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The Sheep with No Legs, a World of Many Clouds


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Industrial revolution? The next technology wave? The new age of computing? Just exactly where are we? Automation, augmented reality, big data (too much data), analytics, the drivers for DevOps, AI, machine learning and IoT all have commercial merit and compose strong business cases to deliver that USP or unique value to your business. Long gone are the days of a ‘steady as she goes’ business, the fight for supremacy, the competitive edge and more so survival, will never leave us.

My team and I here at Cetus have been presenting the merits of “The Journey to the Cloud” and building solutions on Cloud platforms since 2010, that seems an age considering the average age of a sheep is only ten years!  Does this mean we’ve not got long left for the Cloud?!

Today we live in a world of many Clouds. I presented this at our recent annual Cetus Summit to my team, I like it! Public, private, hybrid, even bespoke clouds are all too common platform choices alongside regular physical platforms. Many Clouds depicts choice, agility and flexibility. After all no two customers are the same and differentiating business outcomes define organisational stature, a mantra deep in the core of Cetus DNA.

As many organisations have started their cloud journeys and are embracing the utility base computing model, delivering computing like the flick of a light-switch analogy, what constraints are we starting to see?

One must be open and adaptable to the X-as a service model, utilising computing technology the same way your utilities at home are consumed.  I have the little house-spy that monitors consumption of ‘Gaz and Lekkie’ so like it or not, I’m used to a consumption model.  So, it’s actually very easy for us to embrace right?!

Public Cloud adoption whilst both worldwide and dominating, delivering new ways of service delivery is, believe it or not, still in its infancy and does carry constraints.  Let’s go back to the world of many Clouds. Hybrid Cloud platforms, designed and developed specifically for you, your business, your requirements and your desired business objectives, how does that sound? Indeed, much more flexible right?!

But, yes, there’s always a but! What we are starting to see is big data continuing to grow into ‘colossal data’ and it just keeps coming and, we’re really only at the start of the IoT revolution too.  Analytics is almost imperative for management of large volumes of data for organisations to gain the crucial value of their data. Interestingly for the first time in years, hardware vendors are reporting increased sales in high powered edge computing, powerful desktops and laptops. Why? What’s driving this? Simplicity, Data and Analytics. Data can be generated too fast and too large to transport efficiently to the cloud, no doubt costly too, analytics engines need efficient data access and fast processing to produce crucial and meaningful real-time results.

So, the tin-vendors are seeing increases in edge computing sales, meeting demands for high productivity and driving computing efficiency, organisations striving for speedy real-time information at source on a more common well managed Windows 10 device. It’s not unusual for analytics engines to be local to the data, factories, plants, branch offices etc. I recently had the pleasure of understanding how a leading F1 team handles valuable car data and analytics in a matter of seconds, incredible!

So, what next? If i could give you that answer id most likely be ‘up there’ with Elon Musk and some dude named Gates!

The world of many Clouds is upon us, allowing companies like Cetus to design and develop the most flexible, tailored, agile and powerful computing solutions in our heritage. Solutions which embrace on-premise, SaaS, public and hybrid cloud platforms, together in a single managed service or consumption model, this is realism, right now, exciting times!  The increase in edge computing power arguably further stretches the cloud to the desktop, I like the phrase ‘where digital and physical worlds meet’ and forms part of the hybrid or the many-clouds solution.

A further recent debate I had discussed that Cloud is the future’… yet edge / physical computing is on the increase.  Will we see cloud saturation? Will real-time demands and the all-crucial analytics overload bandwidth and public cloud platforms driving a return to local, on premise computing?  The tin-vendors remain buoyant, selling truck-loads of servers to the world of many clouds and now similarly increasing edge computing sales… perhaps a leading indicator?

Will we see a computing singularity? I’d suggest its right here, right now…

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Mike.pngMike English – Managing Director
Since forming Cetus in 2001, Mike drives change and development to ensure Cetus empower and deliver real value to our customers, enabling successful business outcomes.

Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit 2018


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This week, I’ve been in Anaheim at Citrix’s annual partner conference – Citrix Summit. The event provides an opportunity to hear from Citrix’s executive leadership team about the vision and strategy for the year ahead, share industry perspective and innovation, and attend a range of interactive breakout sessions that focus on how Citrix technology can be applied to initiate change, transform organisations and solve real-world challenges to improve the way people work.

For me, Citrix Summit always proves to be invaluable. In the busy nature of every day work life, it can often be challenging to find time to fully embrace and evaluate new concepts, approaches and innovation. With the industry moving at pace, this is just one of the reasons why I love Summit… it provides an opportunity to hear, see, discuss the future of the workspace among friends and peers.

With Citrix experiencing plenty of change within the last year – including former CEO Kirill Tatarinov’s departure – I was apprehensive to see how the Citrix story had evolved. However, from the opening keynote it was evident was that Citrix’s technology focus on ‘people’ has filtered through to the top.

David Henshall proved to be a welcomed and refreshing leader – addressing critics from early 2017 head on by acknowledging that some negative press that Citrix received was justified yet by no means acceptable to the business. He continued to discuss how Citrix has turned around to end the year on a series of records including; record revenue numbers, record cash flow, record profits, record share price and record innovation – with 122% increase in new patents filed in over a year, an 80% increase in product releases, and 4 analyst leadership positions for EFSS, Mobility, UEM and Networking.

More exciting to see was Citrix’s secure digital workspace vision, which in my opinion, is superior to any other vendor in this space. Simple, secure and unified. Visionary enough that people understand the direction, development and investment Citrix are moving into the future, yet real enough that customers can get on board with that vision today and accelerate their cloud strategy to achieve benefits and eliminate / manage challenges right now.

“The cloud is not a destination… It’s the beginning of a new journey.”

Citrix’s products have evolved into solution areas; Citrix Workspace, Citrix Networking and Citrix Analytics with people-centric embedded security at the centre. The benefits of using Citrix technology together as a unified solution rather than separate products is core to the Citrix story and it’s because of this integration why Citrix stands out among many vendors. With the workspace, networking and analytics solutions integrating together to provide an unrivalled workspace where user experience, security and choice are of upmost importance. And, on integration… Microsoft corporate vice president for Enterprise Client & Mobility, Brad Anderson, joined the keynote to describe a deeper integration and partnership between Citrix and Microsoft than ever before.

As a Citrix Platinum and specialist partner, we are so excited for 2018. This year there is promise of faster, focused innovation and upmost support to accelerate customers to benefit from Citrix Cloud Services. It’s not about workloads… It’s about people. And we look forward to helping you enable your people, with Citrix, in 2018.

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The Age of Change


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I know for those who know me, I ramble on about evolving, keeping with the times etc. but something dawned on me the other day…

The average age of hackers in the UK is 17 (an example of this being the Talk Talk hacking) Then I got thinking about the “millennials”; where, during their interview, the interviewer ends up being quizzed by the interviewee, what device will I have, can I work from home, can I use my own devices, can I work in a coffee shop, do I get an iPhone?

The business world is being influenced by people that 15 years ago were told to make the teas, clean the bins and do other pointless jobs no one wanted to do. Does this make me ageist? Or the world? What is happening with businesses and the usual board of directors who are all waiting for the next two years to retire and get their nice pay-out, so they can sail around the world?

It isn’t the same anymore; not because we have become ageist, it is because for a start we are living longer; which means that the 30’s are the new 20’s and the 40’s are the new 30’s. The average age of C level execs is dropping, the average age of millionaires is dropping. But, it has nothing to do with their age, it is the age of change.

What is the age of change? Well, 5 years ago when I entered IT, conversations were all about simplifying the desktop rollout, enabling users and bringing down TCO of end points; but at the same time getting more from less with the staff. The phrase “making the device superfluous” was coined a lot and still is today. Also, providing a “ubiquitous” environment to users, regardless of where or how they access their applications and data. Has this changed? No, it hasn’t. We still have this need today, even more so. But, something else has changed…

The datacentre, is now superfluous and the datacentre should now be a ubiquitous platform wherever it may be. Cloud, private cloud, public cloud, elastic cloud, sheep with no legs, whatever version you want to give it. It is irrelevant as to its form. No longer is it about it needing to be a yellow widget as “secure” as possible 20 miles from our office. It needs to be secure, adhere to the relevant regulations, policies and procedures of your industry, customer base etc. and deliver for you in the best way a solution to deliver what the business has asked you to do in helping achieve their goals.

