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Citrix Coach In a Car: Mental Health – Part 1

Citrix Coach In a Car: Mental Health – Part 1

This week we're tackling something not talked often enough in Tech – Mental Health. The more travel, consulting and coaching I do the more I realize how underserved this topic really is.

So I decided to split this into 2 longer episodes in the hope you will be positively impacted by them! I'm being more vulnerable than I normally am here, even telling you about my experiences in getting qualified counseling help and how that changed my life. If you are in a bad spot – seek the guidance of a trained professional.

That said If you are interested in hiring me as your Career and Life Success Coach (Citrix or otherwise) please visit http://CitrixCoach.com to learn more!

Be sure and watch the video – or follow along with the new flipbook feature!

Then, download the PDF and enjoy!

Video Highlights

 

03:28: When it comes to mental health, that's a big part of what is missed, especially in the technology world.

03:58: The only way that people are going to change is if they are offended out of their current mode.

04:05: If I say something to you that is offending you, then I would encourage you to not look towards me but look towards yourself and say, okay, what, what about that offended me?

04:25: [being offended] Was that really against me personally or is it something, where there's a mirror, pointed back at you and you don't like it, that sort of thing.

05:09: [deep-seated issues] What I'm talking about is either unresolved things from your past or current circumstances that have grown to the point where they've not been dealt with for so long that they are out of control basically.

05:28: In the IT world what I find is that the people that are attracted to that line of work tend to be those that are not necessarily good at communicating their feelings right.

08:56: [coping mechanisms] There are some that are just, I gotta be honest, more destructive than others. Going on occasionally getting, you know, a little drunk is one thing, but, being drunk all the time or escaping any kind of, what you might call drama, by going off and drinking is really not healthy.

09:23: If you're self-medicating, then you really need to look into why you're doing that and be honest with yourself and say, am I doing this because I feel so overwhelmed that I can't feel like I can function any other way?

09:49: In most cases, the hardest thing to do is to get help because you have to face the very thing that puts you into that situation in the first place.

10:39: Deep down we all recognize the trajectory that we're on. If we are in a space where we are self-medicating and using substances to get by, we know where that road goes, we know where that's heading. You really need to get off of it.

13:28The other thing, a lot of people don't necessarily turn to substances or things like that, but they basically turn to this: At one point in my life I kind of called it like the Batman syndrome kind of thing where everybody's against you, you're their hero, but everybody's against you. d I'm not sure I totally like that analogy, but that is kind of what the mentality gets into. You get to this mode where you are just so used to not being thanked for what you do and not feeling like it's going anywhere, even though you put effort towards it or what you perceive as an effort towards it.

14:25: The other part about that is that you just can't see anything other than the pain of working, but you still are, obsessed is the wrong word; it's similar where you are basically work addicted.

15:16: When you are constantly stretched beyond what you can handle and you feel like that is your new norm; if you don't get to that point, you're not working hard enough. So you get to that point of being stretched and then you find you need to go further because you've set up all these things, a lot of times unconsciously, that make everyone dependent on you.

16:34: When you specifically push somebody out of your way and do the work for them just because you're irritated by them not knowing what you know, you don't feel better, you feel worse.

18:45: There's a lot of things about depression that are misunderstood. First off, almost everyone deals with depression at some point, at some level in their lives.

19:25: Depression is more or less a sense of a lack of energy, basically is the best way to describe it, where you just don't feel you can achieve anything. You can't even get out of bed, that can be a challenge.

19:57: Depression, as far as clinical depression goes, there has to be either a pattern or a length of time where that has not lifted.

20:38: I want to give you some pointers. First of all, like I just said, get help.

22:40: What I figured out that it was, with the help of this counselor, was that it wasn't necessarily my circumstances that were the problem. It was something, a kind of perspective and willingness that let that circumstance control my life.

24:13: A psychologist is somebody who is largely study-based and a psychiatrist is somebody who can actually perform therapy.

25:13: [stinkin thinkin] I have trained myself to know when that's happening, to stop and take control of that and say, is this real?

26:41: When it comes to mental health, interestingly enough, the power of the mind over the body actually has an effect physically on the body.

28:28: [idea mania] That's something that in IT, we face every now and then, where we hear something and we get excited about it and we want to do it. We get it about maybe halfway done and then the energy runs out and we just don't really finish it. We get distracted and go on something else. That's more normal than a lot of people realize.

