My Professional Year 2016 in Review (Part 1)

2016 was an exciting year for me. It was my first full year working as an independent consultant, with Lakeside Software as my biggest customer. In addition to my part-time engagement with Lakeside, I’ve completed a number of successful smaller Microsoft, Citrix and VMware end user computing projects and workshops. Some of the projects were together with my community friends Kristin Griffin and Freek Berson. Under the label “RDS Gurus” our focus was on customers with pure Microsoft Remote Desktop Services environments. To our own surprise this is a rapidly growing market, both on prem and in Azure. But there’s more. Since many years, I have a “hobby” called remote end user experience (REX) benchmarking. It’s all about comparing Microsoft RDS, Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, VMware Horizon View and other Windows remoting technologies from an end user’s standpoint. In 2016 things became a lot more serious. Kristin Griffin, Freek Berson and I joined forces and founded our new software company REX Analytics, headquartered in Seattle and focusing on creating the tools and frameworks needed for remote end user experience benchmarking. But there is still more. My community friend Ruben Spruijt and I are very interested in the latest and greatest advances in GPU-accelerated remoting. Under the label “Team Remoting Graphics Experts” (TeamRGE) we are benchmarking NVIDIA, AMD and Intel GPUs. We use our findings and results in technical whitepapers and presentations at industry events, such as Microsoft Ignite, BriForum or E2EVC. The following paragraphs include some more details of my 2016 activities for Lakeside Software. Part 2 of this article will highlight RDS Gurus, REX Analytics, TeamRGE and community programs.

Let me start with Lakeside Software in part 1 of my 2016 review. In my role as an external technical evangelist in Germany, Austria and Switzerland I’ve helped the Lakeside team to spread the word about workspace analytics and end user experience monitoring. Lakeside SysTrack reminds me of an electron microscope, built to investigate the ultrastructure of enterprise Windows environments and using a wide variety of collected system data points to analyze their impact on end user experience. Never before I’ve been able to look so deep into the Windows system micro universe and sometimes I felt like the accidental big data analyst. The computer scientist and benchmarking expert in me was all excited about this experience during the entire year, even though things didn’t always work as smoothly as expected.

Another important aspect of my work for Lakeside was to organize everything needed to establish a limited liability company branch in Germany. Even though I was born, raised and educated in Germany, this task felt like cat herding when talking to notaries, lawyers, tax advisors, accountants and bankers on behalf of the Lakeside executive management. Trying to bring everything together for an established software vendor with their global HQ in the US and the European HQ in England was definitely a challenge. Sometimes I had the impression that German laws and regulations were made to prevent the creation of such high-tech subsidiaries. But finally I figured out how to orchestrate the start-up process and now it looks like we will see Lakeside Software GmbH up and running in early 2017. Despite all the challenges, I really enjoyed my role as a business advisor helping to create a brand new legal entity in the largest European economy. But sometimes I wished Germans were a little bit more, um, agile when it comes to international start-up activities.

Read about RDS Gurus, REX Analytics, TeamRGE and community programs in part 2 of “My Professional Year 2016 in Review