My Professional Year 2016 in Review (Part 2)

In part 1 of my 2016 review I put the emphasis on my engagement with Lakeside Software which consumed a substantial amount of my work time. This part 2 is about all my other activities, like short projects, workshops, presentations and community work. Let’s start with the short projects and the customer workshops. Primarily they were around pure Microsoft Remote Desktop Services infrastructures and end user experience benchmarking. It is interesting to note that there are only a few independent experts (including myself) that have some solid field experience with pure Microsoft RDS environments, both on premises and in the Azure cloud. Kristin Griffin from the US and Freek Berson are two of them, and in 2016 we joined forces. Together we deliver our consulting services under the label RDS Gurus. I think the name is self-explanatory. Over the last months we have learned that pure RDS – without add-on products from Citrix or VMware – is a growing market. This is particularly true for price-sensitive hosted environments supporting multiple internal or external tenants and with highly specialized system admins. The release of Windows Server 2016 gave this market segment an extra boost, due to its remote desktop user interface that is identical to Windows 10 and the improved remoting protocol capabilities. In 2017 I expect to see a lot more pure RDS environments including some third-party point solutions for system management and resource control.

Measuring end user experience in a variety of remoting scenarios is also one of my favorite topics. Customers and system integrators want to know what kind of end user experience they can expect before implementing or updating a remoting infrastructure. It’s all about expectation management with the goal to reduce business risk and user frustration. Unfortunately, there is a lack of tooling when it comes to remote end user experience (REX) benchmarking that goes beyond producing simple performance counter scores. With the vision to solve this tooling problem Kristin Griffin, Freek Berson and I started the software company REX Analytics, supported by an external team of developers in Germany and in Hungary. Our REX Framework is growing and we started using elements of it in our commercial RDS Gurus activities.

Another context where we started using the REX Framework is for independent community activities under the TeamRGE label. Together with Shawn Bass and Ruben Spruijt, I’m a founding member of Team Remoting Graphics Experts. Right from the beginning, our TeamRGE mission was to educate the market about advances in graphics remoting in an independent and non-commercial way. In essence, it’s a club for enthusiast with some sophisticated graphics equipment to play around with. In 2016, we have updated our free TeamRGE whitepaper on high-end graphics remoting. In 2017 we want to extend the club and invite some more hand-selected experts with the intention to do some joined bad-ass fun testing. You may see some results from these activities presented at upcoming community events.

Community programs are helping me to stay in touch with the vendors that are most relevant for my work. I’m a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Enterprise Mobility (previously Remote Desktop Services) since 2004 and a Microsoft Regional Director since 2015. In November 2016 I had the opportunity to attend the MVP and RD Summit on the Microsoft campus where I learned a lot about the future of Remote Desktops Services and Azure. But there is more. Since 2006 I’m a Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) and in 2015 I was awarded as a VMware vExpert and EUC Champion. In March 2016 NVIDIA invited me to attend the GRID Days in Santa Clara and awarded me as an NVIDIA GRID Community Advisor only two months later. Belonging to the Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and NVIDIA communities at the same time since the second half of 2016 gave me fascinating insights into the future of the desktop transformation and GPU-accelerated remoting market. All I can say is that we are in the middle of a technology revolution and that I’m looking forward to 2017.

Before wrapping things up I want to look back at my 2016 speaking engagements. My personal highlights were the sessions I have (co)presented at NVIDIA GTC in San Jose, Datacenter and Cloud Conference in Duesseldorf, BriForum Conferences in London and Boston, Citrix TecExchange in Berlin, Microsoft Ignite in Atlanta and Microsoft Technical Summit in Darmstadt. Add a couple of sessions at community events I really enjoy attending and speaking at, such as E2EVC, CUGtech and DCUG. My presentations allowed me to share test results and thoughts about Windows Server 2016, the performance of VMware and Citrix products, GPU-accelerated remoting, delivering Windows applications from Azure, and workspace analytics.

In summary, 2016 was an exciting and successful year for me. End user computing design and planning, Windows desktop transformation, hybrid cloud adoption, Windows Server 2016 (RDS) migrations, GPU-accelerated remoting best practices, remote end user experience (REX) benchmarking and workspace analytics will continue to be my primary topics in 2017.

My Professional Year in Review (Part 1)

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