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Citrix Newsletter – March ’15

General Announcements

Citrix Joins Microsoft Cloud Storage Partner Program to Extend Productivity Across Organizational Boundaries

“Citrix announced it is an inaugural member of the new Microsoft Cloud Storage Partner Program. Citrix and Microsoft’s longtime partnership of more than 25 years is enhanced by this alliance agreement, enabling new ways to work for their joint customers. Work is increasingly done by virtual teams spanning employees, contractors, vendors, partners and customers. By joining the program to integrate Citrix ShareFile with Office Online, Citrix and Microsoft are facilitating easier collaboration across organizational and geographic boundaries, increasing cross-team collaboration, productivity and operational efficiency.”

Citrix and Google Enhance Enterprise Security and Management of Android Devices

“Citrix today announced an extension of its long-standing collaboration with Google by providing XenMobile support for Android for Work. This announcement builds on the multi-year collaboration between Citrix and Google that includes virtual app and desktop delivery on Chrome devices and existing enterprise mobility management (EMM) support for Android smartphones and tablets. Together, Citrix and Google empower both businesses and government institutions with a secure, scalable, app-centric, mobility solution that delivers exceptional user experience, providing people with new ways to work better.”

BYOD: Fragments and silos are the new norm

“Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, phones, tablets… and the list goes on. It’s safe to say we’ve all come to accept that the modern business is a multi-device, multi-OS world. But something we’re perhaps slower to recognise is that the same diversity we see in the above list, also applies to our data. As BYOD becomes the norm, so too does the fragmentation of data and it’s now time we accept this and consider what it actually means for business.”

Citrix Expands vGPU Support

“A large user base of Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop continues to be successfully deployed and officially supported on VMware’s popular vSphere hypervisor for non-graphics workloads. Citrix will offer the same level of quality support to customers who deploy XenApp or XenDesktop for NVIDIA GRID vGPU, starting from day one that VMware vSphere 6 is generally available (March 12, 2015) with the capability.”

Five Ways Virtualization is Changing Enterprise Business Models

“Virtualization is leaving its mark on more than just the IT department.First virtualization hit the data center, changing how servers are operated and making today’s cloud computing possible. More than 70 percent of x86 server workloads are virtualized today, according to Gartner research, and virtualization hardly counts as an enterprise trend any longer since everyone is using it. Now its impact is being felt outside of the IT department, as the technology of virtualization enables new business models and fundamentally changes how business is done.”

Best Practices/Reference Architecture Documents/Blogs

Citrix Synergy 2015: Sessions that you should not miss!

“Having attended quite a few conferences, I know how frustrating it can be when you attend a session with high hopes, only to find out that the content was not what you expected. With this in mind, I spent some time this year going through the Citrix Synergy session catalog and picking the ones that I feel are most relevant to attendees”

Making the case for a heterogeneous hypervisor strategy in the datacenter

“When it comes to server virtualization in the datacenter, most customers tend to standardize on a single hypervisor platform, and VMware today clearly has the market share. The most common reasons for standardization are ease of support and skill set of resources. However for certain workloads, it can be argued that you do not need all of the bells and whistles offered by the main hypervisor platform and you could be overpaying significantly.”

Securing XenApp and XenDesktop Environments

“When deploying Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop within large organizations and government environments, security standards are an important consideration. The Security Standards and Deployment Scenarios document addresses common issues related to such environments, and Citrix products offer a wide range of features for securing a XenApp and XenDesktop system.”

Welcome to Receiver X1

“This is the first of a series of blogs explaining what X1 is, and in particular how you can customize it.”

Monitor Citrix PVS Cache In RAM Using Powershell

” I’m a firm advocate of Provisioning Services ‘Cache in RAM with overflow on hard disk’ leveraging operating system RAM for write-cache. This results in better response times and a greater number of IOPS for the write-Cache than using traditional SAN or Local storage. However, careful planning and monitoring of the size of this cache is imperative as a breach in the available RAM will cause an overflow to the assigned slower disk which dramatically reduces performance. Much speculation has surrounded how to monitor the write-cache with some relying on the Target Device System Tray data but this only reflects the amount of physical cache used. I wanted to be able to monitor the amount of Ram Used so that a typical usage baseline at a customer of mine could be taken. Buried away in the Citrix eDocs (as most things are!) is reference to the actual metric that gives an indication of how much cache in Ram is in use. This can be done by checking the Pool Nonpaged Memory and is shown in the task manager.”