29:58: If you want to be successful, you need to set yourself up with triggers and activation triggers, as one of my influencers, Michael Hyatt, will call them. It's where you have an event in your day or your week or whatever, that activates another task or activates something that you can stay consistent with. That's a way to get past that kind of up and down cycle where you're basing what you're working on your energy and you make what you're working on based on your habits.

32:16: If you have kids, make that a priority. We've had too many years of people being more obsessed with success than with their family.

 

 

Want some reading material that can help you better enable remote work? Well- we've got just the thing!

Grab a copy of “Be A Citrix Hero” today!

Lockdown Updates from CTXPro.com May 2020

Lockdown Updates from CTXPro.com May 2020

Some people have been treating this Lockdown from Coronavirus like a time to slow down. Not us! My small little team and I have been doing all sorts of things – and we aren't even close to slowing down! Here's some updates of what is going on with us, with Citrix and our Citrix Hero community!

The Citrix Hero Community continues to grow, especially after I published “Be A Citrix Hero“. We are now just under 400 members strong. The community is currently free to join. Powered by Mighty Networks, this fits three primary criteria you have asked for:

  1. A Mobile App – Download Mighty Networks and find “Citrix Heroes” to join. You can opt to get updates right to the app instead of via email – something I like a great deal. I belong to five Mighty Networks right now and being able to have mobile notifications saves a lot of headache!
  2. Not On Facebook – No Gaslighting, fighting or distractions – our community is JUST our community – yet operates as a social network! This includes the ability to chat! Many of you have taken advantage of chatting with each other and myself. It works great!
  3. Real Life Talk, Not Just Tech Support – Of course, this is a hard one for many tech folks to break free from but this is a forum that allows for a more private and exclusive community where we can be real with each other.

So I wanted to share some recent wins from our community, brag a little bit and invite you to join us!

By the way – I'm hosting a few Ask Me Anything sessions this month. The only way you will get access is if you're part of the community.

  • Mike shared how as the sole IT person for 7 health centers, he was able to upgrade a XenApp 6.5 farm to a more modern CVAD environment.
  • Ken started a discussion about PVS Boot Device Manager among some others.
  • I asked people to share some WINS last week and got some very cool notes
    • Keegan made some Citrix Hypervisor updates to better support nVidia GRID
    • Ahmed fixed a user workaround and showed a user how to print to a local printer from her Citrix Desktop (little things matter!)
    • Shack rocked some App Layering that reduced 50 images down to 2!
    • Mike rolled out FSLogix and WEM to reduce logon times from over a minute to under 20 seconds! He's loving PVS, by the way!
    • Benjamin put in some smooth operating remote access for employees that scaled from 20 to 700 users!
    • Venkatesh rolled out RemotePC to eliminate RDP hassles.
    • Ken finished a 6.5 to 7 1912 migration
    • Kitaab used Machine Creation Services on 7.15 to go from 100 WFH users to 1200!

Needless to say- I'm really proud of my community and hope you'll join us soon!

Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops 7 1912 LTSR
Cumulative Update 1

Citrix just released Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 1912 LTSR Cumulative Update 1.

There are a few key things here – one being that StoreFront is no longer part of the “Core Components” install page which hopefully will stop people from installing it on the same server as the Delivery components. It may work for a POC but it really isn't great for production. Trust me.

A few things to remember before you update any components:

  • To maintain LTSR support, all components must be at the SAME REVISION LEVEL for each Cumulative Update. That means, for example – if you have controllers at 1912.0.1000 you need to have Browser Content Redirection 15.19.1000.
  • Your FIRST step should always be checking the SA date of your licenses. They must all expire later than April 15, 2020. If the CSS/SA date is before that, download new licenses before your upgrade or you may not be able to start machines.
  • Note that if you use the same licensing server for multiple legacy components, 11.16.3.0 does NOT support XenApp 6.5 concurrent unless you update to build 29000

Learning Opportunities During Lockdown

I pointed out in a presentation recently that a high number of us that were commuting previously now have extra time on their hands! What better way to use that time than to learn new skillsets, expand on what you know, or work on building your next career move?

So during the month of May I am launching THREE new areas to help you do just that!

