104: The Citrix Session: Get more out of your native Azure Virtual Desktop with the Citrix Optimization Pack

Apr 26, 2022

The Citrix Optimization Pack for Azure Virtual Desktop is a new Citrix offering for optimizing native Azure Virtual Desktop workloads. It includes Workspace Environment Management (WEM) service within Citrix Cloud as the primary offering, which you can use to better manage, optimize, and secure your native Azure Virtual Desktop environments. The result? An enhanced user experience and reduced costs.

With the Citrix Optimization Pack, organizations of all types can realize benefits including:

  • Faster logon times
  • Reduced resource consumption
  • Controllable desktop behavior
  • Enhanced security and control

Host: Andy Whiteside
Co-host: Bill Sutton
Co-host: Todd Smith
Co-host: Allen Furmanski

WEBVTT

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Andy Whiteside: Welcome to episode 104 of the citrix session i’m your host Andy whiteside got bill son with me from his integrity build delivery services King how’s it going.

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Bill Sutton: going well Andy can’t complain.

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Andy Whiteside: didn’t know you were the king, did you.

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Bill Sutton: Know i’m not the team for sure part of the team.

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Andy Whiteside: All right, also with us in a regular these days is Todd Smith, who is director of sales engineering, I think, North for citrix Todd how’s it going.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: i’m doing very well Andy Thank you very much.

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Andy Whiteside: Your title are close enough.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: close enough it’s ya ne which is basically main down through Virginia.

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Andy Whiteside: yeah big big patch these days.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: yep.

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Andy Whiteside: Sure us to Alan for me and ski with us Alan, what is your actual title these days.

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Allen: Title these days is principal product marketing manager.

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Andy Whiteside: There are certain subset of products that fall under your regime.

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Allen: yeah so i’ve been doing a lot of work on analytics I own part of Apps and desktops including hdfs user experience and workspace environment management, I think our our topic for today.

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Andy Whiteside: Well yeah that’s interesting Okay, so let me set this up today’s title of the blog is getting more out of your native.

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Andy Whiteside: underscoring the word native there as your virtual desktop add.

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Andy Whiteside: With citrix with the citrix optimization pack let’s break down that title just a little bit more so.

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Andy Whiteside: A lot of our listeners are familiar with add as your virtual desktop which, in my mind has two components it’s the azure virtual clients.

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Andy Whiteside: windows 10 windows 11 virtual machines that are running in azure and then it also has the Microsoft brokering and management piece, which would be the the add broker manager.

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Andy Whiteside: Within add stack citrix has a long history of making azure desktops.

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Andy Whiteside: work well, probably the best on the market, what we’re talking about here today is taking some of that secret not seeing here, but some of that special secret secret sauce and applying that to native add Alan did I decently explain that.

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Allen: Yes, very decently Andy great job there.

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Andy Whiteside: and, specifically, the thing we’re going to talk about today is the windows, excuse me workspace environment management piece of citrix which.

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Andy Whiteside: Maybe you can tell us a quick story on where that came from also acronym known for as the acronym will quite often, when you talk to your average citrix person who, like all of us it guys throws out acronyms like everybody knows what they’re talking about.

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Allen: yeah yeah let’s let’s start there, and thanks again for inviting me Andy I think this is maybe the fifth or sixth one i’ve done with you.

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Allen: So around when many citrix admins hopefully know when, but if you don’t when or workspace environment management came from an acquisition citrix did back in 2016.

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Allen: organization by the name of North scale and it’s all designed to ensure that you’re getting the most out of your current and future investment.

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Allen: And what I mean by that, as it is fully optimizing the environment, providing increase scalability user density optimizing log on times controlling security aspects and gpo processing.

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Allen: So I mean it’s a it’s a fantastic solution, in short, when i’m having conversations with customers on the citrix side always say.

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Allen: hey if you’re not using when you’re literally leaving money on the table it’s it’s as simple as that, because it helps you do more wall ultimately spending less.