I was with a public sector organisation and a well-known vendor who has a solution that is named similar to something bright blue in colour like a cloudless sky. This customer stated that they didn’t want their data and applications in this vendor’s “solution” as it couldn’t pass their rigorous tests of security. The customers own data centre, was a cupboard. The solution that is named similar to something bright blue in colour like a cloudless sky is so secure, it has anti-tank trenches. The next problem was location, we need our data in the UK; well the good news is, the solution is in the UK.

We are no longer talking about which widget is fastest, which whistle is cheapest. It is purely, working towards a goal to enable the business to keep with The Age of Change and, as we can now make the datacentre in itself superfluous and therefor the likes of tapes, the likes of sweating assets for 10 years, using data centres in the cheapest part of the country or a cupboard; these are issues that can be addressed. But only if, you accept the change and embrace.

Oh, and another thing. It is also cost effective, Cetus worked with a Council saving £9,000,000 by helping them in “embracing change”.

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Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Technology, Uncategorized

Raison D’être


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I recently joined Cetus Solutions, after knowing them for a number of years and in the throes of business against each other I decided to sign up. I have often been frustrated with their customer base being almost fortress-like, it is difficult to see or know why when you are on the outside.

Now I have joined as a Sales Manager for Cetus I have been enlightened on the reasons why and more interestingly how their ability to work on such large scale customers and projects is a reality.

Working in the industry we do, it is no secret that a lot of money is spent on technology. A number of people see this (normally finance ;-)) as a cost, but actually I feel there is a different way to explain the spending on technology.

If we look at the world today, a car, a Blu-ray player, checking in at a hotel, a new build home. None of these would be considered a suitable purchase or process without modern technology of today. Some people won’t buy a TV without Wi-Fi capability, most people certainly won’t buy a new car if you cannot connect your phone via Bluetooth.

So, why is it acceptable for a business not to do the same? We look at the companies we know and revere in this modern day, we look at how they use IT as a business enabler and these companies all have one thing in common. Huge growth patterns, both financially and also in size. Companies are worth $1b in less than two years, the only way this can happen is investment in technology. Yes we can argue that people are the biggest asset but these people won’t be working at a company that give them a 7kg laptop and a mobile phone they can’t speak to family on.

I shall also bring in my favourite quote, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change”.

But, not all businesses can hire a huge team of technology experts who can advise or consult on the best technology to meet the requirements of an ever changing and more demanding world. So it becomes a struggle to just keep the lights on, let alone let Margaret in Marketing use her personal iPad to access corporate marketing information on a public Wi-Fi in Shanghai whilst on holiday. This also isn’t saying, that technology is everything. But it is the most effective and reliable enabler a business can invest in, enable the idea, the people, the product to do more and this can only mean positive results.

Let’s get to my point… raison d’être. Translated from French this means “the most important reason or purpose for someone or something’s existence”

This isn’t Cetus’ tag line obviously, but after my first couple of weeks that phrase is entirely apt. Cetus’ whole ethos and mantra is about understanding how, when and where a business requires their assistance. The genuine focus is on what is best for the customer, I have seen and heard more about other businesses than I have Cetus in my few weeks here which shows that they truly pull together for one aim. Their raison d’être.

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“I’ll have a Large Stuffed Crust Meat Feast Laptop Please…”


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I am very fortunate in my role having the opportunity to engage with a wide variety of Vendors, Partners and Customers at various events and hearing their thoughts on the market and how “I.T.” is driving competitive advantage in a wide variety of sectors.

It was at a recent round table event I found myself asking when does a company go from being the producer of a product or deliverer of a service to being an “I.T.” company!