New Webinar Series

For all of May (and we'll see about next month) DJ will be giving a webinar (expanded from one given at two CUGC events) with updated tips and leading practices for supporting people working from home while using the same hardware you already have – a challenge a lot of you are facing right now!

Stick around to the end of the webinar where you'll learn DJ's personal tips on how to not just survive working from home but how to thrive during this challenging time.

To find a time that works for you (or, register and attend a replay if you like but there is an added bonus for attending live!) head to https://ctxpro.com/webinar

Note – this same link will work for the next webinar series so we encourage you to share it!

Here's the times for May:

11th at 6 PM CST

12th at 10 AM CST

19th at 11 AM CST

26th at 5:30 PM CST

THRIVE-IT THRIVEcasts

As you may know, I'm expanding my focus to a wider audience than just Citrix – my goal is to equip and inspire the next generation of Architects, Consultants, and other leaders in Information Technology. We aren't going to get there by being in ‘survival mode' – so I'm calling on people to THRIVE during this time and beyond.

It begins with our new YouTube Live series. Jeff Pitsch and I (DJ Eshelman) will go live each week and talk thru LIFE in IT. Tech tips? No. But discussions on how our guests careers' evolved and how they created the careers they wanted? Count on it.

(also- after I finish a few more “Citrix Coach In a Car Getting Coffee” videos I will be transitioning that series here to Thrive-IT!)

Make sure to subscribe!

Get Reminded of Our Next Live Broadcast

First off – subscribe and click the bell for getting updates on our YouTube channel. Doing so helps YouTube put the videos in front of more people!

But we are also introducing a rotating link system where each week we'll update the live broadcast link with a reminder service. It will give you the option to put the next THRIVEcast on your calendar! 

Ask DJ ANYTHING

Finally, a special invitation to those part of the Citrix Hero community. DJ will be hosting weekly “Ask Me Anything” sessions for as long as possible during lockdown! All you have to do is join the Citrix Hero community and check the Events tab to get a reminder of the next session.

What Numbers Are You Tracking During COVID-19 Lockdown?

What Numbers Are You Tracking During COVID-19 Lockdown?

Numbers. Numbers. Numbers. Math. Math. Math.

Working from home, we look at numbers a lot. In the case of the COVID-19 lockdowns, we are probably looking more than we should. They get depressing in a hurry.
So here are some numbers that show a positve side of things – those coming from my friends (that's you!) in the Citrix Professionals community.

(this article was updated on May 8th, 2020)

The Citrix Heroes [email protected] Team

If you haven't heard yet – [email protected] is having a huge quarter. It's because they are doing research to determine effective treatments for COVID-19 that researchers are hoping will lead to a vaccine or at least drugs to help heal more rapidly (if you've ever heard of Herd Immunity you know how important this is in the long run to have more people getting it and recovering safely).
[email protected] installs on your computer and uses spare cycles of your CPU and GPU (the latter being a powerhouse) to contribute blocks of compute for the research. I have managed to give my Threadripper 2950 and AMD Radeon VII quite the workout this week, along with my old i7 3770k with a GTX TITAN. But I'm still completely outclassed in our little group.

Here's the breakdown (last updated 5/8/2020):

  • Our team # is 243,216
  • We're ranked 5620 of 250,736 (up from 12,929) – so we are now in the top 97% of all teams!
  • Homewerk is leading us all in credits, putting some nVidia GRID cards to use!
  • CTXPro_com (DJ's systems) climbed ahead with the addition of a RADEON VII card and a new tip: if you register for an account passcode, you get waaay more credits! But, the Vega II is an amazing card – when WU's are available, it's capable of 1.2 Million Points Per Day!

I'm really proud of you for stepping up and I'd love to see more of you join in! This research has never happened this fast – but it's a great use of background cycles you aren't using. Just don't install this into the datacenter or your work computers without asking permission, please.

%

Our Rank - Top Percentile

Who's Buying The Citrix Hero Book?