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Andy Whiteside: And the other three of us plus yourself i’m sure we remember a time when you could get this type of enhancement to your environment, but you paid for it now it’s just part of the citrix entitlements.

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Allen: Exactly and speaking, being a part of the citrix entitlement.

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Allen: Since we recently repackage some of our offerings workspace environment management is now included across the board so regardless of what.

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Allen: citrix cloud solution you’re using or citrix on premises solution you’re using for APP and desktop delivery you’re going to get this in your bundle and as always we encourage you to take advantage of it.

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Andy Whiteside: And I think I need to call something out here this actually says includes workspace environment management will service is there still such thing as a on premises version of whim or are all willing rollouts part of the service, these days.

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Allen: yeah great question, and he so there is very much a web on premises and just to kind of provide some background there.

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Allen: Like we’ve done over the years, with many of our core capabilities we’ve sort of codified or salsify them, if you will.

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Allen: And we’ve offloaded the management plane and back end infrastructure so customers can focus on more of the strategic part, which is what they’re actually delivering.

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Allen: And yes, if you’re an on premises customer you’ll still have when on premises.

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Allen: And that means you will set up and manage the management console and it requires the backend sequel database, in addition to the agents that will go on on your vdi as.

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Allen: In the case of the Web cloud service it’s more turnkey and you can just proceed to installing the agent connecting it up and realizing the value that much quicker for citrix cloud customers.

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Andy Whiteside: And I want to bring Todd and bill into the introduction section his blog I did have one more question for you.

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Andy Whiteside: Is the idea from citrix that there will be one optimization Pack that customers can can buy and sign up for that includes a whole bunch of things, or is there going to be a specific optimization pack, they can sign up for PR entity PR PR feature set that citrix has.

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Allen: yeah great question so.

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Allen: I mean, where we’re at today.

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Allen: Is this Pacific optimization Pack that will be discussing.

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Allen: it’s targeting as your virtual desktop and it’s tested on the as your virtual desktop platform it’s available through those channels, namely the azure marketplace so I know what will get in greater detail there.

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Allen: So that is effectively that offering if you’re taking advantage of the workspace environment management and either the service flavor or on premises.

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Allen: Then you’re able to realize that benefit with any of the citrix DAS or citrix virtual Apps and desktops.

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Allen: solution so so longer term we’re kind of thinking through the strategy in terms of how we’re going to optimize and include other components other capabilities and potentially other third party delivery platforms.

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Allen: On that note, though, I will say and i’m sure some of you know, the term optimization or optimizer is slightly overloaded, we do.

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Allen: We do have something called the citrix optimizer tool and I just want to call that out that that is a separate.

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Allen: Free tool that helps optimize portions of the desktop image tweaking things like windows services registry tweaks to make it as lean and mean as possible.

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Allen: Prior to capturing an image and that is different than what we’re going to be talking about here the citrix optimization pack, so I didn’t want to make that distinction because yeah there’s.

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Allen: All kinds of.

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Allen: overloaded names terms acronyms and want to try to make it as clear as we can.

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Andy Whiteside: And I think, for me, I caught the key thing is this is something you’re going to buy through the marketplace and azure that’s how you’re going to get this particular piece right.

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Allen: yeah that’s definitely one way to get it Andy so customers can just go right to azure marketplace, if you search citrix optimization or citrix optimization pack it’ll come right up we’ve got all the information there.

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Allen: And you can transact there or another way is contact one of your trusted citrix partners legs INTEGRA and they’ll help you.

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Andy Whiteside: So Todd and bill without jumping into the meat of what we’re going to talk about for the rest of as far as like the intro and the concept anything else you would highlight.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: yeah yeah so one of the biggest things we were talking about with the optimization Pack is, you know as Alan mentioned there’s the optimization prior to capture and prior to building out the environment and then there’s the constant updating based on.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: behavior and response times and.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: You know you push out a new gpo into your organization, how do you get that included into your desktop images in your desktop environment.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: In a lot of that came a lot of that in the past, used to be a consulting engagement right or a services engagement where you’d have to go in and solve specific problems so, whether it be a login time issue for a group of users or a specific location where they’re coming in from.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: For a customer gets their you know they get their consumption bills and they realize that they’re spending money on stuff that they’re really not using and they want to optimize it that way.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: The other big things are around thing around enhancing that user experience right So what can we do to not only control behavior but guide people, as well as correct.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: Either bad behavior or potentially give them improvements, based on some optimizations and updates to you know the windows operating system, all well trying to make sure that we’re enhancing that security and control aspect of it.

