Citrix UK User Group (15th February 2018 Recap)

This year I have decided to become more active in the community, especially around public speaking as this is an area I believe I can grow, and provide potential insights into the engagements I am involved in with CDW and my other activities outside of work.

The first slot this year, I was successfully accepted to present a 45minute slot at the Citrix UK user group with my view on the world of GDPR and its impacts. It was great to see some familiar faces Jim Moyle, Andy Eccles, Neil Spellings, James Rankin, Stuart Robson-Frisby etc. The line-up for the day consisted of the following:

The event started with a Jim Moyle & James Rankin double act covering off the news in the typical well known James and Jim informal chat approach. We also got an insight into the mind-set that would flow through the day around Cats! According to James a large proportion of internet traffic is Cat videos. (I think that’s just his traffic to be honest). Once the news had finished we kicked off with a deep dive with Remko Weijnen.

 

Remko session had some nice facts I would like to share:

So for most organisations it could take more than 4 years to get rid of their legacy applications (if they can afford too). Based on this the concepts of containerised applications, virtual application delivery or even published applications is still going to be needed in the foreseeable future for a lot of organisations. Without these approaches, they will be leaving themselves vulnerable to threats due to out of date software, operating systems etc. Also a nice comment from @shawnbass…

The session was primarily aimed at troubleshooting techniques and toolsets, and one for everyone to takeaway is that windbg is extremely useful (yes… even today) and one of the simplest and useful commands to run with windbg is !Analyze -v. This will create an auto analysis of the crash/exceptions thrown allowing you then to narrow down the fault(s). Remko slides can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/yg5ha1ewvfmh90r/UKCUG%20-%2015022018-0.2.pdf?dl=0

The most interesting sponsor sessions for me was Veridiums view on identity and access management using their 4fingers access approach and biometric authentication. Removing complexity of passwords for users and replacing with facial, finger print or 4fingers auth. I hadn’t come across or seen this technology before and found it extremely interesting. I advise readers to go and take a look at them! Nice youtube video here showing the 4Fingers auth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kH2ikcxvuCs . I particularly like this approach as most businesses provide or consumers have a phone with a camera built in.

Following a quick coffee break, James Rankin (one of the latest CTP members, congratulations) entered the stage covering off a topic we all love and hate “Cats” I mean “folder redirection” and its impacts within workspace environments. The key takeaway is do not use folder redirection for AppData and limit any folder redirection use. James advises utilising mounted VHDs where possible as this provides a better user experience with a lower IO and CPU overhead. Whether this is native using windows or using fs logix, Ivanti etc. One of the interesting videos and tests james conducted was simply right clicking a desktop icon that was folder redirected, when doing this with a high number of files folder redirected to the desktop this would spike CPU and, in some cases, kill the explorer.exe process!

Also, James did some tests with standard roaming profiles and logon times showing as we should be aware that lots of smaller files in profiles will cause issues! See image below.

James also nicely covered off the supported folders that can be used for folder redirection:

When using folder redirection, it will solve one problem but then create another whereby more resource on your environment will be consumed:

This meant that solutions in the market from RES, AppSense, Citrix (UPM) would be used to fix the AppData issue. But these still typically relied on folder redirection.

Now there are other ways of dealing with profiles and folder redirection. For example:

Note that Microsoft user profile disks are supported on RDSH and Windows VDI, it Is activated by WMI, only supports single session and has problems with file locks. This is where the likes of Ivanti, Liquidware, FS Logix, Citrix WEM etc are here to help overcome these issues.

The cat lovers slides can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8vkl6kmd8nkcszc/Folder%20redirection%20and%20the%20Salem%20witch%20trials.pdf?dl=0

Following James we had Matthias Schlimm who covered off the benefits of using BIS-F for automated best practice image sealing. This is a comprehensive framework for sealing your images following best practices from the main vendors such as Citrix, VMware, Microsoft, AV providers etc… I have a number of customers using this framework and find it extremely useful, simple and streamlines the entire process or image management for best practice deployment.

The slides can be found here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/zbzpe8tz69o9u1s/Matthias%20Schlimm%20-%202018_CUGCUK_BIS-F_150218.pdf?dl=0

With doing a session right after lunch, I was feeling full and sleepy never mind the attendees, so I decided to get the audience to stand at the beginning of my presentation to wake them up and to also allow me to gauge what people knew about GDPR. This meant I had them all sat down after 3 questions as planned, otherwise I don’t think they would have been too impressed. The session seemed to get positive feedback and had a few interesting points of view raised during the Q&A, and the round table event at the end of the day.

My session was a little different than everyone else’s (that wasn’t a sponsor) as it wasn’t directly aimed at the Citrix technology stack, which in my opinion breaks the sessions up for attendees. My session covered off:

Please see the slides here for more information: https://www.dropbox.com/s/omzjkf58avg9bz2/kyle%20davies%20-%20CUGC%20-%20GDPR%20Privacy%20Apocalypse.pdf?dl=0

So where can Citrix help with GDPR? In my opinion Citrix can help using their secure digital workspace for contextual based access, centralisation, audit-ability and control. Also bolting on the likes of ShareFile allows organisations to containerise their data access. By centralising and delivering key LOB services from your DC or cloud means you have a small threat footprint in comparison to 100s-1000s physical endpoints distributed throughout the estate.

Other key takeaways from my session were:

  • Don’t use excel for operational and record tracking for the GDPR
  • Technology is a helping hand for the GDPR not the answer
  • You cannot buy your way into compliance
  • 90%+ of the GDPR is people and process!

The highest ranked session of the day was by Al Taylor (slides here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/lalxbqott344bjn/Al%20Taylor%20-%20NS%20SDWAN%20What%27s%20new%2C%20what%27s%20hot.%20UKCUGC%20feb%2018.pdf?dl=0 )

Al’s session as always was very humorous and packed full of content, and this one was aimed at SD-WAN and its benefits, use cases and why your traditional WAN sucks!! I would advise a watch of the session on the recording!

The end of the day covered an open forum from the audience to the speakers of the day covering many topics. This element of the day poises questions, passion and open honest answers on the marketing FUD out there that can confuse people.

Overall a great day and I advise you watching the recorded sessions (https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1858311378842604547)  and download the slides!

See you at the next event!

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