Live blogging the Citrix Synergy keynote

Gabe and I are sitting in the MGM Grand Arena waiting for main keynote at Citrix Synergy 2009 to begin. The buzz around the show is that there are going to be some big announcements, so we'll know soon enough.

Gabe and I are sitting in the MGM Grand Arena waiting for main keynote at Citrix Synergy 2009 to begin. The buzz around the show is that there are going to be some big announcements, so we’ll know soon enough.

Gabe will be twittering his reaction to the action live via And I’ll be live blogging here, which just means I’ll be continuously adding and re-saving this blog post.

(Read from the bottom-up if you're just joining us.)


12:16 I just got my low battery warning for my third battery, so I might be going dark soon. We're 30 minutes over schedule now, so I assume this should be over any minute. The bottom line is no huge announcements, but lots of cool little things. Look for our full coverage and lots of demo videos in this week's episode of Brian Madden TV, new this Thursday.

12:15 Cool. Dazzle works on the Mac too. (Just no streaming, of course.)

12:13 Haha.. Dazzle can hook you in to an "Expert City."

12:12 Dazzle ties into multiple stores, workflow, etc. This is pretty cool, no doubt. We'll shoot video later.

12:10 Holy Rip Off! Dazzle looks pretty, because, you know, it's an exact copy of iTunes. If they add add AppFlow for flipping through apps, I'm gonna puke.

12:07 Even though we're 20+ minutes past the scheduled end time for the keynote, we're getting ready for Mark's "one more thing." This is going to be Citrix Dazzle, Citrix's self-service application portal. It's like Program Neighborhood meets Web 2.0.

12:06 Talking about the OK Labs hypervisor on a cell phone.

12:05 Citrix also plans to build a client for Sybian, Windows Mobile, and Android. But he didn't mention Blackberry!?!

12:00 Showing ICA via the iPhone. Haha.. A licensing pop-up jumped up. Please feel our pain! Nice demo though. There's a free demo account that Citrix offers for an instance of backend stuff running from the Amazon EC2. The demo had an ASP.NET error on the sign-up site though.

11:56 Now talking about the Version 1.0 release of the Citrix Receiver for iPhone. (This was released as a 0.9 preview about a month ago.) Version 1.0 has more features to support SSL Gateways and two-factor authentication and stuff. We'll shoot video of that later.

11:55 Citrix Receiver for Windows, Version 1.0, is available today (for Windows only).

11:53 New Component: Citrix Merchandising Server, a set of virtual machines that run on top of XenServer to provide subscription and advertising services to sort of be the main interface between the back end system and the users.

11:51 Mark just said that his Windows 7 Citrix Receiver demo is running via XenDesktop connected from his Wyse R-Class thin client. But again, he didn't specify whether the image was streamed down to the client or connected via ICA. I *think* it's ICA, but we've been hornswaggled before. [UPDATE: Confirmed this was connecting via ICA. Nice!]

11:49 Citrix Receiver also runs on Windows 7, so if you're looking to migrate cleanly and easily, just put all your apps into the Citrix Delivery System. Great! (Except for all those pesky apps that don't work with the Citrix technologies...)

11:39 Talking about Citrix Receiver, a universal client with snap-ins to get everything you need in one single client download. We wrote about this back in 2007 when they first announced that concept at that year's iForum. This time they're thinking about hooking in data and docs too, which is cool. Now we're watching a demo of this universal "Citrix Receiver." You downloaded, reboot, and it pops it in your system tray. We'll shoot a video of this later for Brian Madden TV.

11:31 Oh nevermind. SLAM! Citrix ICA/HDX gives similar LAN experience at 1/10th the bandwidth of "the other guy." (We still don't know who "the other guy" is.)

11:30 Showing videos comparing "ICA/HDX" to "the other guy." On the WAN, ICA/HDX is clearly better. On the LAN, they're about the same. Wow, he's admitting that too? Is this a new Citrix that actually lives in the real world?

11:27 Talking about user experience, and that desktop virtualization is different than server virtualization. This is a conversation about their "HDX" branding. Wow! For the first time, he admits that PC-over-IP is better than ICA for the LAN.

11:25 First new news: Project Independence will be called XenClient. And it will be FREE!

11:24 Now Citrix is talking about offline, and that they went there with a partner: Intel. This is Project Independence. Nothing new, just the first time in front of this audience.

11:22 Citrix said Microsoft chose them as the best partner for VDI. I beg to differ.

11:19 For this Citrix XenDesktop customer with 12,400 desktops via XenDesktop. I wonder which percentage is streamed and run locally, versus run hosted via ICA?

11:18 Citrix XenDesktop is about open architecture, because "we believe in open, and giving customers the choice to go with what's best for them." Ok, so why does XenApp only integrate with Citrix-branded WAN accelerators? Why is ICA closed?

11:17 Past ten minutes is just talking about how awesome XenApp and XenDesktop are. I'm about to drain my second battery, with nothing new so far.

11:07 Mark's back on talking about how we can use this economic downturn to rethink desktops. YES! Now talking about the layerization of the Windows desktop. Yes YES! Exactly what we've been talking about for more than a year. Let's just, ya know, actually get there now!

