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April+May 2019 Pre-Synergy Newsletter

April+May 2019 Pre-Synergy Newsletter

April+May 2019 Pre-Synergy Newsletter

May 14, 2019

Welcome to the LAST Newsletter in this format! That’s right. Going forward I will be shifting to a more irregular publishing model. Why? Because making a pretty blog with lots of information is not as easy as you may think. At least not right now. The second reason is that April was a great example where information moved waaaay too fast to keep up.

So while I’m hoping to get you some great information this month – going forward we will be shifting to a new delivery method for up-to-date information. More about that at the end of this newsletter!

What’s New with Citrix

May is the biggest month for Citrix … but April has not been a slouch for new developments! Let’s dive in! Of course we start off with a release that happened right after my last newsletter and then talk about a release that I purposely waited for this month’s newsletter to make sure was included (and stable)!

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) 1903

If you are on the Current Release (CR) track (upgrading at least every year), this is an exciting release.

What I’m most excited about feature wise is that we are FINALLY getting the ability to use the clipboard between Desktops and Published Apps. If you have ever wanted to have a published desktop where the applications are provided by central servers instead of the VDI (which is a huge resource savings and much easier to maintain in a lot of cases) – this overcomes a HUGE problem that has existed in the clipboard not being able to pass information from your machine, to the VDI, to the published app… and back again.

Do you use this feature? I’d love to hear from you! There are still some limitations, and I’m curious to know if what you need has been covered (for example, drag and drop and cut functions are not supported)

The second feature is a change (just in time for me to teach about the OLD way last month!) to the MCSIO write-back cache driver. Look for reductions in disk activity (disk busy time) and even some overall reduction in IOPS. Danny Feller did some tests recently – https://virtualfeller.com/2019/04/01/updated-io-optimization-with-machine-creation-services/?es_p=8959234

Find out more about 1903 here: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2019/03/28/spring-into-the-latest-features-of-citrix-virtual-apps-and-desktops/

I’m also curious to see how many of you think DPI matching is important (new feature) but I think most all of you will enjoy the new Profile Management duration in the Profile Load metrics from Director.

XenDesktop 7.15 LTSR CU4

According to our latest survey the overwhelming majority of you are using 7.15 LTSR rather than legacy or current releases. Needless to say, I’m proud of you. While I enjoy new features, in the enterprise… I crave stability and predictability. Of course I do. You know I’m obsessed with Leading Practices!

That said, a complex system like Citrix can’t be perfect out of the gate and even a long term support/stable release needs to keep up to date. LTSR doesn’t introduce new features but applying Cumulative Updates are actually very important

https://www.citrix.com/downloads/citrix-virtual-apps-and-desktops/product-software/xenapp-and-xendesktop-715-ltsr-cu4.html

You can look thru the list of fixes since CU3 here: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/xenapp-and-xendesktop/7-15-ltsr/whats-new/cumulative-update-4/fixed-issues.html

For me, I’m actually most excited about some fixes for HDX MediaStream Windows Media Redirection that I have encountered issues with at multiple clients in the past 4 months.

As always, when deploying updates to LTSR, keep in mind that ALL baseline components must be updated to retain support. When in doubt, use the LTSR Assistant as part of the Supportability Pack to be sure.

Citrix Hypervisor 8.0

Xen’s dead baby, Xen’s dead. The first to bear the Xen name just became the last as Citrix retired “XenServer” for “Citrix Hypervisor. I have to admit, I’m a little sad. After all, for awhile there, XenServer was my thing. Between that and XenApp, I decided to launch the “TheXenMaster” Twitter handle… but those days are over. But the good news for you is that the name may be gone, but I still think Citrix Hypervisor is a very strong offering for high-performance workloads. Sure, it doesn’t have a lot of the Enterprise level features that VMware has – nor should it. After all- the more you add, the slower you get in a lot of ways. Citrix Hypervisor is basically the hot rod of hypervisors. Worth learning, and it is basically free.

8.0 continues to lead with enhancements to 3D and vGPU workloads, support for 2019 VMs, UEFI boot and more. Learn more here.

Other News of Note in the Citrix World

Hint- it’s all Microsoft news this time…

Windows Virtual Desktop

WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is the talk of the town. For a few months now we’ve been hearing that Microsoft intends to do away with RDSH and focus on the Windows 10 platform for multi-user. Great, you say… the only problem is confusions surrounding how this will actually work. Initially, Microsoft has said that this will only be available in Azure. As I’m writing this, that is becoming uncertain. I haven’t had the time to get around to looking at this in depth. Unfortunately, I’m still getting my head around what to say about it myself and what I could add that others haven’t already. What I will say is that Multi-User is only part of the picture. WVD is a management architecture that relies on RDP completely… so don’t look for RDSH to be going anywhere anytime soon is my thought.

At this point my advice to you is… don’t worry about it yet. I mean, when was the last time you heard about a new OS or product and launched it immediately? Pretty much never. Because you know better!

I heard a great quote from a book I’m reading today: “Pioneers get Shot. Settlers get Rich.” So when it comes to this new direction Microsoft is taking, best to let the dust settle. Another way to say this is “Do not worry about tomorrow… today has enough trouble of its own.”

So don’t worry about WVD for now, okay? I’ll be sure and let you know when to duck and cover!
But by all means try it out… I will say that just as Citrix Cloud eliminates a lot of architecture, WVD is basically the same concept – they handle the brokers, interface, etc. You just supply the workloads (in Azure, of course). Given how good RDP is lately – in certain smaller markets and temporary scale models, this could be a good alternative to a full-on Citrix environment.
Time will tell but I just don’t see Citrix losing much sleep over this. So please don’t email me wondering if the sky is falling or Citrix is going to be irrelevent in a year. They said the same thing in 2008 and… here we are.