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Andy Whiteside: bill any other pieces of this.

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Bill Sutton: yeah I mean, I think, from an end user perspective or enhancing the end user experience this goes a long way and we’ll see this a little bit as we get into it, but.

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Bill Sutton: Being able to control more of the desktop to manage settings in one place.

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Bill Sutton: You may still have to do some things in GPS, but being able to leverage whim there’s a lot of benefit and being able to help.

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Bill Sutton: To todd’s point reduce login times and and provide you know specific icons on the desktop access to certain drives lots of things.

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Bill Sutton: On a more granular level that, then you can do with a lot of the native tools, not to mention the the ability of of being able to better control cpu and io or cpu and Ram.

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Bill Sutton: Using the when adding tools is certainly a big advantage here and helps helps improve the user experience that overall density for the organization.

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Andy Whiteside: At some point, this conversation I want to get you guys your take on how whim and fs logics come together to give the user that.

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Andy Whiteside: User experience they’re looking for, especially as you’re talking about non persistent you know application and desktop workloads but i’ll ask this question of the group.

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Andy Whiteside: If you run into a citrix customer or you see virtual desktop vdi customer that you haven’t had a lot of impact on what’s their still number one complaint after all these years.

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Allen: I don’t know if I see number one complaint, but you know when I first started at citrix years ago I started in tech support.

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Allen: And the most nebulous kind of cases I crop up or my centric session or slow right it’s not performing the way it should.

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Allen: and users expect, I think, rightfully so that they should have a performance experience when they log on at 9am they’re able to quickly access the resources they need to be productive.

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Allen: That the sessions responsive and remembers it we’re doing this amongst an increasingly diverse and remote distributed workforce right, so the challenges are piling up.

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Allen: And it’s our job to ensure that we’re providing that best possible experience, while at the same time ensuring that we can manage manage costs right that’s.

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Allen: that’s incredibly important that we have the the appropriate.

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Allen: Use maximum user density, that we can whether we’re doing a service in the cloud we’re taking advantage of some of the unique add capabilities that you alluded to Andy the win 10 and when 11 enterprise multi session.

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Allen: Just just again getting the most out of out of current and future investments, while also providing a sense of control and security so that’s that’s another element that’s often I think perhaps overlooked.

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Allen: With the workspace environment management capabilities i’ll just throw one great use case their legacy applications which pretty much every enterprise brings in any company has some legacy Apps that are still around.

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Allen: And how do you handle that when legacy Apps are trying to write to the root of the C drive or require elevated permissions.

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Allen: Well, when can handle that very efficiently very securely for you, because all that runs in the context.

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Allen: Of the Web software, so you never have to, and never should give users elevated access permissions and the Apps can complete do what they need to do full logging full paper trail so that’s just one great additional use case, in addition to the the performance and scalability benefits.

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Andy Whiteside: yeah look we’re gonna we’re gonna jump into That said, I did a bad job setting up that question bill what’s the.

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Andy Whiteside: One thing when we talked to a customer, for the first time that.

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Andy Whiteside: they’re complaining about we’re going oh my.

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Andy Whiteside: Goodness, how can you not be past that after all these years.

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Bill Sutton: I would probably say login times.

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Bill Sutton: You know.

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Bill Sutton: it’s some customer saying it’s taking our users two minutes to log in I would also agree with Alan that obviously the performance of the session is one that was very key but i’d say the most common one that I ran into and still run into is is really slow logins.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, and that’s why I brought it up so so much in the beginning of this conversation right.

