CTXPro Newsletter – March 2019

CTXPro Newsletter – March 2019

Citrix-Focused News You Can Actually Use


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!


March Presentation Madness!

March seems to be the month for doing presentations… at least for DJ. Here's what the schedule looks like… so far…

Columbus CUGC – March 5th

The month started with a trip to Columbus, OH to present a few tips to keep the Citrix Consultant away!

Hi there @TheCitrixCoach. Presenting at Columbus @myCUGC pic.twitter.com/jpBHJc4laj— Scott Bowling (@VTScott) March 5, 2019

eGInnovations – 7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Hero

On March 12th, I gave a presentation called “7 Secrets to Becoming a Citrix Superhero” on behalf of eGInnovations. You can register for the replay here. However, I have something special for you to grab before you watch the replay. I've put together a special printable guide you can use to walk thru the presentation! To get this emailed to you along with my Top 3 eBook (if you don't have it already), click here:

XenAppBlog Expo – March 29th

This is going to be an awesome day of knowledge share. And the best part? You don’t even have to leave your home or office to attend! I’ll be giving a report on the 12 “Worst Offenders” or my Dirty Dozen; the things I find most wrong during assessments. Due to the timeframe I’ll be cutting this down to a simple report and offering the full webinar separately. That said check out this lineup of other speakers and sign up!  https://xenappblog.com/agenda/

Other Events

Citrix Hero Program – Live Q&A

For Current Citrix Hero Program members- don't forget we're talking about PVS and MCS performance Friday, March 22nd from noon to 2 Central US!

Nashville CUGC

The Nashville CUGC met on March 15th. It was a great time with my friends from Nutanix joining us.

What's up in April?

April is going to be a big deal! We will re-open the Citrix Hero Program to the public (get on the waitlist here) April 15th. I'm putting together quite the celebration around it which will have even MORE presentations and fun activities to get excited about! Join our email list for those announcements!

We will also be doing a special for Active Directory you won't want to miss!

PVS and MCS Performance: Memory Matters

PVS (and MCS) are amazing – but very often misunderstood – technologies. I have been in the reluctant camp with MCS (Machine Creation Services) mostly because of the huge impacts I have seen PVS (Provisioning Services) have on organizations workflow and performance. For many years the issue I find in the field is that people tend to focus completely on Storage performance with these technologies.

I won't spoil this for you. Storage is a minimal impact compared to the more modern ability to cache in RAM. RAM of the OS is always… ALWAYS faster than your storage can ever be. So while I do hold that Hyperconverged infrastructure does wonders for improving MCS (which has since the beginning suffered from poor read speeds and very poor deployment speeds) nothing improves performance like even a small amount of RAM caching.

But MCSIO (the caching in MCS) is unstable, you say… Only if you don't give it enough to work with and don't properly defragment your system. As I found in recent cases you'll get better results spending on RAM than storage… but let's not jump too far ahead.

This is a teaser article for Chapter 4 of the Citrix Hero Program.
The chapter given to the current subscribers is 19 pages, nearly 7000 words of content. What you see here is more of the “WHY” not all of the how. But I didn't want to leave you completely out in the cold. So I've included some links and other content that I hope will be helpful to you.

So what is the Citrix Hero Program?

Each month we tackle a new leading practice and dive in deep to make sure you understand it.
We have a live Q&A and video lessons to supplement the full chapter.
Members in good standing will have access to key past articles. This means that if you subscribe next month, you'll get access to this full article right away!

Enrollment will re-open in April – I encourage you to try it out then to lock in a special price!

Problem 1 – VDA Performance Lags

Problem Description

User experience suffers, especially later in the day. The problem seems to be worse for Machine Creation Services managed Server VDA hosted Desktops that are open all day long, however MCS Desktop VDAs seem to have similar symptoms. While not as high impact, a similarly configured Provisioning Services (PVS) target device exhibited similar symptoms. System pauses are experienced without subsequent CPU utilization spikes. While OS Optimization helps slightly the overall user experience seems to suffer regardless of how many programs are open. Workspace Environment Manager has helped memory and CPU issues but not solved the overall slowdowns issue.

Troubleshooting Notes

The Administrators note that the problems do seem to increase with additional sessions being active, but cannot explain when the same amount of sessions at an earlier point in the day are not experiencing the slowdowns so they suspect that the number of sessions may not be the primary factor.

Storage Engineers are concerned as IOPS do increase toward the end of the day, but are still way below what the system is rated to perform. A recent move to an all-flash array has not had a noticeable impact so they have encouraged looking more at the programs themselves or that it is a ‘Citrix problem’. Network Engineers report no issues or notable differences between beginning and end of the workday.

Solutions to Test

This problem tends to be caused because either the Cache In RAM with Failover to Disk feature has not been configured or has not been configured with adequate RAM. So… increase the RAM cache if you are experiencing these slowdowns and see if that helps.

Additional Considerations:

  • Defragment the master image prior to deployment
  • Assure Antivirus software does not have scheduled scans for non-persistent MCS or PVS-provided VDAs
  • Properly configure Citrix Optimizer (see Chapter 1 of the Become a Citrix Hero ebook – it's free!)
  • Use Citrix Workspace Environment Manager to control CPU and Memory resource priorities and to free up RAM, especially on Server OS VDAs

Want to go deeper? Every month we take problems just like this and dive deep into the solutions in the Citrix Hero Program. Enrollment opens April 15th.

Problem 2 – PVS Target Device (VDAs) lock up randomly or are slow at times

Problem Description

When PVS Target devices are configured properly (enough Cache, optimizations, etc) users are noting apparent lock-ups which clear after a few seconds. Programs are sometimes slow to load, especially early in the mornings. The problems are often much worse after new vDisk versions are deployed.