Microsoft FSLogix

Man that was odd to type. Right up there with Disney acquiring, well, pretty much everyone, Microsoft bought FSLogix. But there’s some really good news for this: FSLOGIX is now basically FREE for most circumstances, including if you have RDSH licenses that are current.

Unfortunately there’s been some confusion as to how to actually get said licenses but my advice at this point is to contact your Microsoft rep and express interest. At least one of my clients were granted licenses to use right away.

Why FSLogix? I don’t want to sound overly biased, but I’ve been impressed with these guys for quite some time now. The ability to have smart containers for profiles is one thing – heck even Citrix now has this capability to some degree… but what FSLogix can do with Office 365 is hugely important in the modern Citrix world.
Hands down, one of the biggest complaints I hear when companies move to O365 is that Outlook is very slow, or they need to support OST files which is… painful. FSLogix O365 containers not only take care of this, but do it better because it uses a virtual disk attachment rather than a file share. Windows likes this. Outlook LOVES this. I’m hoping to put together a guide soon but let’s just say I’m waiting for a reason. *wink*

The biggest news for me is that the Citrix Hero Program is now OPEN for enrollment. The program was born out of my frustrations with education courses and other programs that miss the really big things! Every time I do an assessment, design or health check I find things that are done wrong. I put the big list of them in a list of 12 topics I call the Dirty Dozen (in fact, you can now view an automatic replay of that webinar right here).

  • The program teaches you how to address the most common gaps that I find in consulting assessments; in other words if I could choose 12 things for you to focus on- it would be these first.
  • Every month I share a newly-minted chapter of my Become a Citrix Hero (ch 1 to 3 are available for free at the moment- register here to download.)
  • We have a live video teaching and Q&A around that month’s topic. This is a unique opportunity to get access to me and ask questions!
  • Future features will include audiobook chapter recordings, advance access to courses and more.
  • We have our own social network to support the program, powered by the same Mighty Network at community.citrixhero.com by what we call a “Cohort” group.

You can start learning from me right now – https://ctxpro.com/citrixhero-membership

The Citrix Hero Community is OPEN

I will admit that I’m fatigued with Facebook’s distraction economy, frustrated with LinkedIn’s way of approaching community (read- I’m tired of non-stop recruiters) and am not feeling a sense of community with forums. So I decided to do something about it.

Over the past year or so I’ve been surveying people and have found a few interesting things:

  • You want a place not just to get tips and tricks… but to BELONG
  • You want to be able to connect with myself and other experts on a more personal level
  • You don’t like Facebook (or at least, not when it comes to geeky stuff like Citrix)
  • You don’t want to participate socially where you’ll just have a bunch of ads and tracking going on
  • You want a mobile app

DONE. I’ve decided to launch just exactly that. And for the time being- it’s completely free, sponsored by the Citrix Hero program (more about that in a moment).

All you have to do to belong to my network is click here! Answer a few quick questions so I know you’re not gonna try and sell everyone in my network a bunch of stuff… and you’re in!

This really is under my complete control. No sponsors, no ads, no worries. I’ve got a few great volunteers that are helping me moderate content who I’m hoping to introduce you to soon. We’re better together, and this is a huge step forward! Join us today at https://community.citrixhero.com

Citrix Hero Program Lessons

April was Active Directory Month

The one area that really shouldn’t be messy is the one that I find most chaotic in more than half of the assessments I did in the past 2 years: Active Directory.

In this month’s lesson I lay out my strategy for managing Active Directory with three major goals in mind:

  • Getting along with other teams while not introducing risks to your Citrix environment
  • Faster logons – a good design here can sometimes be the ONLY difference between a 5 minute logon and a 15 second logon. No joke!
  • Better organization and consistency to better handle challenges like acquisitions

The lesson is live now in the League of Heroes area (this is the private area for those enrolled in the Citrix Hero program). I’ll be publishing a summary preview for everyone else in the next few months – but my Program members always get first access!

May Lesson – Citrix Turbo Tuning Framework

I’m excited to announce that next month I’ll be unveiling my framework for getting smart and prioritizing how to tune Citrix workloads. I’m tentatively calling this my Citrix Turbo Tuning Framework until I come up with a cooler name.

You’ll learn how to divide optimization as a concept into 4 phases so you can make informed decisions about when to pursue certain kinds of optimizations that may only yield results in certain circumstances, and at times are efforts you don’t really need to put forward.

We’ll be covering everything from Hardware to the Citrix Optimizer and go even deeper than Chapters 1 and 3 from the Become a Citrix Hero eBook! I’m looking forward to it. Learn more in the League of Heroes Cohort in the Community site!

The Citrix Hero Program is a premium service I offer that helps me pay for this site and also quite literally buys time with me so that I can impart the most important elements of my knowledge to you.

If you want to be part of the program – there are annual and monthly options both found at https://ctxpro.com/citrixhero-membership Do I need to say it? Go sign up! Learn from me and become a Citrix Hero! But do it NOW before this enrollment class ends and the prices go up!

Citrix Hero Enrollment Closes

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Snagit and Camtasia are game changers for Technology Documents

 

I wanted to take a moment and tell you about two tools I have been using for all sorts of things lately.

The first is TechSmith Snagit. Snagit has gone way beyond just a tool to capture screenshots. I have been using it to document processes for customers, even create screenshots automatically from scrolling thru menus during remote help sessions and assessments, designs and such. That barely scratches the surface.

Camtasia is how it all comes together. I have replaced my previous video workloads nearly completely with Camtasia because of how much easier the interface is to work with – and a new feature that is especially useful- Transcription! That’s right- you can now put captions on your videos from capturing text from the audio! It’s fantastic! This new version has a lot of great graphics and transitions making YOU look good just for having used it.