When to use Outlook Cached Exchange Mode on XenApp and XenDesktop

“The other day, I was in my workshop building a new desk for my wife when one of my kids came in asking me about the different tools I had scattered all over the room.  I said “this is a radial arm saw, this is a circular saw, this is a band saw and this is a scroll saw”.  Of course they asked “Why do you have so many saws?”.  I replied “Because each saw does something really well and if I use the wrong one for the job, we will have big problems.” Your IT toolkit will also contain many different tools, but it is important to understand when to use which tool.”

Citrix WorkspacePod, an HP Moonshot Architect’s Perspective

“The genesis of Citrix WorkspacePod originated with Citrix’s acquisition of a company called Solid Instance along with the founder and CEO Tyrone Pike. I’ve already gave away the big secret, Citrix WorkspacePod is all about bundling, but what exactly is included? Putting marketing buzz words like “ultra-converged infrastructure” aside, there are some really unique elements to look at here.”

How to force users to use the Citrix Receiver app on mobile devices using NetScaler

“You can tell your users to install Citrix Receiver on their mobile devices, yet they still continue to open Receiver for Web in a mobile browser to launch their apps and desktops because that’s what they do on their PCs at work. It’s tough to get them to understand there are 2 ways to access their apps while on a PC, using the Citrix Receiver OR Receiver for Web in their browser. But on a mobile device, they should use Citrix Receiver only for the best possible touch friendly experience.”

How To Setup Citrix XenMobile 10 (including configuring Netscaler)

“On February 17th, Citrix released the long awaited XenMobile 10. The big difference with its previous versions is that XenMobile 10 now consists of just one component, the XenMobile Server, so no longer a XenMobile MDM installation on a Windows server and configuring a separate App Controller.”

Netscaler Insight Center Deployment and Sizing Guide

“In today’s Application centric market the visibility challenges are being realized and its significance is growing as the data is increasing day by day. Most of the enterprise Apps has a common & basic requirement of being load balanced and providing optimized data delivery, thus ADCs like NetScaler become the central node through which all application data traverses. This is where technology like AppFlow comes in picture. AppFlow is the standard for fetching the visibility information through NetScaler and forwarding to NetScaler Insight Center. NetScaler Insight Center collects the AppFlow records, analyzes them and brings precise analytical reports for administrator’s consumption.”

Citrix Profile Management – User Store Revealed

“One of the biggest problem in Application or Desktop Virtualization is end user experience and consistency of user profile and customizations. Luckily there is a bunch of tools available on the market that help solve that problem. One of them is Citrix Profile Management intended as a profile solution for XenApp servers, virtual desktops created with XenDesktop, and physical desktops.”

Making the Citrix License Server (Truly) Highly Available

“I’ll begin by saying that this solution is certainly not for everyone.  It adds complexity.  It creates additional management overhead.  It requires NetScaler integration and mildly advanced networking skills.  We have never publicly documented the solution before this week.  But it is absolutely the only bulletproof solution for making our License Server (LS) truly highly available in an active/active fashion without any downtime.”

XenServer 6.5 Performance Comparison

“I love to go fast.  I love fast cars and I love fast software.  In fact, earlier in my career I used to specialize in software performance. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been so excited by the performance improvements in the recently released XenServer 6.5.  You can read my last blogon the features of XenServer 6.5 for more details on the speed improvements.  While it’s great to do your own measurements to track improvement over time, it’s even more fun and rewarding to see others validate your results for you.”

Support Articles/Bug Fixes

Upcoming Events

Mar 31 Solution Webinar: Mobility Dream Team Citrix, Google and Samsung Offer New Ways to Work Better

Find out how you can easily secure, manage and deliver enterprise, web and mobile apps and data to the latest Samsung Chromebooks and Android-based smartphones and tablets using mobile workspace solutions from Citrix.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Mar 31 On-demand Solution Webinar: End-to-end Visibility for XenApp and XenDesktop

Join us for a deep-dive discussion on HDX Insight for NetScaler and CloudBridge.