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Andy Whiteside: I love where we’re getting ready to talk about more detail security and elevation and optimize performance but.

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Andy Whiteside: I can’t believe I still taught so many customers that have two minute logins I was with somebody in Chicago last week and have a two minute login and their current partner and consultant was with us at lunch and i’m like.

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Andy Whiteside: How can you let this go on, do you not know, and he didn’t know he doesn’t know he doesn’t know fs logics and I just don’t know why customers just sit there and beat their head against the wall when there’s so many great tools out there to fix this problem so let’s let’s let’s uh.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: hey Andy what one quick one quick commentary on that one is you almost have to look at what they’re comparing the login times to.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: So if you’ve got a if you’re comparing it to a local machine it’s got solid state drives this God.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: superfast memory that’s got all of the enhancements for that physical device they’re looking in comparing their virtual environment like that right there but they’re not seeing that.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: During that login you’re updating gpo as you’re going through and setting up and configuring the environment for that user for that specific user.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: And you’re not you know you don’t have the same amount of customizations and things that have to happen that makes that user give that user a better experience across quite frankly a shared environment on the back end.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: But what is your resources.

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Andy Whiteside: Would it be okay, if I said that that’s what we should be comparing our virtual desktop experience to.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: That.

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Andy Whiteside: Absolutely that login have a local high speed desktop and if we don’t quite make it that’s Okay, but if we’re two and a half minutes that’s not acceptable that was acceptable 20 years ago kinda certainly not now.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: So, so we used to do when we would go out and prep customers to use, you know vdi the old Zen desktop when it when it first came out.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: We would go through a whole series of scripts and you would ask what, what is your login scripts look like what is all of your GPS look like and go through almost line by line.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: and say you know what you’re connecting to some drives you’re connecting to printer resources and basically those resources if it cannot connect immediately had to wait for those to timeout and that caused that was one of the root causes of lot of these login problems.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: not going through and cleaning up, and you know I say this, an awful lot with customers that are going in migrating towards virtual desktops or a daz solution.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: Right it’s the equivalent of if i’m going to migrate to a virtual desktop environment or dad I want to make sure I clean up as much of my stuff before I bring it with me.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: And the equivalent to that is when you move houses you don’t take all your you have a yard sale you throw out your trash you you don’t bring that to the new house right, this is an opportunity to kind of clean up before you move instead of after yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: And Todd if you just left customers all to themselves to do it, what happens, they just they just throw it under the under the bed at best and expected to magically work better.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: yep.

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Andy Whiteside: Now we do have the benefits of whim, which is why we’re talking about this, we have the benefits and maybe i’ll and maybe we’ll jump in here and talk about maybe how fs logics and William play well together.

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Andy Whiteside: As an example, and then we also have you know opportunities to clean up and use policy and profile management from a third party system and or.

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Andy Whiteside: You know optimize what we’re doing an active directory better, and then we have under the covers we have ssd with the power of hyper converge, the new tactics and other players, where we don’t have those really slow scuzzy drives anymore slowing us down at the disk layer

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Allen: yeah I can give some initial comments there and we definitely welcome input from the group as well at the end of the day.

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Allen: profiles is a big consideration as part of the overall environment architecture, you need to understand the user needs the application needs.

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Allen: And and really how you’re designing that is going to have a huge impact on the overall performance and usability of the environment.

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Allen: All the solutions that that you just name right when we’re talking about wham citic profile management fs logics type capabilities.

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Allen: These are all tools in the toolbox to help you design this right, what are we, including excluding from the profile.

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Allen: Which elements, might we want to attach your stream and how does this affect the application of state.

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Allen: Many of these fundamental questions get back to understanding the applications that users are going to be accessing.

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Allen: Right What are they doing with the profile and how are they working with with APP data, where are they are the settings going.

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Allen: And you know, in some cases customers try to perhaps over over architect things where maybe maybe there’s cases where you can get away with the more simplistic solution and usually the simpler approach is.

