EVENT Review: UK Citrix User Group X – September 2014

Citrix UK User Group logo

The tenth UK Citrix User Group meeting took place at the offices Cisco in London on 24th September. We’d like thank our friends at Cisco for their hospitality and support in helping to keep the event free to attend. It was our most heavily subscribed event to date with so many of you signing up we were unable to accommodate all the requests to attend. This is why we decided for the first time to host the entire event as a simultaneous webcast using Citrix GoTo Webinar via some strategically placed webcams. Many thanks to those of you who joined us both in person and remotely.

The September meeting had a performance and optimisation feel with some great sessions from all corners of the Citrix ecosystem on how to make life increasingly productive for your users.

The event sessions started to a packed house at 09:30 with an update on some recent changes and releases in the work of Citrix from UKCUG Steering committee member and CTP Neil Spellings.

What’s new with HDX

A HDX Update from the queen of HDX herself, Citrix HDX Product Manager Rachel Berry. Rachel described the various use case scenarios for graphics acceleration and highlight how the use of hardware graphics acceleration is moving more and more into many more use cases, not just high-end graphic design and media. For so many reasons one of the most memorable uses of this 3D technology was discussed – that of the Haptic Cow (and sheep) to train veterinary students. For some reason these things tend to stick in the mind…

Download What’s new with HDX presentation

Why UCS for VDI (Sponsor)


Chris Bashworth of Cisco showed how Cisco UCS integrates with the Citrix portfolio and why it makes a great platform to host VDI solutions. There was certainly some love in the room for what it is possible to achieve with UCS.

Download the Cisco presentation

XenServer: What’s New, & What’s Coming

Senior Manager of Partner Engineering at Citrix, David Cottingham delivered an informative and fun-filled “What’s new” session on XenServer as well as a “what may or may not be new in the future” section just for good measure. With particular emphasis on the continuing advantages of delivering 3D graphics acceleration via NVIDIA GRID technology exclusively through XenServer.

Download XenServer: Whats New and whats coming presentation

LUNs, zoning, fabrics, and SANs especially can all go jump off a bridge (Sponsor)

Nutanix logo

Friend of the UKCUG and Senior Nutanix Engineer David Gaunt then described the converged and linearly scalable “webscale” future with the help of a number of (pictures of) glasses of beer to describe Nutanix clustering. Needless to say close attention was paid at this point.

Download the Nutanix Presentation

Avoiding Negative Perceptions of Desktop Virtualization

Following the success of the Bring Your Own session (BYOS) approach instigated by our allies over at the Dutch Citrix User Group (DuCUG). The first UK BYOS session was included in our agenda and was gallantly delivered by James Rankin who presented on how to avoid negative user perception during a desktop virtualisation project. His presentation was very well received and a great start to what is sure to become a regular feature of the UKCUG meetings.

 Download Avoiding Negative Perceptions of Desktop Virtualization presentation

Podio – the hidden gem of Citrix

Our first special guest appearance was DuCUG member Kees Baggerman giving us some insight into how Podio can be used to great effect to run a business operation. Kees delivered this presentation with his countryman Ingmar Verheij at E2EVC in Brussels which went down very well land he didn’t disappoint on this solo engagement at the UKCUG. For those reading this post from non-profit organisations, we recommend you spend some time following this up as Podio is free of charge for non-profit use and can really make a difference to your productivity and workflow processes.

Download Podio Presentation

Netscaler Performance

Our next guests were DuCUG member Barry Schiffer and Julien Stanojevic in a Netherlands/France joint presentation on performance testing on Citrix NetScaler. Barry and Julien’s research has directly led to changes in the supporting documentation Citrix produce for NetScaler, and particularly to an increase in the stated scalability of VPX appliances. This has benefited numerous customers and is a great example of the value of community engagement to vendors such as Citrix.

Download Netscaler Performance Presentation

XenApp 7.5 in AWS

The UKCUG’s own Neil Spellings (CTP) then presented a session where he showed how a fully operational battle station XenApp 7.5 environment can be initiated into AWS in approximately one hour.

Download XenApp 7.5 in AWS Presenation

Break Down the Barriers of VDI Deployments (Sponsor)

Atlantis logo

The performance and optimisation theme continued when CTP Andrew Wood from the UKCUG and Atlantis Computing showed how Atlantis USX (incorporating ILIO) can deliver massive response-time benefits to your virtual machines and how you can see for yourself with a free 10 desktop or 1 XenApp host trail of ILIO. This demonstration showed that, in tests with Cisco UCS Atlantis achieve VSI Max scores of less than 850 for 70 concurrent XenDesktop Sessions which can only be described as “Crazy Fast”.

Download Atlantis Presentation

Round Table

The meeting finished, as is tradition on such occasions, with an open-forum round table “geekspeak” event discussing whatever topics the audience wanted to discuss. Many things were raised here including the future of virtualisation and what the various contributors saw as the direction of travel in the industry and what is due to change in the skillsets required to deliver the IT services of the future.

