Announcing the BriForum 2012 Chicago sessions!

At last, here are the sessions that we've chosen for BriForum Chicago. Each year, it's tough, and if you took the survey that we posted last week, you can see why.

At last, here are the sessions that we've chosen for BriForum Chicago. Each year, it's tough, and if you took the survey that we posted last week, you can see why. We had over 110 sessions to pick from, which we had to whittle down to 43 sessions. Some amazing ones had to be cut, and we always have a hard time doing that (even though it has to be done). For instance, we tried not to repeat many sessions that we gave in London last month. Attendees of BriForum (either London or Chicago) have access to the session videos from BOTH shows, so if there's something that was in London that we aren't having here, you'll still be able to check it out online.

The list that follows is full of information that is subject to change. The content of the sessions won't, but the titles and abstracts may. This is also a point in time reference, and the abstracts have been shortened for this article just to make it a bit more readable, so keep your eyes on for full abstracts and up to date information and to register for BriForum Chicago 2012!

Remember: is the official session information reference.

Name Title Description (full abstract will be on
Andrew Innes Identity Tribulations - Why can't Windows apps be more like web apps? Learn why web apps (and new native apps) have an advantage over Windows apps in adapting to claims-based IAM / entitlement management systems that are the backbone of modern application management, and how Windows apps can be brought along (with some difficulty).  Find out how full SAML-style identity federation can be used in some cases, and when to use a pragmatic approach  to identity handling.  The session concludes with a look ahead to what Windows 8 and beyond may bring to the table to improve matters. 
Brian Katz I need a mobile strategy too? This session will take a 20,000 foot view of what makes up a mobile strategy, including MDM, MAM, & MIM (and the holes that each vendor leaves that needs to be filled) as well as how they approach security. You should walk out of this session with an idea on how to move forward with mobile device in your company.
Carl Walker & Kevin Watson Screw The Future, We Can Do Cool Now.

Using System Center Configuration Manager 2012, (ConfigMgr), and the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2012, (MDT), we will demonstrate

  • rebuilding an ageing Windows XP desktop to a virtual Windows 7 desktop running on Windows 2008 R2, including all user data
  • replace the users old applications with the latest versions, some virtual, some MSI using application package mapping
  • simultaneously build out the users actual desktop as a ThinPC which they will use to access their new virtual Desktop.
  • using the same process to rebuild a standard desktop, laptop or thin client device, depending on requirements
  • one unified automated Task Sequence for all business scenarios. 
Carl Webster 10 things in AD that can hurt your Application and Desktop Virtualization efforts and how to fix them This session features a seasoned professional who has done more than 100 Active Directory assessments and migrations.  In this session you will learn: - 10 things that are probably wrong with your Active Directory system - How to fix them before they impact your Application and Desktop Virtualization efforts
Chetan Venkatesh Sticking it to the man - how to build a complete VDI infrastructure on Free and Open Source Components (soup to nuts) In this technical session, Chetan will present a complete Open Source Stack for VDI that encompasses all aspects of the deployment from Storage to thin client access. Audiences will be given a blue-print on how to build a VDI infrastructure for 500 users without a single commercial component (other than just the hardware and the Windows license). 
Claudio Rodrigues Windows Server 2012 RDS: An unbiased review. Join Cláudio Rodrigues, Microsoft MVP for RDS, on his review of the upcoming release of Windows Server 2012 RDS and how it compares to the previous releases in terms of features and manageability. Did Microsoft hit a home run or miss it completely?
Claudio Rodrigues BYOD: Your complete DIY Kit In this session we will review the main points to have a sucessfull BYOD implementation, discussing the four pillars where BYOD stand and going one step further, providing attendees with a full Ready Assessment Kit and documentation templates to be used on their own BYOD programs.
Dan Brinkmann The Essential VDI Design Guide So you've decided to deploy a VDI solution? Fantastic! you need to make some big design decisions to determine what your final solution will look like. Information in this session is "from the trenches" based on real-life scenarios, not vendor best-case fantasyland. Since we're being honest, cost matters, so we'll also be covering some sample costs for these decision points and their alternatives.   Where possible this facilitated design session will remain VDI solution agnostic.  This session will cover sizing and design hypervisors, servers, and storage.
Dan Brinkmann 20-minute Lightning Round Session: The Tools I Use Technology is moving at an ever increasing pace and in order to keep up we either have to sleep less or be more efficient. My job as a consultant is to know everything about everything before it happens as well as distribute this information to my customers as well as other consultants I work with. This session will cover the tools I use to consolidate, consume, channel, and create data. Like most I'm a 3 device person and I'll cover the applications I use (and why) that help me do my job as efficiently as possible from any device I'm using.
Dan Shappir HTML5: The New Application Platform HTML5 is the new platform for application and service development, and is gaining traction fast. Many ISVs choose to develop new applications as HTML5 web applications rather than as native Windows applications, or even instead of mobile apps. In this session, Dan Shappir will cover the features, capabilities and limitations of HTML5, including interactive demonstrations. He will even delve into the HTML source code to help attendees understand how features work from the inside-out.
Dan Shappir An inside-out look at HTML5 clients from all vendors

