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  If you are considering VDI or any kind of Desktop Virtualization solution, chances are you have heard about HDX, ICA, RDP, PCoIP, VNC, etc etc.  Perhaps however you have not had a chance to use HDX first hand or at your location. Or you may be a solution provider, reseller, consultant or knowledgeable IT Pro that knows the benefits of HDX and ICA over the alternatives but have not been able to demonstrate it easily to others.
 
 
It is now possible to install and use HDX with only two LAN connected PC’s or Virtual Machines. PC to PC, PC to VM or VM to VM. If you have a test rig with a few VMs ( ESX, XenServer, Hyper-V, whatever ) just install the Host MSI in the VM and the Client Receiver MSI on any PC and you can be up and running in less than ten minutes.  It is intended for LAN evaluation but can also work over a WAN with a VPN connection. So if you have hesitated evaluating a full XenDesktop Proof of Concept and just want to kick to tires on HDX, this is your answer. An easy step up from HDX Connect is the XenDesktop Express for up to ten users. ( See everything you need for free VDI

 
The best way to get HDX Connect now is from your local Citrix Solution Advisor, Citrix Rep or SE ( or maybe a friendly CTP ). If you haven’t reached out in a while, this could be a good time to talk. If you are an authorized Citrix Advisor, you can find the HDX Connect Demo in the demo section of the sales kits on MyCitrix.  

 
Limitations
 
Right now only Windows 7 Pro and XP Pro are supported. No Windows Home or Server editions, Mac, or tablets, however let us know if you think it makes sense for these alternatives. There is a 4 hour session limit and then a 5 minute cool off, plus ULA restrictions so keep that in mind. HDX Connect Demo is not intended for production use, however I expect many ingenious IT Pros may find interesting use cases and ask for something more so let us know what you think.     

 

 
 
 

Did I just read that!

On February 9th, there was an interesting press release from VMware that was brought to my attention over the weekend. After reading it, I was rather perplexed as VMware makes the following statement:

“The TCO of an SBC deployment used to deliver all applications to users is 8% to 13% lower than that of a locked and well-managed PC deployment, and up to 44 to 47% lower than that of an unmanaged desktop deployment.”

This quote is clearly referencing Gartner as the source as evidenced by the following statement in the press release:

“Research firm Gartner recently compared the TCO of personal computers versus what they term server-based computing (SBC).”

I totally agree with VMware and Gartner, these are great TCO numbers. SBC saves a ton of money for many use cases such as Task Workers. Citrix has been doing this for a long time and SBC represents the Hosted Shared desktop model that is included as part of XenDesktop.

So why was I perplexed?

Well, VMware is clearly inferring that their View platform can deliver this type of TCO. This would be great for VMware except for the fact that the world for a long time defines SBC as Remote Desktop Services (formerly known as Windows Terminal Services) or Citrix XenApp and VMWare does not offer an SBC solution. VMWare only offers VDI as part of their hosted desktop offering.

Perhaps I am missing something?

Since VMware references Gartner, a very respectable industry analyst firm, as their source. I decided to look for a report I recalled from 2008 that I used as reference prior to joining Citrix. I wanted to understand if perhaps my definition of SBC was inaccurate. After a quick search I found the report available as a free download on various sites, with a direct link here. Nowhere in the report does it talk about SBC being anything else but a mature client architecture that delivers substantial TCO with the right group of users. Very much in line with the philosophy of XenDesktop that offers multiple desktop virtualization models to suit different use cases and budgets. While the numbers in this report are different from what the press release says, I do assume that the latest report referred to is an update. I don’t have Gartner’s permission to use that report or quote from it, but I am confident that if the fundamental definition of SBC was changing, somebody at Citrix would have been consulted as part of the process.

