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The Value of Participating in Tech Previews

by Jo Harder, CTP, Tampa CUGC Leader, Citrix Women in Tech Founding Mentor

Citrix posts tech previews fairly often, but how many people actually spend the time to learn about, install, and provide feedback regarding the tech previews? The short answer is very few.

Tech previews are a win/win for both Citrix and those that take the time to install them. From the Citrix side, the engineers learn about use cases that haven’t been tested in the lab. Keeping in mind that Citrix has awesome engineers, they don’t live and breathe user issues, system failures, router changes by the network team, devices that still run Windows XP, and other day-to-day realities. In addition, they don’t face the daily challenges of users that wish to use Citrix technologies in unique ways that don’t quite align with designed purposes.

From the standpoint of IT professionals and CUGC members in particular, there is a huge win associated with staying ahead of the Citrix curve. While all tech previews don’t result in released products, the great majority do, and this means that you have a fairly good understanding of new products several months before the actual release date. It also provides you with an opportunity to provide valuable feedback regarding new features and functionality from the standpoint of your own reality checkpoint.

Of course, time is always a determining factor when it comes to learning about new technologies. As much as everyone would like to have a few spare hours to install a tech preview and become familiar with its contents, squeezing in that extra time doesn’t always happen. If you’ve taken a few minutes to read this article, I strongly encourage you to block out some time.

Right now, there is currently a tech preview of XenDesktop available. Listed as research and experimental features include: AppDisks, improvements to MCS and PVS, changes to database setup, and more.

Personally, I had participated in an earlier private tech preview that included some of the new features, so I was already somewhat familiar with the contents of the public tech preview when it was announced. Admittedly, I didn’t install the public tech preview immediately when it was released on September 21st. But, I did install it last week, and I have spent a few hours using it and plan to dedicate some additional time in the coming weeks.

Especially from a Citrix community standpoint, it’s important to provide feedback to the Citrix engineers so that the final product is even better. For example, the MSI used to install AppDisks (AppDNA) won’t install over a network, whether due to a component search or a timeout. When I communicated with one of the engineers, he said that he always puts MSIs on the local server for installation. However, in a production environment, that typically isn’t the case. As a result, the MSI is being revisited.

Participating in tech previews is a win/win, especially from the standpoint of the Citrix community. We all want the best possible Citrix products that function optimally when released, so please take the time to participate in tech previews.

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