HTML5 browser-based remote access clients are a new alternative to native remote access clients. In this session Dan Shappir will delve into the inner workings of browser-based clients and explain their methods of operation. Each has different capabilities and limitations which may be appropriate for different use-cases. Dan will cover differences between various browser-based clients such as:

  1. Which communication protocols do they use - WebSockets, HTTPS or both, and when does it matter?
  2. Are they implemented on top of an existing remote access protocol, such as RDP, or do they use their own custom protocol? What are the consequences of this difference?
  3. How do they encode and process rendering instructions? Do they use compression? 
David Stafford & Bryan Mann 10 ways my users said, "FUIT" People will want to attend this session because it is based on true accounts of end-users 'hacking' IT policies and controls in order to be more productive and in control. During a period where the concept of BYOD popularity is deafening, people will love to hear the stories from the past 4 years where IT fought and lost the battle.
Denis Gundarev Do you think that your Citrix environment is secure enough? Ready or not here I come! Lot of the customers think that antivirus and regular software updates are enough to secure their environment. Others use products that are "Secure By Design" and hope that remote access to the centralized data and applications is a Panacea. It is not true. Especially in the "Cloud-Era".  This session will remind the common security practices from the past and show how to keep the environment as safe as possible. After this session you will know how to secure your Hypervisors, management infrastructure, servers and client endpoints. It does not matter what software you actually use, common sense is enough in most of the cases.
Dwayne Lessner 50 VMware 5.1 Tips covering the whole Depth of EUC Will cover VMware View tips over 6 main topic areas: Storage, Deployment, Operational Tips, Application, Network Optimization and User Persona. I will deliver a balanced count of tips and tricks over all the topic areas.   Key take aways  include:  Reduce the time to manage your EUC environment  Deliver successful techniques to deploy VDI to your end users  Reduce cost and get insight where to spend money on 3rd Part products
Helge Klein A scientific approach to XenApp farm sizing With XenApp, farm sizing has always been like a black art, involving much guesswork and few scientific procedures. But it can be different, too, fact-based and comprehensible. The speaker developed a method for sizing XenApp farms based on metrics of an existing farm. The procedure is easy to understand and carry through. Customers like it because the process is rational, the reasoning behind it logical and the results plausible.  An Excel sheet with a sample calculation that can be used as a template will be made available to all attendees.
Ian Parker Server performance troubleshooting and benchmarking the quick and easy way. Poorly performing SBC or VDI servers can never be fixed fast enough, and nothing can kill a new project faster than unacceptable performance.  Few organizations are able to invest time and money into benchmarking, and the lack of proper benchmarks only complicates analysis of poorly performing hardware.  Even worse, poor performance might be the result of servers a SBC administrator might be unfamiliar with analyzing, such as SQL or Sharepoint,  But there are tools that can help.  We will take a hands on look at free tools that can take the time and expense out of analyzing server performance and benchmarking. 
Jason Conger & Jeff Muir Mobile Enterprise Applications - FUIT or ITFTW?

BYOD is here to stay and users are saying FUIT by finding their own applications that suit their own needs on their own devices.  Instead of fighting this trend, IT should embrace it by making the enterprise applications and data accessible to mobile devices - with a native device experience. During this session, you'll get: 

  • A discussion about Citrix Receiver enhancements for mobility devices
  • Use built in enhancements like the XenApp Mobility Pack and new Citrix Policies. 
  • For the code enthusiasts/junkies - a technical deep-dive on the XenApp Mobility Pack and the XenApp Mobile Application SDK.
  • Transform a enterprise applications to support touch interfaces; use mobile device capabilities such as GPS, camera, buttons, orientation, SMS, phone call functions and more.
Jeff Wouters The strength of PowerShell in one line - Consultant Edition PowerShell one liners are only useful for administrators, not for consultants?  When you go to a customer for some troubleshooting... would you rather click through several consoles over multiple servers? Or would you like some PowerShell code to get that information and report it back to you while you're getting some coffee? In this session will be shown how easy it is to prepare a few lines of code and see that by executing them at a customer you will gain a world of information about their environment... and the best part, you can re-use that code over and over again at multiple customers without having to install and/or configure a tool!
Jeroen van de Kamp An insider's guide to virtualisation, a Virtual Reality Check