There does of course have to be a product that enables the organisation to transact business but through using I.T. in a strategic manner and encompassing it as part of the core strategy the product does not have to be market leading to become a market leader!

Dominos – Pizza company or I.T. company?
I believe a case can be made they are an I.T. company. I have to confess I am more of a Pizza Hut fan when it comes to the quality of the Pizza… BUT I tend to order Dominos on those lazy Friday evenings… WHY? Because it is Dominos who communicate with me at 15:00 on a Friday afternoon via text and email planting the seed of a pizza for dinner, it is Dominos who have the easy to use app that tells me at what stage in the preparation process they are, it is Dominos I can see the delivery driver driving down my road so I know to lock my dog outside before she goes ballistic at the door bell…. Through offering an excellent and easy to use convenient service by leveraging I.T. Dominos has, in my opinion, the better offering despite a lesser quality Pizza.

Uber – Taxi service or I.T. company?
Again I believe the case can be made for I.T. I had years of standing outside Walkabout in Birmingham trying to flag down a black cab in the freezing rain only to be gazumped by a nimbler taxi flagger…. The revolution of Uber has made that process so simple and more orderly…. The end product is still a taxi home , the process of getting home has been made far less stressful and far more convenient by leveraging existing GPS technology on existing smart phone technology to offer a better taxi service.

It is now more important than ever to look at go to market strategies from multiple angles and having a look at how putting technology at the forefront of a strategy can help:
– Increase your customer reach
– Improve your customer experience
– Drive greater margins through automation
– Improve the efficiency of business processes
– Rejuvenate a struggling product
– Quickly launch a new product
It will be well worth the investment in time.

Cetus are well placed to have these conversations with any type of organisation as we have a blend of highly skilled Technical Architects and Innovative Management Consultants who spend their days having art of the possible conversations with existing and potential customers to help them be more successful.

Challenge us to show you how leveraging I.T can help shape the strategy, improve the efficiency and grow the profitability of your organisation.

Blog, Cetus Solutions, IT Solutions, Uncategorized

The Passionate Fishmonger


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I enjoy fish. In fact I really enjoy fish. Like many Brits I consider Fish & Chips to be our national dish; but would I consider myself ‘passionate’ about fish? More importantly, do I believe that anyone can be truly passionate about fish?

I found myself pondering the above during my drive into work one day. As is frequently the case, I passed a fishmonger’s van; on which they proudly proclaimed ‘People – Passion – Fish’. Now I’m clearly not a fishmonger, but I found myself questioning wether they were truly passionate about fish. Was the van driver deep in thought about fish while he drove down the motorway? If I rang them, would the receptionist have to interrupt her musings on the benefits of fish to take my call? I suspect not.

And so, not long after my new found insight into fish & passion; I found myself in the position of having to sum up Cetus Solutions with three words. Clearly ‘passion’ was off the agenda: overused, vague and misunderstood were just three very good reasons to avoid that particular appellation.

We’d reached this position because we had decided it was time to clarify “what Cetus do” as part of a rolling refresh of our marketing messaging under the stewardship of Claire Gibson, our then new Head of Marketing. With this goal in mind, Gary (our Sales & Marketing Director) and I locked ourselves in a room with nothing but a whiteboard and our wits to guide us. We were prepared to spend all day in there if that was what it took. In the end, we found our three words in just under 45 minutes. Not because we couldn’t be bothered, but because describing Cetus in three words was surprisingly simple.

We decided that our words should describe not what we do, but how we do it. They should encapsulate the experience of working with Cetus from our clients’ perspectives; to give a sense of longevity in our approach to relationships; and to recognise that what we do is a highly transformative process. At the end of the short session we had our three words on the whiteboard; we looked at each other and agreed that (a) that didn’t take as long as we’d expected and (b) we liked our new words. These three words are now a central part of our outbound and inbound marketing messaging; providing clients and colleagues alike with a touch point for what to expect when we engage with them. They are:

inspire. transform. together.

Of course, we’re as passionate as any fishmonger here at Cetus; but we believe that our customers want something more than that. Some of our clients have been with Cetus for almost all of 15 year history and they, perhaps better than anyone else, can attest to the accuracy of our chosen three words.

