Day 2 at Citrix Synergy
Synergy was a very busy time for me. So much so that my intention to do daily blogs... didn't happen.
So- here's a 2 in one with an added wrap up bonus!
For those that don't know- Citrix is talking about themselves and what they are doing on stage exactly once, the first day's Keynote. The second two days had Super Sessions with leadership personalities outside of even the tech world. Think of it as a value-add for your conference ticket. The sessions were not streamed live, you had to be there to hear them.
Synergy Super Session: Dr. Condoleezza Rice
I love the matter-of-fact way that Dr. Rice speaks. I always have, in fact. "It may feel like the tectonic plates are shifting under our feet... That is because... They are." That little nod to yesterday's earthquake got everyone listening.
Dr. Rice talked about her remarkable early life. About not being a victim... world politics... leadership qualities and what everyday kindness really look like. But her perspectives on modern security I think took the center stage. And let's be honest, she would know. She talked about how rather than attacking from the front as we expect- modern bad actors come from the side; causing disruption rather than directly assaulting.
Talking about Powers Acting Badly... I have rarely thought about how Disruption is their biggest weapon. Guess what? You need to be aware and ready because the days of physical disruption are gone. #cybersecurity #citrixsynergy
— DJ Eshelman (@TheXenMaster) May 9, 2018
The speech was followed by an onstage chat with Tim Minahan. Dr. Rice said she didn't want to run for President; she understands too much of what goes into it I guess. Still, we were all disappointed to hear she wouldn't try!
Principles to live by per Dr Rice: (1) be twice as good, you will be confident (2) never be a victim, you lose control (3) don’t take on others’ prejudice - they don’t want to sit next to you because you are different, they can move #citrixsynergy https://t.co/tNyDS7Xi0s
— David Le Strat (@dlestrat) May 9, 2018
Lunch Table Tech Chats
After some much needed herbal tea to soothe my very sore throat (I had great broadcast voice in the morning but it was difficult to get the volume needed) I headed to lunch to talk with more people about Application Delivery.
— DJ Eshelman (@TheXenMaster) May 9, 2018
Right after grabbing a Lego Mini-Fig for my wife of course...
The afternoon was great- I attended a few sessions and volunteered at the Citrix User Group Community booth once again. On Day 2 we had ALREADY run out of most shirt sizes and were reduced to handing out "Extra Large and Extra Larger" shirts to folks!
The evening for me was quite good. I went to a Citrix Sales appreciation dinner, where oddly enough I didn't really talk with any sales folks at all- but did have several GREAT conversations about where people are in their Citrix journey- even some heart touching stories from some folks that will be joining us in the CTXPro Membership when it launches! Connecting with people is why I went to Synergy.
Ready for the shocker? I was in bed by 11 pm! Either I'm getting older or wiser... or both.
Synergy Day 3 in pictures...
Synergy Day 3
Day 3 started with spending an hour with Michael Lewis- renowned author of books like Moneyball and The Blind Side. I think his talk fed well into Citrix's announcement regarding how they were moving forward in Analytics.
How when the stock market spent millions to quite literally shorten the distance of fiber optic links because they couldn't click fast enough, the need for seeing ahead into things we didn't know before is important.
— DJ Eshelman (@TheXenMaster) May 10, 2018
— DJ Eshelman (@TheXenMaster) May 10, 2018
But more important is that we are now getting answers to questions we didn't even know we had. From finding the cause of behavior of overworked cops to weather, analytics are a part of our story. Why is this important? "You can't change the decision maker but you can change the decision making environment."
Oh- and you may be wondering, why so many tweets? If you were following me you know that I used the #citrixsynergy tag a lot. It was because with every one, a dollar was being donated to STEM programs. Over $51,000 was donated! That's a lot of tweets!
The morning was again filled with sessions, and I even took the opportunity to do a very brief Facebook Live for my Facebook Group (which you should totally join!) before a well-attended session on multi-datacenter setups.
After the final day of Tech Chats, the CUGC leaders that were at Synergy gathered for a training session in how to conduct effective meetings. It was extremely useful and I can't wait to put some of what we learned into practice!
— Citrix User Group Community (CUGC) (@myCUGC) May 10, 2018
The rest of the afternoon for me was spent in Synergy Park attending to the CUGC table once again, until the final night party at House of Blues!
If I'm not listening to Metal or Hard Rock- I'm playing Blues. Sometimes, literally. So I was right up front at House of Blues! Great show (though the line to get in was a bit ridiculous, and it took forever to get any food!)
The evening was great; a bunch of CTAs and CTPs found their way to a corner bar and chatted the night away. Great memories with old and new friends. Great to get to know Neil Spellings a bit more; we ended up walking back together as we both had early flights! Fitting, since we're both known for our Synergy prep guides - but neither of us talked about them.