In this energetic session, Jeroen van de Kamp will present all the important results and best practices for virtual desktop (VDI) workloads found in "Project: Virtual Reality Check (VRC)."  The topics in this fast paced session will include:

  • Best practices and performance impact optimising Windows 7 for VDI
  • Best practices and performance impact of Microsoft ForeFront AntiVirus in VDI
  • Unpublished results, best practices and performance impact of Windows Server 8, Hyper-V, Windows 8 as Remote Desktop Services Virtualisation Host (VDI) and Remote Desktop Services Session Host (TS) workloads
  • Unpublished results and performance differences between Windows 7 and Windows 8 for VDI  workloads
Jim Moyle Is Windows 8 really ready to be virtualized – A look into the feature and resource changes made for virtualization to Microsoft’s new client OS.

We’ll take a close look into what Microsoft has done in Windows 8 to see whether Microsoft has made all of our virtual lives much easier or much harder.

This session will set you up to know what you need to know about windows 8 in a virtual world.

  • What exactly are these new features?
  • We’ll take a look at what Microsoft has given us to play with.
  • We’ll measure how the new Metro UI changes the resource fingerprint
  • Will the improvements just work for Hyper-V or do other hypervisors get a look in?
  • We’ll test if Windows 8 has the same Storage I/O horror story
  • Are the new features manual, GPO driven or auto-detected?
  • What has gone missing from Windows 7 to Windows 8 to optimize for virtualization and will you notice?
Jim Moyle Cool statistics tricks to make you look like a hero

We can gather thousands of data points from our environment and do virtually nothing with this knowledge.  I wanted to start doing something useful with what I had.  I couldn’t find it anywhere!  So I interviewed a couple of University statistics professors to get them to try and help me.  They shared with me some simple methods to get a great deal of intelligence from my data.
My conditions were twofold:

  1. I had to be able to do it in Excel, no fancy stats software required.
  2. It had to work with data outputted as CSV file.

After this session you’ll be able to collect your environment data and analyse it to show you things everyone else is going to miss.  When you can root cause a performance issue just by running an excel macro, you are definitely going to look like a hero.

Jo Harder Citrix Networking for XenApp/XenDesktop Administrators

While most XenApp/XenDesktop administrators don't focus on networking, understanding how Citrix data packets cross the wire is conducive to optimizing your environment and enables collaborative discussions with your network administrator. In this session, you will learn about:

  • Technical aspects of ICA/HDX technologies
  • Multi-Streaming and ICA/HDX-related prioritization with and without Branch Repeater
  • Common points of misunderstanding between Citrix administrators and network administrators
  • Troubleshooting Citrix networking issues by means of ICA packets
Joe Shonk & Steve Greenberg Advanced Storage for the Virtual World 2012 (Part 2) Building on the foundation of the first session "Introduction to Storage in the Virtual World" we jump right into the rabbit hole to explore the deeper technical aspects. Storage architectures and designs, the lies of storage vendors, how to design a solution that actual works under load, determining IOPS, measuring IOPS, Reads versus Writes, the burden of temporary data, when and how to use RAM, SSD and spinning disk to cache, tier and store your data. 
Matt Kosht Embracing FUIT: A corporate IT guy's survival guide This session from Matt Kosht will delve into the business side of FUIT and consumerization and how organizations can deal with it. In general, this session will look at the root causes of all the problems that the users are bringing to IT and how IT departments can deal with them.
Michael Burke The Reality of RemoteFX in Server 2012

This session focuses on changes to VDI and RemoteFX in Server 2012, and just what is possible in the new operating system.  Server 2012 brings the concept of virtualized GPU to reality by leveraging commodity CPU cores and memory for dedicated video purposes. 

Will this, coupled with other changes to Microsoft's stand-alone VDI features finally allow organizations to leverage a Microsoft-only VDI solution effectively?  This session will provide the details, and demonstrations and interactive group discussion will provide the answers.

Michael Burke 20-minute Lightning Round Session: Performance Monitoring in Hyper-V

With more and more organizations working with Hyper-V these days, understanding performance monitors available in Hyper-V is critical to maintaining a successful virtual infrastructure. 

In this session, we will explore the various performance counters in Hyper-V and how to interpret performance statistics, anticipate potential problems and gain a better overall handle on management and scaling.  This session will combine knowledge transfer with demonstrations of performance counters in action to provide attendees with a solid understanding of performance monitoring in Hyper-V.