I have been watching these numbers fluctuate between countries. However, as of May 8th, 2020 here's how the top 3 break down:

Top Countries buying “Be A Citrix Hero” on Amazon

%

United States (down from 65%)

%

United Kingdom (up from 19%)

%

Germany

In addition to this is how many of you are taking advantage of the Kindle Owners Lending Library or Kindle Unlimited to read the book (that is an option if you want to read it quickly and don't want to actually own a copy!)
4448 Pages have been read so far in the lending library. (up from 2390 last month)

2070

in the U.S.A.
(up from 1166)

966

in the U.K.
(up from 592)

649

in Germany
(a new entry)

498

in India
(taking Canada's spot at #4)

Borrow the Book or Buy the Book

If you borrowed the book – show me what you've got! The more you read, the more Amazon helps get the word out about the book! If you got a copy with this method – I'd love to see 5000 pages by the end of the month! Get to reading!
Now you may be saying to yourself, “DJ, why would you be excited about people reading it for free?” – and honestly, I'm really excited that there are ways for you to get your hands on this material and boost your knowledge (and career). But if you sign up for Kindle Unlimited or Prime when you use the link at https://ctxpro.com/book – the site gets a bonus outside of book royalties (which average about 40%) when you do sign up. So it's a nice way to support the site without you having to spend any extra!

The Citrix Hero Fund

In the next week or so, look for a video message from me about this.
In January I had this idea – I talked about it with a few of my friends you probably know (Dane, Steve, Carl, etc). The concept is that we would as a community help get people unable to get into programs or to conferences that help you grow professionally- people that don't have corporate backing to do these things, for example.
Then – just before COVID-19 started dominating the news, a massive Tornado ripped thru an already somewhat impoverished part of Nashville – literally blocks from the capital.
My heart was broken – talk about a hard year!
So I decided to set up a small fund that I'm donating 30% of all of my royalties and earnings surrounding the Citrix Hero project.
We don't have exact numbers yet – but I can tell you that our first check should be arriving soon that we'll be donating to relief efforts here in Nashville. The intention is to do this until August.

After that – the fund will shift to a scholarship fund, hopefully by that point joined by some other projects I'm excited to tell you about.

If you're interested in donating to the fund, I will be getting you details soon but I'm really excited to get this going and I'll try to update you every month!

My goal – to raise $5000 for these efforts! Are you with me?

%

Of $5000 Raised

YouTube Subscribers

Three years ago, many of you suggested a YouTube channel. So we did – with a twist. We talk more about being a PERSON in IT, not an IT person.

But we need your help. YouTube doesn't take us seriously until we have 1000 subscribers. Help us get there!

https://ctxpro.com/YT

%

1000 Subscribers

Want even more numbers?

Stay tuned. I've got some results from a survey we have been conducting over the past 2 years that I think you'll enjoy reading. I've been so focused on writing that I haven't been able to finish the article but I hope to soon!
Which reminds me to remind you: We still want your opinion on where your career in End User Computing is heading! We are investigating the option of a Virtual Summit sometime this summer but we need confirmation that people are interested first!

You can take the survey herehttps://bit.ly/2JAKM1z

What To Do With Your Time During Coronavirus

What To Do With Your Time During Coronavirus

Who would have thought that all that practice helping people work from home would be so crucial to your company? So, now you're spending a lot more time at home. So… what to do with your time? In this special edition of Citrix Coach in a Car Getting Coffee… or going to the chiropractor, DJ gives some tips on how to manage your time!

Be sure and watch the video – or follow along with the new flipbook feature!

Then, download the PDF and enjoy!

Video Highlights

01:21: You will not rise to the occasion. You will only rise to your level of preparedness.
02:31: Even with the right things we can make do with less, and what that means is that we
can actually make some sacrices in user experience.
04:20: There's a couple of things that I wanted to recommend to you. One is, if you're not
already feeling prepared, get prepared. The other is to educate yourself.
10:28: You need to give yourself that time. Don't think that you will be able to just ignore it.
That's not how our minds work. That's not how we are built. We just are not built for
isolation as much as we think we are.
10:48: Even the most introverted people in the world still and ways to become connected to
others. We are social creatures. And so allocate time for that, along with work, along with
everything else. Allocate time to do that. But, here's the key: don't let yourself exceed that
time.
11:47: Write down goals for yourself.
12:09: You need to have some structure and you need to have some priorities set.
12:29: Add value right now.
13:15: Be the person who is showing up. Be the person who is making a difference in people's
lives. Connect with that. Really, really get into thinking about what it is you're doing
and how that's impacting others, because it is. Along with that, give yourself some time to
learn and grow. Give yourself some time to expand your knowledge
15:27: [goals] Write these things down during this time when you're at home because there
will be distractions
15:41: You make a plan, stick to it, but give yourself grace with these kinds of things. Don't be
unrealistic about what we're going to do.
16:01: Don't push yourself beyond what you can handle. But definitely celebrate your wins,
make sure you're spending some time learning new processesand new things. Absolutely give
yourself grace for things you want to get or you feel like you need to do as far as
social interaction when you're kind of cooped up at home. And then, like I said, make a plan
and stick to it.