Surely something can’t be right here, so I thought let me go and check to see if there is anything in the desktop geek community that I may have missed. I checked Brian Madden’s site and even as far back as 2007 there is a very clear distinction as to what is SBC vs. VDI. I also checked on Doug Brown’s site and even there I see no obvious references to believe that VDI should be thought of as SBC. So it remains a mystery to me how such a press release could have been approved….

Integrity and ethics seem to be optional at VMware

I also came across a blog written prior to me joining Citrix which talks about the same misdirection, dating all the way back to 2009. It also references another Brian Madden blog that calls out VMware misleading TCO with their VDI solution. It seems the same tactics are in full force at VMware and nothing has changed. Wow! Am I really writing this? How can anybody trust them? This is why I guess they fudge their quarterly desktop financials by hiding VMware Workstation revenues with VDI. Certain analysts may be blind to the obvious, but clearly customers are not buying it as there would be no need for such shenanigans if View was delivering value broadly.

Do people really understand that VDI is not desktop virtualization?

What perplexes me the most is that the press release, which includes customer quotes supporting the inference has been circulating for several days and nobody else including VMware or any other vendor has raised an eyebrow that would get one to correct what obviously is misleading. Certainly, I don’t blame people for not catching it, as it’s very subtle and easy to miss if you don’t bother to read or understand what looks like a bog standard harmless press release. Perhaps that’s the underhanded tactics that VMware now has to resort to after being called out numerous times in the past….

Irrespective of solution, it hurts our industry when customers are presented with inaccurate information from the so called “experts”. That’s very different from saying it was just a marketing oversight or an honest mistake. It also does not mean that one can’t achieve a great TCO with the VDI model, but that is not the point of this post.

Is this due to a lack of understanding or is it something more sinister?

It’s certainly more than creative liberty but I’ll reserve final judgement until VMware has had an opportunity to respond. What I will however say is, it’s about time many more customers, analysts and media woke up and understood that VDI is a dangerous term that is thrown around by too many naive people who don’t understand that desktop virtualization is so much more. There are just way too many customers with use cases like Task Workers that even VMware admits can be addressed with SBC and its excellent TCO that is part of XenDesktop. VDI is not the same thing as SBC and VDI is not desktop virtualization.Desktop virtualization is a comprehensive solution that includes VDI and allows you to tailor desktop delivery to meet your enterprise users’ requirements, from task to mobile workers.

So beware and don’t be naive…

If VMware’s intent was just to point out how great SBC is as part of desktop virtualization, then I’ll say thank you for pointing out what VMWare View doesn’t provide this functionality and therefore results in a higher TCO than XenDesktop. If this is anything else, well at least on this Valentines Day VMware can send flowers to all those customers who may be just a tad miffed.

UPDATE
PR response from VMware and my counter

UPDATE 2
VMware updates press release with quote removed. Guess we can move on.

While I’ve blogged on the mechanics of upgrading from UPM 2.x to UPM 3.x, I’ve not yet addressed the other aspects of planning and configuration. This came up recently in-house, where we’d decided to upgrade an XD4 farm to XD5.

The original request came in as:

“We are creating a new CPM environment for XD5 Pooled in Showcase. We would like to take the contents of the existing user profiles in XD4 Pooled, being managed by an older version of CPM, and migrate them to a new folder share and then attach them to the new CPM environment.

Is this possible? Is it as simple as a robocopy command preserving permissions and pointing the new CPM to this directory?

Any guidance you can offer would be appreciated.

We are using UPM 2.1 currently – is it safe to move the profile folders to a new share and point UPM 3 at them (after the templates have been normalized)?”

So skipping the mechanics (for which, see How do you migrate from Profile Management 2.x to 3.x? )…

From the description, I assumed there was no co-existence phase. (If there is, then start with the above reference). So in essence you just switch off the old UPM 2.1 , copy the profiles to a new file share and turn on the new UPM 3.2.2 (the latest UPM). We recommend this version because the driver has been rewritten for improved coexistence with antivirus software.

