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..

My Lab Toolbox: SenseConnector

When I’m presenting at conferences or training classes, many attendees ask me what kind of tools I’m using for benchmarking, lab setups, demos and proof-of-concepts. So I decided to start a series of articles describing my favorite lab tools. Today, I want to introduce you to SenseConnector, a great tool for building powerful demo environments and managing virtual test infrastructures hosted on Client and Server Hyper-V, Microsoft Azure and VMware vSphere/ESXi. If you want give SenseConnector a try, download the fully functional 90-day trial version at SenseSuite.com. Read more..

New Session Videos

The Fall 2014 conference season has just started, and here are brand new videos of two of my sessions I recently presented: The first video is about “A Survival Guide to Microsoft-only VDI” delivered at E2EVC in Brussels – watch the video on YouTube. The second video shows Nico Luedemann and myself presenting on “Citrix Published Applications versus Microsoft RemoteApp”, delivered in German language at CIM Lingen – watch the video on YouTube.

In October, I will be presenting at VMworld in Barcelona, at Rencontres des Virtualisations et du Cloud 2014 in Paris and at Microsoft TechEd Europe in Barcelona.