It is the only solution that provides unmatched visibility for XenApp and XenDesktop.

Watch Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Apr 1 Master Class: High availability and content switching

Live technical webinars to learn about the most critical elements of cloud infrastructures and enterprise datacenter architectures.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Feb 19 – Jun 23 Seminar Series: Managing the Unmanageable: How to Secure the Enterprise

Join us at this live security-focused seminar series to learn about how to secure sensitive data on managed and under-managed devices, measures that enforce security across unmanaged apps and network, models that control access to sensitive data, specific to application usage and access, and how to develop and enforce policies to “manage the unmanageable.”

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Mar – May 7 In-person Master Class Seminar Series: Protect Your Mission Critical Web Apps With Citrix NetScaler

Join us for this in-person master class. We will demo and discuss best practices to secure your network and apps against threats.

Register Now  |  Download Invitation  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Tuesdays, Thursdays) Weekly Deminars: Citrix Workspace Suite

Take a close look at the capabilities of Citrix Workspace Suite in these twice weekly technically-focused, demo-led webinars.
Register Now  |  Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Wednesdays) Weekly Deminars: NetScaler

Join us to understand how Citrix NetScaler can empower your organization with the most comprehensive set of application security, acceleration, load balancing, and monitoring tools.

Register Now Contact for More Info

Ongoing (Wednesdays) Weekly Deminars: Empowering Mobility with XenMobile and ShareFile

See how Citrix can empower your organizations to provide secure, remote access to company resources through mobile app and device management as well as data sharing.

Register Now Contact for More Info

On Demand Webinars

Solution Webinar: Move From Cisco ACE to a Software Defined World

Solution Webinar: Discover the Power of Application Centric Infrastructure

Master Class: How to Upgrade from XenApp 6.5 to XenApp 7.6

Solution Webinar: How to Effectively Replace BlackBerry Devices and Gain User Acceptance

Master Class: NetScaler VPX. Spotlight: Admin Partitions

Solution Webinar: Mobile Workspace Delivery – Any App, Any Device, Any Network, Any Cloud

Solution Webinar: Top Use Cases for App Virtualization

Solution Webinar: How to Build a Solid BYO Policy and Mitigate Security Risks

Solution Webinar: Don’t Settle for “Good Enough” Email for Mobile Employees

Solution Webinar: Managing the Unmanageable: The Network Security Perspective

Solution Webinar: One Company’s Journey to Mobilize Their Workforce with Enterprise Mobility Management

Master Class: NetScaler Deployment Modes and Server Load Balancing

 Master Class: What’s New in Citrix XenMobile 10.0

Solution Webinar: Enable SDN and Dev Ops with Cisco ACI and Citrix NetScaler

 Desktop Master Class: Deliver Microsoft Lync with XenApp and XenDesktop

 Solution Webinar: 5 Things VMware Doesn’t Want You to Know About Horizon View

 

Making The Case For A Heterogeneous Hypervisor Strategy In The Datacenter

When it comes to server virtualization in the datacenter, most customers tend to standardize on a single hypervisor platform, and VMware today clearly has the market share. The most common reasons for standardization are ease of support and skill set of resources. However for certain workloads, it can be argued that you do not need all of the bells and whistles offered by the main hypervisor platform and you could be overpaying significantly. An example of this would be a dev/test environment, where you might not necessarily have the same requirements for DR/HA as compared to your Tier 1 Mission Critical applications. In addition you could be limiting yourself from taking advantage of certain features and functions that could potentially help increase user productivity, protect intellectual property and drive innovation. An example of this would be VDI workloads. vSphere does not natively support in memory caching (Content Based Read Cache) for XenDesktop whereas XenServer 6.5 does. Another example of this would be high end graphics workloads, where there are definitely feature gaps between hypervisor platforms. And with regards to ease of support and skill set of resources, the top 3 hypervisors in the market – vSphere, Hyper-V and XenServer have matured to the point where supportability is not as complex as it used to be.

