For so many years we took it for granted that when it comes to End User Computing and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, Microsoft and Citrix are close friends and VMware is their enemy. This rather simple view of the world allowed IT consultants and IT architects to make equally simple statements about hypervisors and desktop brokers. Depending on their preference, they recommended either a Microsoft/Citrix-only or a VMware-only solution. In the second half of October and in early November I had the opportunity to attend VMware VMworld in Barcelona, Citrix Technology Exchange in Munich, Microsoft Partner Conference in Kassel and Microsoft TechNet Conference in Berlin. At these events I came to the conclusion that nothing’s like it used to be, and here is why. Read more..
I like to get my fingers dirty with new Windows tools and technologies. Typically, I only believe what I see in my own test lab. This helps me both in my role as CTO for bluecue consulting and as an active member of the virtualization community. A typical scenario is that I install an entire proof of concept or demo environment with several VMs and connect to them by using the RDP/RemoteFX protocol. For this use case, I have checked out a number of different RDP clients, such as Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Manager, ASG-Remote Desktop (fka vRD), Devolution Remote Desktop Manager, rdesktop, Royal TS, mRemote, iShadow or iTap mobile. They all have their strengths, but none of them suits my particular requirements when installing test environments hosted on servers or laptops with Hyper-V. What I really need is a lean tool with some particular virtual lab manager and live demo features. The good news is that I was able to convince a developer team to build such an RDP client, called SenseConnector. Read more..
Over the last couple of weeks and months, Shawn Bass and I have presented the latest findings of our remoting protocols comparison tests at several industry events, such as Citrix Synergy, BriForum and VMworld. Even though I have already published a blog article on “How to Compare Remoting Protocols”, session attendees are still asking us what our exact testing methodology is. In addition, they want to know what the difference is between our tests and other tests. So I thought it’s time to shed some light on this and update the information provided in my previous article. Read more..
Summer break is finally over! After living off the grid for a couple of weeks, I’m now back in business again. Since mid-June I’ve only delivered some sessions and workshops at community events, such as CUGTech in Norway, BriForum in Chicago and ice:Lingen in Germany. But I did not published any blog article. If you want to know why, just check out this article on BrianMadden.com. (Thanks Brian, Gabe and Jack.) If you want to know what I’m up to in the future, here’s another article on www.bluecue-consulting.com that sheds some light on this topic. (Thanks Nico.)
The good news is that I’ve used the time between jobs to get some work done in my little research lab. I’ve upgraded my protocol comparison test and recording environment, played around with interesting new product prototypes and invested some time into designing some cool tools. Now I can get back to writing about interesting community stuff. Stay tuned.
A couple of days ago, Citrix released XenServer 6.2. The new version provides improved scalability and promises improvements around cloud-readiness. But most importantly, Citrix moved XenServer back to Open Source. Is this good or is this bad? After interesting conversations with some of my community peers (like Shawn Bass, Thomas Koetzing and Gunnar Berger), I personally came to the conclusion that this is a good move. It gives Citrix the opportunity to get out of Microsoft’s way and not compete with Hyper-V. Even Citrix CEO Mark Templeton said that XenDesktop 7 performs best on Hyper-V. Microsoft and Citrix seem to be in sync again. XenServer did not contribute massively to the Citrix revenue stream anyway, so the decision to bet on Hyper-V for the broad market makes a lot of sense. Read more..
Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the CTP meeting followed by Citrix Synergy in Anaheim. In contrast to last year, I must say that this time it was a great experience. Citrix seems to be back on track when it comes to their “bread-and-butter” business around XenApp and XenDesktop. During his keynote, Citrix CEO Mark Templeton spent substantial time on introducing XenDesktop 7, formerly known as Project Excalibur. Read more..
I’m traveling a lot and I like to be able to test and demo things while I’m on the road. This is why I wanted to build an entire Windows Server 2012 RDS environment on my Windows 8 laptop with Hyper-V installed. A major goal was to make sure that I can play around with new features and functionalities introduced with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8, such as the new version of RemoteFX. So initially I created four VMs and installed Windows Server 2012 on them using my TechNet licenses. The names of the VMs are DC, Infra, RDSH1 and RDSH2, each configured with a minimum of 1GB and a maximum of 2GB dynamic memory. In this article I will walk you through all further installation steps to build a working test environment. Read more..
When Shawn Bass and I attended the Microsoft MVP Summit in February, we presented the latest results of our remoting protocol comparison tests to the Microsoft Remote Desktop Services product team. The good news is that generally speaking they confirmed all our findings – the RDS product team has a long history of conducting their own scalability and performance tests. To make a long story short, RDP 8, which may also be called RemoteFX v2, made a huge step forward. This brings the most important question back on the table: Is the Remote Desktop Services functionality as shipped with Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 finally good enough for the enterprise? Read more..
Only a couple of months ago I wrote an article about how to use a Windows 8 tablet as a client hypervisor. Inspired by the promising results of this first test, I decided to go a big step further. I got me an HP EliteBook 8560w laptop with i7 CPU, 32GB of RAM, NVIDIA Quadro GPU and a 256GB OCZ Vertex4 SSD. On this mobile workstation I installed Windows 8 Enterprise edition and activated the Hyper-V role in the same way I did it previously on my tablet. The goal was to use the laptop for resource-intensive work, for testing and for high-end demos when I’m on the road. Now that I’ve used this setup for a couple of weeks I want to share my experience with you. Read more..
At one of the virtualization conferences where I presented a breakout session, I was asked to join a couple of other speakers for a panel discussion. To my big surprise, the conversation got sort of confusing when the question “What are the benefits of desktop virtualization?” came up. I thought that by now everyone in the market knows when desktop virtualization or desktop remoting are beneficial – and when not. This was obviously not the case. In addition to that, some of the speakers and many attendees didn’t know about the variety of goals that may lead to desktop conversion projects. Read more..