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My Day at Citrix Synergy 2016 – Day Three

by Tobias Kreidl, CTP, Steering Committee

It seems that the tail end of an event-packed conference always raises a mixed-bag of feelings: excitement, relief, exhaustion, and at this point, attempting putting all one’s thoughts together. Thankfully, there are calendar managers and notes that help one reassemble the events of a very hectic schedule, and lack of sleep from long days and often discussions running into the late hours of the night certainly don’t help.

The following is a reconstruction of the day’s events, taking into consideration that not only that day, but on the previous two, I had very little chance to attend many presentations. One big plus this year was that videos of nearly all the sessions were recorded and in many cases, up on the Internet within hours and ready to view! See http://live.citrixsynergy.com/2016/presentations.php and note you may need to activate Silverlight to enable playback.

The first business of the day on Thursday was most appropriately a CUGC Steering Committee meeting. It was a great opportunity to recount the successes to date of CUGC after just over one year of coming into existence and celebrate its growth to around 11,500 members and the large amount of interest it is still attracting at the Citrix Synergy 2016 event. Three new steering committee members were warmly welcomed. An interesting item of note was that quite a number of those who stopped by the CUGC area were still not members, so maintaining the momentum and enthusiasm are high priorities. We discussed various plans for future conferences and ways by which your CUGC organization can serve your areas of interest even better. Stay tuned!

After that meeting, I met with a couple of Citrix VPs to discuss what might be done to improve VDI licensing for educational institutions (K-12 as well as higher education). Having attended the CTP meeting two days prior to Synergy, it was a great opportunity to express desires along these lines and convey to upper management, including Citrix’ new CEO, Kirill Tatarinov, how important the access to tools and services are and how the skills and knowledge learned in educational institutions provide a constant feed of know-how and further product demand into industry.

I also stopped by the Citrix sandbox area to see the fascinating demos powered by Octoblu and what powerful connections and actions related to the Internet of Things are possible. There, the newly released Raspberry Pi thin client that Citrix helped bring to fruition and market was a real highlight, having personally been involved in working on this for several years and over the last few months under NDA with Citrix, the Raspberry Pi Foundation and the ThinLinX corporation, not to mention manufacturers and distributors. A couple of co-workers and myself were working hard over the last few months to help prepare this product for release.

Co-workers Tim (seated) and Kris seeing their contributions to the RPI HDX project come alive!

Next, it was another CUGC session attended by some of the new local leaders of CUGC groups, plus additional attendance by some CTPs (Citrix Technology Professionals) and the newly-formed group of CTAs (Citrix Technology Advocates). Unfortunately, I had to miss the CTA introductory meeting. The interest and participation in the community is key to better understanding how users can help influence Citrix’ product development while also getting the most out of current products. End users, administrators and managers all profit from the information flow and the basis for this is at the local level. There is still plenty of room for many CUGC local groups to form and geographical distances need not even be limiting factors. In other words, there is still much work to be done.

After a quick bite to eat, it was off to the one session I just had to attend, no matter what, namely Daniel Feller’s acclaimed SYN323 XenApp and XenDesktop tech update: 90 minutes and well over 100 PowerPoint slides of valuable insights, test results and best practices. Daniel never disappoints, and the “guess the musical artist/band” component associated with the subtitles kept attendees on their toes.

With only minutes to spare, two co-workers and I met next with the Citrix Customer Engagement Team to talk about a new program that will help customers engage more with Citrix while also providing feedback to customers looking at similar products and implementations. Keep an eye out for where this is going over the next few months.

After this, it was on to two private meetings, one regarding the future roadmap of XenServer and another with a fellow CTP on other XenServer-related topics. Details are not possible to disclose because of NDA, but again, the willingness of Citrix managers to meet with the community on important matters is another great way of taking the collective feedback from the community and dealing with it in face-to-face discussions. This role is one I’ve always felt strongly about and have striven to fulfill as an advocate and spokesperson for the Citrix user community.

Meanwhile, the clock showed it was already after 6 PM, so after a full day of pretty much non-stop activities, it was time for a short break before heading out to the final dinner provided by Citrix via a plethora of food trucks and a very loud concert by the Grammy Award-nominated band Fall Out Boy at an open-air spot down the strip. Even as loud as it was, I was still able to hold some conversations related to Citrix products and walk away with both ringing ears and new information.

Needless to say, more catching up with notes and email and everything else network related rapidly pushed the time to midnight, but any attendee knows Synergy means little sleep and enormous amounts of information to absorb and digest. It’s never possible to fit in everything, so you do your best to spend your time as wisely as best as you can. I did spend quite a bit of time speaking with random people who walked up and introduced themselves and did so always gladly as part of this community role. The months ahead until the next Synergy 2017 are bound to be filled with plenty of excitement and innovation and I look forward to sharing even more experiences there next year. Hopefully, I’ll see a number of you in Orlando on May 23-25, 2017.

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