It was then time to continue the conversation over some light refreshment. Many thanks to sponsor Atlantis Computing for contributing to this part of the evening.From there, a UKCUG meal was sponsored by Nutanix so that the tech-chat could continue into the night.

You can re-follow the event via storify

Thanks to everyone who attended this time and to wish you all well until we see you all once more. Hopefully at the next “Christmas-themed” event scheduled to take place on the 17th December on London’s South Bank.

We hope to see you there!

The UKCUG team would like to say a really big thank you to our ongoing sponsor of this event, without whom it would not be possible to maintain this free-to-attend user group meeting, so a big round of applause to: Atlantis Computing, Cisco, Norskale and Nutanix.

Join us on Twitter where our list now includes links to all those who have presented.

Share with us at up and coming events, or on our LinkedIn group


UK Citrix User Group Steering Group.


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User Group Summary: Citrix XD 7 and Mobility, Newcastle

Our furthest event north Citrix User Group, to date. An interesting change for some who were quite surprised at the complete lack of dragons outside of the M25 and the taste sensation that is a cheese savoury sandwich.

Thanks to the team at Castlegate for managing the venue, and SwiftPrint printers for the quick turnaround as well to our sponsors AppSense Atlantis Computing and XenAppTraining for contributing interesting sessions, helping to keep the user group a Free to Attend event, prizes and discounts and making everyone was comfortable and well provisioned during and after the sessions.

Citrix User Group Newcastle

Community Smiles…

Agenda for the day covered:

  1. Welcome and a Citrix News Update
  2. Citrix XenDesktop 7 – Where are you going to go today?
  3. The Art of Mobility Technical Overview of XenMobile and Sharefile?
  4. Citrix Certification in association with XenAppTraining.
  5. NetScaler Gateway Dual Factor Authentication on a budget
  6. Words from Appsense and Atlantis Computing
  7. Round Table: Fill in the blanks – the Biggest Citrix Migration Challenges in the coming year are [Blank] 

Citrix News Update

We had a chat around the release of Citrix XenDesktop 7.0.. and its quick follow up with 7.1 – deploy 7.1 don’t deploy 7.0; XenMobile 8.6; updates to AppDNA and XenClient 5.0 along with the beta release of Desktop Player for Mac and  VDI-in-a-Box 5.4.

There has been a Shareprice wobble – but then again – the US government did shut down.

We discussed the “release” of XenServer development back into the wilds of open source – but few in the room used that hypervisor anymore.

And the the relaunch of the Citrix Community Program – more on that later.

XenDesktop 7

Stuart Moore - XenDesktop 7 Stuart Moore, Senior Product Manager Desktop and Applications at Citrix discussed Deployment options, Migration options. Updates in XenDesktop 7.1, migration planning. The simplification of the environment. HDX Seamless Apps. What was missing in this release for XenApp users. vGPU support. There was discussion on Edgesight’s morphing into director and where there was benefit (less complexity, better scale, better API support) and where there wasn’t (proactive alerting, granularity of view in the OS environments)


The Art of Mobility

2013-11-12 13.48.38
With the highest scoring session in terms of feedback, in The Art of Mobility Technical Overview of XenMobile and Sharefile?  Simon McDermott, Senior Enterprise Systems Engineer at Citrix talked about typical Deployment Architectures with XenDesktop and Sharefile, what’s new in XenMobile 8.6 and Deployment Challenges. A lot of people found this useful for understanding the breadth of options available with XenMobile in terms of device management and application delivery to those devices with many concentrating on XenApp and XenDesktop it was useful to better understand the XenMobile offering. The Worx applications certainly caused a stir.Would likely have been even more informative had Powerpoint 2013 simply refused point blank to play animations. A popular session that should be reprised at future events – or expanded on: lots of calls for demos.


Citrix Certification

Andrew Wood, Citrix CTP talked through the new certificatins available from Citrix that have recently been released. We talked through the (relatively poor) experience attendees had had with Citrix training in the past. We discussed the rise in demand for Citrix certified and experienced IT professionals. There was a chat through the new format of the Citrix exams (with support from Neil Spellings, Citrix CTP) , the Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) program and the rebooted/launched Citrix Community Program. XenAppTraining had kindly given two prizes of one free Lifetime membership to xenapptraining.com  and one year free access to appv5training.com as prizes as well as discount membership for all attendees. It was interesting to hear attendees positive views of the value of the XenAppTraining website.

Many thanks to our sponsors – informative as ever.


Atlantis Computing

Netscaler Dual Factor Authentication

Shaun Ritchie, Independent Citrix Consultant, talked through some of the free and low-cost solutions you can use with NetScaler Gateway for Dual Factor Authentication. Yet another mention for SMS2 which was covered in our last London event. Useful interaction with additional solutions such as Microsoft’s own Azure based multi-factor authentication and commercial products such as SMS Passcode.

