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August 2016 – Hunter McGuire

by CUGC HQ

Member of the Month

Hunter McGuire

Birmingham, AL, USA

What Citrix technologies are most important to your work?

I would have to say XenApp/XenDesktop, Provisioning Services, and Netscaler.

All are equally essential in providing a secure and enjoyable user experience for my user base. I enjoy finding new and different methods to deliver technology to users in ways that are as seamless and stable as possible. I spend a lot of time in my home lab trying to build (sometimes useless) configurations like a mad scientist. I thoroughly enjoy trying to discover all the possibilities that Citrix products offer in server and desktop virtualization. It makes for a fun and challenging hobby, much to the dismay of my wife, who sometimes thinks I am being a little crazy when screaming at a computer screen. Most of the time just yelling “Why?!”–but she supports my interest in technology and lets me continue being a crazy person all the same.

One of the more complicated tasks lately has been designing a new implementation of VDI for our users. We have almost completed our new Citrix implementation consisting of a server-based shared desktop which is performing extremely well. There have been some anxious moments getting all the essentials of what was our Desktop OS to perform properly, but the outcome is proving to be well worth it. We have dramatically decreased the numbers on storage and compute needs and are able to provide a more centrally managed environment for our users. This will hopefully provide more uptime for users and fewer support calls for our level 1 helpdesk.

What current tech trends are you most interested in?

Software-defined data center solutions fascinate me. The level of automation and flexibility some of these products have is amazing. As a young professional in the IT arena, I understand the potential concern that those who have come before me might have with virtualizing everything, but I believe it is the most logical transition for optimal ROI.

Additionally, app layering and containers are bringing a whole new variation of methods to help streamline how IT admins spin up VMs and applications with more efficiency. This will surely alleviate the heartache that can sometimes come with the administration and design of it all. The inevitable consolidation that is DevOps will soon be upon us! Or at least that’s what I keep hearing.

Even more so than the previous two, the hypervisor introspection technology with XenServer 7 presented at Synergy blew me away. I think that was probably the most intriguing session that I sat through that entire week and I am looking forward to seeing how it develops in the IT world. I think it is a remarkable game changer and look forward to seeing and learning more about it.

You are starting a new Birmingham CUGC local group–what are you looking forward to the most?

I am very excited about the potential with this new group. Birmingham is seeing a huge revitalization in the city and technology is surely a big part of the picture as well. After seeing the amazing aspects from Synergy regarding the User Group Communities’ presence, I felt we really needed that in Alabama. Sometimes it is reassuring to be able to reach out to someone when you are stuck on something and the web just doesn’t seem to have the exact answer you seek. Having like-minded people with interests in something you truly enjoy is also very gratifying. So I would say just having a place to share knowledge and discuss all the great Citrix products with people much smarter than myself is what I am looking forward to the most. Essentially, I want to steal everyone’s knowledge for free and hopefully help others do the same.

What are some of your plans or goals for the group?

We are really just in the beginning stages of trying to reach out to as many people that we can find and let them know it is happening. I am sure I will have to force some of my coworkers to attend under duress in the beginning, but we will get a good crowd soon enough. I know there are a lot of admins and support staff in Birmingham leveraging Citrix products so I am trying my best to pass on the news about this new group. I genuinely want to build a community that can propel people’s interests and knowledge for all things tech. Citrix may be what initially brings us all together, but I want to create a forum where we address all solutions that can be applied to our own environments. Hopefully, if we do it right we will create some friendships and have some fun while discussing all the cool things that can be accomplished using Citrix.

What pie-in-the-sky tech innovation would you like to see in the next couple of years?

I have yet to do the research, so it might possibly exist in some variation, but I could really use a mobile caddy with me on the golf course. Something that analyzes my swing and gives tips for the terrible days when you start whiffing the ball or something like that. Especially if it were programmed to crack jokes for the truly awful shots. There is the other option of actually being better at the game but you can always blame it on the beer I guess.

Is there a gadget or app that you can’t live without and why?

Powershell, without a doubt. I often joke Powershell will eventually make me redundant, but I do love the endless possibilities of automation and reporting you can do with it. It scared me for a while, but like anything else, once you get the hang of it you can do some seriously cool stuff. You can also break a lot of things really quickly depending on how you use it.

I would also not be able to live without a certain password database application. I would probably just give up on working in IT altogether without that. I have a hard enough time remembering the simplest of things.

I am not really a techy kind of guy as far as personal applications go. I guess I am a bit lost in a previous generation with my collecting of vintage vinyl, guitars, and amps. I even sold some old Kustom cabinets to Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top back in college. Although, I will never get rid of my 51’ Kay archtop after he had a brief jam session with it.

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