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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.


User Group Summary: London IX – The International Melting Pot

And so to the ninth Citrix UK User Group event. Ninth! Double figures next one so let’s try and make it special eh? But still..focus. Lessons were learned from previous London events, so no more underground windowless rooms with no signal. This time, underground rooms with a window and with a wi-fi signal. Your feedback is important and helps shape future events.

Thanks to The Thistle hotel for providing a great venue. Thanks to all the presenters, and most of all thanks to the attendees for providing interesting and useful content and discussing challenges and ideas that based on experience.

What was mentioned in the feedback forms, and on twitter was the impressive line up of speakers. Despite the handy voucher code for attendees to allow a discount for Synergy in the US getting out of Europe to intereact with the Citrix community is expensive ..so we helped bring them to you. We had speakers from America, France and the Netherlands come and present. For you means that you can learn and listen; by you means that you can in turn, query and suggest and present back.

Thanks to our sponsors AppSense, Atlantis Computing, Norskale and Nutanix for helping to make this a free to attend event.

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reasons to bring along a proper camera #123…


We covered…

Citrix News Update

We had a brief chat around the release of Citrix XenApp 7.5 because we had a full session on it. Citrix Share Price up. Some people left the company. Most importantly we had a chat about you presenting in future events and we quoted the #FeedForward  initiative by the guys at VMUG which is an excellent idea and should be encouraged across communities. VMWare and Citrix may have their corporate battles – but we, as users,  quite often have to deal with both: a synergy between both communities can only be a good thing.

XenApp 7.5 What’s new. How to get there?

2014-03-26 09.53.07 Neil Spellings, from the UK Citrix User Group had utilized his CTP status to the full and done a lot of background demo work to allow the group to see, quite possibly, the first live demo of XenApp 7.5 in the flesh.
An interesting session – all the more useful for the wifi keeping it together. Especially interesting for the Amazon integration, but as a whole very much a first chance to see. Always ballsy to do a live demo. I think we can safely upgrade that to “very ballsy” given it was on the same day as it was released.For the deck – click here 


Nutanix logo

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Without Sponsors, there is no free event. We really appreciate their support of the community.Rob Tribe took us through Nutanix are, how they fit into the next generation convergence and how Nutanix deliver on software defined storage.For the deck – click here 

The Changing face of the Desktop: Turning Challenges into Benefits with Virtualisation.

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Chris Marks, from the Citrix UK User Group, led us on an informative view of Microsoft licensing in a remote working/VDI environment. Undoubtedly an evocative topic, Chris ably dealt with it by utilizing the obvious zombie death apocalypse analogy.For the deck – click here 


XenMobile – what is it and how to set up a PoC

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Iain Brighton,  from the Citrix UK User Group led us on an informative view of attempting to start (as a user) a XenMobile PoC.  What was key to Iain’s delivery was .. he failed. Not all presentations need to be about success. His brief was to set up a PoC – and he wasn’t able to do that. Not from personal failing, but from having proper interaction and support from Citrix just not being delivered on time. Odd, given that mobility is key.  Still, he not only utilized his wait time generating an enviable Visio stencil set, he delivered a presentation giving focus on where you need to be in order to understand/PoC  XenMobile.For the deck – click here 




Web interface to Storefront- the how and the why

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Esther Barthel  from Pepperbyte led us on an insightful view of the progression from Web Interface to Storefront to help  understand if Storefront was ready for the big league. About 25% of the audience had looked at/deployed Storefront to date – so there was room for enlightenment.  Esther’s session exposed a number of new keyword features, possibilities in customization and updated feature comparison set that many found useful.For the deck – click here 



Atlantis Computing Logo

Notes from the field from – Atlantis Computing

Without Sponsors, there is no free event. We really appreciate their support of the community.Andrew Wood eschewed the standard vendor deck, and walked through three key findings from his work as an SE for Atlantis that would help optimise virtual desktop performanceFor the deck – click here 




Best Practices in SBC / VDI environments (Part Three): Optimize login & response times! 

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Without Sponsors, there is no free event. We really appreciate their support of the community.Pierre Marmignon Norskale CEO and founder talked through common issues that impact logon and application performance in a virtual desktop environment. From Active Directory Group Policy optimization and design considerations through to application optimization, Pierre discussed what drove his desire to set up Norskale to help solve those issues. 100% pure gold according to one twitter poster.For the deck – click here 


Ensuring your apps work and perform after the migration 

Kevin Goodman has a welath of experience in the  desktop virtualization space. He was the CEO at RTO Software which led to a stint at VMware and now he’s started a new venture – FSLogix. Kevin talked through application deployment issues and how the industry has coped and will need to cope with application demands and new storage technologies and gave a brief glimpse at where FSLogix is designed to help in the future.Will be interesting to have Kevin back.




Notes from the field from – Atlantis Computing

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As has already been said, without Sponsors, there is no free event. We really appreciate their support of the community and AppSense have been great sponsors through all our events.Gary talked through how AppSense can add value to a XenDesktop 7 project by walking through the latest Appsense Performance Manager and Application Manager features.For the deck – click here 



Tools that Citrix marketing forgot

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Dave Gaunt  lead SE at Citrix is thankfully no stranger to the UK Citrix user group – he’s often available to provide excellent insight and feedback. In this session, Dave talked through some of the interesting side projects that are currently being tinkered with in the Citrix Lab Shed – tools like convoi for conf calls via voip, talkboard for whiteboarding and hutt – clientless video conferencing.All clever stuff keep an eye on themFor the deck – click here 




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

  • AppDNA – have Citrix just killed it? – while AppDNA is now part of platinum there was concern that this was now the only method of purchase. Much discussion on how many Platinum licenses were required for a large scale project with a number considering that AppDNA was frankly more of a partner tool than a benefit to customers directly. A key application analysis function that needed to be considered was actually resource usage rather than just simply compatibility.
  • Should Citrix have a DaaS Service was a question that had a resounding “no” with many being hesitant for moving directly to use DaaS directly. Fundamentally, the concern for moving to a DaaS environment is access to applications and in-house/custom applications. As such, Citrix’s model for providing the tools to deliver a virtual desktop service made more sense than buying a generic product. While the new cloud enabling features were interesting – there were concerns about how user data was delivered into those environments and how automation would be used to stand up/tear down services.
  • Mobility – whats your approach? brought about a lively discussion. My notes simply say ITS A FAD in big letters: there was definitely more to it than that – but the topics and concerns revolved around there being too much scope for change and the pace of change being so quick that having a “mobile strategy” was difficult. While there is a growing awareness that data and applications need to be delivered to a range of devices – the presentation of that data needs to be tailored. Simply delivering a desktop with desktop apps is not enough: discussion around the use of Citrix to isolate data on devices and SDKs to reskin/represent information for a range of use cases, not just a techno junkie Chief Exec.

For a view of the twitter feed of the event you can follow the Story here.

Again, thanks to AppSenseAtlantis Computing, Norskale and Nutanix for sponsoring the event, drinks and platters. Finally, congratulations to Nick Daniels – not only for finally retiring the Winframe environment but for winning a signed copy of Esther’s book.

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The next user group meeting will be likely around September with another event in November. Keep an eye/ear out for more details.

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.