June 2016 – Esther Barthel

by CUGC HQ

Esther Barthel

Netherlands

What Citrix technologies are most important to your work?

As a consultant and Citrix specialist, I get to visit different customers and see different implementations of Citrix products. For many years, my main focus was on designing new Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop infrastructures, but I’ve also played around with XenServer and the Access Gateway. And this last year, I’ve been having a lot of fun working on PowerShell scripts for an automated upgrade for the XenDesktop infrastructure and diving into the many options a NetScaler has to offer for Load Balancing, Gateway and GSLB configurations. And learning new NetScaler skills did not just end at work, but I even started to work on NetScaler automation PowerShell scripts at home just for the fun of it.

So right now, for work, Citrix XenDesktop (including StoreFront, Director and PVS) and NetScaler are most important. And as a hobby, I just like to explore the other technologies as well and broaden my horizon even further.

What current tech trends are you most interested in?

I started my consulting career scripting web applications in ASP.NET and Visual Basic. So even though it is not just a tech trend, I am very interested in the DevOps movement that nowadays requires administrators to translate their daily tasks and knowledge into workflows and automated scripts. It does surprise me how many administrators perform the same tasks day after day, without the urge to automate it. As on-demand and instant-delivery of services is putting more and more pressure on the amount of time an administrator can spend on repetitive tasks, the need for automated processes is growing rapidly. Both from a technical/programming perspective as well as a process perspective, I’m very curious what the impact will be on the job requirements for administrators and the way we will administrate Citrix infrastructures in the near future. But then again, I just love to geek out and find creative ways to script all these administrative tasks into automated processes.

And the other tech trend I am most interested in is the cloud. I have heard people talk about transforming Windows applications into Web applications for business for the last ten years, as that was the answer to building applications that could be accessed from any client. In these past ten years, we have not yet succeeded, even though Citrix does offer some great technologies to deliver applications to any device.

The cloud might just be the next step to finally enable us to say goodbye to legacy (Windows) applications and enable us to focus on the applications and data that can be accessed from anywhere. I do believe the cloud offers the technology that can make us shift from that safe (secluded) desktop and application environment to an interconnected data-focused world, where the application is just one way of presenting (and accessing) the data. And that presentation can be content and context aware, depending on the device used to access the data. But to get us to the cloud, we do have to find some very important answers for questions regarding data security, inter-cloud operability and legislations that make us still fear that big step from our ’safe’ desktop to that big cloud.

What was the most exciting announcement for you at Citrix Synergy 2016?

I was pleasantly surprised by the renewed partnership between Citrix and Microsoft, and the potential that a combined development of that next gen (cloud-enabled) workspace has. I believe that it will enable Citrix to focus not only on their Core products, but once again do what they do best and that is to offer added value to the Microsoft stack. And bringing NetScaler also into the mix means we can focus not just on the workspace, but also on the inter-connectability of all workspaces and enable even more collaboration. I’m looking forward to seeing what new innovations this joint venture will bring. It has already given me a boost to check out the latest releases for XenDesktop and NetScaler. And, even though Azure will be THE cloud platform, I’m also very excited about XenServer 7.0 and the Intel Iris Pro support it offers for the next gen of GPU enabled workspaces to design.

What do you enjoy most about being a CTP?

I have always found it very important to share my knowledge with colleagues and, when social media hit off, with the community. What I enjoy most about being a CTP is the fact that I can now reach not only the (local) community through social media or CUG meetings, but I also get to provide feedback to the product managers at Citrix and present at different events to share my knowledge with people all over the world. This year at Synergy I was amazed how many people knew me and wanted to chat with me at Match.Geek or after the presentation to ask me for advice or to just share their experiences with me. It felt great to be able to share my knowledge and experience with so many different people and I hope I can learn just as much from their experiences and shared stories.

Did you do any sightseeing around Synergy? What were the highlights?

I am very blessed to have a partner that understands my passion and love for IT. And even though she does not share that same passion, she cheers me on and comes along for the ride and listens to all my stories. So to get my five days of geekiness at the CTP meeting and Citrix Synergy, I plan at least ten days of vacation either before or after Synergy. This year our vacation was before Synergy and we spent our road trip visiting several of the National Parks surrounding Las Vegas. We visited Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon. Bryce definitely was a highlight, as well as that epic Wild West scene, driving up to Monument Valley.

And while I was running around the event center, she sent me some beautiful pictures of the sightseeing she was doing at the Eldorado Canyon Mine Tours in Nelson and the Las Vegas Neon Museum. So I guess she followed her passion (photography) just as much as I was able to geek out at Synergy 🙂

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