My Lab Toolbox: SenseConnector

When I’m presenting at conferences or training classes, many attendees ask me what kind of tools I’m using for benchmarking, lab setups, demos and proof-of-concepts. So I decided to start a series of articles describing my favorite lab tools. Today, I want to introduce you to SenseConnector, a great tool for building powerful demo environments and managing virtual test infrastructures hosted on Client and Server Hyper-V, Microsoft Azure and VMware vSphere/ESXi. If you want give SenseConnector a try, download the fully functional 90-day trial version at SenseSuite.com. Read more..

New Session Videos

The Fall 2014 conference season has just started, and here are brand new videos of two of my sessions I recently presented: The first video is about “A Survival Guide to Microsoft-only VDI” delivered at E2EVC in Brussels – watch the video on YouTube. The second video shows Nico Luedemann and myself presenting on “Citrix Published Applications versus Microsoft RemoteApp”, delivered in German language at CIM Lingen – watch the video on YouTube.

In October, I will be presenting at VMworld in Barcelona, at Rencontres des Virtualisations et du Cloud 2014 in Paris and at Microsoft TechEd Europe in Barcelona.

Microsoft RemoteApp À GoGo

From my previous blog posts HERE and HERE you may know that I’m a big fan of seamless remote Windows apps. Last week I had the opportunity to present an entire breakout session on Microsoft RemoteApp at BriForum in Boston — find the slide deck here: BriForumUS 2014 – RemoteApp 101. Preparing this session was great fun as it inspired me to take a real deep look at all the nuts and bolts of both on-prem RemoteApp and Azure RemoteApp. At BriForum it was interesting to find out that even at a conference with so many virtualization geeks attending, RemoteApp is a widely unknown technology. But why is that? Well, first of all, Microsoft has a track record of doing a particularly poor job in educating IT professionals about RemoteApp. In addition, a proper RemoteApp management UI is either missing (publishing RemoteApp programs in Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) or has definitely room for improvements (configuring RemoteApp in Windows Server 2008 R2 and later). Believe it or not, even some of the most experienced BriForum veterans don’t know what the RemoteApp and Desktop Connection component in Control Panel does and how to configure it. Read more..

Azure RemoteApp Preview at Microsoft TechEd

Boom! During his keynote at Microsoft TechEd North America, Corporate Vice President Brad Anderson announced the availability of Azure RemoteApp preview. Like many other virtualization experts, I was waiting for this moment as we’ve all heard rumors about the project code named “Mohoro” since a couple of months. Despite the fact that Brad only covered it briefly, it instantly created a substantial buzz in the virtualization community. Fortunately, there was an entire TechEd session about the details of Azure RemoteApp within less than two hours. And only 24 hours after attending the keynote, Ruben Spruijt and I were on stage in a packed TechEd breakout room, delivering a session titled “An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization” which allowed us to refer to Azure RemoteApp. In the following I want to give you a brief overview of how Microsoft’s “new” way of delivering Windows applications from the cloud works. Read more..

My Synergy and E2EVC Highlights

Over the last couple of days, I attended Citrix Synergy in Anaheim and E2EVC in Los Angeles. Six days packed with great information about cloud and remoting technology – and hanging out with the virtualization community folks. Here’s what I think were the most interesting things I learned. Read more..

Is There a Microsoft “Mobile First, Cloud First” Strategy for VDI?

Since Satya Nadella became Microsoft’s CEO, “mobile first, cloud first” is the new mantra.  But what about Windows desktops and applications delivered from the cloud?  If you want to establish an enterprise-level VDI or remote desktop environment that is only based on Microsoft products and components, you will be confronted with different management challenges. While the individual components of an RDVH/RDSH environment are great, putting them together properly and maintaining them sufficiently is a dark art.  Sure thing, Citrix and VMware are able to compensate such shortcomings, but is this what Microsoft really wants? If not, what are the missing pieces? Read more..

Seamless Remote Apps Reloaded

What a coincidence! While I was working on the draft version of a slide deck Nico Luedemann (@NicoLuedemann) and I want to use during our “Microsoft RemoteApp versus Citrix Published Applications” sessions at Citrix Synergy in Anaheim and BriForum in London, VMware made a spectacular announcement. They said they will include access to Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host and published applications in the upcoming VMware Horizon version 6, using Teradici’s PCoIP protocol. It was only an announcement like many others before, but this one certainly generated a substantial buzz in the VDI and desktop remoting market space. For details, check out the following articles published by Brian Madden (BrianMadden.com), Warren Ponder and Pat Lee (VMware), Kit Colbert (VMware), Rakesh Narasimhan (Citrix) and Gunnar Berger (Gartner). Now let me take a step back and think out loud what this means when looking at it from a technical perspective. Read more..

3D Graphics for Virtual Desktops Smackdown

Yesterday, Ruben Spruijt (@rspruijt), Shawn Bass (@shawnbass) and I published our brand new whitepaper “3D Graphics for Virtual Desktops Smackdown”. Our intention is to provide an independent overview of GPU-accelerated desktop virtualization solutions and products. Like Ruben and Shawn, I’m absolutely convinced that accelerating the remoting of 3D graphics by hardware is a game changer in our industry. Running high-end CAD/CAM application in virtual desktops and gaming from the cloud are only two of the most obvious use cases. But there are many more, leveraging greater flexibility at work, seamless application integration, improved security and control, and advanced Bring Your Own scenarios. Even though suitable GPUs are still expensive today, prices will drop after a while and most certainly make GPU-accelerated remoting a commodity. Now is the time to investigate the opportunities this hot technology brings to enterprises and public administrations, allowing you to make smart decisions in the near future. Find more details about the whitepaper on BrianMadden.com. The complete, unbiased and independent whitepaper can be downloaded here. Read more..

Synergy 2014, here we come…

In a little bit more than a month from now, it’s Citrix Synergy time again. Synergy will take place May 6-8, 2014, at the Anaheim Convention Center in Los Angeles, California. This global Citrix conference is focused on virtualization, mobility, networking and cloud solutions. I’m looking forward to play an active role in three breakout sessions in the virtualization track:

  • SYN324 Comparing GPU-accelerated high-end graphics performance of virtual desktop platforms, Tuesday, May 6, 5:00 pm – 5:45 pm, ACC room 304C, together with Shawn Bass
  • SYN255 Smackdown on hardware graphics solutions for VDI: 2014 edition, Thursday, May 8, 8:30 am – 9:15 am, ACC Ballroom A, together with Ruben Spruijt and Shawn Bass
  • SYN249 Delivering seamless remote applications: Citrix published applications vs Microsoft RemoteApp, Thursday, May 8, 10:30 am – 11:15 am, ACC Room 303A, together with Nico Luedemann

But there is much more. For details, check out www.citrixsynergy.com. To find my sessions in the session catalog, simply click on the banner below.

SynergySpeaker

 

Spring Conference Season Kick-Off

Only a couple of more days and it’s time to kick off the spring 2014 conference season. Over the next weeks I have a full slate of appearances at upcoming technology events. It all starts March 10 to 13 at the CeBIT computer expo in Hannover, Germany. I will present four sessions on the IT Pro stage at the Microsoft booth in hall 4. My session topics are hardware-accelerated graphics performance over RemoteFX and using PowerShell for automating the installation of RDS lab environments on Hyper-V. Only one day later, on March 14, I will be on a visit to the Dutch Citrix User Group in Amsterdam, presenting a session on “GPU-accelerated high-end graphics performance in Citrix XenServer/XenDesktop environments”. Read more..