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 new 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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Bring Your Own Session on April 2nd to UK Citrix User Group Meeting

The first 2015 UK Citrix User Group meeting - Meeting XII is Thursday 2nd April at Thistle Newcastle, The County, Newcastle-upon-Tyne.

As with all our events, this is free to attend courtesy of our sponsors.

This event's review is now available on-line here

Working Agenda

We'd like to thank all the people who submitted session ideas. The Steering group really appreciates your input. Here's our first cut of the agenda. We hope you'll agree there is some great stuff here. Rest assured the subs bench isn't secondary: it's just a day is only so long. We have your names, we'll be in touch because there were great session ideas - and we've three more slots to fill this year.

08.30 Registration, coffee and networking

09.00 Welcome and News UKCUG: Citrix 2015 in a Deck and Ant...icipation
Round up of news from the year so far, on going to Synergy, AoB, Where The Exits Are.

09.15 Know your Enemies - Application Analysis in Virtualized Environments: James Rankin: Independent Consultant
A common factor in virtualization projects is insufficient insight into the application estate. How can you deliver applications if you don't know what your users are using? A discussion on common problems around application analysis, and some technological solutions that may be useful to those undertaking it.

09:45 Implementing XenApp and XenDesktop Case Study: Dan Butler: Virgin Money
On delivering on XP Migration, rapid delivery timescales ensuring PCI compliance without it all going up in smoke.

10:10 An Introduction to FSLogix: Jim Moyle: Citrix Technology Professional
An introduction to application deployment without layers using FSLogix

10:30 === Coffee break ===========================

10.45 Delivering with AppDNA : Sheldon Lachambre: Director, Product Engineering App Management, Citrix Systems
From the technical founder of AppDNA - get a tech deep dive on AppDNA, Q&A Session on AppDNA/App-V, depending on time some demo which may, or may not, be performed using the medium of mime.

11:15 Key Things To Know Storefront/Receiver Deployment in 15 Mins or LessSimon Frost, Product Architect, Citrix Systems
From the man who likely wrote it, or at least - has likely seen the actual code get a quick fire insight into the what, when and why of Storefront and Receiver.

11:30 Sponsor: Nutanix
11:45 Sponsor: Pernix Data

12:00 === Sponsored Lunch ==================================

13:00 On Understanding AppVolumes Peter Schraml: Senior Engineer VMware
App Volumes is a real-time application delivery system that enables IT to instantly deliver applications with complete application lifecycle management. In this session we will discuss how it can be used to optimize application delivery and management in XenDesktop and XenApp environments.

13:45 Sponsor: Liquidware Labs

14:00 Why I tweeted "My best user experience for me is #Citrix XenApp and @AtlantisSDS combined with @NVIDIAGRID and managed with @ressoftware" Thomas Poppelgaard, Citrix Technology Professional, Technology Evangelist
Always willing and eager to be challenged, Citrix CTP Thomas Poppelgaard invites opinion on his thoughts on what the best user experience in 2015 is.

14:30 == Coffee ======================================

14:45 NetScaler - An Update : Andrew Scott: Lead Systems Engineer, Citrix Systems. 
Lastest updates and what they deliver

15:05 Understanding XenServer Storage Performance : Felipe Franciosi: Staff Software Engineer, Citrix Systems. 
This talk will give an overview of the XenServer 6.5 Storage Virtualisation Datapath focusing on performance. It will cover results for various benchmarks, highlight bottlenecks and show how different monitoring tools can be used to identify them.

15:25 Notes from the Field - Delivering Developer Workloads with VDI: Neil Burton: Independent Contractor
Developer workloads can be challenging. Very needy users demanding lots of control over complex environments. Hear Neil's experiences from a recent project.

15:45 Sponsor: Atlantis Computing

16:00 Round Table - discussion topics blank fillers:
What I'm planning for 2015 is <blank>
<blank> is the thing I thought was useful today
if I could have pressed a nonsense button today it would have been on <blank> and here's why...
16.55 Wrap-up; handing in forms and prizes.
17:00 Onward: Networking, sponsored drinks, venue TBC

Web

For the last few sessions we've broadcast the event using Go-To-Webinar, we're looking to do the same thing again. Sign up here!

Networking

Meet fellow Citrix users, CTPs, consultants and representatives from Citrix and our sponsors. We've product managers, product directors, product writers and influencers. Here's a key advantage of attending a UK Citrix User Group session - the ability to make new contacts.  There may well be a competition, so bring your face-remembering-game face.

Location

Thistle Newcastle, The County, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Handily over the road from the Central Station if you're coming by rail or Metro. If you're flying to Newcastle airport you can take the Metro to Central Station. Ferry? Get a bus from the terminal to right outside the venue. There are a number of public car parks within a short walk, although avoid the Central Station car park, its expensive. If you're cycling, running or walking in - go you.

We have a reduced rate for the Wednesday or Thursday nights if you'd like to stop over and enjoy the North East without subtitles: contact us for the code.

April2Venue

Sponsors

EgInnovations

FSLogix Logo

Atlantis logo

Norskale Logo

Nutanix

LWLLogo250px

PernixData_Logo_Color

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