Joint Webinar with FSLogix and deviceTRUST

On November 16, I had the great pleasure to moderate a joint webinar with FSLogix and deviceTRUST. I like both companies and their products very much as you can see from previous articles (FSLogix, deviceTRUST). But combining the two is even better! In this webinar Kevin Goodman and Sascha Goeckel demonstrated how deviceTRUST provides monitoring of endpoints through context awareness and uses policy/admin defined triggers that provide FSLogix Apps the ability to control application access on those endpoint devices in virtual sessions. This can be used for license compliance and to secure VDI gold images. If you want to watch the recording of this webinar, view it here (registration required).

Tools I’ve used in my Ignite session

A bit more than two weeks ago I’ve presented a breakout session titled “Get an independent insider’s view of desktop virtualization and session remoting” at Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta. Here is the video of my session on Channel 9 for those who want to watch it. As part of my session I demonstrated some great tools and add-on products provided by community fellows. I actually felt like the anchor of a news show walking people through some real-world use cases. After my session, I received emails asking me for more details regarding the tools. Here we go… Read more..

Things I Learned at VMworld in Las Vegas

I had the opportunity to attend VMworld in Las Vegas the last couple of days. Here’s a summary of what I have learned. In the Day 1 keynote, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger used “Digital Transformation” as the #1 buzzword. He also said that all business is digital business today and 80% of compute is virtualized by now. But 50% of all enterprise applications are still traditional client/server applications – in other words, there is still a majority of conventional Windows applications out there. Neither mobile apps nor native web apps are dominating, yet. According to a VMware survey, there is an average of 188 internally created (Windows) applications in enterprises which may need to be maintained for quite a while. This means that remoting into Windows applications hosted in on-premises datacenters, private clouds and public clouds will continue to be an important aspect of VMware’s strategy. This is great news for End-User Computing (EUC). I still wonder if this also applies to Pat’s announcement to extend their hybrid cloud approach not only to VMware-based clouds (now including IBM/Softlayer), but also to non-VMware-based clouds like Amazon, Azure and Google. Read more..

My Take on Microsoft’s Announcement to Retire Azure RemoteApp

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..

deviceTRUST – Dynamic Device Context Awareness

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..

NVIDIA GRID Hardware Chart

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..

Microsoft Using Citrix XenDesktop to Deliver Remote Windows 10 Desktops from Azure

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..

Graphics Virtualization at NVIDIA GTC 2016

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 Application Masking

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.

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..