So next: “is it safe to move the profile folders to a new share and point UPM 3 at them” – yes, this can be a simple robocopy operation. Please bear in mind the security (ACL) recommendations for the new share – Security Recommendations for Roaming User Profiles Shared Folders

Your existing configuration will form a good basis for the new XD farm. If you update the ADM template, then you will need to configure very little:

  • Path to user store – should point at the new file share. If the old Path to user store was something like \\oldserver\oldshare#sAMAccountName#%ProfVer% (where ProfVer is a system environment variable to differentiate between v1 (XP) and v2 (Vista/Win7) profiles – see here for how to set these up), then you will need to ensure the new farm has an identical environment variable set up. Note that the \\server\share part of the path can now refer to a DFS namespace – supported configurations and use cases are described at High Availability and Disaster Recovery with Profile Management
  • Active write back – this is enabled by default in version 3. It is designed to write back file changes to a profile without waiting for the user to log off. It may be valuable in XD setups using virtual machines, to avoid data loss following an outage.
  • Profile streaming – this is disabled by default in version 3, but is the “flagship” feature. It is designed to speed up logins, by only copying files from the network user store “on demand”. Its use is strongly recommended.
  • Always cache – this setting is only effective if Profile streaming has been enabled, and if set to zero, will cause the whole of the profile to be trickled down to the XD machine in the background after the logon completes.

Finally, assuming that you are planning to support local Internet Explorer on the XD desktop, then you should also read To manage cookie folders and other transactional folders. In order to maintain the integrity of the cookie folder, the supported configuration is to set both Folders to mirror and Process Internet cookie files on logoff policies.

Open-E, Inc. is one of the pioneering leaders and developers of IP-based storage management software. The Open-E® DSS V6™ and Open-E DSS V6 Lite™ line of products enjoy a reputation for best-in-class performance, flexibility, reliability, scalability and return-on-investment and are known for their robust architecture, ease-of-use and affordability. Open-E Data Storage Software (DSS) V6 has been verified for Citrix®XenServerTM (Version 5.6) and is now designated Citrix Ready, providing confidence in joint solution compatibility.

As a part of a special promotional offer from Open-E, two free of cost NFR (Not For Resale) versions of Open-E DSS V6 with unlimited TB of storage are now available for all Citrix professionals. This offer is valid until March 31, 2011. Citrix experts will have the opportunity to work with the powerful iSCSI SAN software and will be able to build shared storage for training and performing demos with Citrix XenServer Version 5.6. Open-E DSS V6 works effectively and offers secure access to storage and straightforward interface to iSCSI SAN.

For more information about Open-E DSS V6 please visit Open-E Data Storage Software V6 on the Open-E website.

How you can qualify for this promotional offer:

The accepted certificates for two free Open-E DSS V6 licenses are:

  • CCA Citrix Certified Administrator
  • CCAA Citrix Certified Advanced Administrator
  • CCIA Citrix Certified Integration Architect

Certified professionals can receive the licenses by sending an e-mail with a copy of one of the above mentioned certificates to certification@open-e.com.

Learn more about Open-E DSS V6 verified for Citrix XenServer Version 5.6 through the resources listed below:

  1. Citrix Ready Catalog – Product page and Profile page.
  2. Video – Open-E DSS V6 iSCSI-Failover with Xen-Server (video of a recent Webinar about the use of Open-E DSS V6 iSCSI Failover with a XenServer, available in English and German)
  3. How-to Ressource – “Open-E DSS V6: How to setup iSCSI Failover with XenServer
  4. Press Release – “Open-E DSS V6 is verified as Citrix Ready” (available in English and German)

Write to us at CitrixReady@citrix.com should you have any questions. And catch more partner updates from Open-E and others on Twitter. Leave your comments and feedback for Open-E DSS V6 here, have you tried this solution yet?

