Microsoft Regional Director and VMware vExpert Awards

Typically, February is not the most exciting month in my calendar. But this year it’s very different. On February 2, Microsoft notified me that they made me a member of the prestigious Microsoft Regional Director program. Only a couple of days later, VMware awarded me with the vExpert title. I’m very honored to become part of such influential groups of people. Now it looks like I’m the only virtualization expert worldwide who is Microsoft RD, Microsoft MVP, VMware vExpert and Citrix CTP at the same time. But what are my two new community awards about? Read more..

The Art of Measuring Remote End User Experience

“To me, when we say mobile first, it’s not the mobility of the device, it’s actually the mobility of the individual experience,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in November 2014 at a UK event. When remoting into Windows desktops and applications is part of your enterprise mobility strategy, acceptable end user experience is an important success factor. Unfortunately, traditional benchmarking parameters, such as frame rates and system performance counters, do not entirely represent the perceived end user experience (EUX) on a remote client. But what are the parameters and metrics that allow you to judge remote EUX and manage customer expectations? Read more..

My Lab Toolbox: White Label Test Server

One of the things I really enjoy about my current role in the virtualization industry is evaluating new products and concepts in my test lab. I’m in the lucky situation that Dell, Intel, NVIDIA, AMD, HP and some other vendors provided me with wonderful hardware, but sometimes off-the-shelf servers are simply not the right choice to start with. This is particularly true if you want to compare different remoting products in a fair and reproducible way. Shawn Bass and I began building our own “Darco Labs” reference servers when we seriously started comparing remoting protocols in our labs. You better know exactly what you’re doing and what kind of hardware you are using when you’re challenging vendors such as Microsoft, Citrix and VMware. For the sake of credibility, it is a prerequisite to select hardware that is equally compatible with the latest versions of all tested virtualization and remoting products. So this article is about the lessons I’ve learned when building the white label server for the 2014 remoting protocol comparisons. Read more..

Azure RemoteApp General Availability on December 11

When Microsoft announced the availability of Azure RemoteApp Preview in May, I was so excited that I immediately posted a blog article: Azure RemoteApp Preview at Microsoft TechEd. With Azure RemoteApp (ARA), you can enable your users to access seamless corporate applications from anywhere and on a variety of devices, such as Windows PCs, iPads, Macs and Android tablets. Now the Microsoft Azure Team informed all administrators who created ARA instances for test users during the public preview period that Azure RemoteApp will be generally available on December 11, 2014. Find more information about ARA here and details about ARA pricing here. Two days ago, Microsoft recorded an Azure RemoteApp Ask the Expert webinar, find the video here. Read more..

Product Review: Citrix XenClient Enterprise 5

In late 2013, Citrix encouraged me to install XenClient Enterprise 5 in my lab, run some graphics performance tests and deliver a video with my findings. In the end, I recorded two videos, one about installing XenClient Enterprise 5 and another with the test results. Citrix used the second video internally. Now, after more than a year, I decided to publish the videos on my YouTube channel Below you find both videos embedded in this page. Enjoy. Read more..

Watch my TechEd Europe Sessions on Channel 9

In the last week of October, I was invited by Microsoft to deliver two breakout sessions at TechEd Europe. My fellow MVP Ruben Spruijt and I co-presented session #1 titled “From the Fire Hose Series: An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization”. It was an updated replay of the session we also presented at TechEd North America earlier this year. Session #2 was a brand new solo presentation about how to benchmark user experience (UX) in Virtual Desktop Environments. Below you find both videos embedded in this page, enjoy watching them. Read more..

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 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..