Citrix Excalibur Tech Preview 6 Comments

As many of you might know Citrix are kind of melting all there product in one, a Cloud product. The project name is Avalon, with two releases until next year named Excalibur (what we will speak about in this blog post) and Merlin coming later next year. First, I spoke with many customers and other partner, and Citrix one more time did confuse everyone with all those names... Avalon, Excalibur, Merlin, Thor etc etc Almost 90% of the people I spoke with though Avalon, Excalibur and Merlin are three different products. Maybe I'm wrong but as far s I can see thing, Avalon is the code name for the final project then Excalibur and Merlin are just timeline version release until the final release and then a final product name. I must admit this one is a bit confusing everyone... This is like Citrix wants to show the big picture but just give a tiny pieces of the puzzle. Citrix Avalon Excalibur Tech Preview is available for download here : [link] Project Avalon Excalibur Technology Preview is our next-generation, unified desktop and app virtualization technology that is reinventing the delivery of Windows apps and desktops for mobility in the cloud-era.  The availability of this tech preview will allow Citrix customers and partners to have a first-hand look at a new unified FlexCast infrastructure combining VDI and Hosted Shared desktops and apps from a single platform. New features include: Simplified, unified, and expanded FlexCast 2.0 architecture New unified FlexCast 2.0 architecture combines simplified and integrated provisioning and personalization tools for both desktops and apps, delivered from either a desktop-based or server-based operating system. Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 Host Windows 8 VDI desktops or VM hosted applications in addition to Windows Server 2012 server-based desktops and applications. This tech preview also supports Windows 2008R2/SP1 and Windows 7. SuperCodec for Optimized Graphics New enhancements to HDX using Deep Compression Codec technology double the visual performance of desktops and apps to mobile devices dynamically adapting for device type, form factor and network connection while still leveraging the processing power of modern tablets and smartphones Storefront for apps & data Create centralized enterprise app stores to deliver desktops, applications, and other resources to users on any device, anywhere with the Citrix StoreFront. Intelligent configuration tools New intelligent configuration tools for deploying desktops and apps that proactively check configuration errors in real time while streamlining the…

VDI Project – Not only a XenDesktop project (part.1) VDI Project - The framework (part.2) VDI Project - Hypervisor war (part.3) VDI Project - Desktops and applications delivery (part.4) VDI Project - User Environment Manager (part.5) Cool title right ? If you click on it then this title was just perfect :) Within my desktop industrialization and virtualization project, I had of course the first layer to analyze : Hypervizors. What is installed, what can be challenge, why bringing a change to this existing layer ? And which product I should push against the one already present ? This is the announce war, if there is some Hyper-V or Vmware I should try to push XenServer (I'm a Citrix preacher guy) and on any case, I should change everything to show I've been here and mark the path of changes.... Nope I didn't, this is 100% vSphere deployed full packed with a very good team handling the infrastructure and a lot of processes and work-flow already running, so I don't see any advantage for my customer (and for me) to change what's working and in place. Changing an installed hypervizor on a large deployment would mean : Changing / adapting processes Industrialization rebuilding Engineer and administrators teams training Heavy and long migration (V2V..) Lost of focus regarding what bring me first on this "Desktop" project Maybe reduction of administrators / engineer As I mentioned in the part 1 & 2 of this blog, in fact I didn't had to test anything because the choice have already be made. I would have like to make my own benchmark test and comparison but limited time and specific politics in this project were in the game. If you want to go further on this subject then I encourage you to read Project VRC - Phase II version 2.0 white paper full of very interesting information. Now I need to keep in mind this architecture piece I would have to address, I don't know bunch of thing about vmware vSphere, I will use some help on that subject by some other expert. The announce war didn't happen and I'm very disappointed about that, I would have like to make my own test and publish result I got from an extreme VDI benchmark. I will do it, sooner or later !

VDI Project – Not only a XenDesktop project (part.1) VDI Project - The framework (part.2) VDI Project - Hypervisor war (part.3) VDI Project - Desktops and applications delivery (part.4) VDI Project - User Environment Manager (part.5) Designing the architecture for such a big and complex environment is a challenge. To do so I needed to think about all the possibilities of desktop / application delivery process and mechanism AND the technology I would have to use to give as much flexibility as possible while keeping in mind the existing layers. To automate and industrialize, I needed to find a software like Microsoft SCCM to deploy the operating systems, software and handling inventory. My customer had this ancient software named Radia and wanted to continue to use it since HP bought this company and renamed the product to HP Client Automation. So I didn't really had the choice on this one and I had to make sure this software will be able to bring all the automation I was looking for. After a certain number of meeting with HP, the software was good for OS deployment, Inventory management but had some lake of features in the software deployment. As my customer already bought the licenses (In fact they bought it before the beginning of the project...) I had to manage with that. Then I needed to chose the hypervisor, the connection broker, the application virtualization solution, the profile management solution and make sure everything would fit in a 3 level down architecture (Datacenter --- First Level --- Second Level --- Third Level) To make the choice I had to find all the software technology able to answer each need and compare it to another one. I also introduce the User Environment Management concept into the discussion. Here is the list of solutions I chose to work with / compare : Hypervisor : vmware vSphere vs Citrix XenServer vs Microsoft Hyper-V Automation & OS Deployment : Altiris vs HP Client Automation Application virtualisation : Citrix XenApp vs vmware ThinApp Desktop broker : vmware View vs Citrix XenDestop User Environment Manager : RES vs AppSense But this "fair" way to chose the best product by testing, evaluate it wasn't in everyone's mind and I have to front choices already made before the beginning of the project. This is the "forced" list I had few days after the project kick off : Hypervisor :…

VDI Project – Not only a XenDesktop project (part.1) VDI Project - The framework (part.2) VDI Project - Hypervisor war (part.3) VDI Project - Desktops and applications delivery (part.4) VDI Project - User Environment Manager (part.5) Beginning a new project is every time a new challenge, new team, new processes and new environment. Each customer have its own past IT history and,  depend of the size, different IT, politics and complexity. This time I'm a desktop architect and I've been hired mostly for my Citrix skills. The challenge is the size of this new project, I will design for sure some Citrix architectures, XenDesktop, XenApp, PVS, maybe Access Gateway or Netscaler on a very large scale but I'm also responsible to design a complete workstation delivery service (automation / industrialization) and address all kind of endpoints, from the "classic" workstation to the well known iPad. This is my largest XenDesktop 5 project, I will use XenDesktop to bring flexibility and mobility to users. I will write some blogs along the project because I think this will be a great experience to share, technical and not technical. I can't wait to post some very technical stuff about IOPS with Citrix Provisioning Services, XenDesktop and Machine Creation Service related with storage. I will post every major subject for ex : The Software Framework, The Hypervisor War (these two blogs are almost finished) etc etc... I also want to share the non technical subjects because this is how a project live... Changing the way people are working in a company can be very painful, first you need to bring the idea of a change in their everyday life and then prove them they will have more time to work on more important project. Then you show they can save some money within 3 or 5 years. I can tell you this is the big part of a project and the less fun (for me) but this is a mandatory part of every project : Show the company board and managers how much they can save and explain to the IT staff they will be able to spend more time on larger scale issue and project, work more efficiently. This is a lot of work, first administrative / politics, then technical (POC) and very technical (Global Architecture) And I always I will learn so many thing, and I'm sure it will be a great…