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..

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 www.youtube.com/drtritsch. 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..