TechSmith is one of our affiliates. If you make a purchase from our affiliate link– you are supporting this site financially even though you aren’t paying anything more for the products!

So I have two reasons to recommend them! Give them a try– I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

What DJ’s Reading

A new section for this time around is giving you a little behind the scenes and seeing what I’m up to.

Here’s some books I’m reading or just read (note- these are affiliate links. We participate in the Amazon Affiliate program to support the costs associated with running this site.)

Digital Minimalism

Fun fact- it was actually this book that inspired me to move from Facebook to Mighty Networks for our community site. I’m starting to see that the Attention Economy is damaging my life more than making it better. The more time we spend ‘latched’ to digital entertainment, community and tools – the more I question if it’s beneficial. The suggestions in this book have been very helpful for me to prioritize

Kindle | Audiobook | Hardcover

Choose by Ryan Levesque

If you are thinking of running your own business or side business – let me introduce you to one of my virtual mentors! This book has been eye opening for making the right choices in terms of starting a business teaching others what I know. I’ve made a lot of mistakes and I think this book will help me better help you!

Kindle (catch it while it’s $1.99!) | Audiobook | Hardcover

Total Recall: My Unbelievably True Life Story by Arnold Schwarzenegger

Though the audiobook I was listening to starts off narrated by Arnie himself, it hands off to another reader… which is probably a good thing. But I’m enjoying hearing about his life.

Kindle | Audiobook | Hardcover

The Founders Mentality

This was a fascinating look at why some companies succeed then fail, others continue to be disruptive and why this should matter to you whether you are a leader or not!

Kindle | Audiobook | Hardcover

Where to Find Info Going Forward

I mentioned this will be the last Newsletter. Now here’s where to find information going forward!

1) Current Events and News – Posts to Community.CitrixHero.com – This is our free community for YOU. Because it is a faster method of posting for us and is organized by topics we will begin posting ‘in the moment’ information there. So, information about product updates, events and such will all be placed in the community so we can discuss. Another major reason for this is the fact that there is a mobile app for this platform which is great. So Join NOW!

2) Longer Term Information – Posts to CTXPro.com – If it is a tip, lesson or trick- for now, right here on CTXPro.com. I’m working on shifting where content will live.
The vision here is that CTXPro.com will become the place for professional guidance.
CitrixHero and ctx.academy will focus on skills and a learning path.
I have several other sites I am not yet utilizing – CitrixAdmins, focused on the beginner and those tasked with maintaining environments.
I have a site reserved called citrix.tips I have not actually got going.
The reality is as one person, this is difficult. If you’d like to help or provide content… contact me! I would love to not be the only voice here!

So why all the different sites? I feel it is important to limit distractions and mindlessness. I want you to know exactly why you are visiting each site, which ones give you value and why.

…that and I want to rule the internet.

3) Coaching and Encouragement YouTube and… – I want to be doing more to encourage you, and I’ve decided to do this weekly. From my car.
Watch for my new series – Citrix Coach in a Car Getting Coffee… or going to the Chiropractor. Initially, I’ll be posting supporting materials right here but the intention eventually is to create a blog at CitrixCoach.com. I also intend to post weekly to LinkedIn so make sure you follow us there!
NOTE- I REALLY need you to subscribe to the channel. Otherwise we can’t do live broadcasts from mobile!

4) News Aggregator – CTXPro.com – Any time there are significant posts I think you should see either from myself or others, the intention is to start a feed right here… the problem is figuring out how! So stay tuned!

5) Announcements – Email Lists – This is something I’ve not wanted to use too often… however, the statistics show me that even though sometimes people aren’t engaged or unsubscribe… more of you are getting value out of the emails than are not. So my intention is to start sending post highlights via email about twice per month. This will replace the ‘Newsletter’ format in email completely.

Join the Conversation

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CTXPro Newsletter – March 2019

CTXPro Newsletter – March 2019

Citrix-Focused News You Can Actually Use

Greetings!

This month, we’re talking about…

  • What’s New with Citrix
    • Citrix Cyberattack
    • New CTA and CTP classes
    • Planning Ahead for Synergy
    • Citrix Optimizer updates
    • VDILikeAPro Survey
  • What’s new with CTXPro and CitrixHero
    • Citrix Hero Chapter 4: PVS and MCS Performance
    • Next Month: April is Active Directory month!
  • Community Highlights
    • Highlights from Citrix Hero Week
    • DJ’s Appearances and Presentations (past and upcoming!)
    • BOOKS, Books and more books!
    • Become a Citrix Hero in April!
  • Tool of the Month: GP Answers
  • DJ still offers consulting services!

(more…)

CTXPro Newsletter – Feb 2019

CTXPro Newsletter – Feb 2019

Citrix News You Can Actually Use

Greetings! Welcome to this month’s newsletter! Its packed with goodies for you. If there’s one thing you should NOT miss it’s the #CitrixHero week! But take some time to read up and if you would like to get notified of new newsletters by email- the subscribe link is on your right!

 Here’s what you can expect in this month’s Newsletter:

What’s New in the Citrix World

#CitrixHero Week – Feb 11 – 15

First things first! I’m excited to announce the very first #CitrixHero Week!

In what I’m hoping will become a sort of tradition, this week is dedicated to you, Citrix Hero! Here’s what you can expect:

Daily Live Broadcasts – watch for Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn broadcasts and videos. Hear what I’m doing, and ask me your questions live! Ask me whatever you like- I’ll do my best to answer. When and where? I’ll announce each day on Twitter- make sure you follow me @TheCitrixCoach!

I will also be updating the schedule on https://ctxpro.com/CitrixHeroWeek-Schedule so check that out!