Great news for all you planners out there. The session catalog for Citrix Synergy in San Francisco May 25-27 is now available! Why the excitement? This means that you can peruse the session line up and determine which sessions about virtualization, networking and cloud technologies you MUST attend this year to maximize your learning opportunities. There are lots of great sessions to choose from – with more technical sessions, best practices and hands-on learning labs than ever before. And if you don’t see what you need, be sure to let us know and we’ll see if we can still add it to the agenda.

I encourage you to sign up early for the event.  I’m not trying to be alarmist, but remember that Synergy in San Francisco last year was standing room only and the Berlin event last Fall was literally sold out. That said, we’ve learned from past experience, as well as from your feedback, and we have enhanced the event structure and content in several ways.

First, we’ve enlarged the keynote room, such that every Synergy attendee will have unfettered access to Citrix CEO Mark Templeton’s opening session and all of the other main-stage activities. We’ve also doubled the number of Geek Speak Live! sessions, since these unscripted discussions and rapid-fire debates among technical experts, analysts and influencers are always incredibly popular with Synergy attendees. And we’re investing more time and energy in the Citrix CTO session, which has grown into one of the most buzz-generating activities of the entire event.

But wait there’s more! Based on your feedback, we are putting special emphasis on hands-on learning and technical best practices at Synergy San Francisco. This year we’ll offer more “how to” and “how we did it” sessions featuring customers, tech alliance partners, Citrix Technology Professionals (CTPs) and industry analysts. They will share their experiences implementing desktop virtualization and cloud solutions in order to help you be successful with your strategic deployments.

We’ve dramatically increased the number of breakout sessions, and you can search for categories to build the best agenda for you, including:  What’s New, Best Practices, Hot Topics and Key Technologies. Just to give you a taste of your options, specific titles include:

  • XenDesktop.next: the future of on-demand desktops and apps
  • Scaling XenDesktop for the enterprise
  • Best practices for using FlexCast to drive desktop transformation
  • Building multi-hypervisor, multi-workload enterprise clouds with Citrix OpenCloud
  • What’s new in NetScaler MPX and VPX
  • Say “yes” to BYO and employee-owned tablets, computers and smartphones in the workplace

There truly is something for everyone at Citrix Synergy, regardless of where you are on the technology learning or adoption curve. Whether you’re setting a virtualization strategy and vision for your company, gathering technical content, or looking to rub elbows with the industry’s best and brightest, now’s the time to make your plans for Citrix Synergy in San Francisco.

So what are you waiting for? Check out the Synergy catalog and start building your plan to attend the sessions that will give you exactly what you need to reap the benefits of virtual computing.

Together in San Francisco, we will be inspired, learn and network!

VMware responds with scripted PR

Yesterday I pointed out how VMware was inappropriately trying to infer that a quote showing substantial savings from a Gartner Server Based Computing (SBC) research report was somehow applicable to VMware View which offers no such solution. VMware responded with a scripted PR statement on the CRN site that is geared towards VARS and technology integrators in response to coverage from Kevin McLaughlin. Below are some highlights from the Kevin’s article which includes a response from VMware.

Reporter Quote
“VMware says the Gartner figures quoted in the press release referred to Wyse’s portfolio of thin, zero and cloud PC client solutions, which support both SBC and VDI.”

VMWare Quote
“It is appropriate for Wyse to choose to feature this when talking about their products,” the VMware spokesperson said in an e-mail. “VMware’s portion of the announcement featured customer momentum and results related to our portfolio of desktop and application virtualization technologies.”

Repeat offender

Before I respond to the quotes it’s worth pointing out that in 2009 an earlier version of the report was also called into question. VMworld – Misuse of Gartner’s TCO Numbers to Make the Case for View

Who is VMware trying to fool?

VMware is trying to wriggle its way out of responsibility for a press release on their corporate website and pin it on a partner with plausible deniability. Really VMware? Do VMware really except anybody to believe that a thin client TCO in combination with SBC where you have no solution can reasonably be merged into a quote in a single press release? It is rather insulting to assume that people are that dumb. It is therefore not appropriate under any stretch of the imagination. The fact that VMware is a repeat offender is also inexcusable.

