Shawn Bass is my hero

One of the new features at Citrix's Synergy conference this year is something called Geek Speak Live. This is basically a chance for members of the community to get up on stage and spend 20 minutes talking about whatever they want.

One of the new features at Citrix's Synergy conference this year is something called Geek Speak Live. This is basically a chance for members of the community to get up on stage and spend 20 minutes talking about whatever they want. Last night Shawn Bass talked about VDI. Today, everyone (I mean EVERYONE) is buzzing about Shawn's talk. "Did you hear Shawn bashing VDI?" "Wow! Shawn thinks VDI is bad." "Wooo.. I can't believe they let Shawn say that."

So what exactly did he say? In a nutshell, Shawn talked about how VDI is not the be-all, end-all solution. Sure, there are a lot of use cases where it's great, but there are a lot of problems / challenges / limitations with it today, and the hype is several steps ahead of the reality. Shawn's session was packed--both with attendees and with Citrix employees. I think a lot of the Citrix employees really were shocked--shocked that someone as smart as Shawn didn't "get" why VDI is as useful as Citrix is positioning it, and shocked that the conference organizers let Shawn on stage.

I heard one Citrix employee telling another that they'll have to "tweak" the Geek Speak Live format for next year. Hopefully that doesn't involve "pre-approving" content.

Various Citrix employees have blogged and talked about how Citrix is taking a big risk at Synergy with this Geek Speak thing. This surprises me though, because I don't think it should be considered a "risk" to let people speak freely. One Senior Exec from Citrix even emailed Shawn to thank him for his courage to give that session. Shawn was like, "What? Courage? All I did was just speak the truth?"

It's a sad reality is that speaking the truth at Synergy requires courage.

But courage, balls, or stupidity--whatever Shawn had--we're all grateful.

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I just found a video on the Citrix Underground site of Shawn explaining what he talked about today. His description starts at about 3:45 in.

http://www.brightcove.tv/title.jsp?title=1564626051&channel=1485836774

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What's the big deal?  VDI is just another option available to us when getting apps etc out to users.  Why the hell is everyone getting so bloody excited about it? It's a straightforward concept that has pretty obvious strengths and weaknesses yet it's considered 'shocking' that Shawn says that out loud!?  I feel like I must be missing out on some sort of brainwashing webinar where VDI is the new religion and those who just see it as another tool are heretics!

By the way, just in case the tone here comes across wrong in any way I'm not knocking Shawn here - just the zealots who're getting swept along by the hype..

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The problem with pre-approval (i.e. de facto censorship) of content at events like this is that the result sounds and feels inauthentic, rather like the output of Pravda during the Soviet days. Citrix, like many other companies, is totally paranoid about anybody speaking "off message" in public; all this does is reduce the credibility of the message, as no situation is as cut-and-dried as the marketeers would have you believe. 
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Shawn has repeatedly stated that he not against VDI.  He making the point that it's not an end-all solutions, a pancea, a whole-sale replacement, the second coming of Christ (ok, I made that last one up).   I don't want to speak for Shawn and I'm sure he'll chime in.

As far as the message it send to Citrix.  Shawn did a AWESOME thing!  I think it tells Citrix to cut the marketing bulls**t and tell us how it really is. We ALL like to product and we ALL have use cases for Desktop Host.  How about Citrix really telling use what use cases their product works best and why.

I am behind Shawn 100%. If anything As far as Citrix pre-screening the content,  absolutely not.  That is what made Geek Speak Live a hit (all the buzz).  The only thing that would come of it is a big black eye for Citrix.  Upper management in Citrix is starting to understand the impact that the community has but what they haven't seen is a huge backlash.

If anything, it's a positive thing!  It even led to a long Geek Speak Bar Camp session led by Rick D which allowed the audience to give honest feedback to Citrix management.

Joe 

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I have spoken with atleast 30 peoples so far who have all said that geek speak is the only reason they have attended this year, and that it is the only chance Citrix has to keep this forum's attendance up. All... 100% of these people have told me that if geek speak is dropped, or censored in any way they will skip next year and just go to briforum

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Swallowing marketing hype wholesale is what gets people thinking one technology will win out over another.  I cannot say it enough....no one technology will win any time soon.   We'll continue to have a  heterogenous Windows approach, some tradition, some thin, some virtual,  some hosted virtual, etc.  Remember this now because you'll realize it later.  Go to the blackboard and write it over and over and over "The future of Windows is heterogenous, The future of Windows is heterogenous, the future of Windows is heterogenous," and so on and so on.  It will be the management tools that pull those environments together that will make them more seamless and keep users happy.
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I think this shows Citrix is willing to be open. So we should continue to encourage that. I heard Shawn speak, and yes a lot of level headed advice, but there is a lot he does not consider when looking at the benefits of VDI. But 100% agree not a silver bullet solution, and good on him for flagging some of the gaps, however the technology investment in this area will begin to innnovate and solve these problems. Just remember it's an evolution not a revolution, which is just common sense for those of us who have to actually deliver this stuff.
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Oh I agree! And I think Citrix agrees too... Citrix does not intend on ever pre-approving content. So even though some of this was a shock for Citrix, I think everyone here is very excited about the concept and I don't think Citrix will ever filter or censor these Geek Speak sessions.
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I don't believe this!  You are telling me that 30 people pay all this money (attendence fee, flight, hotel, etc..) just to attend one session, come on now - get real here please.