Hope you enjoyed this video lesson! Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channel for more!

Feel free to download the PDF —>

And please… SHARE this with your network!

PDF Transcript

Want some reading material that can help you better enable remote work? Well- we've got just the thing!

Grab a copy of “Be A Citrix Hero” today!

Be A Citrix Hero During the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak

Be A Citrix Hero During the Coronavirus COVID-19 Outbreak

Photo of DJ Eshelman from 2019

Whether you consider the responses thus far to “Coronavirus” to be panic or sensible precautions, one thing is sure: There hasn’t been a sudden demand for working from home worldwide like this … So how can you be the Citrix Hero during a season like this?

@TheCitrixCoach – D.J. Eshelman

I despise opportunity-based marketing. Yet, whether you consider the responses thus far to Coronavirus COVID-19 to be panic or sensible precautions, one thing is sure: There hasn’t been a demand for working from home worldwide like this since Bird Flu (or, was it Swine Flu?). Certainly not one this sudden and wide ranging. However, this case has been way worse in my observation; not medically but how our fear response has taken over. So how can you be the Citrix Hero during a season like this? If you have been listening to me on my podcast (Better Than You Found It) or reading posts on LinkedIn and such, you’ll be aware of a saying by which I live: You will not rise to the occasion. You will only rise to your level of preparedness. This holds true in EUC as much as in life.

You will not rise to the occasion. You will only rise to your level of preparedness. This holds true in EUC as much as in life. #CitrixHero Click To Tweet

Rising to the Coronavirus Occasion

If there is one thing I see consistently in Citrix Assessments – it is that the systems housing Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktop VMs (Single or Multi-Session OS) seem to be running past their maximums already. Adding on even more workloads suddenly is making this problem worse. Why? Because the IT systems were not PREPARED for this occasion. Time and again, I hear things like, “We’ll deal with that load when it comes.”

I hate saying I told you so.

How fast do you anticipate getting new servers given where the parts are manufactured? How will it get to you when delivery services start to become constrained? And if you believe the hype, how will you install them when you’re not allowed to go to work?

Citrix Hero Concept – Do More With Less

Something I talk about in my book Be A Citrix Hero is that with the right optimizations and design, you can do more with less. This is how YOU will be the Citrix Hero during the Coronavirus outbreak – you can set systems to perform at scale.

The “Be A CitrixHero” Book, Available on Amazon – https://ctxpro.com/book

Tweet This to your friends and do everything you can to let your boss know: The same optimizations that improve user performance can help you trade performance for scalability during a crisis.

The same optimizations that improve user performance can help you trade performance for scalability during a crisis. #CitrixHero Click To Tweet

By organizing resources properly (Chapter 3), optimizing the operating system to eliminate waste (Chapter 1), Utilize RAM properly for PVS and MCS workloads (Chapter 4), and using entitlements such as Citrix Workspace Environment Management (Chapter 6), the Citrix Hero is able to do more with less and be prepared for temporarily exceeding the design specifications.

I tell a story in Chapter 6 of an environment that I had done all of these things, and during an administrative glitch, they managed to shut down eight of their twelve 7.15 LTSR Server OS VMs. We had recently implemented just the basic settings I describe for WEM. Imagine their shock that all 300 users were on just four VMs, and no one had complained.

The Coronavirus scare is causing a similar scenario – suddenly, more users are on the system working remotely than before. Their expectations have not changed. They just expect to be able to work. Well, that and have ten browser tabs with Facebook, WHO, CDC, and various news outlets all open at once. So, are you prepared? There are some 40,000 words I wrote on the topic, so go get the book, so I don’t have to repeat myself. The good news is that what you implement during this crisis will set your company up to save money long term. Worth it.

Quick Coronavirus Citrix Hero Wins Not in the Book

I wanted to highlight a few things that are NOT in the book that you should be aware of as there is an increased need for users to work from home. Here are a few time and crisis tested ways you can rise to this occasion.