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Citrix Summit Tech Series – Smart Deployments


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It has been two months since I attended Citrix Summit and the amount of cloud conversations that we are having with our customers has rocketed. The majority of which are hybrid cloud / multi cloud conversations; or customers that have started the journey and are now looking to increase performance or management. 

Citrix Cloud is really resonating with our customers – both large and small. I will pen a blog specifically on this subject later in the month, but today I want to touch on two features of the Citrix portfolio and show how they are enabling our customers to make the transition to cloud hosted desktop and application delivery.

The first element of the Citrix solution that I wanted to cover is Smart Scale. Smart Scale is a component of the Smart Tools set that comes as part of Citrix Cloud. It allows the Citrix administrators to intelligently control the power state of the virtual desktop estate based on the required usage.

Let’s consider it in the context of a 500 concurrent user deployment for a typical 9am – 5:30pm company in the UK who wants to move to Azure. Without Smart Scale (or a lot of static manual work) they would need to pay Azure costs for 500 virtual machines for the full 744 hours a month, on the presumption the month has 31 days. Now think about how many hours are those desktops actually providing user services? Consider 2am in the morning, or perhaps on a Saturday afternoon whilst the match is on…! Using Smart Scale we can power down (and therefore not pay for) desktops that are not in use, and power them back on as needed to meet demand.

 Let’s talk through the math…
No Smart Scale:
500 virtual machines x 744 hours per month = 372,000 hours of cost per month
With Smart Scale:
The requirement is only 136,200 hours of cost per month!
That is with 10% of the desktops on 24×7 (37,200 hours) and 90% of desktops on 10 hours a working day with assumed 22 days per month average (99,000 hours)

As you can see, the power of Smart Scale to save costs – over 60% – when hosting desktops in the cloud is a very powerful enabler.

Now let’s couple this with the second element of the Citrix Portfolio that I wanted to talk about – Citrix Workspace Environment Management or WEM (yes another acronym sorry!) WEM is based on a late 2016 acquisition from Citrix of a company called NorSkale. 

I will write a review on WEM as whole at some point, however for now I wanted to focus on one key area – resource optimisation. WEM provides the ability to reduce RAM and CPU usage within a virtualised desktop environment by up to 70%. If we consider this reduction again in terms of costs when hosting desktops in the cloud (or on premise) we can get more users on that Azure instance type and further reduce costs.

If we combine these two technologies with the rest of the Citrix portfolio then we can start to significantly reduce costs and help our customers make that move to the cloud a reality, while maintaining end user performance and business security at the same time.

Want to hear more about this, Citrix Cloud and all the announcements from Summit? Speak to one of our cloud experts today.

robRob Sims – Senior Solution Architect
Rob helps customers to understand their business challenges, and guides them to leverage technology as a mechanism for change.

Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Our Upcoming Events, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Cloud: The Coping Mechanism for Digital Disruption


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In most organisations at least one commonality exists; nobody likes unnecessary complexity. And, perhaps contrary to many stereotypes, least of all the IT department. So much so, many organisations that I have spoken to recently have prioritised simplification and automation among the highest business objectives for 2017; in order to increase their businesses agility, improve their ability to react to changing requirements and demands, and to speed up the time to value when delivering IT initiatives. 

This comes as many businesses are admittedly struggling to keep up with the constant pace of workplace change, innovations in technology, and the increasingly digital landscape in which we operate. Whilst business leaders recognise the value that digital presents including; improved productivity, effectiveness, engagement and profitability; standing in the way of achieving these objectives is complexity.

As a result, many find themselves in a state of digital disruption, with the organisations failing to react to changing workplace landscapes, user demands and organisational pressures quick enough to sustain a competitive advantage in challenging markets whilst maintaining the level of security required in today’s modern workspaces.

In addition, for many organisations it is becoming increasingly complex for their IT department to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with vast amounts of different applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, both known and unknown security threats, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable user and business demands.

