New Azure Region in Germany

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..

GPU Announcements at VMworld

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..

SenseConnector Videos

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..

Graphics and Multimedia System Tools

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..

After E2EVC is Before E2EVC

About a week ago I returned back home form the Expert to Expert Virtualization Conference (E2EVC) in Hong Kong – and in about a week I will be speaking at E2EVC in Berlin. For those of you who don’t know E2EVC, it’s an independent community event initiated and organized by Alex Juschin (@E2EVC). It’s original name was PubForum and it first started in 2003 with just four terminal server geeks meeting in a pub and sharing deep technical insights of what was called server-based computing at the time. The first PubForum I attended was in 2004 during Oktoberfest in Munich. Later, when PubForum started becoming a popular event with more attendees, Alex changed the name to E2EVC to give it a more serious label. As a side effect, it was easier for attendees to convince their employers to pay their travel expenses and the relatively low admission fee. Now there are two E2EVC events in Europe, one in the US and one in Asia every year! Read more..

An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization on Channel 9

On May 7, Ruben Spruijt and I delivered our breakout session titled “An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization” at Microsoft Ignite in Chicago. Find an overview of the content in a previous blog post. Our session was live streamed, which was an exciting and brand new experience for Ruben and me. Now you can find the recording of the entire session on Microsoft Channel 9 at Have fun watching the video.

RDS and VDI News from Microsoft Ignite 2015

I’m at BriForum in London this week, meeting with many of my community fellows. One of the topics we keep discussing is the lessons learned at Microsoft Ignite two weeks ago. What a show that was! 23,000 people attended Ignite and most of them wanted to hear about the upcoming products and see how this Microsoft 2.0 looks like. Combining multiple events, such as TechEd and MMS, seemed to be a good idea for many IT professionals, despite the fact that Microsoft decided to miss out Europe – Ignite is a US-only event. Microsoft must have been surprised by the number of registrations as logistics were far from being perfect. Sometimes transportation, catering and room capacity for popular sessions clearly showed some room for improvement for next year. But I cannot complain, together with co-speaker Ruben Spruijt I was invited as a featured speaker and the Ignite organizers gave us a great room for our session about virtual desktops. According to Microsoft, remoting into Windows workloads is an important aspect of their mobility strategy now. This means that RDS and VDI were presented from different angles and were even covered in sessions where you wouldn’t expect it. Read more..

Our Microsoft Ignite Session

Tomorrow, on Thursday, May 7 at 1:30PM, Ruben Spruijt and I will be delivering our Microsoft Ignite breakout session titled “An Insider’s Guide to Desktop Virtualization”. Here is the abstract of our session: “Ready to drink from a fire hose? In this highly energized session, learn about insights, best practices, and hear unfiltered thoughts about Desktop Virtualization, VDI, vendors, and solutions. Discussion topics include: VDwhy, VDCry, VDI Smackdown, building and designing a Microsoft VDI solution, and 3D graphics. Experience the Microsoft and Citrix Virtual Desktop solution with a huge amount of videos and demos. With unique content and insights, this session is fun and packed with great content for everyone interested in Desktop Virtualization.”

We have lots of brand new contents for you. Ruben did a ProjectVRC survey and collected interesting information about our VDI and session remoting market. In addition we will be showing GPU-accelerated graphics remoting concepts and examples, including Windows Server vNext and Windows 10 Beta as a  VDI platform. One of the session highlights will be the results of our Azure RemoteApp benchmarking project we conducted in February and March.

If you are at Ignite, Ruben and I are looking forward to welcome you to our session in the Arie Crown Theater located in the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place.

Is Layering the Future of User Profile Management

This article has been in my pipeline for quite a while, and after talking to a number of subject matter experts I thought that now is the time to finally publish it: When dealing with virtual Windows desktops or remote user sessions, profile management and personalization pops up as a discussion topic or a pain point on a regular basis. This has not changed since 10 years and it is independent of the underlying virtualization or remoting technology. As a rule of thumb, once or twice a year, Windows user profile management is on the agenda. But things have changed over time. A couple of years ago, it was all about maintaining the EXACT layout of a user’s desktop. Moving application icons by a couple of pixels or removing the custom wallpaper may have resulted in seriously angry users. Typically, this is not the case anymore since users are used to having access to other personalized “desktops”, like their tablets or smartphones. They have learned how to deal with different background images and user interface element locations. But still, user profile management is a hot topic when it comes to maintaining application-specific settings across various work-related Windows desktops. Read more..

My Lab Toolbox: Frame Grabbers

This article is the third in a series of articles describing hardware and software tools I’m using in my test lab. Previous articles covered the RDS tool SenseConnector and how to build a white label test server. This article highlights frame grabbers used to capture sequences of computer screen images (frames) which then can be stored as video recordings. Traditional use cases of modern frame grabbers are capturing videos from healthcare or astronomy applications and providing video input for pick and place machines in manufacturing. New use cases are capturing videos from interactive computer games and recording end-user experience of interactive desktop sessions to measure perceived performance. The latter is exactly what I’m doing in my lab and here are the lessons I have learned. Read more..