Live Webinars all week! New sessions are being added live and replay sessions will be available until the end of the month (note- recordings will be added to the Member portal for those subscribed).

Byte-Sized Book Project

This is a fun project – describe your best Virtualization tip in in about 250 characters! This is a brilliant collaboration project of Christiaan Brinkhoff and Bas van Kaam https://christiaanbrinkhoff.com/2019/01/30/new-community-book-project-byte-sized-cloud-design-principles-and-architectural-recommendations/

This is a great way for YOU to contribute to the Citrix global knowledge share without having to write a whole book! Trust me- books are hard

Submit here before the deadline to be featured. https://christiaanbrinkhoff.com/form

New CUGC Redesign and CUGCY Awards

If you haven’t noticed already- the Citrix User Group Community has overhauled the web site to be a little more modern and knowledge-focused.

You may also want to take note of some our CTXPro Community featured as winners of this year’s CUGCY awards! https://www.mycugc.org/community/cugcy-awards/2018/2018-content-awards

Of special highlight is the Community Member of the Year – Stephanie was a huge support to me and I miss her. She died unexpectedly last month – a huge loss to Citrix, the CTP and especially CTA communities.

Citrix Tech Zone

In the “Finally” moment for the last 6 months or so, Citrix TechZone is finally live. This project has been a long time coming; community-driven but Citrix-Validated content that fills in the gaps of documentation with some of my favorite things: Real World experience meeting a standard methodology of Learn, Design, Build.

For example, I have some work to do validating for myself some updates to my eBook Chapter 3. Have a look at some updates to Leading Practices in the Design topic for Single Server Scalability: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/tech-zone/design/design-decisions/single-server-scalability.html

New for this month is a new web shortcut that will get you to the homepage wherever it may roam: https://techzone.citrix.com

What’s New with DJ

Mostly for me- I am focused on #CitrixHero Week and the new CitrixHero Subscription service (see below). But there’s a few other things as well!

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

One of the things that will be different in 2019 is I intend to do a lot more speaking and webinars. Here’s a glimpse of what is coming up (dates are tentative, of course):

What’s New with CTXPro.com

Call for Guest Blogs

Have some things to say? Advice to give? Have no desire to run your own blog or want to take advantage of an existing growing platform? Have your own blog and want to get more exposure?

We are very flexible for topics, length and may even have upcoming opportunities for affiliate promotions! Contact DJ either via email or Direct Message on Twitter @TheCitrixCoach

Survey

We still need your help shaping the future of CTXPro.com! Take 10 or so minutes to fill out our survey and as always feel free to get us feedback by replying to the newsletter or sending DJ a message directly!

Citrix Coaching

For those of you in our Group Coaching program – here are the next few dates for sessions. If you are interested in joining, Group Coaching is a ‘Cohort’ based program where we support each other in challenges we are facing in our careers and help each other with specific questions about the current topics discussed in the membership or elsewhere. DJ leads the 90 minute sessions and gives additional support while guiding the discussion. Discount and voucher coupons are often made available, however anyone can join for $210 per session.

Next Group Coaching dates

https://secure.acuityscheduling.com/appointments.php?action=editAppointmentType&id=8592582#

  • 6:00pm Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • 4:00pm Friday, March 8, 2019

DJ is available for group and individual coaching now. Group sessions are limited to 10 people per session. Schedule your session with a 25% deposit today! 

Celebrating Community Wins

I want to highlight a few wins in our membership and coaching program! Of course I’m not using names for the time being, though I am seeking more testimonials to publish! The most exciting part is that coaching is WORKING and I love to hear these stories of others having more satisfaction in their life and careers with Citrix as the means to an end!

  • One of our members is starting a whole new career path and thanks to our sessions now has a clear path forward
  • Another got some clarity about their consulting business with clear next steps to take as a result of a group coaching session
  • One of our first coaching members has started a new position and has found new confidence, leapfrogging months and perhaps years of what could have been a stalled career
  • A very exciting development from one client- as part of their overall career strategy, they talked to their management and got a promotion! They are on their way to literally creating a job position that doesn’t even exist today. How cool is that?

 

Giving Back!

10% of all revenues at CTXPro’s parent company, Eshelman Enterprises, Inc goes to charity.

DJ and his wife had a chance to serve at the charity that our members and coaching clients are supporting for Winter 2018/2019 – One Generation Away. OneGenAway is trying to end world hunger within this generation. By distributing food both domestically in the US and internationally, this group is taking a smart approach (using both donations, purchases and food that would normally be thrown away) to end world hunger. A noble effort we are proud to support. Here’s a message from their founder to YOU!

To keep track of CTXPro’s charity giving- go to https://ctxpro.com/givingback 

What’s New With CitrixHero.com

CitrixHero Founding Members Launch

I have spent a lot of time, effort and money learning a new skillset this past year: How to develop a world-class membership site! As I look back on the process, I’m amazed at all I’ve learned and those I’ve already been able to help. It’s been worth it. You’re worth it! And we’re going to do great things together if you’re with me!

What is the CitrixHero Subscription?

I want to cure a very specific problem I see in just about every single environment in which I perform an assessment: Lack of Confidence in Citrix Leading Practices.
Seriously- if these are things that everyone should know… why don’t they? I think it’s because we have gotten into a bad habit of only looking for what to do right when it’s too late or you are in a crisis. Well, what if you don’t know what to look for? What if not everything was a crisis but rather all bits of a puzzle that work together as a whole?