Michael Thomason Reducing & Measuring IOPS in VDI Release 2

In this session, Michael Thomason discusses ways to reduce processing and IOPS inside of a VDI environment.

Attendees will learn how Windows internally processes storage IOPS, as well as how to optimize IOPS for SAN environments and configure images to reduce the load on the backend.  

Attendees will receive an update on various storage technologies on the market and how each can GREATLY change the user session experience.   

The session will conclude by highlighting the importance of antivirus engines and how they need to be configured to properly work and scale in a VDI environment.

Michael Thomason 20-minute Lightning Round Session: The Importance of Windows Sysinternals Tools: A Deep Dive into the Mark Russinovich Tools In this session, attendeees will first receive an introduction to the "Windows core: processes, handles, call stacks, symbols, win stations, and other core components of Windows will be defined.  The remainder of the session will go over the SysInternals tools and real world examples on application of the toolset.  
Michael Thomason 20-minute Lightning Round Session:Inside Group Policy Processing: How It Works Ever really wondered how group policies worked? Many of us know how to create policies but have you ever really wondered what is going on behind the scenes? Attend this mini session and learn the basics of group polices: from the time you edit the policy to the time the client processes the policy: learn about GPO inside and out.
Mike Nelson Deploying VDI with Windows Server 2012 - Very Fast, Very Easy, and Lots of Fun! The latest version of the Windows Server OS is almost here and with it comes the much improved VDI features. Microsoft has transformed the deployment of their Virtual desktop infrastructure into pretty much a painless and simple process with this version. In this session, we'll cover all the latest and greatest feature, deploy some Virtual Desktops, and show some of the tips and tricks to getting them deployed fast and easy.
Nathan Coutinho & Carlo Bonura Demystifying Microsoft Licensing for Client Virtualization Environments This session will provide an in-depth view of how to license Microsoft products while utilizing client virtualization technologies.    Attendees will learn what the compliant way to virtualize is, and will get a glimpse of what the complexities are when it comes to software licensing in virtual machines as well as the costs involved to implement client virtualization.  At the end of the session, attendees can go back and rethink how to implement their solution based on the benefits of the licensing models as well as fix any compliance issues in order to avoid unnecessary fines.
Pierre Marmignon & Shawn Bass Virtual Desktops Best Practices Virtual Desktops are not that easy to deploy and configure, and a single registry value can make the difference between a working desktop and a nightmare.  User want fast login times, responsive desktops and no disconnection.  Out of the box products are working for a POC but when it scales you (and your users) are at risk!  You need to design the solution properly, configure it, tune it and master all environmental constraints.   
Rick Dehlinger & Henrik Johansson 10 cool ways to use NetScaler to deliver Hosted Virtual Desktops OK, so maybe Citrix has been a bit pushy with them. Yes, they're expensive as all get out, they're a networking appliance, and they don't run Windows. You may be thinking "I'm a desktop virt pro - why on _earth_ would I want to use this stuff in my system stack? Sure they load balance my internal components, wrap my HDX in SSL (and all 'that other stuff') but... seriously?!  Fair points, fair question. They seem to be from a different world to a Windows desktop virtualization professional, but once you've used one in a system you'll wonder how you lived without NetScaler.  This session will explore some of 'that other stuff' - you know, the things the marketing peeps babble on about but struggle to make relevant to my world - and leave you with real-world examples and "how-to's" that will give you a whole new appreciation for the role of "Application Delivery Controllers" in a desktop/application delivery system.
Ryan Sobel 20-minute Lightning Round Session: From Chaos to Confidence: Overcoming an environmental disaster with the help of VDI

This presentation chronicles the deployment of a complete VDI environment in response to a natural disaster and includes a description of:

  • Reasons the agency choose a VDI solution
  • The problems solved by VDI in this situation
  • VDI Implementation strategy
  • Implementation challenges that were overcome 
  • Keys to the project's success 
  • Expansion of the project scope 
  • Real results gained through the implementation.   
Shane Kleinert & Jarian Gibson Ingredients to a Successful Desktop Virtualization Bake-off

This session will provide you with the ingredients and test cases to successfully conduct a detailed bake-off. We will be covering critical topics including but not limited to: 

  • How to slice through the vendor FUD
  • Use case breakdown and business needs analysis
  • How to conduct end user experience testing (LAN/WAN)
  • Environment Management Discussion
  • Profile Management, Group policy    integration, etc
  • Operational and administrative aspects
  • Delegation of administration, help desk functionality, app delivery & integration, etc
  • Evaluating endpoints
  • Fat/Thin/Zero - How to choose? 