This is where Citrix Cloud comes in. Citrix Cloud is a secure, evergreen SaaS like control plane that unites and integrates all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a unified administration, user experience that overcomes the challenges presented by the digital landscape – delivering workspaces the way you want that are “Secure by Design”. It has quickly become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management of your secure digital workspace in the process.

In Jan 2017, I was fortunate enough to attend Citrix’s annual partner conference, Citrix Summit, and saw first-hand how and why Citrix Cloud is going to be a game changer for businesses in 2017. Quite simply, Citrix Cloud enables customers to cope effectively with digital disruption by removing complexity and empowering IT departments to say yes.

Over the past few weeks we have been running a collaborative series of workshops with Citrix SE’s to share insight and recommendations with organisations about preparing for the transition to Citrix Cloud and Hybrid Cloud strategies. Due to the positive feedback from these sessions, we added a number of additional dates for March. So if you would like to explore the features and benefits of using Citrix Cloud services, understand Citrix’s vision and roadmap for 2017 – including their strategic alliance with Microsoft “Better Together” – then we would love you to join us at one of our upcoming events.

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5 Reasons to Consider Citrix Cloud


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Citrix are rapidly moving towards a cloud-first strategy, with Citrix Cloud providing a single control plane to manage and access all Citrix technologies in the cloud. This has become the fastest and most flexible way to securely deliver applications and data to any device, over any network, whilst simplifying the management your secure digital workspace. If like many, you are assessing where certain workloads best reside, here are 5 reasons we recommend you consider Citrix Cloud…

Unified workspace experience
Citrix’s Cloud strategy is very much a reflection of their core strategy; to build the world’s best integrated technology services for secure delivery of apps and data. Citrix Cloud helps unite and integrate all of the Citrix technologies to deliver a more unified administration, delivery and user experience. 

Adapt to changing demands
Today’s workforce are increasingly mobile – using an increasing amount of devices, from a multitude of locations. However, it is becoming increasingly complex for IT to manage mobile workspace infrastructure – with multiple applications to install, ever-changing user bases to account for, challenges in forecasting capacity, constant installing of updates and investing in infrastructure to meet changing and unpredictable demands. A cloud-based strategy helps to solve these problems and in the process reduces complexity, and provides a simple way to deploy and manage secure mobile workspace solutions. This is where Citrix Cloud comes in to help you at any point in your cloud journey… 

Flexibility across any cloud
For many businesses, supporting a multi-cloud IT strategy continues to be a dominant trend with 82% of businesses stating that they have a multi-cloud approach across private, public or hybrid cloud environments. Citrix Cloud gives you the flexibility of choice. You are able to host your apps and data on any cloud or infrastructure platform you choose, whilst having the ability to leverage a common management plane across all Citrix environments. 

Faster time to value
Citrix Cloud is arguably the fastest way to deploy Citrix technology, taking just hours as opposed to weeks to deploy. Essentially, Citrix Cloud is a cloud management service uniting multiple Citrix products. The cloud service is operated by Citrix, and contains all of the management functions that ordinarily would have had to be installed and provisioned separately. The value is that Citrix has already deployed – and integrated – these services into Citrix Cloud so in many cases, all you need to do is activate, configure and deploy them to deliver a secure digital workspace solution. 

Simplified management
Using Citrix Cloud is intuitive. The idea is for you to spend less time learning, integrating, installing and managing – and instead focus on other more important, or strategic IT projects. This approach means reduced infrastructure, centralised control, and SaaS-style updates, which in turn contributes to lower administration cost and complexity. In addition, by simplifying management across multiple Citrix locations, you are able to optimise performance, data sovereignty, compliance and network latency.

Earlier this year at Citrix Summit, the launch of Citrix Cloud Accelerator; a comprehensive set of transition and trade-up offers for customers who own existing XenApp or XenDesktop licenses was announced for those who want to move to Citrix Cloud. If you are  considering Citrix Cloud services as a strategy for your business, there really is no better time..