Most of you may have noticed when you downloaded the CitrixHero ebook, I emailed you follow ups slowly. This is a method I have discovered which is based around two core concepts:

  1. I don’t want you to get overwhelmed. One thing at a time, with intense focus that you just won’t find on a blog… but with more time to absorb, ask questions and implement than with a course. I think it’s the perfect balance.
  2. You are not searching for the information- I’m instructing you over time, strategically. You’re learning proactively, not reactively which means more time at home, less time stressed out on Sev1 calls- because you are being coached along the way and have confidence in what you’re doing that you never had before.

And the good news is- you can help me!

Subscription service enrollment opens Feb 11th. Those that sign up before the end of the month will have the distinction of being my Founding Members- a permanent badge you can wear with pride!

Visit https://ctxpro.com/membership to learn more about the current options, but attend any #CitrixHero week webinar or live session for a very special bonus that will expire at the end of the week!

Member Portal

Members- I have good news! Very soon we’ll be launching an online portal that will contain all of the materials, lessons and deliverables! No more trying to remember where that tip was in your email or how to find the eBook or other resources. Find them anywhere anytime; for paid subscribers and members in good standing.

CTXPro.com Tool of the Month

This month I’m highlighting of the finest tools that the serious Citrix Engineer can have in their toolbox to validate a design still meets with current expectations for performance: LoginVSI’s Load Testing software.

LoginVSI has been the defacto standard in load testing for quite some time now, and for good reason. They are one of the only solutions that focus on the user experience, not just the application response times as others have. But more importantly, LoginVSI simulates as much of a load as it possibly can to observe when the user experience starts to suffer.

The reason this is important is that it eliminates guesswork; you have the ability to simulate specific workloads in either Desktop, Shared Desktop or Application resources against your current configuration to outline how the system will perform under load. I’m often shocked to hear the kinds of things people heard that they never knew would be a bottleneck. The most common is probably when people discover that load on file servers is more of a bottleneck for them, when they were just ‘throwing CPUs at the problem’ the whole time.

Armed with this information, you can do great things and truly be the Citrix Hero! But LoginVSI has other tools as well to help tune and monitor the user experience that I think are well worth your time to look at.

*Author’s note- these observations are my own and not a paid endorsement of any kind.

*whew*!

That’s all we have time for this month. Make sure you join me for #CitrixHero Week! Please do share with your social network; I really do need your help to get the word out!

Cheers!

-DJ Eshelman, Founder

CTXPro Newsletter – December 2018 / January 2019

CTXPro Newsletter – December 2018 / January 2019

News You Can Actually Use

Happy Holidays!

This month, we’re reviewing 2018 with a few quick updates at Citrix to tell you about as well. This one is more about us and less about Citrix. We’ll beg your forgiveness this time around!

Here’s what you can expect in this month’s Newsletter:

What’s New with Citrix

After the release of the super-important LTSR 7.15 Cumulative Update 3, this month has seemed very quiet from Citrix… so we’ll have news from them and from CUGC to fill in some of the space!

  • Synergy. Citrix Synergy will be in Atlanta, GA USA from May 21-23. I not only plan to be there, but I really hope to put together the first CTXPro Meetup while I’m there! I will keep an eye out for opportunities to get you there as much as I can.
  • CVAD 1811. If you are on the Current Release or Cloud cycles for Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly XenApp/XenDesktop) Version 7 1811 has been released. Building on some fairly big changes in 1808, this new version has integrated a lot more customer feedback. Here’s what I’m excited about among the new features:
    • Granular Reboots – a new Catalog Functional Level is required to take advantage of some restart scheduling that many of us have been begging for since 7.0! How this will be done is by allowing Delivery Groups based on these newer catalogs to apply tags to machines individually and apply the reboot schedules that way in the Studio GUI. If that sounds familiar to you, you probably remember something like this in XenApp 6.0 and 6.5. Keep in mind the default will still be 7.9 functional level so you need to make some changes to your Machine Catalogs to take advantage of the new features.
    • Director – You’ll get a much more in-depth view of the logon process including profile sizes and number of files. Also- if you are using Citrix or VMware hypervisors, you’ll see vital alerts there as well (for Premium license holders). For those using Real Time Optimization Pack (Skype) you’ll see some very valuable information there. Application probing has also been improved.
    • Graphics improvements galore – DPI matching for Windows 10 is a big deal, especially for those with high-resolution displays under about 14″.
    • HDX improvements – client drive mapping and overall throughput have been massively improved. Also, up to 8 displays can be included in the overall virtual display layout with DPI scaling or matching (this has been a pretty significant challenge for many customers in the finance space, for example.)

    Read more about the new features in this Citrix Blog Post.

  • Browser Content Redirection in 7.15 CU3 – Not to be confused with URL redirection, this newer iteration of what was introduced in 7.16 and enhanced in 1808 and 1811. This added plugin installer allows you to basically replace what is being rendered on-screen from your VDA’s web browser with content coming from your local endpoint. As you can imagine there is a host of caveats and things that can go wrong, and it is unusual that Citrix released a feature into a Cumulative Update (way to stand your ground, Citrix… snark)… but this is significant for those that have been struggling with users watching News sites, YouTube, Facebook or training videos that stress the servers past the point of being viable for more than a few logged in. The key difference with Redirection as opposed to URL redirection is that you have the ability to send data thru the ICA channel to be rendered locally. The key difference here is that with URL redirection, the local browser takes over completely so your local endpoint requires access to the internet or wherever the content is coming from. This is not ideal in many scenarios, so having the VDA sending the data stream it is downloading to the endpoint to be rendered is often idea.
    *Important: this does require that the Windows Media Redirection policy is enabled. I have been seeing a lot of issues with this lately especially in Server 2016. So please do a lot of testing before you enable BCR!
  • Masters Retreat. My friend and CTP Fellow Steve Greenberg, along with the Phoenix Metro CUGC are hosting a “Masters Retreat” in Scottsdale, AZ (USA) on May 3-5th. I have the honor of kicking things off with a Master Class on Citrix Leading Practices. I’ll review the do’s and don’ts that I encourage as an Architect and Consultant. You’ll leave this session armed with over 15 years of high-end consulting knowledge that I’ve used at dozens of the Fortune 50 companies. For me to do this in person at your organization would cost well over $6000. But if you attend the Masters Retreat… you’ll get it for free. But wait- there’s more! My friend Patrick Coble is ALSO giving a master class on VDI Security Best Practices that you do NOT want to miss. But the fun thing is… this is just the warm up! The conference itself will be full of breakout sessions, networking times and we are even talking about a Motorcycle Ride that I know Patrick and myself will definitely be doing. So bring your leather and your swimsuit!
    Sign up today and you’ll get access to the CUGC sponsored special rate of $750 (first come, first served- there’s a limited number of seats available). Learn more here.