If you are a vSphere customer today or a EUC partner & if you haven’t already looked into XenServer 6.5, I recommend you do. The 6.5 release is the first version of XenServer that is 64bit through and through. At a high level, this means much higher user density/scalability and tremendous improvement in performance compared to XS 6.2. Below are some key features/improvements  that I want to highlight:

  • 300% improvement in Storage Read Throughput with In Memory Read Caching that can help you eliminate boot storms and improve VM boot times by nearly 300%.
  • 96 vGPU’s per host for high end graphics workloads – If you are not familiar with HDX 3D Pro and virtual GPUs with the NVIDIA GRID Technology. I recommend you review this blog. With the 6.5 release, each XenServer host can support upto 96 vGPUs and as a result, enterprises can deliver high end workloads to users at a much lower cost/user while guaranteeing the highest performance.
  • 700% improvement in Network Throughput (when compared to XenServer 6.2)
  • Simple, Intuitive and Comprehensive monitoring and alerting of your XenServer hosts and workloads
  • Workload Balancing (WLB) is better than ever and helps maintain performance thresholds and automate your workloads intelligently based on parameters you define. In addition, a ton of additional reports have been added that provide detailed insight into how your environment is performing. For more on WLB, review this blog by Rachel Berry.
  • Simplification of product packaging and reduction in cost – XenServer now comes in two flavors: Standard and Enterprise and is licensed on a per socket basis and the cost for XenServer Enterprise which includes in memory caching, distributed virtual switch, workload balancing among others is only $1250/socket.
  • Xendesktop Enterprise and Platinum customers own XenServer – Most XenDesktop customers run XD on vSphere even though they are entitled to run XenServer. With the improved performance and scalability and the new features added in XenServer 6.5, now is the time to move your XA and XD workloads to XenServer! It is important to keep in mind that as new features are added to XA and XD they are typically made available initially on XenServer. Moreover customers would have a single, integrated stack for desktop and app virtualization supported end to end by Citrix. You can find out more about licensing here.

To summarize, I believe a heterogeneous hypervisor strategy is something every enterprise should look into in order to reduce costs and to help create solutions optimized for use-case specific workloads, such as high end graphics, desktop and cloud workloads. With Xenserver 6.5, Citrix has proven its commitment towards server virtualization and will continue to innovate! For those interested in learning more about XenServer 6.5, be sure to attend the Master Class on Feb 10th!

Reference Links:

 

 

Synergy Recap Part 2 – XenMobile Announcements

Continuing on the topic on Synergy, changes to the XenMobile product suite was the other big announcement..

Lets take a step back..

Up until the beginning of this 2013, Citrix’s approach to mobililty was Mobile Application Management through their CloudGateway product. The strategy was that enterprises would have the ability to deliver SaaS, Web, Windows and mobile applications all from a unified portal with integrated identity management. Enterprises could wrap corporate applications (MDX wrapped apps) and then deploy these applications to mobile devices.. These applications would then be containerized and live within its own bubble on the mobile device. Policies could be applied to each wrapped application and they could talk to each other but not with the users personal applications and data. Everything within the container could be wiped without affecting the users personal data. In addition, CloudGateway provided Federated IdentityReceiver would be the single client that would be used across all devices.

While this was a great strategy for BYOD, there was a lot of push back from companies who still wanted to manage corporate owned devices, where they wanted the ability to do full wipes, enforce various policies at the device level and also other features like Geo Fencing.

Fast Forward to Jan 2013..

Based on the market demands, Citrix felt that it needed add MDM capabilities to its mobile management solution and hence acquired Zenprise (Gartner Magic Quadrant for MDM) and re branded the product XenMobile. With the addition of Zenprise, Citrix had a complete solution in XenMobile with both MAM and MDM capabilities. As part of the initial offering, there were two editions, the MDM edition which was basically Zenprise rebranded and the Mobility Solutions bundle which offered both MDM and MAM functionality. The other unique feature about the licensing model was that Citrix offered a per user licensing model, which makes a lot of sense in this day n age where most users have at least 3 devices.