Who did VMware pin the tail on in 2009 when similar facts were misrepresented? They also take a very similar tact when it comes to PCoIP. The reality is VMware have failed to take any responsibility for their continued pattern of outrageous fud with respect to TCO with VMware View. This kind of fud is designed to confuse and conflate customers, partners, the channel and integrators.

Fundamentally VMware is trying to defend an inaccurate press release. After a history of getting away with elastic facts, getting caught twice, the appropriate thing to do would be to retract the statement and claims of SBC having anything to do with VMware.

Update: VMware removes quote in updated press release.

On a flight to San Francisco, of course!

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working with our product teams to pull together the most compelling Summit content yet. Over 60 breakout sessions to complement our Keynote presentations will help you transform the way your customers value virtual computing, which means more sales for you!

From technical sessions like design principles for large-scale hosting and cloud infrastructure to sales sessions on how to drive greater account penetration through the explosion in mobile devices, we’ve got sessions to give you something new and valuable to talk about with your customers.

If you want to learn how to position and sell Citrix OpenCloud to enterprises, accelerate PoC testing and unseat the competition, or get the most from our alliances with Microsoft and Cisco, this is the best investment you can make to be ready to sell new deals when you get home. And, of course, we’ll show you all of the latest enhancements to desktop, application, and server virtualization.

The registration site is open now! Take a minute to sign up and secure your spot. The session catalog will go live soon so you can pick and choose the most valuable sales and technical sessions for your business. Remember the Hands-On Labs and TechEdge sessions too!

I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco. I’ll be at our Partner Transformation Center – next to registration, so stop by and say hi. We’ll show you how to get the most out of your Citrix Partner Network membership.

It seems like months have passed since we shipped XenDesktop 5, but in reality, it has only been weeks. As the new year began, I’ve spoken to a number of customers about XenDesktop 5, and I am excited about what I’m hearing.

In a recent conversation, I was briefing a room full of architects and administrators at a manufacturing company. I was showing them how the XenDesktop 5 hosted-virtual desktop delivery infrastructure (One of several FlexCast desktop and on-demand app delivery models) has built-in provisioning that leverages a single instance of a gold image to “boot” thousands of desktops. I showed them how MCS uses an identity disk and then a separate differencing disk at runtime to enable administrators to apply patches to a single image and update the entire deployment.

They were very impressed with the story and were excited about reducing the need for expensive storage and asked about how to configure this provisioning service. I asked them if they had installed XenDesktop 5, and they responded that they did and had gone through the steps in the wizard to create 40 VMs. I explained that they already had installed and configured the most powerful virtual desktop provisioning infrastructure in the industry.

XenDesktop 5 delivered a number of powerful new features. These include the ability to securely deliver Windows, web and SaaS apps from a single infrastructure to a range of new devices like iPads and smartphones. Also, a fully scriptable management interface, Desktop Studio… and, Desktop Director, a powerful web-based tool for the service desk. Under the covers, however, lies one of the most interesting innovations in XenDesktop 5, designed to forever change desktop lifecycle management.

Citrix calls this Machine Creation Services (MCS).

The name is misleading. Machine Creation Services is about far more than just how to “kick off” new hosted virtual machine desktops. Instead, it is designed to:
1) Think about the entire desktop and application lifecycle and workflow with the ultimate goal of allowing the enterprise to manage single instances of the operating system and applications
2) To only store it once with a complete history of patches and updates
3) Apply those changes to existing VMs,
4) …and work with the hypervisor and storage layer to minimize both storage capacity AND IOPS for maximum performance and efficiency.