Since it’s the season of ‘year-end reviews’ a HUGE change at Citrix has been naming conventions. Citrix felt that it needed to unify the branding so that “Citrix” was always the first word you saw, then a more apt (non-branded) description of the product itself. This was not without challenges and very VERY heated discussions between CTAs, CTPs and Citrix… but in the end I have to admit I’m starting to like the direction; even though I have had to massively rebrand myself! [I was going by “XenMaster” as a snarky handle for email, Twitter and more. This change actually forced some improvement on my part by re-branding myself as “TheCitrixCoach” instead. I think that better reflects my viewpoint, but I have a huge appreciation for Citrix’s challenges here!]

In Case You Missed It, here’s the rundown of branding changes in 2018:

Citrix Branding Changes in 2018

Is NowWas Previously
Citrix Virtual Apps and DesktopsXenApp and XenDesktop
Citrix Workspace appIncorporates Citrix Receiver and extensive enhancements
Citrix SD-WANNetScaler SD-WAN
Citrix Secure Web GatewayNetScaler Secure Web Gateway
Citrix GatewayNetScaler Unified Gateway
Citrix Content CollaborationShareFile
Citrix Files for WindowsShareFile Desktop App, ShareFile Sync, ShareFile Drive Mapper
Citrix HypervisorXenServer
Citrix ProvisioningCitrix Provisioning Services

Source: https://docs.citrix.com/en-us/citrix-virtual-apps-desktops/whats-new.html

Look for some articles in the new year from me that outline more of the changes and my thoughts on what to expect in the coming year. Too much for this newsletter, I’m afraid!

What’s New with DJ Eshelman

The holiday season has found me metaphorically burning the candle at both ends. While I have been making strides with figuring out ways to better connect with you all and am in the process of building out systems to help you understand and grow your Citrix knowledge and career, this is not without its challenges! I am investing heavily in this process behind the scenes, to go much deeper than just offering another blog. Investing time, investing money.

But eventually, I knew the time would come when I would need to pause and ‘refill the tank’ with some consulting work, and that is what I am doing for the next few months. So, while this means I’ll be producing a little less content it does not mean I’m done by any stretch. What I love about being an independent consultant is the ability to say the finest word I know how to say: “no.” I can politely turn down work (even some that pay really well) to focus strategically when I feel it’s important.

For me- I’m in this for two big things:

  1. Giving back to the Citrix community in my unique ways without having my family starve. I know I can only do so much with the ‘blog on the side’ thing while I travel the planet doing consulting work. I also know I can’t keep up the consulting side forever. Like many things- you can only really do one thing really well, or do two things kind of well. I have a lot of dreams for this!
    • A YouTube Channel
    • A more immersive blog experience where your real questions are answered
    • Live Q&A sessions
    • Monthly Best Practices updates
    • Unique courses teaching skills you don’t get from the ‘official’ curriculum
    • An exclusive and vibrant community full of folks who want to help each other grow in their careers and celebrate their wins
  2. Learning how to build a structure from this effort that will be self-sustaining by the end of 2020. I have come to realize that if I can make this a focus, I’ll be able to do a lot more with it- so that is my intention! I’m sure a lot of people will think of this as me wanting to ‘profit from’ the community but the honest truth is I’d make more money by continuing consulting work as a focus.
    What I’m envisioning will take more than just myself doing it. I will need a staff of people to coordinate all the content and communications. I don’t want a second-rate solution for you. I want to give you the best possible experience and tools so you are successful.
    I’ll talk more about this below but I also don’t want this to be all about me! I’ll be looking for more effective ways for YOU to have a platform to share and be rewarded for helping others learn!

If this sounds big- it is because it IS big. We took some time away recently in Kauai, Hawaii as a company retreat… some of the things that are coming up out of that time to brainstorm and strategize have me so excited I can barely sleep!

But you will be seeing me making some offerings soon. Rather than rely on sponsors, we will be offering you valuable content you won’t be able to get anywhere else.

Looking Back at 2018

2018 may have seemed quite honestly like a bit of a boring year for Citrix. And looking back… it kind of was. Citrix is releasing so much so frequently that it doesn’t have the ‘flash’ it once did. Personally, I think that is a good thing.

For DJ and the team here, probably the biggest news is that there is a team here! I (DJ) have brought on a few part time folks to help out with the efforts behind the scenes of building things out. But I’m jumping ahead. The first and probably most important thing is how the year started; with a survey.

In early 2018 I began getting feedback from people as to what would be most valuable to them in learning Citrix as a technology. What I came away with was somewhat of a shock but what I took on as a mission: It wasn’t just about learning Citrix. People want to learn how to be successful in their careers centered around Citrix. The words “I want to do what you have done” came up more than once which was both scary to me and humbling. Of course, I don’t feel successful a lot of the time. To understand that, you need to know my definition of success which is that I have left it better than I found it. I mean, yeah, I drive a paid off BMW and work when I feel it is important to do so rather than out of a sense of need… but that isn’t success to me. Success for me comes from what I leave behind- and that is what scared me.