It may have been a gut reaction, but thats about it!

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Geek Speak is getting a lot of attention, and postivie feedabck. It's an experiment that seems it will be here to stay. If we make adjustments they will be to improve the flow and interaction of the event. By no means we plan to add censorship or filtering of content. In fact I invite you to see what my thoughts are on Shawn's session at my twitter page: http://twitter.com/GusPinto

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I don't think that Citrix thinks that VDI is the end all solution either.  If you look at the message at the Wednesday morning keynote, it was clear that VDI was targeted at office workers and there were other cases (task and mobie) workers that VDI was not a good candidate for.  While this was a generalization, I think it is clear that Citrix doesn't think that VDI is for everyone.

 

How their sales staff or parters choose to pitch it is another story...

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What was said to Citrix Management by Rick D and others?
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Pointing out the shortcomings of VDI should not threaten Citrix. But, it should worry VMware. VMware's biggest threat against Citrix in the application space is their VDM solution. Citrix has solutions for streaming software to a desktop and running applications from a terminal server. VMware on the other hand has no value add for terminal servers. True, you can run terminal servers on top of ESX, but why would you do that when you can do the same with XenServer for half the cost and achieve higher consolidation than ESX when compared to physical terminal servers.


It would be wise for Citrix to point out the shortcomings of VDI, and say "hey by the way, you can use Xen[fill in the blank] to over come those shortcomings, and kick VMware in the balls everytime.

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One topic was "What's the catch?"  Citrix sells their products wholesale and they do not bother to tell you the limitations of that product.  Netscaler 8.0 for example.  It was sold as now supporting AAC but what Citrix didn't tell you was that it didn't have NavUI and URL rewrites.   They sell the CAG Standard as being HA, but it's only HA for the SSL VPN and not for CSG mode which a lot of customers use.

Another topic was Citrix putting out information and best practices on their products.  How they should integrate.

Joe 

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It's not as far fetched as you think.  Synergy was booked too soon after iForum Vegas and many people where on the fence as to come or not.  Citrix added a better line up of technical sessions and Geek Speak Live and for some that was enough to tip the balance.  For others,  they stayed home or went to Microsoft.  It was a good marketing move on Citrix's part.

On the otherhand,  if you really want technical session BriForum is the place to go (Yes I am biased).  I hear PubForum is good too. 

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VMware has the Thinstall technology that can be a value add to Terminal Services.

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We were promised that Citrix will deliver the best user experience for VDI by porting ICA to the desktop (project PortICA).  This is from the XenDestop admin guide:

There is no support for the following ICA features:• Smart card authentication• Single sign-on using the Kerberos virtual channel• TWAIN mapping• USB PDA synchronization• SmartAuditor• SpeedScreen Multimedia Acceleration• SpeedScreen Flash Acceleration• SpeedScreen Latency Reduction Manager• Shadowing• SSL Relay direct to the virtual desktop• Session monitoring and control What happened?  Let's not call it ICA if it ain't ICA.
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The objections that Shawn brings up (peripheral device support, graphics or other multi media performance) in that video to VDI are completely handled by streaming solutions such as Ardence or emBoot.
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That's just in the current release.  More to come 2H of this year.  Standby!
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Does VMware have any way of publishing those ThinApps to a users virtual desktop? ThinApp works, but you still have to manage a way of publishing those apps to a user's environment.
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They are looking at a lot of potential partners to fill the 'gap' between the ThinApp packages and the Virtual Desktop. Lot's of 'Profiling' solutions available out there and some of them even support Application Delivery: AppSense, Scense, RES Powerfuse. etc etc.
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Its my understanding that there will be a Tech Preview in June or Portica and that the multi media acceleration will be part of the release that is after 2.0.  Rave is a complicated solution but you can look at TCX from Wyse or RGS from HP in the interim as possible work-arounds.
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ICA features have always varied based on the client (and server) platform involved.  Case in point is the ICA client feature matrix published on the citrix.com website.  

http://download2.citrix.com/FILES/en/products/ClientFeatMatrix/Citrix_ClientFeatureMatrix.pdf

XenDesktop's differences are really no different than, say, the
differences that have always existed between the Java client and Win32 client, or ICA used by
Metaframe for Unix vs. Windows.

I don't think it should be expected that a marketing glossy should go into this level of detail. As you stated, these details are noted publicly in the right places.    

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The few minutes I had speaking with Mark T he asked me what I thought about Geek Speak and told me that he had heard good things(he actually attended the one Steve G and Rick D did which is showing in the flash picture stream at citrixsynergy.com currently) and asked if I thought it should be expanded for iForum 2009.  I said YES DEFINITELY and he concurred.  He said Citrix will definitely consider it. It was one of the highpoints of the conference. So start saving for Vegas!


Jim K.

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Application Streaming from Companies like Endeavors Technology are an answer for some cases. This may also be the best scenario since you can achieve offline access as well when it is required.
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After hearing Shawn at Synergy, I started looking for information associated to running streaming video and google earth on a VM.  I have not really found anything.  I can only assume the reason for poor performance would be because of limited amout GPU's.  Is this correct?

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im a tiger, rawr!
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