Our goal is to provide a vendor agnostic framework for you to conduct your own testing, allowing you to make an educated decision based on your testing results, allowing you to reach the best solution for your deployment.   

Shawn Bass HDX, PCoIP, Quest EOP & RemoteFX Display Remoting in a Mobile World Mobility is all the rage in business right now with everyone from knowledge workers to executives wanting to get to their applications and data from the latest tablet and smartphone devices.  But what happens to the user experience when accessing their desktop and applications from these mobile devices over typical 3G/4G internet connections.  Come to this session to get an inside look at an independent point of view on Remoting Protocols on mobile devices.
Simon Crosby & Tal Klein The VDI OpSec Conundrum: Is zero data at the end-point a reasonable tradeoff for putting desktops in the DMZ?

This talk will discuss in detail the current tools available to protect information on both physical and virtual desktops and their respective benefits and gaps. As the age of "sneakernet" is inching closer to its twilight and DevOps is becoming the new IT, who owns data security and how can they account for all the interactions between users and applications, as well as application and the system at large?

If system resources are to move to the cloud, what mechanisms exist to protect memory, keystrokes, files, block storage, networks and other I/O devices?

Lastly, can "security" truly be claimed as a feature of VDI, or is the cost of the vulnerability it opportunes greater than the value of the protection it provides?

Steve Greenberg & Joe Shonk Introduction to Storage in the Virtual World 2012 (Part 1 of 2) Over the last several years of field experience with VDI solutions, a reccurring theme has continued to persist: storage. Specifically, the lack of understanding of how storage works and what kind of impact it has in a virtual environment. In this session, attendees will learn: storage terminology and basics; the difference between block-level storage and file-level storage; the ways hypervisors attach to and utilize storage; how virtual desktops and application servers utilize storage; real-world examples on how to size and choose what kind of storage you need and how to best configure it; and storage best practices and why they matter.
Thorsten Rood Citrix CloudGateway: Notes from the field

New clients, new middleware, new functionality and options – changing from “legacy” ICA-client to Citrix Receiver can be both challenging, frustrating or a great success. It’s a non-trivial change to the architecture so it’s important to know what StoreFront, AppController actually does and how it fits into the overall Citrix delivery strategy.

Do you care about co-existence, how to migrate smoothly and is there a reason to retire a mature and proven Web Interface platform to a new product generation? We’ve done missionary work on Cloud Gateway in any edition so let’s share some lessons learned!

Tim Mangan A deep dive into App-V 5 This session will cover everything Tim Mangan is allowed to talk about with regards to App-V 5. We'll have an updated abstract as we get a bit closer and learn exactly what is public information.
Tim Mangan 20-minute Lightning Round Session:Welcome to the Dataverse In this short Lightning-round session, Tim Mangan will present his latest thoughts and directions on "The Data Problem".  New technical advances, trends, and approaches have altered his vision of this problem, and how we might just solve it.  Just what would "Data-Centric" computing look like; why are apps unimportant; and how will we solve the security issues of the public clouds?
Vincent Branger WAN accelerators and Desktop Virtualization

In this session, Vincent Branger will discuss the need for WAN optimisation for virtual desktops. Attendees will learn about potential benefits and challenges of WAN optimisation,including the main features such as TCP optimisations, caching/indexation/deduplication, protocols including ICA, RDP and PCoIP, architecture and more.  

Vincent will also answer common questions about vendor products, such as:

  • Is Riverbed the best for desktop virtualisation?
  • Is Silverpeak the main challenger?
  • Is Citrix Branch Repeater a unique solution?
  • CISCO and the partnership with Citrix about ICA ?

Specific topics also include: 

  • Caveats and the best methodologies
  • Architectures best practices
  • How to manage high availability
  • Two full user-cases 
Ron Oglesby Sever Virtualization: Smashing success Desktop Virtualization: No so much. Why? How you can solve the common VDI problems in 2012? Learn why server virtualization was so successful but desktop virtualization has had relatively limited acceptance thus far. This session will look at the acceptance pattern and reasons for adopting server virtualization, why those reasons are not sufficient to drive adoption of virtual desktops, and what you can do to ensure the success of your VDI initiative regardless of whether you're considering VMware View, Citrix XenDesktop or some other technology. Other thought-provoking topics include desktop "layering", use of local storage, solving the "IO problem" and other common issues and solutions for VDI in 2012.

There's at least one more session that we haven't listed because we can't talk about, plus a few more that we're just trying to get our ducks in a row before announcing. Stay tuned for those--they'll be added to the bottom of this list.

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