What scared me was knowing that just simply writing or teaching someone how to run a technology was not good enough. It took a lot more than that for me, and I know it will for you as well.

I shifted my focus from releasing content based on learning the technology and started focusing on how I could encourage people to be successful in the manner I define above. This led me to re-read a few of the survey responses from that view point and I found something that has defined 2018. Survey respondents and those that I talked to after really felt abandoned. They felt that just taking a bootcamp or a course wasn’t really benefiting them long term. They were busy. They had other things they were responsible for. Sound familiar?

But… how could I address this? I went to my methodology: Understand, Plan, Change, Maintain.

Understand

As a Citrix Technology Advocate of the Citrix User Group Community I felt I had a certain duty but also access to a few more resources than many. To Understand, I went to my consulting background. I started looking at the gaps.

Please don’t misunderstand me in this- I love CUGC and well over 10% of my time each month goes towards supporting that community and I’m looking to increase that. But while there is a great reach and good numbers of people in the community, there isn’t really much that can be done to address this in a webinar, quarterly local meeting or blog posts. There is a wealth of knowledge at CUGC. If you’re not a member you really need to be. Get active and you’ll learn things every month. But unfortunately as it is driven by volunteer time, it is hard to set a kind of curriculum (at the moment). But also, the wider platform makes individual or group mentorship very difficult. I came to see that there was a gap in growing people’s careers in the ways my survey was indicating. Frankly, I needed to think smaller but not locally for this. I needed an online platform that could grow a community. One that would not conflict but could proactively and privately mentor individuals from where they currently were to where they wanted to actually go in their careers.

Plan

Armed with this assessment- I began forming a plan to address this. What I first realized was that I had a lot to learn and I had to look outside the tech world to find it. I have spent 2018 immersed in learning about building community/membership sites, online courses, public speaking and how to build out an email list. I put a lot into this- in fact, I have not only earned half of what I normally do in a year in 2018 – I actually dipped into my savings in order to be able to take the time and invest in learning more. I call it ‘tuition money’ but that is how serious I am about doing this. Between money spent on courses, conferences and other material and of course time I would normally be spending on consulting… the bill is approaching six figures for the year. But I’m having a blast learning all of this! Of things to invest in… this is far more rewarding than just accumulating wealth. But as you can imagine I came to an unfortunate conclusion: I can’t run this kind of structure for free and I don’t feel right structuring on sponsored content. So I turned to what others have done and found some exciting ways to offer my mentorship, coaching and teaching to you in ways that are affordable, actionable and operate at YOUR pace.

Change

I have put together what I call the Five Pillars of my business. They are:

  • Content (Blog, Video, Audio and Books)
  • Community (supporting free communities while building a premium membership-based community)
  • Courses (online and when practical in-person learning)
  • Coaching (one-on-one and group coaching – directed time with me for advancing your career or getting you ‘unstuck’ … available NOW at CitrixCoach.com)
  • Consulting (Direct Statement of Work or outcome-based work for businesses and ‘white label’ services)

I feel this structure will find you where you are and equip you fully to be the most successful you can be in your career using Citrix as the vehicle to get there.

Maintain

Just like any system, what you should be seeking is a balance between steady state and identifying when further Understanding leading to Change is required. Because of that, I’m taking steps beyond what is typically expected of a blog and quite regularly taking time to gather usage metrics (who’s clicking on what interest areas), where my readers are in their career, and of course how I can help fill the gaps between all the great education and expert blogs that are already out there!

Please take a moment and fill out my Winter 2018/2019 Survey now so I can better serve and meet you where you are!

Looking to 2019 – CTXPro.com and CitrixHero.com

CTXPro Membership

The first major change to CTXPro will be to add a membership community element. Watch for more of this in the month to come as we come out of beta. The membership is based on a few key elements:

  • Success Lanes. I don’t view ‘career paths’ in Information Technology as being as static as people often represent them to be. Not all Administrators want to become Architects. Many Engineers are called to do the design work of an Architect for a few weeks out of the year but they don’t carry the title because they have other work to do. So I view these not as paths but as ‘lanes’ that you merge in and out of in the course of your career. My job is to make sure you are able to be successful in each lane. So it is all about building up your confidence for each lane. The reason we do this as an ongoing membership is so that I can give you in-depth knowledge as changes happen. Courses can’t cover this rapidly enough, so we cover what you need to know as it comes up- but just that! This is meant to supplement and update courses without that frustrating need to sit through things you already know.
  • Member Support. Key to an ongoing community is support. Not just when you are stuck with a technical challenge and want to address people that understand you- but also in your career as a whole. So we conduct live group coaching and Q&A calls, have a Slack channel and even have mentoring available. Members get discounted one on one coaching as well.
  • Extended Learning. Members will get early access to courses I’m developing and discounted Cohort-style Premium in-depth Courses (going thru the same course with a group over the period of a few months with group support). There will even be membership panels with exclusive access to experts and private hangouts and in-person events to be able to grow with others.

CTXPro Guest Posts and Questions Answered

I am opening up CTXPro.com to guest bloggers! There is a lot of work to do in order to fill in the understanding gap in End User Computing in general, Citrix especially. With a fast-moving technology and such a vibrant community, I am excited to bring others in to provide their perspective and content. It’s why I’ve from day one called this the site for “Citrix Professionals” and transitioned away from my personal site for this information. If you are interested… let me know!