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Blog, Citrix, Cloud Hosting, IT Solutions, News, Technology, Uncategorized

Citrix Summit Tech Series – HDX . NOW & .NEXT


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Sitting in the airport on the way home from Citrix Summit, I found myself mulling over all the cool announcements and updates that had been shared and how exciting being a Citrix mobile workspace architect will be this year. So I thought I would start a blog series and cover some of these topics. Over the next few weeks keep tuned for an architects view on what’s new and exciting from Citrix in 2017.

My core ethos for virtual desktop and application delivery architectures are easy to follow;
deliver an amazing end user experience and be simple to manage.

After this the rest seems to take care of itself (with the right amount of thought and planning) but its these reasons that keep me coming back to Citrix and in delivering the first ethos the HDX protocol is key (and king). Now there are many aspects of HDX that would warrant putting pen to paper but its ability to deliver on the visual elements are what the user will see every time they interact. So let’s have a look at what’s going on here and to start I think a recap on the last 6 months and XenDesktop 7.11 is needed.

HDX.NOW
So HDX.NOW (my term not Citrix) has had some very nice updates in the XenDesktop versions since 7.6 that enable choice for the admin and deliver exceptional end user experiences. Specifically though before 7.11 we had two main (not limited to) protocol modes, but had to make a choice as the session started on which to use, these were known as:

  •  264 (Thinwire Advanced or SuperCodex)
    Great for Video playback and delivering a great user experience but at a cost of CPU on the server side VDA
  • Thinwire+
    Great for more static text environments. Great on server side VDA resource and great for older or low powered end point devices.

With the release of XenDesktop 7.11 we have a new mode known as Adaptive Display v2 that removes the need for administrators to make that upfront choice. This new mode is simply activated by a policy allowing HDX to run Thinwire+ by default and then switch dynamically to H.264 when it detects moving images within the users session or application. This can be seen in the image below, red and blue are ThinWire regions while the green videos will be rendered by h.264.

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This really cool advancement ensures maximum server side scale, least network bandwidth usage and the best end user experience regards less of content type. Delivering on both my primary ethos at the same time! For more info on this see this Citrix blog.

It’s not just for video that HDX.NOW is providing an amazing user experience. Checkout the video below I recorded at Summit with the amazing guys in the Demo Sandbox.

 

What we are seeing here XenDesktop HDX 3D Pro, Windows10, Nvidia GRID and a Raspberry Pi for the end point, delivering seamless 3D graphics.

HDX is working over only 5Mbps of bandwidth and delivering full screen real time 3D rendering with smooth and responsive interactions (even with me trying to master a 3D space mouse for the first time), HDX reduces the image quality during motion and then builds back to a pixel perfect lossless image when you stop moving. This build to lossless technology allows precise movements in high powered applications with zero quality loss when viewing.

These are just two great feature of the HDX.NOW that showcase some of the power HDX is delivering to customers right now. Now you might think that with such amazing results from the existing HDX protocol that Citrix would sit tight and rest for a while, but this is not the case.

Spending some time with the product guys for HDX revealed what they are calling HDX.NEXT, a complete and revolutionary upgrade to HDX that will be available in the next release of XenDesktop. Having watched demos of XenDesktop running HDX.NEXT over 250ms latency and 1% packet loss I can say the results are amazing. Quicker in most tests that a fat client PC, quicker video response, quicker file transfers and smoother graphics, it’s a game changer for virtual desktops for sure.

On top of the amazing performance increases we also get a 60% (yes sixty) reduction in bandwidth usage and a small increase in server density!! Simply incredible news. Don’t believe me see the results from LoginVSI testing below.

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The continued improvements in HDX over the last few years have ensured the solutions we deliver continue to meet our customers end user demands and keep the ICT teams delivering on the original promises of the solution. The world of end user computing is ever changing and the demands on bandwidth and datacenter server capacity ever increasing, HDX is fighting back and remains a core component for delivering our ‘Better than a PC’ experience.

Want to see this and all the announcements from Summit? Come to one of our free update events, network with peers and see how Citrix are delivering on Cloud, Security and User Mobility in 2018.

robRob Sims – Senior Solution Architect
Rob helps customers to understand their business challenges, and guides them to leverage technology as a mechanism for change.