On Friday, August 12, 2016, Microsoft made the announcement that they are planning to retire Azure RemoteApp (ARA). According to the article, Microsoft and Citrix are jointly developing a new cloud-based solution for delivering Windows apps. This Azure RemoteApp 2.0 service was referred to as XenApp “express”. Only minutes after the Microsoft announcement, Citrix posted a related article on their blog. Now, after the dust has slowly settled, I wanted to share my thoughts on the announcement. Read more..
Only recently I became aware of a new player offering an interesting product that gives you real-time access to the system properties of the endpoint from which a user is currently connected to a remote Windows session. The company’s name is deviceTRUST (www.devicetrust.de/en) and they refer to their solution as “dynamic device context awareness”. In a nutshell, their product constantly monitors a range of settings and properties on the device that is connected to a remote Windows session. The result of the device assessment gets redirected to the associated user session environment on the host, allowing to respond dynamically to changing client device settings or conditions. A change in a monitored device property creates an event in the hosted session that can be displayed or that can be used to trigger a pre-defined action. As of today, the supported remoting protocols are RDP/RemoteFX and ICA/HDX. I personally started using deviceTRUST for collecting client-specific telemetry and configuration data before or while running remote end-user experience benchmarking tests. But then I figured that there are more use cases in security, compliance and user experience, which inspired me to dig a little deeper into how deviceTRUST works under the covers. Read more..
When Ruben Spruijt and I presented our session “Graphics for Virtual Desktops and Apps – 2016 Edition” at BriForum in London last week, one of our PowerPoint slides showed a chart comparing the different GRID cards. The chart includes lots of information, such as number of GPUs per card, GPU type, clock speed, number of GPU cores, performance (TFLOPS), memory size, maximum number of vGPU concurrent users, form factor, maximum power consumption and more. It’s the kind of charts you can talk about for hours – or just use it as an overview without looking at the details. Ruben and I updated the chart last minute after NVIDIA’s official announcement of the Tesla M10 card only 24 hours prior to our session. As a response to a picture of the chart uploaded to Twitter, we learned that some details were not accurate. Today I ran into Milan Diebel and Erik Bohnhorst from the NVIDIA GRID product team and together we corrected the chart. Well, and now I want to share the updated version with you. Read more..
During his Synergy opening keynote on Tuesday, Citrix CEO Kirill Tatarinov made a spectacular announcement: As part of the refreshed Citrix and Microsoft partnership, XenDesktop VDI hosted on Azure will deliver remote Windows 10 desktops from the cloud. To be very clear, Kirill was not speaking about a Windows Server desktop that pretends to be Windows 10. He was talking about the “real thing”. The days of #FixVDA (= broken virtual desktop access licensing) will be gone as soon as this service is available. This is an event the entire RDS and VDI industry has been waiting for. And here are some more details. Read more..
Last week, I’ve attended NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC) in San Jose in Silicon Valley. This year’s focus of GTC was virtual reality, artificial intelligence and autonomous cars. NVIDIA’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made a number of spectacular announcements around these topics and showed impressive demos, including Steve Wozniak in a real-time VR simulation of a mission to Mars. Despite the fact that graphics virtualization was not mentioned in the keynote, it was a topic considered as special emphasis area and was covered in more than 40 sessions and talks within a separate track. There was a great line-up of speakers from various vendors, partners and customers. But there were also independent experts and industry analysts who shared their thoughts about GPU-accelerated remoting in general and GRID v2 in particular. Read more..
FSLogix provides a unified approach to image management, profile access, and application provisioning. I’ve already introduced FSLogix in a previous article about layering, check it out if you want to learn about the details. In a nutshell, what FSLogix Apps does is allowing users to see and launch only the applications they were assigned to, configured to their individual preference and corporate policy. The product is based on a sophisticated filter driver and can be used for cloud desktops, virtual desktops or physical desktops. This allows organizations to increase operational efficiency while reducing infrastructure complexity. FSLogix Apps seamlessly integrates with desktop virtualization solutions from Microsoft, Citrix and VMware.
Over the last weeks, Kris Griffin, Freek Berson and I have designed and installed a reference environment with FSLogix Apps. The primary result of this RDS Gurus project is a Step-by-Step Guide for Building an FSLogix Apps 2.1 Lab Environment. In addition, we produced a video that shows the power and simplicity of application masking on an Azure RDS IaaS environment. Watch the video here.
Microsoft announced their plans to establish a geo-replicated German Azure datacenter region located in Frankfurt am Main and in Magdeburg, with the launch date in mid-2016. The specific Azure infrastructure components and software will be provided by Microsoft, but the datacenters will be owned by German Telekom and operated by T-Systems. The basic idea is that Microsoft does not have access to the customer data and that there is no Microsoft operations team running the datacenters. They can help debug issues and assist the local operators with issues, but – according to Microsoft officials – only in an escorted and audited way. This enables unique guarantees around data sovereignty and ensures all data is managed under local laws. Deutsche Telekom acts as the Data Trustee for Azure in Germany. Read more..
This article highlights some of the topics covered in the upcoming new version of the “3D Graphics for Virtual Desktop Smackdown” whitepaper authored by Team Remote Graphics Experts (@TeamRGE). Stay tuned for the announcement of the release date.
Currently NVIDIA, AMD and Intel are the most relevant graphics processor (GPU) manufacturers in the world. When I visited VMworld 2015 in San Francisco last week, all three vendors announced and demonstrated their newest GPU products and technologies that are designed to accelerate graphics and multimedia in remote user sessions. The most remarkable aspect of the individual announcements is that each vendor has found a very unique way to implement GPU-accelerated remoting. This article gives you a brief overview of what I’ve learned when talking to product managers and engineers of the three GPU vendors. Read more..
As you may know from previous articles, SenseConnector is a remote connection manager I’m using in my test lab and when demoing during public presentations. This tool has a uniquely designed user interface und it was custom-developed by Jozsef Gorzas from Sense GmbH according to my personal needs – and you may also find it useful when building proof-of-concept environments or demoing in front of an audience. Design goals were a simple user interface, PowerShell scripting capabilities, easy management of multi-node environments and support of Hyper-V, Azure and ESX/vSphere. Now I have recorded two short videos that demonstrate how to install SenseConnector and how to use it with Hyper-V.
BTW, you can download SenseConnector here, it comes with an unrestricted trial license for a 90-day evaluation period. If you like it and want to buy, the perpetual license for a single device is only 25€ or $35. But first check out the videos. Read more..
Last week I presented a 75-minute breakout session titled “Computer Graphics and Multimedia: A Survival Guide for IT Pros” at BriForum in Denver. In essence, my session covered an introduction of the most common application programming interfaces (APIs) and file formats commonly used for graphics and multimedia: GDI, DirectX, WPF, OpenGL, AV, Silverlight, Flash and HTML5. Some attendees asked me if I can provide the list of tools I demonstrated during my session. Read more..