by Benjamin Crill, CTA
Day one is in the books at Citrix Synergy, and what a day it was! The day started off with the ground literally shaking beneath our feet. Thankfully, it was not severe and caused no problems, because we had Citrix goodness to learn about. As you can see by my schedule for the day, I had a full load of sessions and meetings to try to get to and those were just the ones I had on my calendar!
Like always, day one starts with the keynote. There was a lot of solid content of what to expect. That is a key takeaway…’what to expect’…one of the big issues of the past was directly addressed. All items discussed in the keynote are either available now or will be available within 90 days.
One of the exciting announcements was the new Workspace App. This will now be more than just Receiver. Rather than having separate Citrix clients for various products, you will have a unified application for consuming apps and data both cloud-based and on-premises. Being able to seamlessly access all the various resources from a single location is a great step in the right direction.
What I really liked were the announced integrations with other major cloud providers. ServiceNow, Google Cloud, and Azure Government are heavy hitters in the cloud space and solid choices of expanding capabilities. As someone that supports a number of customers and their end users, being able to integrate Workspace with ServiceNow is exciting. I’m very excited to see how that develops and makes the support and management process highly efficient.
After the keynote, I got the pleasure of hosting a Lunch Table Tech Chat on file sharing and collaboration. I was most interested in hearing from others about the challenges they experience while using Citrix solutions around file sharing and collaboration. Particularly at Syngery, we hear a lot of the hype but, I also find it a good time to find out what can be improved. Citrix Sharefile is, in my opinion, a highly underutilized solution in Citrix environments and I want to understand what needs to be done to improve its market presence in the file sharing and collaboration space.
The afternoon presented the real challenge. There were so many great sessions and they were all happening at the same time or overlapping. I had to make choices, so I gravitated to sessions that were not being recorded as I will follow up on those once they are released on-demand later in May.
My first session was SYN139, covering Workspace and Office 365. So many companies are either already using Office 365 or in the process of migrating to it, that it will only become more important to understand the integration. It was a solid presentation about the value of Workspace coupled with Office 365. Presenting a positive user experience is always our main goal and moving probably the most pervasive productivity applications into the cloud makes it that much more important to get it right.
After that session, I got sidetracked quite a bit. What could possibly take me away from such amazing content? NETWORKING!!! That’s what we are here for really. I ran into a number of folks who I have worked with, and I was also on the lookout for a lot of the CTA/CTP folks that I have traded messages with but never met before. It is always a pleasure to get to be able to put faces to names and spend time getting to know each other better. This makes the distance collaboration so much better and easier. Also, it is fun to find out what each other has going on and what they are doing with the Citrix solutions out there.
We forced ourselves to get back on schedule, knowing there is more time to catch up later this evening and over the next few days.
I swung over to a Fireside Chat and listened to how Indiana University is leveraging Citrix to ensure compliance and security in their environment. As a major research institution with over 130,000 possible users spread across nine campuses around Indiana, they have a significant challenge to secure access to university resources. I liked hearing about how they were using Duo for two-factor authentication to complement their NetScaler implementation. Duo is a really nice two-factor authentication solution that I have recently gotten to work with in some customer environments. Indiana University is using Citrix quite effectively for securing their enterprise and solving problems with application management across many different use cases within the university. Well done!
After that, it was over to Meet the Experts to learn about leveraging App Layering for providing active-active datacenters. This presentation had so much great content on design and architecture decisions on access and resource layers in addition to App Layering. The proof was shown by the theater being packed! I didn’t see an empty chair and there were a number of folks sitting on the ground within the theater. It was standing room behind about five or six rows deep! This was definitely my favorite presentation of the day.
After sessions, it was back to more networking. I met up with some customers at the Event Connection center. We discussed how they were using Citrix in their environments. Seeing the different ways that Citrix customers are solving business problems is always a pleasure. In addition, it is great when other technology partners get brought into the conversation and how they integrate and augment Citrix. In this case, that other vendor is Nutanix. One customer has been using Nutanix for some time and the other is considering implementing it.
After the meet up it was off to the Welcome Reception to connect with those I don’t get to see often, meet folks I’ve only exchanged messages with, and meet new folks. The expo hall floor was full with food, folks, and fun. Technical folks get the stereotype of being introverted, but you wouldn’t know it by what I saw. Everybody was having fun, talking tech, and maybe having a drink or two. 🙂
If the rest of Synergy is like today, everybody is in for a really good time……and I’m going to be exhausted.
Keep on keeping on!