Roundtable: Fill in the blanks – the Biggest Citrix Migration Challenges in the coming year are [Blank] 

The roundtable is always a popular session, and this was no exception – key discussion points included.

    • Applications and Users - are, as ever key problems in any migration project. moving technology is relatively straightforward, but getting user/business acceptance for the cost of change was (as ever) hard. Change management for application change/update – who owns the app, why duplicate apps exist, when it can be upgraded were all challenges that were (and long have been) barriers to adopting latest technologies.
    • Desktop Virtualization is not Desktop Migration  it was enlightening to have a couple of prospective Citrix users attend the event. Their organisation is moving from VMware View to XenDEsktop and they had come along to understand the differences and what might be “solved” with a move to XD. Interestingly, the issues described were less View specific than virtualised desktop specific. This prompted discussion on how introducing technology without reason or engaging users/business was always more complex/slower than when the users/business are actively engaged right from the start of the project. A transformation should focus on the new way of working, not the technology. Success for VDI/virtualised desktops comes from it not being a tech project but a service project. A useful article to read here would be Organizational Challenges with VDI
    • XenApp shops – will likely move to XenApp 6.5 and stick. While XD7 App Edition has could well be updated in the future to have feature parity the move to XA6.5 is likely underway and once it is there, few could see an advantage in moving again.
    • XA/XD will increasingly seen as “legacy”. Useful to have app developers offering an insight – new apps are being developed with a mobile/use anywhere mentality. All are designed not to rely on being delivered from a desktop. While this process works for new apps, it is unlikely that old apps will be converted. What is important to app developers is…
    • Offline Sync is key – while 3G and 4G are improving, there are still many deadzones. Field users need to be able to work. Utilising technology to allow syncronization of data efficiently is going to be key while always on access is remains unavailable.
    • Mobile device management to extend to laptops

Again, thanks to AppSense, Atlantis Computing, XenAppTraining for sponsoring the event, providing prizes, drinks and platters, and a very honourable mention to the good people of the The Bridge Hotel ably demonstrating northern warm and charm, especially to those who misjudge how many stairs Newcastle has. Attendance by reps from the North East VMUG, the Virtual Machine User Group and AppSense Community Advisor (thanks for the review James )was appreciated: there is always a cross over of products and learning and we look forward to sharing in the future. And of course, all the presenters for the time taken and attendees for a lively and useful discussion.

Next user group meeting will be likely around Feb/March 2013. Venue will definitely be in the UK – suggestions at this event were Glasgow and York but we’ll keep you posted. It’s a goal of the user group to share ideas and information. If you see a pertinent presentation, if you plug into a wonderful webinar, if you’ve done something you simply want to share then the UK Citrix User Group exists to help you distribute that resource by having a place to discuss it with your peers.

Join us on Twitter where our lists now includes links to all those who have presented.

Share with us at up and coming events, or on our LinkedIn group


UK Citrix User Group Steering Group

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Welcome to the new UK Citrix User Group!


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.


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 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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Autumn 2014 meeting@Cisco offices in London on September 24th


We’re please to announce the date and location of our next meeting:

9.30am to 5.30pm – Wednesday 24th September 2014

Cisco offices
7th Floor
Park house
16-18 Finsbury Circus


09.00 Registration and coffee
09.30 News and updates – UK Citrix User Group
10.00 What’s new with HDX (Rachel Berry, Citrix HDX product manager)
10.50 Why UCS for VDI (Cisco – sponsor)

11.00 Coffee

11.15 XenServer: What’s New, & What’s Coming (David Cottingham, Citrix)
12.00 LUNs, zoning, fabrics, and SANs especially can all go jump off a bridge (Dave Gaunt, Nutanix, Sponsor)
12.15 Avoiding negative perceptions of desktop virtualization (James Rankin, Community session)

13.00 Lunch

14.00 Podio – the hidden gem of Citrix (Kees Baggerman, Dutch Citrix User Group, Community session)
14.45 Netscaler performance (Barry Schiffer, Julien Stanojevic, Community session)
15.30 XenApp 7.5 in AWS (Neil Spellings, UK Citrix User Group, Community session)

16.00 Coffee

16.15 Atlantis (Sponsor)
16.30 Cisco and Netscaler (Sponsor)
16.40 Round table
17.30 Close & Drinks



New: Attend online

Due to the overwhelming demand that has meant tickets for the day sold out over a month before the meeting, we’re going to try broadcasting the entire meeting online via GotoWebinar. We can’t guarantee everything will work smoothly, or it’ll be that great, but it’s our first attempt to do bear with us.

To register for the online meeting complete the form here.


Nutanix logo cisco-logoAtlantis logo