While this was all great, there were some customers who only needed the MAM functionality and others who felt the features did not justify the cost. Also from an end user perspective, the solution was a bit kludgy.  There were three clients namely the enroll agent (for enrolling the users device), connect (used to download profiles and enforce policies) and receiver (for delivering the containerized applications). All the clients were available through App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android)

So what did we announce at Synergy?

XENMOBILE EDITIONS UPDATED

Going forward, XenMobile will be available in three editions – MDM edition, APP edition and Enterprise Edition. I really liked this announcement as I know of a number of customers in my space that are only interested in the MAM piece and now they have an options as opposed to just having to purchase the Enterprise edition. I am not going into MAM and MDM much as it has already been discussed earlier in the post, but in short, MDM = Zenprise and APP Edition = CloudGateway functionality.

The Enterprise edition will include App Edition, MDM, Sharefile (Citrix’s own follow me data product) and GoToAssist. This definitely adds a great amount of value to the product suite and provides customers with an all encompassing solution that allows them to:

    • Manage mobile devices (both BYO and corporate owned) and enforce policies.
    • Deliver SaaS, Windows, Internal Web and mobile applications to mobile devices.
    • Identity management
    • A secure follow me data solution through Sharefile with cloud and on-premise storage.
    • Ability to remotely troubleshoot mobile devices with GoToAssist

 The solution keeps both IT management and end users happy as IT management gets the security profile they desire while the end users feel empowered and become more productive with all their corporate apps made available on their personal devices.

XENMOBILE COMPONENTS REBRANDED

As I mentioned earlier in the post, prior to Synergy the key end user facing Xenmobile components were Enroll and Connect. Receiver was used to deliver MDX wrapped applications. Going forward, the components will rebranded as Worx Enroll and Worx Home. Worx Enroll will be the device enrollment piece and Worx Home will be store for Mobile, Web and SaaS applications including Worx Mobile Apps (previously MDX wrapped apps) like Worx Web Worx Mail, Sharefile etc . Receiver will still be used to deliver XA/XD resources, but I think it is safe to assume that eventually XA/XD resources will be made available through Worx Home in the future. All the applications delivered via Worx Home will be available on the home screen along with all the other applications on your device. However each of these applications live within its own container and will be fully encrypted. Worx Home and Worx Enroll will be available through App Store (iOS) and Google Play (Android).

Citrix also announced the Worx App Gallery, a place wheresoftware vendors/partners/independent developers can showcase their work enabled applications. Mark Templeton in his keynote mentioned that there are over 80 Worx enabled applications at present.

AVAILABILITY?

The new XenMobile offerings should be made available by end of June/early July

OVERALL IMPRESSIONS

I thought the XenMobile announcements were significant, offering solutions that fit most customer needs. There is significant value in the Enterprise edition with the addition of Sharefile and GoToAssist.  I feel the pieces are finally coming together and my hope is that the end user experience is painless (only time will tell) and that the backend infrastructure gets more streamlined in the future. Gartner has positioned Citrix in the Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management and rightly so in my opinion. I believe Citrix has the most complete solution in the market at present and more importantly the right people at the helm to lead this forward.

 

Gaby Turns 1

As cliche’d as this sounds, its hard to imagine that its been a year since Gaby was born. Roshan and I feel so blessed and grateful to God for all the happiness that Gaby has brought to our lives. Every day is an adventure as she learns something new. Now she walks, says words like book, light, calls me Dada, calls Roshan, Mimi, screams in perfect pitch and louder than anyone else in church, her innocent smile is the highlight of our day. While I am on the train on my way back home, all I think about is how she’s going to greet me that night. She has totally changed our life and its been the most amazing year! A lot of you have been following Gaby’s growth and have been very supportive. Roshan and Iwant to thank you for the same. Below are pics from her Birthday Parties.

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Keh Lene Do (Agnee Cover)

 

This is a song from an Indian contemporary rock group called Agnee. Surprisingly they are not that well known. I thank Jay Swaminathan for introducing me to their music. This is probably my favorite song of theirs. Its a romantic number which flows beautifully. I absolutely love the melody! Please do check out Agnee!

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