Citrix In One Breath : Video on YouTube – Provision 80 Desktops in 3 Minutes

February 11, 2010

You may remember back in August I blogged about a couple of parody style pop music videos Citrix and VMware released as part of some fun viral marketing.  The guys over in Citrix Germany have once again treated us to another video, this time a little harder hitting, especially with the music soundtrack ;)

The video shows Marc Borchert, who as well as being a Citrix Engineer is an Apnoea Free Diver, hold his breath underwater for 3 minutes.  During this time, Oliver Lomberg, a Citrix Systems Engineer, installs XenServer and provisions 80 desktops using Citrix and Microsoft technologies – the theme being “Achieve more for your business in one breath with Citrix Essentials for XenServer and Microsoft Hyper-V”.. a very well thought out and strong message!

Good work guys..

You can view the video on YouTube here


UK Snowfall, home working and virtual desktops

January 13, 2010

As you may be aware, the UK has recently been subject to some of the coldest weather and heaviest snowfall we have experienced in many year.. while it is not a lot snow compared to what other countries experience, our lack of resources available to clear to snow from the roads has confined thousands and thousands of people to their house, including myself. 

During this time my inability to simply get to work got me thinking about all the (simple) things we take for granted, whether that be the car starts in the morning, the coffee machine works or the PC powers on.  We also take for granted in the most part that we can either get into the office in the car / public transport or that the DSL / broadband connection at home is always on.

So, with the snow that we have been hit with, we were into going into “survival mode” where we stay at home and make the best use of the technologies that our strategists “forced us” us to consider some 12 months back – for example, this thing called hosted Virtual Desktops.  The AppSense business has for long made use of the Server Based Computing technology (with Citrix XenApp) since the day it was born, but only recently has a significant part of the power and knowledge based users of the workforce been able to use this “new stuff” – desktop virtualization. 

It is only now when we can take the benefit of looking back over the last week we can see that it just worked – our users had little complaints because their desktop(s) were still available,  even when at home on their kids gaming PC – OK, so there was a complaint or two about the low quality seat that they had purchased for their children to use while gaming, but the business can hardly be made accountable to those kinds of things?!  Strange though that the local stores have had a surge in deliveries of office chairs to households this past couple of days… 

Anyway, back to it, the only other issue area the AppSense IT team had to deal with was a user who lost telecoms at his home, along with all of his neighbours.  SO, this user was unable to access his online Virtual Desktop since he had no connectivity.  Again, this was no significant issue since the user in question was (fortunately) supplied with a laptop from the office, which as we here at AppSense eat our own dog food / drink our own champagne comes with AppSense Environment Manager and so all of his applications and personalization information was also available on the offline device as well as in the Virtual Desktop (that he couldn’t use).

Our lessons from this week to belileve  the strategy guys, they after all, were actually responsible for our technology vision and then our IT guys for delivering it using some of the world’s leading Desktop Virtualization software from Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and of course AppSense all coming together to enable my colleagues and I to continue working from remote locations around the country..


Inaugural Meeting of the Northern VMware User Group

November 20, 2009

On Wednesday 18th November I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural meeting of the Northern VMware User Group (UK) at the Wellington pub in Leeds. There were about thirty five people in attendance, mostly administrators of VMware infrastructures, including some big ones, which was a pretty impressive turnout given the far from ideal weather conditions. A couple of VMware vExperts also attended the event.

A very informative presentation from Ross Bisby of b2net covering the details of investigating performance issues in ESX/ESXi environments kicked things off. Hats off to Ross for a top job given he was drafted in at the last minute. This was followed by informal breakout sessions covering topics such as VCP certification, iSCSI storage and VDI.  There was certainly a good deal of interest in VDI from many people there with a variety of experience from planning through testing to having, successfully, deployed it. It was encouraging too to find a number of the attendees already familiar with AppSense products.

Many thanks to the committee for organising such a successful event and to VMware and Veeam for sponsoring the bar – when in Rome …

Looking forward already to the next event!



AppSense University 2009

October 30, 2009

Last week saw the annual round of AppSense Universities taking place. A gathering of the best consultancy minds from AppSense channel partners and system integrators. The goal of this year’s University was to drive home the AppSense best practices when delivering AppSense solutions and to educate the attendee’s with an increased technical understanding of the Environment Manager product.

It is clear that User Environment Management has become a very hot topic within the technical community and so this year’s attendance was higher than ever with over 50 partners attending the 2 day event. The sessions were a mix of theory and practical work, culminating in an exam that tested both current skill levels and knowledge acquired over the 2 day.  Over 90% of the attendee’s have been working with AppSense for many years, but all that attended commented on how much additional technical content they had obtained by attending the event.

“The University and Inner Circle events give us the ability to educate our partners on areas of the products which may have changed since they attended the Certified Administrator Course and allow us to share our own wealth of knowledge regarding best practice. Partners who attend become more self-sufficient due to the education we provide regarding the inner workings of the products and troubleshooting sessions” – Simon Townsend, Director of Technical Services, AppSense

The practical sessions saw delegates solving real world challenges with ease when using an AppSense Solution.  The practical sessions provided delegates with a technical insight into Environment Manager via the Deep Dive sessions, this included how Environment Manager integrates with the logon process. While the hands on labs enabled delegates to migrate users from a current problematic Roaming Profile to an AppSense Managed Profile, there was also the chance for delegates to get a grasp of all Environment Manager Best practices as well as implement these in the lab sessions.

 The event also provided a solid platform to feedback into AppSense Product Management on features that would like to be seen and features that are already present. The University events prove to be one of the best sources of feed in for product features since the delegates are all seasoned professionals who need solutions to their own unique issue areas.

“Having been to several AppSense Technical Universities, I can genuinely say they are a valuable experience to anyone working with AppSense technology and is looking to expand their customer base in the user environment management space. There is always a great mix of theory, practical lab sessions and open discussion on personal experiences out in the field, which makes the event both educational and informative. It’s also good to see what’s next in terms of product development and refreshing to be able to offer input, which is often incorporated in to the new versions. I’d definitely recommend this event to anyone who is serious about AppSense.” – Simon Mulrain, Senior Consultant, Point to Point.

The exam was received positively with many wanting to test and prove their AppSense knowledge. On a whole the results were fantastic but a special mention must go to Esteem, ADD3, Centralis, ISC and Point to Point whose delegates on the day achieved the top grades.

Most walked away from the event feeling that the content was very relevant, and already asking the dates for the next University. We all look forward to seeing you all again next time.

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Photo taken from midway back, right hand side of the room