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BriForum Review

Written on Apr 26 2007 12,526 views, 12 comments

by Tony

I'm stuck in O'Hare airport because my flights been delayed for 3 hours so I figured I'd throw a post out on what I thought of BriForum.  This was my first BriForum, but I've been a fan of Brian's for years.  I've been to tons of other vendor sponsored conferences and BriForum is truly unique in comparison.  Most (all really) vendor conferences are filled with marketing and sales fluff...this was the first thing I noticed about BriForum - it is NOT.  When they say it's an independant conference it really is an independant conference.  The other thing that struck me as different were the attendees.  I didn't bump into any CIO, or CTO's (not to say there weren't any there, I just didn't talk to any)  Who I did bump into we're extremely intelligent and bright admins, engineers and architects who are all in the same boat travelling down this same river of fury that is SBC.

To say VDI/DDI was a big topic at BriForum would be an understatment.  Everyone is talking about it, everyone has something to say about one is really doing it.  Before I get hate mail saying "I've been doing VDI since I went to BriForum 3 years ago....blah blah blah"  No one said they had replaced all their desktops in their company with VDI.  Some have replaced Citrix with TS and Provision (Ron's "Doing it without Citrix" session on this was excellent)  Someone at the forum said "VDI is a lot of smoke with no fire" - I couldn't agree more.

 From a technology point of view - I really liked what I saw from Provision and I LOVED what I saw from Ardence.  My hangup with VDI has always been - If I'm already managing 2600 desktops, I don't want to manage 2600 individual virtual XP desktops.  I think if there can be some sorta combination of Ardence...streaming OS's to VM's with a layer of the Provision desktop broker (SSL access/Power Management of virtual machines) VDI can make a big least in my organization.

One thing I found interesting was when people talked about the costs of VDI vs. TS.  VDI is more expensive the terminal services....but is it really???  Everyone seemed to discuss the costs of moving users from TS to VDI...sure that's more expensive.  But what about moving users from physical PC's scattered across and organization compared to a centralized datacenter?  I used the term "PC Iceberg Effect" (I didn't make it up, I stole it from Lenovo)  At the tip of the iceberg afloat on top of the ocean is the cost of a PC but below the surface is the gigantic, titanic sinking portion of ongoing maintainence and support.  I'm essentially in the manufacturing industry and the turn-around on PC hardware out in dirty, awful plant environments is tremendous.  We replace fans and hard disks on a daily basis....but, were talking about plant worker who aren't paid to work on a PC, they paid to manufacture product.  These are task based users - Office suite, mainly just Outlook, Internet Explorer and IM.  In this scenerio, terminal servers fits the bill perfectly.  Now enter the shift supervisor...he needs a little more, maybe CAD ablity, ERP system, etc.  TS would still work here, but he/she wants more....VDI now looks like a viable solution.  VDI could also work for people in the admin buildings of these plants - HR Staff, Payroll, etc.  Finally you have more of the executive branch of these sites like plant managers etc...they need notebooks...let them have a notebook - but maybe we stream apps to them???

My point is when you look at VDI, you need to look at it from a tiered approach...something Citrix mentioned at last years iForum and I agree.  The hybrid platfrom of TS - Simple and Fast, VDI - Personal, and Physical - Power and mobile users, in my opinion if the best forumula for success....again, this is all my opinion, for my environment.

The other aspect of VDI that NO ONE touched on is DR.  I'm a NetApp/VMWare guy.  I've done some really neat things at remote sites by implementing ESX on a small NetApp filer and virtualizing servers, consolidating file servers to NAS and using snapshots and replication to HQ.  I can pretty much bring up any virutal enviroment at a remote site in my HQ site in less the 15 minutes.  Doesn't matter if it's 1 VM and a NAS share, or the entire site....15 minutes...give or take a few minutes on how early or late in the day it is :-)  Most people seem to forget about workstations in their DR plans...again, enter VDI...if I have my VDI in the same environment, I can do the same thing to a DR site.

I'm doing a small proof of concept with Ardence in the next few weeks for 10 clients...planning to do streaming OS, redirected profiles to NAS, PNA and when I decide on a broker I"ll let you know....if anyone is interested I'll post my finding.

In conclusion...BriForum was awesome and I'm already looking forward to attending next year!!!  Mr. Madden - Excellent job, keep up the great work and can you let me know where you got that awesome suit for the Geek Out game show?  



