Things I learned at E2EVC: Browsers suck, NVIDIA is king, XenMobile customization is hard

After Citrix Synergy, I attended the E2EVC conference, where I took a few notes regarding virtualized GPU performance, browser resource consumption, and XenMobile app icon customization.

I had the opportunity to attend E2EVC after Citrix Synergy a few weeks ago, and there are a few takeaways from the show that I wanted to share with everyone. If you're not familiar with E2EVC, it's a conference that has been around for many years, run by a guy named Alex Cooper. It started in Europe as PubForum, which was just a bunch of people that got together at the pub to talk about desktop virtualization. As people started attending, Alex decided to rename the show to E2EVC (Experts to Experts Virtualization Conference) so that it didn't sound like a conference about drinking. (Though…you know…what conference isn't about drinking at least a little?)

My first experience came in Lisbon in 2007, and the conference hasn't changed much since. In a charming way, the (usually) single-room conference never completely adheres to the agenda. Certain sessions rile up the crowd more than others, so more time is spent on those topics than was originally allotted. After a week of the highly polished dog-and-pony show that is Synergy (or any other corporate event), E2EVC is kind of refreshing.

This year, Alex is putting on six events. He started in March in Sydney and Tokyo, followed by the Orlando show that I attended. Coming up next is Prague June 9-11, followed by New York City in October and Paris in November. You can see a lot of the same people you saw at BriForum (Shawn Bass, Ruben Spruijt, Benny Tritsch), along with many others that all have interesting things to share.

Here are a few of my takeaways from E2EVC 2017 Orlando:

CTP Panel

When I showed up, Alex asked if I could moderate a CTP panel since the original moderator was tied up. Thinking this would be 4-5 person panel, I figured it wouldn't be a big deal and spent the morning planning what topics I'd try to talk about, but when Alex asked all the CTPs to go to the front of the room half the room stood up!

Ordinarily, I'm not a huge fan of panels, but this one highlighted what was cool about the event. The overall conversation went along the same lines as the Synergy wrap-up post that I wrote last week, so I'll spare you the recap here. I just thought it was cool that so many CTPs were there and able to act as a liaison between regular attendees and Citrix. As a former CTP myself, there is a lot of value in Citrix having a group of real-talking geeks walking around sharing their actual opinions without any marketing spin. It connects with the user base in a way marketecture slides never could.

(By the way, kudos to the lone Citrix representative in the room, David Cottingham, who acted as the Citrix pincushion for 45 minutes. You had the weight of the entire Citrix user base on your shoulders for a while there, even though you're only focused on XenServer.)

NVIDIA vs AMD in TeamRGE test results

In a very interesting session, Benny Tritsch and Ruben Spruijt shared the results of the GPU testing they performed as part of TeamRGE (of which I'm also a member, but more in an observation role at this point). They compared NVIDIA, Intel, and AMD GPU acceleration from a network bandwidth, CPU, and user experience perspective, and the results showed that NVIDIA is definitively the best all-around product. Intel performed well from a UX standpoint, too, but AMD left a lot to be desired.

Since we're talking about the user experience around virtualized graphics, it's pretty hard to describe the results here. Benny and Ruben will be submitting a recorded version of this session to GeekOut 365, so we can see for ourselves what the results look like when we launch in mid-July.

Browser Performance

Helge Klein presented a session called How Websites Steal Your Machine's Resources – Browser Performance Analyzed in which he detailed individual browser performance comparisons in given scenarios like video playback.

Those tests revealed that Firefox uses the most CPU, Edge uses the most RAM (followed closely by Chrome and Firefox), Chrome uses the most disk, and Firefox uses the most GPU. The clear winner in every category was good old Internet Explorer, which is surprising only because of how much attention Chrome gets these days.

Helge also tested different video sites and found that, to no surprise, DailyMotion was the worst performing video site in almost all categories, while YouTube and Vimeo performed the best. Consider how many listicles and random websites feature content from DailyMotion, and you can imagine the aggregate impact of that on your environment.

Finally, Helge detailed the effects of ad blockers in Chrome. He compared AdBlock Plus and uBlock against stock Chrome and noted that AdBlock Plus does nothing to decrease CPU utilization while actually increasing RAM. uBlock reduced both CPU and RAM by around 25%, while also signifcantly reducing the number of connections per browser tab.

This was a great session, and if you get a chance to see Helge deliver it, you should check it out.

XenMobile Branding Tools

This isn't really my area, but I thought Arnaud Pain's session on XenMobile branding was interesting. He detailed his process for modifying the icons for apps delivered by XenMobile, specifically Secure Web and Secure Mail. You can see the toolkit on his website. It may not be supported by Citrix, but that never stopped us from branding things!

Wrap-up

There were so many other things that were interesting, and I liked the interaction with all the attendees and speakers. I'm going to make it a point to attend at least one of the other E2EVC shows this year. If you're in Prague, New York City, or Paris, see if you can get away to attend.

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