Citrix Technology Exchange 2011 – All about the cloud!

At the same time Apples WWDC 2011 took place, citrix organized a technology exchange event in Munich. This event wasn’t a marketing event as expected, the promised marketing part (about 2,4%) was nearly reached.

I was quite impressed!

keynote – what’s new, better or should I say “cloudier”?

The keynote, presented by Thomas Zell (Director Sales Development, Citrix Systems), was a great overview of what we could expect these 2 days. Besides the general anouncements of a new xenserver, xenapp and xendesktop release everything was in the light of the cloud… which is coming to us very soon according to the citirx system engineers.

Main message from citrix was, why deny access services to the user and let them do on their own (unsecure?!) instead of offer them an own, easy-to-use and secure solution within the enterprise.

seven tracks, seven focuses

We didn’t got bored within these two days cause you always could choose between seven tracks like “datacenter & cloud”, best practice & demonstration”, “architecture & design” or the famous “citrix geek speek”. Every session was provided by at least one citrix system specialist and in some cases there were some special guests or partners such as microsoft engineers or special citrix partners.

Security engineer (formerly known as hacker?!) live @ work

The first session which I’ve visited was all about how to break in an enterprise environment. It was really shocking to see how a hacker could gain access through an “old” web application with simple tools and tricks. The German hacker, he likes the title “security engineer” instead of hacker, had about 5 minutes to break in a web server with an exploit and a bit payload. He could easily connect to  a shell of this server and then gain access to the other servers. Impressive!

After that, a session about troubleshooting a xen/rdp environment was planned. But it was worse than everything before, because the only content was about how to use the citrix analysis tool, very theoretical!

The cloud is everywhere

Main theme which was in almost every session present like a ghost was the cloud. Citrix does really like the possibility of the cloud and how it can be used for our benefits. I’ve decided to look why this cloud should be so awesome that everyone wants it…

Personal cloud, private cloud, enterprise cloud, my head feels cloudy… 😀

The vision of citrix is, that every cloud is about to melt into the others. And instead to restrict our customers/arbeitnehmer we really should show them how to use it and control it centrally to ensure the security. What we’ve seen was citrix apps provided side-by-side with cloud apps such as dropbox, evernote and so on.

On the other side, citrix accomplished whit an open source community called “cloudstack” which is developing an independent platform for cloud architecture which doesn’t care if you mix hardware the hypervisor (xen, hyper-v, vmware) on it. This should the smaller it people help to step aside with the big cloud maker like amazon or Rackspace.

Xenclient 2 – better & mightier

Best idea ever… run a level 1 hypervisor on a notebook an redirect all hardware directly to a vm. Great! We saw a benchmark with about 100 fps 3d graphics running very smoothly…  although citrix is now supporting 3 times more hardware nvidia graphics are still unsupported so I can’t be sure my Macbook pro runs smoothly. sadly it don’t work, but have a look at my post.

All about netscaler

The second day was in the sign of netscaler for me. I barely knew this magic device (citrix marketing!) but it was way too complex to simply set it up and control it. There were two session about netscaler. One which gave a perfect overview of all features of the device, which helps to understand where to place the device in the massive range of network devices. The other sessions focuses on a deployment within a citrix or windows environment and gave more detailed information about the most common features. I’ve learned much, and can’t wait to build a lab to play with all these things.

Conclusion

Two days pure technical was promised and two really informative days have passed. With a bit more marketing than promised but far not the kind of marketing event somewhere else. I’ve learned much about citrix, about future technologies and new abilities to make things easier. Not to forget was the exchange with other participants and the exhibition while these days. Saw plenty new things which needs to try out…