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Richard Powers wrote Coming Down off the Technology High.
on Fri, Apr 27 2007 12:05 AM Link To This Comment

BriForum gets your creative thoughts going that’s for sure. You can tell by Tony comments that he’s all fired up and ready to tackle some old problems with some new ideas. In some ways going to BriForum was better than a vacation. There’s the validation that you are doing something right when you talk to other people or see the same principles applied in a presentation. There’s also straight talk about what works and what doesn’t (Thank you Michael Burke for the setting me straight about Softricity). It’s hard to believe that this cost only $895 US dollars (Drinks included!). The question I ask myself when I get done with any training session is: Would I pay for this myself if  I couldn’t get anyone else to pay for it? Yes I would.


Thanks to Brian, Brian’s staff (The people that make it all come together kind) and The presenters were great and very approachable to take all kind’s of questions. Okay the Vendors were top notch as well So far no e-mails from any of them.


Special thanks for no one mentioning the following words:




Change Management


Let continue this trend next year.


p.s. The phone has been a big hit at work already. I’ve gotten several weird looks and couple of people asked me where they can get one. Still haven’t figured out what the button on the side does. I’m hoping it will make SMS go away but so far no luck. There’s always tomorrow.



Tony wrote One more comment
on Fri, Apr 27 2007 8:09 AM Link To This Comment
Jason Congers session on "Thing Resource Manager Won't Tell You" was worth the price of admission alone (well that and the cool cell phone headset).   I  immediately heading back to my hotel room and downloaded his Web Interface for RM...Awesome to say the least...Nice job Jason!
Guest wrote Tony - you're right on the mark
on Fri, Apr 27 2007 9:44 AM Link To This Comment
Regarding the independence of the conference. I've been to conferences, like you, that have been marketing fests. Not this one - a testament to Brian and his organizers. I came away from BriForum with the feeling that, at least at the conference, my environment is pretty unique: I'm trying to deliver Windows applications to Linux, Mac AND Windows desktops...and without Citrix. I'm wondering if anyone else is in my boat? If they are, I'm considering submitting as a presenter next year to outline some of the challenges and what I've done to address them. Anyway, it was a great 3 days. It's going to take a while for things to set in my dense skull, but I have some wonderful ideas to improve the delivery of these applications. One word about the human networking at this event - it was great. Even though I face much different challenges than most of the others there, the technical foundation is the same and I got some great information and met some really smart people. Great time! Z
Zack Umer wrote GREAT Experiance
on Fri, Apr 27 2007 1:20 PM Link To This Comment

I was also absolutely fired up about all the things at the conference... great effort... You leave the conference in a state of wanting more....I feel maybe the community after sleeping over it for a night or two could come up with like the TOP 10 list or we can narrow that list down even further..we could do a coference call of some sort or an online collaboration like a GOTO METTING or LIVE MEETING session... have an agenda and follow it... do a post forum wrapup...

.any ideas? or comments?

Raja Posa wrote Information Upload
on Sat, Apr 28 2007 10:50 PM Link To This Comment
It has very useful conference. I am very much delighted to the effort put by all the presenters. Waiting for the presentation to be uploaded. Is there any update on when the information will be upload?
Michael Brown wrote Button on Phone
on Mon, Apr 30 2007 11:09 AM Link To This Comment
The button on the 'olde tyme' handset is to answer and hangup calls. Your phone needs to be set to hands free answer. My father-in-law liked it so much, we ordered one for him!
Guest wrote More content, less bomb scare & flames
on Mon, Apr 30 2007 12:19 PM Link To This Comment

Brian,  My opinion is that this was the best BriForum yet.   As I told you the broader content was a good thing.   I learned a lot and got a lot of ideas and validation.   Sitting next to Tim M in Michael B's advanced Softgrid presentation was a little weird!   It's not like he was going to learn anything!  

Still not the biggest fan of Chicago, but the event overshadowed my dislike for the city (or shall I say the city apparently not liking me).   San Diego would be nice.  Hint.   I did miss the bomb scare and the fire that we all loved from last year!    Maybe next year.  

The presenters were great again, and I agree that they were very approachable.   My hats off to them.

Gabe's building and fabrication skills were certainly evident.  Great job Gabe!

The rest of your staff did an excellent job also.   You all outdid yourselves.  

CYA next year!  Keith

Guest wrote When are the DVD's Coming ?
on Mon, Apr 30 2007 3:02 PM Link To This Comment
I hate that I could'nt attend,but I would love to know when the DVD's will be released. 
Guest wrote Michael Burke
on Tue, May 1 2007 4:12 PM Link To This Comment
What's wrong with SoftGrid?
Tony wrote I second the San Diego notion!!!
on Mon, May 14 2007 3:26 PM Link To This Comment
I wasn't to keen on Chicago either...the pizza was over-rated :-)
Guest wrote flower1800
on Tue, Jul 22 2008 1:20 AM Link To This Comment
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Guest wrote
on Thu, Aug 7 2008 6:08 AM Link To This Comment

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