Implement RemotePC

Up to this moment, my go-to event for recommending RemotePC was during the Toronto floods. While systems were largely intact, many people could not get to their offices. Sound familiar? Oh, how quickly we forget this feature built into Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops! RemotePC allows the Citrix Hero to install a light VDA onto the users’ existing PC and add them to a Delivery Group. Just like that, the user has remote access to their PC.

I fully recognize a primary challenge here: The Desktop Workstation has been dead or dying for a long time. Most desks today have a docking station for a laptop or a thin client (or PC converted into a thin client thanks to my friends at IGEL). I do NOT recommend installing RemotePC onto a laptop. They tend to be configured to go to sleep or save power. This is not typically a great combination. That said, in a pinch – having a user leave their laptop, pushing the RemotePC VDA along with some Group Policy to control the power state, and then removing all of that after the crisis may be viable.

The key with RemotePC is twofold in a crisis like Coronavirus (COVID-19):

  1. Provide Remote Access to company resources without additional risks, such as enabling VPNs. Because RemotePC utilizes your existing CVAD licensing, there are no added licensing or differences in external networking. This also means no added compliance requirements. It will, of course, consume a license – so keep that in mind.
  2. Lessen the burden on VDI and Server Desktops and provide continued access to user-specific applications and configurations.

Prepare for Increased Citrix Gateway Bandwidth Use

I’m going to ‘fanboy’ for just a moment. I have always loved that you can increase bandwidth allowed to a NetScaler (sorry… Citrix ADC) with just a different license key. No ripping out the appliance or having to deploy a completely new virtual machine. But what I do anticipate is that many companies out there may double, triple, or further increase the amount of staff accessing remotely to apps, desktops, or RemotePC. Each of these connections uses bandwidth – even when it is as highly optimized as Citrix protocols are.

You will want to keep an eye on your ADCs or set up monitoring to alert you if bandwidth is consistently exceeding 70% or more of your licensed limit. In some cases, the bottleneck may be external bandwidth. Either way, I have a quick win tip: Reduce the Bandwidth consumed per session. There are a few different ways to accomplish this, but first, there is an important concept to make sure management understands, and that is that the experience must be less rich.