I’m also hoping sometime in mid-2019 to start responding to your questions! I get a lot of questions in consulting and I’ve started surveying people to better understand how I can help you. My hope is to start a kind of video blog series responding to your unique questions. It will be a fun way to give back in ways that you are actually asking for! I have gotten a lot of fun questions such as “How do I explain Citrix to my company?” that I think are a great fit for this sort of platform instead of things like courses and such.

Speaking of- I’d like your feedback! Please fill out this survey to help me better understand your needs and your questions!

Citrix Hero

Community isn’t a focus for everyone. Sometimes you just need to get the ‘inside scoop’ from those in the field that are doing this for a living. You need to know what the experts recommend… but that is sometimes hard to find if you don’t know you need to look for it.

So, I’ve devised a way to bring those expert leading practices directly to you, delivered as a subscription. The most common thing I hear during assessments is “I didn’t know we needed to do that.”
This subscription is how you’ll learn these things – only with three major benefits:

  1. It doesn’t cost as much as attending courses (in fact, much of the information is free!)
  2. It saves you time by not having to search.
  3. It keeps you from getting overwhelmed by focusing on just one thing per month.

Here’s how it will work:

Each month we will choose a topic. These are typically based on recommendations consultants like myself make on a regular basis, but can also include what are assumed to be common practices in the enterprise but may not be as universal because there isn’t an understanding of why they need to be there. Once the topic is chosen, a few key things happen:

  1. A blog post is put out either on citrixhero.com or ctxpro.com which describes the topic, why it’s important for you to do something and where possible. a brief overview of how you can address it on your own with links to read through. As we grow, my intention is to also release a video on the topic.
  2. Email subscribers will get a link to the blog and some additional information ‘unlocked’ in many of the blog posts where feasible. Subscription to the email list is free.
  3. Basic members will be sent a PDF document both via email and as part of a member portal page. This document is meant to be a chapter in an annual eBook, expanding on my current “Top 3 Practices” eBook. If you haven’t gotten my free eBook yet, what are you waiting for? Register at https://ctxpro.com/Top3. As for new content- treated as a new chapter, the document will have full details about what you need to know to successfully implement the topic at hand. But there are also some guidelines for requirements and overall difficulty, importance and user impact for each topic.
  4. Premium Citrix Hero subscribers, however, get way more. They’ll get a guidance video later in the month where I guide them through the aspects of the topic from Understand, Plan, Change and Maintain. But there will also be a monthly Q&A session (live or recorded) to make SURE they are successful.

Have a suggestion for us to consider? I’d love to hear about it!

There is more coming with courses and such but I am first focused on building these two!

CTXPro.com Tool of the Month

As I mentioned in chapter one of my Top 3 eBook, Optimizing the Operating System is a step that when not performed, wastes compute resources and costs your organization quite literally money per user for no reason. Just because the defaults are meant for the general population, not for server based computing. Up until recently, this meant a lot of scripting and manual effort. But Citrix gave the greenlight recently for a project called Optimizer. I mention Optimizer 1 in my book. It is a very easy way to do the same recommendations in a graphical interface, meaning you will be able to easily fine tune the optimization settings that are appropriate for your specific environment. More importantly, you can do them quickly. This is something I get passionate about because I have seen so many people struggle with this or ignore it completely for FAR TOO LONG.

This month, I have to bring up the Citrix Optimizer 2.0. While I knew about it going into writing my eBook, it wasn’t quite ready for release. That all changed this month when Martin and crew released the very aptly versioned Optimizer 2.0 to the public.

I am super proud of the team that is behind this, but most notably Martin Zugec. The guy is not only very kind and generous with his time, but he’s too humble to truly acknowledge how much of a community powerhouse he really is. Optimizer is something I have longed to see happen for well over a decade. For Citrix to finally put some backing behind what was previously a poorly thrown-together series of scripts (as well as an unfortunately distributed series of GPO templates that had the Citrix Consulting name on them).

Here’s what’s new in Optimizer 2.0.

  • Build Your Own Templates – this has been vastly improved from the previous need to play with XML files. For consultants like me, that’s a pretty big deal but it also makes it very easy to deploy across an organization where settings need to change (for example, some may need to turn off Search, while other use cases need it enabled).
  • Template Marketplace – Select purpose-driven templates from Citrix, CTPs, CTAs and other Citrix Heroes! This is a really key thing in my mind because it breaks people out of what I call “whitepaper thinking” where what was written in a whitepaper becomes somehow law. Whitepapers are supposed to call out what works in a very specific situation. By allowing templates to be created for special scenarios, you can quickly choose the best option for your specific needs.

Download the Optimizer 2.0 now: https://support.citrix.com/article/CTX224676

That’s all for this month. I hope you all had a good 2018 and are looking forward to a fantastic 2019! What goals do you have for the new year? Tell me about them! I’d love to get a Twitter conversation going!
CTXPro Newsletter – November 2018

CTXPro Newsletter – November 2018

Greetings, and welcome to the first monthly newsletter for CTXPro.com! Though I’ve sporadically sent newsletters, I thought it was time for a new format and more regularity! So you can look for these around the first week of each month going forward. My intention is to let you know what is going on with me, with Citrix and feature new tools of interest. I hope you enjoy it!

Folks, this is a big update. Lots of stuff going on. Here’s the November Newsletter Summary so you can reference back later or skip ahead.

  • What’s New with Citrix
    • Citrix CVAD LTSR 7.15 CU3 Released (and what you need to know)
    • Citrix CVAD 7 1808.2 Released
    • Citrix Cloud Updates
    • Citrix NetScaler Updates
  • What’s New with DJ Eshelman (spoiler- it’s a lot!)
  • What’s Up with You (Reader Survey 2018 – if you do nothing else please help me with this one!)
  • CTXPro.com Tool of the Month – eGInnovations’ free Logon Simulator

(more…)

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