Troubleshooting Notes

Monitoring the VDAs indicate no unusual CPU activity- in fact at the times users note issues, Administrators may note that there is little to no CPU activity. Event logs do not indicate any OS configuration issues that are related.

The Citrix team confirmed that caching, optimization and the above recommendations have been configured properly. By further troubleshooting they found that many VDAs are indicating high retries.

Network Engineers note there are no packet loss issues or utilization issues on the network (note- be careful here; I have seen would-be Citrix Heroes not accept this explanation and blame the Network, only to later be embarrassed by the real cause…)

Solutions to Test

One of the most common causes of Retries is actually the PVS server not being able to meet read requests rapidly enough. Most typically this is caused by inadequate RAM on the PVS Server. When vDisks are read Windows Server will automatically cache the data. This reduces reads from disk because the non-persistent VMs are always reading the same data. However, because the cache is FIFO (First In First Out) if the amount of reads exceed the cache, the PVS server must read from it’s vDisk Store. Even with very fast storage, seek times and transfer can cause delays.

Citrix has guidance on how to get started with proper RAM sizing for PVS (see below). A common misconception is that it would be better to have faster storage- in fact some customers use physical hardware or dedicated Flash-Based or RAM-Based storage only to find that the improvement is minimal. RAM is far cheaper a solution. We’ll discuss in far more detail in the main lesson.

Want to go deeper? Every month we take problems just like this and dive deep into the solutions in the Citrix Hero Program. Enrollment opens April 15th.

Resolving PVS and MCS Performance Issues

So- How do you resolve these issues?

Here's a quick summary of what we cover in the rest of this lesson and some helpful links for you.

Problem 1 – VDA

Problem 2 – PVS Server

  • Recommended starting points for PVS (Server) RAM configuration: https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2013/07/03/pvs-internals-2-how-to-properly-size-your-memory/
  • Use Perfmon to identify vDisk reads are coming from disk instead of RAM – make sure your Cache Read Hits % stays above 80%
  • Antivirus scans can kill your performance… even/especially scans on the PVS server
  • Quick Tip: When you update a vDisk first boot a single VM, logon and launch all the programs normally launched; then start/restart other VMs
  • Versioning helps with the caching problem, believe it or not!

Want to go deeper? Every month we take problems just like this and dive deep into the solutions in the Citrix Hero Program. Enrollment opens April 15th.

Don’t Write a Book. Go Byte-Sized.

Don’t Write a Book. Go Byte-Sized.

Introducing the Byte-Sized Book Project

Writing a book is… really hard. But what if you could easily help one be written?

Well, that is exactly the opportunity in front of you!

Instead of writing chapters, editing, more writing, more editing and then distribution, worry, stress and…

okay, I may be relating some personal experience here…

As I mentioned in my February Newsletter – You can participate in a unique project… by submitting just 250 words.

This is the collaborative effort of Christiaan Brinkhoff and Bas van Kaam – the Byte-Sized Book Project.

The question is – do you have something you'd like to say about Cloud design principles, leading practices or even recommended reference builds you'd like to relay to the world? This is your shot to be heard!

This is all about creating value for the community as a whole, but not asking for a ton from each person. I think it's a brilliant approach!

So I encourage you to go for it! But don't wait- the plan is to get the book edited and done in the next few months!

c'mon- 250 words is easy!

Learn a lot more detail here.

Support the project by going to https://www.bookprojectbytesized.com/  – Follow them on Twitter and spread the word!!!


Christiaan Brinkhoff

Giving Back

Giving Back

Did you know that 10% of our revenues go to charity? That means if you have a paid membership, buy our courses or do coaching or consulting with us… 10% goes to a charity each quarter. This is before taxes, before payroll or expenses! It is our commitment to Leaving this World Better than We Found It.

This post will be updated with highlights of what our Citrix Professionals community has been able to do!

Winter 2018-2019

Feeding the Hungry


For this season, we are supporting One Generation Away, an organization dedicated to ending world hunger within our generation.

Here's a message from Chris, founder of One Generation Away – to YOU!

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


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


  • 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.


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!


-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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

Why I Gave Away My Top Citrix Tips

“DJ, why are you giving away your best Citrix Tips?”

This question was asked of me recently- and I didn't hesitate to give an answer. So I think I'll give it to everyone here as a kind of open letter to the Citrix community…

It all has to do with quantity. I seem to give out the same things almost every week, not only in conversation but in my consulting engagements as well (regardless of if I'm representing Citrix, a Reseller or my own consulting company). So I asked myself two questions:

  1. Why do I always seem to be giving the same advice? Is that such a bad thing? It makes my job easier, right?
  2. Are they really that important if people aren't doing them?

Before I get into this behind-the-scenes look (or if you don't really want to know why, you just want my Top 3 tips right now) – click here to register for my free eBook where I give you those and put you on a monthly newsletter with even more tips – free:

Register for the Free eBook & top Citrix tips


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


Going Beyond CYA – Why I Secure Passwords with Dashlane

Going Beyond CYA – Why I Secure Passwords with Dashlane

I started off the day with an extortion letter. Someone managed to grab a password I used 10+ years ago. This person (or possibly even company/country, this email was surprisingly well written) thinks that I'll wire them 7000 USD in Bitcoin to keep them from sending supposedly ‘incriminating' videos to my contacts…. because they have access to my computer and my webcam… yeah, sure.
Clever- but not going to happen. They don't have access to my computer, but they do have my attention!



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