I attended my first Citrix event in 1999, when it was still called iForum (couldn’t find that badge, so had to go with the 2000 badge, above right) and was always held in Orlando at the Swan and Dolphin resorts. Both Citrix and I have changed a bit since then. I have changed companies and Citrix has added many more products and content. I look forward to each event every year and once it is completed, I can’t wait to see what will be offered next year.
This year, Synergy is being held in Atlanta, GA at the Georgia World Congress Center from May 21-23. I have already registered and finalized my plans, and I recommend that you do so as well. The information delivered at this conference is valuable to anyone in the IT arena. And I always tell my customers, any company doing business today should think of themselves as a high tech company first. Here are a couple of key points I recommend.
First, if you are using Citrix products today or would like to see what you could accomplish with them, I highly recommend the Hands On Labs. These sessions are so popular that Citrix offers an extra two days before the conference that you can sign up for and get an additional set of learning labs. These labs feature how-to information on real-world scenarios and have instructors that walk you step-by-step on how to accomplish the task, then you get a lab environment where you get to actually do the configuration. If you are anything like me, getting your hands on the products is the best way to discover and get familiar with them. A standard ticket allows access during the conference, and the additional purchase add-on labs allow you to add 3 more labs to your schedule Sunday and Monday before Synergy starts. A list of the available labs can be found here. There will also be opportunities to do self-paced learning labs that are more to just get basic familiarity with the products, and can be done anytime provided they have empty seats.
At the Keynote, you will get to learn how the future works from the leaders at Citrix. I expect some great product announcements at this session and it is always a fun event. There are also two morning Super Sessions. This year we get to hear from Dr. Madeleine Albright, the first female U.S. Secretary of State and Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest. Both of these speakers are sure to have interesting insights to share with us, and I am personally looking forward to hearing what they have to say.
The Breakouts and interactive sessions are too numerous to mention. Utilizing the agenda builder on the web site, you can easily schedule times and sessions. You can filter the sessions based on your area of interest, Product Category, etc. and easily set an agenda of items to attend. Some of my favorites are the real-world examples where you can learn from fellow Citrix Customers on how they used the products and how their company has benefited. I highly recommend these, as they can save you time and frustration in your environment as well as give ideas on how best to utilize the products. You might hear something that benefited them that you hadn’t thought of. If you are overwhelmed and need assistance picking out good sessions, members of the CUGC who have attended Synergy before like myself would be glad to help ensure you get the best out of your Synergy attendance.
There are also the other areas you can explore. Synergy Park is home to both the Social Hub and the Community Hub (near and dear to the CUGC team). Here you can attend Fireside Chats, the aforementioned Self-paced Learning labs, Meet the Experts Theaters and the Match.geek sessions. The Solutions Expo is where you can have an exclusive first look at the industry’s best ideas. It is also the location of the Lunch Table Tech Chats. The Citrix Experience Center is where you can walk through the Mobile Workspace Experience and see all the different parts of the Citrix Workspace. There are discussion areas where you can have personalized conversations, the Experts Bar where engineers and consultants answer your questions about any Citrix Technology, and the Customer Spotlight where you can experience an Augmented Reality rocket. I am sure the MiniFigs will get a picture here. And if you are a Citrix professional, there are practice exams and you get one free exam for certification as a benefit of your attendance.
All in all, Citrix Synergy offers plenty of “bang for the buck” and I have always felt it was well worth my time and effort. I will be hosting some of my customers there and I hope you can join us!
Rich Faulkner is a Solutions Architect at Sagenet.
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