What I Learned at Citrix iForum, Day Two

This article is the second of two that summarize the new things I learned at iForum. Of course not all the information from iForum is covered here (since I've written about most of it in the past).

This article is the second of two that summarize the new things I learned at iForum. Of course not all the information from iForum is covered here (since I've written about most of it in the past). This article just contains the stuff that was new to me.

ICA Clients version 8 running on Windows 2000 and newer workstations support Kerberos authentication, which allows a much more flexible and secure “pass through” authentication than the secondary logon service that was used previously. (I’ll post a full article on this next week.)

Citrix’s Common Management Infrastructure (CMI) is a framework that all the product groups in Citrix can write to. It’s the underlying framework of the new MMC-based management consoles.

Immarsat offers satellite-based navigation products. This means that you can access Citrix applications in the middle of the ocean or the desert. Their hardware starts at about $1500, and service fees are about $12 per megabyte transferred. Performance varies by package, but it starts at 128k with 700MS roundtrip latency.

NetInstall is an extremely cool software product from Germany that I wish I knew about earlier. It allows you to model your Citrix farm via a GUI tool. You can set up servers, applications, configure the registries, drive mappings, server farm, zones, data collectors, etc. Then, once you have it set, you click a “deploy” button that makes it live, using PXE and a lot of scripting. The idea behind the product is that even if you use something like drive imaging or Altiris, the final few Citrix configuration things you have to do in Citrix environments will kill you. NetInstall recently used their product to deploy a new 250 server farm from scratch within four hours—with no local server human interaction (other than powering them on).

HP (the only platinum sponsor this year) was showing off their usual lineup of thin clients, servers, SANs, printers, tablets, and iPAQs. One of the interesting things from HP was that they had some ThinPrint marketing material in their booth, something that ThinPrint has been trying to get for years. In this case HP was showing off that their printers could have the ThinPrint client software directly installed on to the printer itself (via the printer’s hard drive or a custom DIMM module).

The other thing that HP was showing off was a standard, old-fashion ink pen that had a camera in it. Licensed from Logitec, when used on special gray paper, this pen would record what you wrote. When you drop the pen back into its USB cradle, the pen uploads all of your drawings and writing to the computer. (A poor-man’s tablet PC, if you will.) Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice the special paper isn’t gray at all, but that it has a tiny dot pattern on the surface. This is how the camera in the pen knows where you’re writing. Every square millimeter of every sheet of paper is unique, and HP says the algorithm used to create these dots can print 25 square miles of paper before having to repeat the pattern. This means that you can write anywhere on any number of pages, and the pen will always know where you wrote. The killer app for this technology is hospital, banking, or insurance forms where the company can print the standard forms with this special dot pattern in the background. Then customers can fill out the standard paper forms, and the company can immediately bring them into the computer.

I talked to the folks at RES about their PowerFuse product. PowerFuse is a management framework (don’t let them hear you call it an “application” or a “tool”) that allows you to graphically configure all aspects of Terminal Server and MetaFrame users’ environments. This includes things like drive and printer mappings, security, and the desktop environment. Their product can also dynamically prioritize and demote server processes to maintain performance integrity. RES is a Dutch company, and they’ve not been too popular in the US. However, they just hired industry veteran Eric Steinberg to head up their US sales, so I’m sure we’ll be hearing more of them in the future.

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