11:03 Watching the video for Citrix Innovation Finalist #2. This is where BriForum speaker Michael Thomason works. Hey, there's Michael on video. Rock star! These folks are big customers of Provisioning Server, and Thomason has done some pretty cool stuff with it. But I think the main reason they're a "finalist" is because they're using XenServer, XenApp, and XenDesktop. That's the key to being selected.

11:02 How will Citrix get us there? With a Controller, Gateway, Repeater, and Receiver. Hey, that makes sense!

11:00 Still talking about enterprise IT like a utility. (Well, this time he's using DirecTV as his example instead of the cable company like he said in 2003.) The message is still good, and yeah, we get it. But again, how do we get there and how can Citrix help?

10:57 Goal is to get to "one." One copy of each app, one copy of Windows, one copy of each workload, one password for each user, one copy of data. Build once. Leverage infinitely. I agree! (I just want to know when? This is not quite a June 2010 thing.)

10:55 The way to simply is to reduce the number of moving parts, not to make each part more reliable. So how can Citrix help us with this? Let's find out...

10:47 Templeton recommends the book "The Tyranny of Dead Ideas."

10:46 Templeton is talking about the comsumerization of IT and how it's breaking the enterprise control of IT. I agree! And why do we need to have "control" of everything at the enterprise, but then we let our users connect via their own stuff from their homes?

10:42 OHHH!! Tesco is using XenServer. There's the innovation! ;)

10:40 We're watching a video for Citrix Innovation award Finalist #1, which is Tesco, a grocery store chain in Europe. What's interesting is that their "innovation" is just doing hardware virtualization in their datacenter. It makes sense of couse, but I don't really understand why they're innovative?

10:37 Talking about the Citrix Innovation awards, where Citrix recognizes the top customers who have innovated with Citrix products this year.

10:36 Today's talk will be about "users and desktops." Tomorrow is the "cloud and datacenter."

10:31 FINALLY we have Mark Templeton on stage.

10:28 We're back with the CTO of the MGM Hotel

10:02 20-minute bio break now. Hopefully we'll get Citrix on stage when we return.

10:00 He just said "I've had a career that's gone on too long." .. kind of like this presentation!

9:45 Nice. Gantz just said "I don't twitter" after telling us a minute ago that "social networking is the future!" Seriously?

9:45 This IDC guy's talk is a complete waste of time. He's talking about trends and virtualization and that this economy means we have to be focused and do more with less. It's all completely obvious stuff, except presented in an old-school boring way with crazy complex anti-presentation zen slides. People in the back rows of the audience are starting to sneak out.

9:29 It's funny that Gantz's slides break every rule that Garr Reynolds just talked about for what not to do with PowerPoint.

9:28 Bummer, the IDC guy John Gantz is on the stage now... (not that there's anything wrong with him, but we're still not to the real Citrix stuff.) We've been tricked into getting here at 8:30. So go have a sandwich and we'll be back later...

9:04 Reynolds is talking about "simplicity is maximum effect with minimum means." How ironic, that we're in this huge arena, with all these stage lights all over the place, and plasma screens, and huge intro music. There's nothing simple about Synergy.

8:45 Starting off with Garr Reynolds, my hero, which is awesome for me, but not relevant to those following this blog. So we'll wait for the Citrix news...

8:40 Wow. Just did a quick count of people and chairs. There are only about 1000 people here.. MAYBE 1500.

8:38 We’re waiting for everything to begin.

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Gotta love the order of presenters at this thing.  Garr was much more engaging, then rolling into Gantz.  I agree with Brian, solid data but the death by PowerPoint rule was lost.  At least they're piping some borderline high-energy music into the arena.  (And by the way, an arena for a keynote?  Never saw this one coming!


Tesco rocks!



new app on app store now


Letting go of control, gives users more flexibility, but more headaches for IT.  If I could start from the ground up with a solution to provide access to virtual apps on top of virtual servers and make the security solid, I would still have to have a well funded/resourced help desk to handle personally owned equipment and users' connections back to the virtual infrastructure.  I'd like to think I could completely isolate what I deliver from user's systems/networks, but so far the reality is meshing with the hype.  I think we'll be there in another year.  


that demo looked like the old rdp vs ica demo; other guys looked like a vdi toolbar.


In the real world WAN matters even for VDI and bandwidth costs money regardless of LAN or WAN. So yes SLAM for the protocol that can do both to meet many use cases.


I couldn't disagree with Mr T. more with the theme of any recent Citrix keynote address than in today's keynote.

We are *not* simplifying.  For each thing that we simplify, we are complicating something else.  What we can hope for is that we are automating the repetitive tasks thourgh standardization and process to reduce costs.  Sure, there will be new capabilities made available to users along the way, but this is all just a change in the plumbing.

Or did I just wake up on the wrong side of the bed?


Yes, there will be Citrix Receiver for Blackberry.

Today you can get Citrix Receiver for Windows, iPhone and Win Mobility.

Yes, the Wyse was connected via Citrix Receiver and hosted applications.

"A licensing pop-up jumped up." was not the case. It was an over-loaded AC-3 registration server. A lot of people hit "learn more" when Mark pointed it out.

All this was done via Branch Repeater, no local server hardware.



@Tim Mangan

I agree with you longer term, but the plumbing needs to enable automation over time and improvements there are the foundation to get to simplicity.