  1. Reduce ICA Channels. Remember that each component configured that uses the ICA protocol will have a level of bandwidth assigned, and there is always a reserve, even if the components aren’t in active use. This means that if you can reduce the number of unused ICA channels, you can save bandwidth. Remember that these are user-context settings, by and large, so you can make reductions in just the users connected via Gateway with a policy. Here are a few that should be on the chopping block if you can work without them:
    • TWAIN redirection (what year is it?)
    • Port Redirection (it’s 2020)
    • USB Redirection (if not needed, which would be rare for remote access anyway)
    • Audio, especially microphone
    • Printing
    • Disk redirection & mapping
    • Clipboard redirection
  2. Restrict ICA Channel Bandwidth. This is an often missed setting where you can set a limit of bandwidth (or combined with our next tip a percentage of the overall session bandwidth) for certain channels that need to stay active. This has two benefits.
    • Reduces overall bandwidth for features that provide business value such as clipboard redirection or local drive mapping.
    • Prevents spikes in usage from exceeding your Gateway or connection maximums, which can cause pauses for other sessions. For example, if you set Printing to use a maximum of 500 kbit/sec, you will cause the print job to take longer but will not impact the other sessions as a result. During a crisis, we all make sacrifices. An extra 15 seconds to print doesn’t seem like much to ask.
  3. Restrict Session Bandwidth. Especially used with setting a percent of a session for channels, this setting can be great in constant-access scenarios. This setting is rarely used because to be effective, you must do a little bit of fortune-telling… you essentially need to predict how many active sessions will need bandwidth, padding against inactive, and all divided by the overall bandwidth available. This is not an exact science so don't treat this as an authoritative formula… but a quick and dirty way to figure out your initial settings. For example:
    • 500 active sessions
    • 100 inactive sessions (connected, just not actively using the screen) estimated at 1kbit/sec to maintain
    • 100Mbit Connection/Licensed Speed
    • 100,000,000-(100×1,000=100,000)=99,900,000 bits/sec
    • 99,900,000/500= 199kbit/sec per connection.
    • No problem. But make that 5000 active sessions, and we have a completely different dynamic.
    • Your session bandwidth restriction for connections over the Gateway should not exceed the math above us.
  4. The Big Win: Reduce Visual Transmission. This highly depends on the version of CVAD you are running, but there are a lot of options to reduce the bandwidth required to conduct this miracle we call remote display. All of these should be validated before simply pushing out via policy and very much keep in mind that they can be applied with additive filters (such as X user group when accessing thru a Gateway gets rule A, but Y user group in the same scenario may get rule B.)
    • Use Video Codec only for Actively Changing regions – this setting is time-proven.
    • If bandwidth is very constrained, set Do Not Use Video Codec. This is an “approach with caution” setting in my mind as it will often cause complaints. This setting will force Thinwire encoding, which can cause video to appear ‘choppy.’ Again – if we communicate with users that during the crisis they will have less capability, we can ready them to work differently.
    • Set a maximum framerate for the session. You can often reduce this to as low as 8 fps and still maintain a usable environment for task workers, but you may need 12 fps as a minimum. The point here is to set something, observe, and fine-tune.
    • Reduce color depth. Let’s face it, we all like the pretty, but going from 16-bit to 24-bit color was a huge jump. 32-bit color is a lot of information to have to send. I have, however, seen much less need to control this setting than in decades past. The codec is good at only sending what it has to. This is usually the last resort setting.
    • If you feel like going deeper into this, head over to the Citrix Tech Zone for a briefing.
  5. Avoid Handshakes During this Time of Crisis. Go with UDP based protocols if you can. Enlightened Transport is brilliant. After all – remember that we aren’t supposed to be shaking hands to prevent the spread of Coronavirus, so let’s take the same attitude as much as we can with ICA, shall we? A few caveats here:
    • Using UDP doesn’t reduce bandwidth; in fact, it may increase it slightly. This changes in high-latency situations where TCP causes retransmits.
    • Make sure your firewall has 443 UDP and TCP open to the Citrix Gateway VIP
    • Make sure your Gateway is configured for UDP using DTLS.

Focus on Quick Wins, Citrix Hero

There’s much more I can say here that gets way more complicated and take more time.

Now is not the time to get it perfect. That time was last month before people started working from home more, hoarding toilet paper but missing the canned goods. #CitrixHero #Citrix #Coronavirus #COVID19 Click To Tweet

I watch Citrix Engineers and Admins go down rabbit trails all the time, chasing blog after blog of perfect recommended settings. If you have the time to fine-tune – great. But the book Be A Citrix Hero, as well as this article, reflect my philosophy when dealing with times like dealing with Coronavirus, or any for which you may not be fully prepared. For example, this is not the time to try and implement complicated settings like Browser Content Redirection – even though it may be perfect for reducing server loads during times like this. If you have the time and can test it well enough, fantastic. Just keep a few things in mind for any changes you’re making during these times:

  1. Your Support Desk is probably already overwhelmed. Be their hero, not their villain.
  2. Focus on the highest positive impact in the shortest time
  3. Set expectations appropriately – Be Scotty, not _________ (insert politician full of empty promises here)
    • Don’t promise everything will be the same with a sudden increase in consumption. It probably won’t be; even if you take these steps, there will still be compromises to make.
    • Be extremely cautious, estimating timelines. Users that have not used remote access are now using it. This typically means a dramatic increase in handholding and trouble tickets.
  4. Don’t skip testing. I know the timeline is immediate. But if you have to stop everything else you’re doing to validate changes – do that. You will ruin more than just your day in a scenario like this by putting out untested best intentions. I don’t care what any blog or book, including my own, say – TEST BEFORE YOU DEPLOY, HERO.

I hope this was helpful to you.

Now go forth without fear. I know that in times like this, the fear of the unknown often takes over from the real problems in front of us. This is your chance to lead. Confidence is just as contagious as… well, come on, don’t make me say it.

Now for the marketing thing I’ll say and twitch while I’m typing it:

Working from home? Perfect time to pick up a copy of Be A Citrix Hero! No one’s watching – go for it!

I know, I know.

I’m the worst.

But I wouldn’t say all this if I didn’t genuinely believe that this will help you!

Be safe out there, and for the love of all that is holy, wash your hands!