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

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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  and one year free access to 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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