Category: External stuff

That’s the way RES rolls!

From the sideline comments dept. Just before xmas Brian shares his view on what’s important for vendors in relation to Desktop Virtualization. I’m not going to recap his article in total, you can read it here. What I wanted to comment on specifically, is that it’s really nice to have been working with a vendor for 11+ years now, who all along has been doing what the good Dr. Madden orders today! :-) While we originally back in the late ’90s started out being a product only for Terminal Services/Citrix environments, RES products were kept in tune with the times and trends to embrace all windows platforms: Workstations, Laptops and Server Based Computing – what I referred to as tri-platform support back in the day.

With the emergence of virtualization, first on hardware, then later on applications, it was  possible for RES to add 3 more innovative dimensions to that picture:

  1. Early VDI Workspace support: RES Software actually didn’t have to change much, if anything in the Workspace Manager (back in the day known as PowerFuse) to support VDI. As the Workspace Composer runs inside the user’s session, seen from a technical perspective of the product, it’s running on a workstation OS, which just happens to be accessed as a terminal server through RDP, HDX or whatever. In other words, all the goodness which Workspace Manager offered already for Laptops, Physical workstations and Terminal servers, was available for VDI from day one.
  2. First App-V integration: RES was TRUTHFULLY, THE VERY FIRST VENDOR who worked proactively with the Grand-Daddy of all application virtualization technologies, SoftGrid by Softricity – now known as App-V by Microsoft. Since then, we’ve adapted to support pretty much every major App Virtualization platform out there. Application virtualization is an important piece of VDI as it will allow you to have more apps to co-exist in the same image. Using the workspace manager to differentiate access to these apps, you can litterally cut down your VDI configuration to one golden image per operating system. Look out for an article on this topic later.
  3. First Reverse Seamless provider: Back in the day, RES had this little – relatively un-noticed – sidecar utility to the Workspace Manager, known as the RES Subscriber aka Workspace Extender. These were the first implementations of Reverse Seamless Windows. Few people saw the potential early on, but I’d like to highlight a specific video, made by my former colleague Rick Eilenberger, that demonstrates what it was able to do already then in 2007. It was known as the RES Subscriber. The technology later licensed by Citrix, evolved to a stand-alone product, known as VDX. For more information on VDX, go read here.

The only thing we’ve left alone in regards to virtualization, is so called ‘User Virtualization’. This is some sort of horn which the Usual Suspects likes to blow (and do I mean blow… ;-) To my experience, the concept of virtualizing the user makes no sense at all. The user is the only real “object” in the entire getup anyway. Sure, hardware is quite real too, however unlike the behavior of users, it’s behavior is way more predictable, hence virtualizing it is relatively easy in comparison. This is one of the reasons why I believe the idea of redirecting the profile to a database is a flawed concept to begin with. You want as fast and reliable access to your settings to your settings as well as your documents to cater for the user’s sometimes erratic behavior. This is why the RES Workspace Manager was built with purpose to store User Settings in the same manner as User Data is stored; in a location which is unique and readily accessible to the user.

With the ever-growing adaptation of Cloud Computing into the Enterprise space, the profile game is a-changing. Boatloads of other pundits have been describing in vivid detail how users will demand access to their settings virtually anywhere. One way of dealing with this is to provide ACCESS from anywhere to a centralized solution. Citrix have been doing this for well over 20 years. Thing can however quickly become harrowing if changes the user makes should follow them between different infrastructures (different server farms, operating systems or even different laptops). This is where an intelligent and granular approach to handling user settings is required. If you are contemplating storing your settings only in a standard SQL database – or on a fileserver for that matter you are asking for trouble, or at the very least unnecessary complexity. I’ve discussed this previously in this article.

Anyway, while the usual suspects are duking it out on the commentary section over on BM, RES Software is ready to take on the new year. Stay tuned to this blog for even more tidbits and useful info in 2012! Happy new year everybody.

The Ultimate Citrix BuildingBlock

‘Twas a month before Xmas and through the hotel, nothing was stirring… well maybe, except for the 450+ geeks and guru’s who assembled at the Hilton Universal City, Los Angeles for the first major Citrix Technology Exchange event on Dec 2nd 2012. RES Software had been invited as a platinum sponsor of the event. Besides showing our products at the vendor’s tables, we also had a couple of presentation slots. I want to take a moment to specially thank my friend Rick Eilenberger at Citrix for putting this great event together. Be sure to check out his follow-up article here.

During one of the RES Software presentations, I had the pleasure of once again demonstrating the unparalleled awesomeness of the RES Automation Manager. This time I had the good Mr. Luca Lo Castro with me on stage, as he is indeed the evil mastermind behind this latest creation. What we have here is nothing less than one of the most awesome Run Books created for RES Automation Manager yet.  Read more »

0xFF, Lies and Virtual Apps

From the Read-Between-The-Lines Department. Okay, so I got your undivided attention by tweaking an old movie title, didn’t I? Amazing. It seems a strategic lie here and there is all it takes to get peoples attention these days and maybe also their money – I figure I’d give the attention part a try with the headline! :-) The irony is that Lies and Virtual Applications is exactly what’s at the heart of today’s article. Interested? Read more »

December 1st – LA Citrix/RES event!

From the Be-There-or-Be-A-Quad-Sided-Polygon Dept! Los Angeles, December 1st. 2011. A place and time you do not want to miss this year. Citrix Systems and RES Software are getting together to throw the largest UserGroup event yet! There’s be presentations, exhibitions, live demo’s, geekspeaks, and a whole bunch of other interesting stuff to see and experience. RES Software is the platinum sponsor of the event, and your’s truly will be there with my cool colleagues to present, demo, answer all your RES questions and smoke cigars! :-)

Last I heard over 500 folks have already registered, so better hurry and sign up! For more information and itinerary, see Rick’s posting on the LA Citrix blog. For registration, go here.