The next morning - insanely early - I boarded a plane home, after a chat with my buddy Carl Webster. By the way- I'm just going to say if you haven't done so already - support his website! There's a donation button. Do it!
Citrix Synergy 2018 Summary
So- the common question: Did you have a great Synergy this year?
And the answer is of course yes. Even if it wasn't as well attended, I always enjoy Anaheim more than Vegas or Orlando - but this was the first year I was there representing not a company or a sponsor... but YOU.
That's right- I was sent to Synergy as a Citrix Technology Advocate, and I did my best to do just that. I met so many more people this year than I have in years past. I gave out over 150 cards, interacted with folks on Twitter and of course the Lunch Table Tech Chats and CUGC events.
So- what am I hearing?
There remains confusion about Citrix products from a NAMING standpoint, not a 'what it does' standpoint. Though it was heavily downplayed at Synergy, Citrix did announce some changes to the portfolio on their website. This does away with several names - most notably "Xen" and "NetScaler" but also "ShareFile". A few of these I'm okay with, a few not so much if I'm being honest. I was ready to give up Xen. But honestly NetScaler and Sharefile were fine from a market alignment standpoint. What they were not fine with however is a name that identifies what it does. And that is essentially what Citrix is after. Each new product name will contain "Citrix" and then a brief description of what it does.
Here's a rundown of what to expect:
This will be a category that will encompass several technologies formerly known as either "Workspace Suite" or "XenDesktop" along with some new things.
- Citrix Workspace App - announced at Synergy, this expands the capabilities of Receiver to include apps, files and even some analytics and security capability. I haven't been this excited since Dazzle. Ask me about it later...
- Citrix Content Collaboration = ShareFile
- Citrix Endpoint Management = XenMobile (Secure Mail and Secure Web apps remain unchanged in name)
- Citrix Secure Browser = XenApp secure browser
- Citrix Hypervisor = XenServer
- Citrix App Layering = Unidesk
- Citrix Virtual Apps = XenApp
- Citrix Virtual Desktops = XenDesktop
This will be the most controversial, but when you think about it will be the most challenging to change from a technical product standpoint. Bottom line- a few of these software-based items will be easy. But don't expect Citrix to be sending out new physical NetScalers to replace yours.
- Citrix ADC = NetScaler ADC
- Citrix SD-WAN = NetScaler SD-WAN
- Citrix Web Firewall = NetScaler App Security, App Firewall and Web App Security
- Citrix Gateway = NetScaler Unified Gateway AND NetScaler Access Gateway
- Citrix Application Delivery Management = NetScaler MAS
- Citrix Secure Web Gateway = NetScaler Secure Web Gateway
- Citrix Intelligent Traffic Management = Cedexis Platform
So- many people missed the Cedexis acquisition. I have to admit that I'm having trouble with where it fits into the core sometimes but here's the thing: Think of how many apps your company uses today. Now tell me how many of those are either SaaS (either Web browser or web-delivered like Office 365) or has components that tie in that way? So, while this makes some sense- I can give you a perspective from attendees that came to my Tech Chat table... people don't think of SaaS as "Applications". Citrix, if you're listening- changing what "App Delivery" means is something people don't seem to be ready for. Everyone who came to my tables wanted to talk about XenApp.
But Xen's dead baby. Xen's dead.
This new cloud-based capability was actually one of the more exciting new features- because of what it can do for security and support. I'll go into this in another post because there is a LOT here. Needless to say, I'm excited to finally see this come about.
- Citrix Analytics for Networking
- Citrix Analytics for Workspaces
Oh- let me answer the most popular question: "Will this be Cloud-Only?" The answer is not exactly. On-Premises installs will have a connection agent - however, when you think about what makes this work; an on-prem solution is not going to be practical. This is using real-time analytics across thousands of instances for behavior-based intelligence. If you're struggling with this I'd simply say that you need to stop thinking in terms of DAT files and think in terms of pre-cognition. Knowing a threat exists by what behavioral triggers exist, instead of by looking for the results.
Finally- the question I got over and over again (I mean, other than "you don't look like your picture") was - "Since they are killing Xen ... What are you going to do about your Twitter Handle?"
Well- here's the thing. I have known about this renaming for some time, yes- we were given some special NDA access to this process to give Citrix feedback about it. (We voiced a lot of your concerns, by the way...)
But the reality is that I have been wanting to change "TheXenMaster" for quite some time now. After being called that by someone (I've forgotten who) I decided to run with it. But I'll be honest- it doesn't fit my personality. So I'd been working to find a new persona; one that uplifts and encourages. Unfortunately I couldn't take over the abandoned Twitter username for this, so I kept a definitive modifier out in front once again.
Going forward- I will be on Social Media as @TheCitrixCoach
I have registered this in several places so far:
more to come! I'd encourage you to follow me on any of these outlets!
Whew! I'm tired. I think I'm going to wrap this up and call it another successful Synergy!