The scalability of XenDesktop 5 hosted VM desktops is highly modular, taking the stress off of any one Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC) by keeping the state in a database that can scale as high as 40-50 thousand desktops in any one site. DDCs front end the database and now each single instance (a virtual or physical server) of a DDC can handle 10-20k desktops out of the box; so you just add more virtual or physical servers in front of the database for HA and to scale to obscene size deployments.

This blog series will feature a collection of design architects and deployment experts who have been involved in the most rigorous laboratory and field testing program to date. Check back here for links to some real-world best practices for design.

Table of Contents: (Current and upcoming articles)

MCS or PVS, What should I be using? by Ken Bell
How do I migrate my existing XenDesktop environment to XenDesktop 5? by Simon Plant
I need some rough Sizing Guidelines to get started by Dan Feller
What happended to the PVS setup tool? by Patrick Carey
Storage considerations for XenDesktop by Vishal Ganeriwala
Show me the numbers! Large scale performance testing by Martin Rowan and Bernie Hannon
MCS and Intellicache – XenServer optimized for XenDesktop by Sam Webster

Apple hat Anfang 2010 als erster Hersteller mit dem Apple iPad ein völilg neuartiges Konzept für Tablets mit Touchscreen vorgestellt. Eine Geräteklasse, die bisher auf hohes Interesse stoßt und in kürzester Zeit auch zu starker Nachfrage in den Chefetagen von Unternehmen geführt hat.

Doch Apple ist hier nicht mehr der einzige Anbieter auf dem Markt. Die Android-Fraktion hat in den letzten Monaten reagiert und Hersteller wie Samsung haben mit diesem Betriebssystem ebenfalls erste Tablets erfolgreich vertrieben.

Nun ist es Citrix’ erklärte Philosophie,  Kunden über jedes Endgerät (mit einem signifikanten Marktanteil) durch Citrix Receiver den Zugriff auf virtuelle Anwendungen und Desktops möglich zu machen.

Es gibt bereits Receiver zum kostenlosen Download für die neuartigen Smartphones und Tablets wie Apples iPhone und iPad, Android-, Blackberry- und Windows Mobile-basierte Geräte, und im vergangenen Dezember hat Citrix gemeinsam mit Google auch schon den Receiver für das Google Chrome OS Betriebssystem präsentiert, das noch 2011 erscheinen wird.

Ein weiterer Meilenstein ist nun die Präsentation des Citrix Receiver für die neuen webOS-basierten Tablets, die von Hewlett Packard Anfang Februar vorgestellt wurden. Diese sollen Hewlett-Packard zufolge “noch in diesem Frühjahr” auf dem Markt erscheinen, und zeitgleich ist die Verfügbarkeit des Citrix Receiver dafür geplant. 

Benutzer haben Citrix Receiver bereits mehr als 2 Mio. mal heruntergeladen und machen ihn damit zu einer der erfolgreisten Business-Anwendung.


Attention New York City area users and administrators…




Just a reminder that the next New York Citrix User Group Meeting will be held at the Microsoft New York Metro District tomorrow, February 17th!



Date: Feb. 17, 2011 (Thursday)
Time: 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM EST

Register Now



The goal of a User Group is simple: To foster dialogue and an exchange of ideas within the Citrix community, allowing users and administrators to share information and best practices, hear from the experts, and grow their body of knowledge and expertise.



Agenda:

During this meeting, you will:

  • Find out about the architecture and design of XenDesktop
  • Hear customer stories
  • Hear from a technology partner, WYSE
  • Collaborate with top Citrix consultants and peers

You are the key to a successful Citrix User Group community! So come out for some technology collaboration and fun with the Citrix experts.

Attend and you’ll have the chance to win some great prizes!



Location:

Microsoft
1290 Avenue of the Americas
New York, NY 10104
(212) 245-2100

Register Now



If you’ll be in or around NYC tomorrow, I hope you can attend! Stay tuned to the Citrix User Group Community site for news and information about upcoming Citrix User Group meetings and activities.



Laura Whalen
Citrix Systems, Inc.
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