When a “brilliant” idea backfires…

From the Why-do-I-even-bother-with-these-fools Dept. Since the beginning of the week, several partners emailed me to ask if I’d seen a posting by some marketing dude over at the usual suspects. Lately they’ve been vying so hard for my attention, that it would be a shame not to humor our regular readers with a proper rebuttal – especially when one can pull the pants of said stuffed marketing suit in one swift article. Gareth, I don’t know who you are mate, and I frankly couldn’t care less. But you gave me a total Jon Stewart Moment when I read your article. So, sit back, take a deep breath and enjoy…

Read more »

Review of Workspace Manager SR2

From the Community Hero dept. My good friend Sylvester de Koster over at CDG in England has taken the time to go through the new SR2 release of the RES Workspace Manager in a new article on the CDG blog. He covers the new additions to the console interface, the new Configuration Wizards, and the new embedded online tutorial videos. Go have a look at the article here.

RES at Citrix ServTech 2011

From the Alliance Partner dept. Wednesday last week, together with a handful of good colleagues, I had the pleasure of presenting for about 300 SE’s at Citrix ServTech 2011 in Santa Clara, California. This is an internal event which Citrix does every year, to update their own folks on the latest and greatest. As a Citrix Ready Leadership partner, RES Software was invited to show off our stuff and explain how we can help Citrix’s field engineers speed up XenApp/XenDesktop Proof-of-Concepts installations. As the whole notion of profile management is a moot point at that stage,  I explained how Automation Manager can roll out an entire Xenapp farm straight from a consultant’s own laptop and showed as an example how our Automation Manager can roll out hotfixes in a matter of minutes. Here’s a few snaps we took during the event (click to enlarge):

 

Overall it was a great day. Presentations and demo went well, feedback was great, and the ensuing Pool & Cigar party at the Hyatt was awesome! BTW: Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better,  the CTO of a certain UK based competitor, made his way out of the building as we walked in. Seeing us, the look on his face was priceless! ;-)

Anyway, to make sure this article still holds technical relevance, I’m sharing the actual Building Block for RES Automation Manager that I built during the live demo at ServTech. As mentioned above, this buildingblock installs all current XenApp 6 hotfixes, valid as of August 10th 2011. The list was based on the CTX129229 KB article. I’ve pimped the module a bit with some nice commentary since then, but besides that it’s the very same block:

Click the brick to download the AM BuildingBlock (60MB, faster mirror here)

Note: To the Citrix SE’s who are reading this: Just go to the RES Download page and grab a copy of Automation Manager (you’ll need to enter a few details, but you’ll get the package immediately) Before you install it, you will need a database server. In case you’re not running a server OS on your laptop, consider MySQL or SQL Express.

Finally I want to send thanks to all our friends over at Citrix Systems for hosting us. I look forward to training with you soon! Be sure also to check the good Mr. Donahue’s article on the RES Blog, for more impressions, pictures etc.

VDX Online Test Drive

Today, I have an exciting new online tool to announce to you. RES Customers and partners can now try RES VDX in an free cloud-based test environment . This online testdrive site allows users to evaluate the capabilities of RES Virtual Desktop Extender with their own computer as a remote desktop client. If you are new to the whole VDX thing, go have a look at this article. In order to try it, a couple of things are needed:

  • On the testdrive landing page you’ll need to enter your contact details. An email with a link will be sent to the address you provide.
  • You need IE6 for this service (Sorry, it seems the launch interface from Runaware.com does not support FireFox or Chrome at the moment)
  • If you don’t have it already, install the Citrix ICA Client plugin.
  • Last but not least, install the VDX client plugin. Both plugins are available for download on the demo page also.

In essence with this testdrive option, users can try RES VDX, allowing users to evaluate the product in a sandbox environment in the cloud. This makes evaluating our software faster and easier. I’m told that if this online test drive is successful, we will create online test drives for our other products as well, so be sure to give the good folks of Product Management some good feedback on this! Once you’re logged in, follow the onsite tutorial instructions to take VDX for a spin.

The registration form for the Online Test Drive can be found here. Enjoy!

 

Presenting RES Online Learning

From the selfstudy dept. Last week RES Software opened up a brand new website, RES Online Learning, which will help you both get started with RES technology. The site consists of A LOT of video material that will let you learn in more detail how to wrangle both the RES Workspace Manager and RES Automation Manager. All the videos are posted on a dedicated YouTube channel, but I highly recommend using the Online Learning website, where you can track your own progress as you work through the material. As of now there are 60+ videos to chomp through. The site is free to use and can be found at tutorials.ressoftware.com.

Presenting the VEToolkit

From the RES Community Hero dept. My good friend Iain Brighton over at Virtual Engine in the UK has for quite some time offered a pretty amazing toolkit which will help you in your daily work with RES Workspace Manager. It’s about time I gave it a proper review. The VEToolkit is to the RES Workspace Manager what Robin is to Batman! It’s a great sidekick as it picks up where WM leaves off by offering multiple functions, which are all triggered by the green button in the lower right of the app.

This application is in continued development (beta 3) at the time of writing. In this article I’ll give you a detailed introduction to it’s capabilities along with usecases and show you where to download. I should probably also mention the VEToolkit is free! Interested? Read more »