As many of you know, I spent last week at Citrix's iForum conference in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Actually, this was my tenth(!) iForum--five in Orlando, four in Edinburgh, and one in Australia. At first I thought this was really cool, but I quickly realized this just means that I'm a huge nerd!)
Anyway, the agenda for this show looked really boring, but it actually turned out to be a really good two days and I'm really glad I went.
Among the highlights of the show:
- Citrix Presentation Server running on 64-bit Windows
- Web Interface for Microsoft SharePoint Server
- Project IRIS demos (ICA session recording and surveillance)
- Citrix Presentation Server AllInOne (a.k.a. MetaFrame "Lite" or "Small Biz Edition")
I covered each of these "major" points in separate articles. (Click each item to read the full articles.) However, there was one other cool thing that I haven't mentioned yet--the Citrix Tech Lab.
The Citrix Tech Lab
First of all, one of the real hidden gems of the past few iForums has been something called the Citrix "Tech Lab." The Tech Lab is a room at the conference with about 30 thin client terminals with live access to every single current (and many future) Citrix products. You can go in there and talk to the engineers and sit down at the terminals and play around with things to see how they work. I spent several hours in the lab, and it was definitely time well spent. In fact, at future iForums I think I might just skip the sessions all together and just spend all my time in the lab.
The tech lab is staffed by what seemed like 40 or 50 Citrix engineers. I talked to quite a few of them, and like with any group of people, some were pretty green, but others really knew their stuff.
In this tech lab, I got to see and play with the final version of the Access Suite 4.0. (I've been on the road since it was released last month, so I hadn't worked with the final code yet.) I got some hands-on experience with the new SmartAccess zone configuration and endpoint analysis scanning engines. There are some really powerful capabilities here, and I will definitely have to work a lot more with them to fully understand how they can best be used and configured by customers. (The good news is that I'm working on a new book for this. The bad news is it will have to be 1200 pages to really dig into everything!)
I also used the tech lab to get hands-on experience with a bunch of different unreleased technology previews (as mentioned at the start of this article). I'll tell you what, it's really great to actually be able to play with these things instead of just having someone tell you about them. For example, it was great fun to poke around Presentation Server running on 64-bit Windows to see which bits were 32-bit and which were 64-bit.
One interesting side note about the Tech Lab is that while I saw about 30 thin client terminals, I didn't see one single server. (In previous years there were racks of servers in addition to all the clients.) I asked a few engineers where all the servers were. They just looked at me and nervously smiled… So the real question is, "Did they use VMware or Microsoft Virtual Server?"