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Allen: Is is the better approach right, instead of having to you know get into some of the finer complexities and remember as well that.

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Allen: You know many customers have multiple environments multiple images and multiple needs if there’s cases where you can get away with just standard throw away profiles local profiles and keep things simple.

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Allen: Then I think that’s absolutely the way you want to go, but if there are times right where where you do need to maintain certainly preferences states.

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Allen: You know application bookmarks and everything else that your applications involve, then I would encourage customers to understand the options that they have available.

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Allen: and definitely work with experts as well right and that’s where you leverage the expertise of partners that have done this before.

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Allen: You leverage is a great community and and understand the best path forward so that’s a little bit of food for thought and but absolutely love, I guess, if Todd and bill have some other points on that to.

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Andy Whiteside: This is one of those one where less is more and minimalistic is the right approach, because.

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Andy Whiteside: All that junk you’ve been carrying around that once you move, especially once you move to an ssd drive when your local hard drive you didn’t notice any more all that’s going to become very noticeable in a virtual world.

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Andy Whiteside: Todd bill any thoughts on this and bill at some point, if you can simply tie in how we’re seeing this and an fs logics tied together to make an optimal user experience.

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Bill Sutton: yeah certainly so you know we if you’re going from physical to virtual and then a lot of those considerations and Alan mentioned, but even if you’re going virtual a virtual.

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Bill Sutton: Like todd’s point where you’re cleaning House you really need to they really need to isolate you know analyze what they’ve been doing what they’ve been saving where they’ve been saving it.

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Bill Sutton: If you’re talking about azure do they have the right file storage setup for the fs logics.

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Bill Sutton: profile storage, because you know fs logics What it does is attaches the container.

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Bill Sutton: it’s not writing all that data back and forth like it isn’t a traditional profile solution, so it helps optimize and speed up the login process.

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Bill Sutton: And then, when you start getting into things like the office suite office 365 and the cash that goes along with like outlook, for example.

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Bill Sutton: Being able to persist that across and reboot if you do that, in a traditional profile solution.

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Bill Sutton: You know, if you take an existing profiles that are that are on an endpoint then that caches on the hard drive of that device if you move out to a virtual environment, then that’s got to be somewhere.

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Bill Sutton: And if you’re doing non persistent desktops non persistent workloads.

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Bill Sutton: Then you’ve got to have that cash President, and if you kept the pull that that multi multi gigabyte file over the network.

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Bill Sutton: At login it’s going to take a long time and slow the logins down so there’s a myriad of factors and certainly fs logics helps a lot with.

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Bill Sutton: With the profile piece, but then of course you bring something like women to help enhance the user experience and improve performance from a density and cpu and Ram perspective, so they work really well together, in my view.

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Bill Sutton: The majority of our our consulting engagements We recommend that as logics where it fits there are cases where they don’t have the office 365 suite or they have some specific needs will fall back to an older profile solution or or a.

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Bill Sutton: Comparable solution, and what we almost always lead with fs logics and whim now we’re putting women, most of our our standard builds to do exactly the things that it’s designed to do.

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Andy Whiteside: And couple things real quick so fs logics is the only supported way to do that outlook cash and.

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Andy Whiteside: You can’t have an outlook user in a non persistent without that local five and you could have you could do a real time that server but that’s.

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Andy Whiteside: that’s common across the Internet, and you know you do indexing and you try to search for stuff and it is just a pain and you’ll get lots of bad phone calls.

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Andy Whiteside: And then Alan mentioned something while ago, and I just want to highlight this where you implement using whim but one of the nicest things about with them versus fs logics which is just this bucket that’s going to fill up and fill up and fill up.

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Andy Whiteside: Is it when is the key for maintaining that cleanliness if you know, going back to todd’s example about moving if okay you move now don’t let that ever happen again, this is your chance to do it.

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Allen: yeah absolutely one thing on that note i’ll mention as well just from a client’s perspective, and when we talk about the one cloud service is that we’re.

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Allen: we’re introducing this new web gui right so much like we did with the with the main studio console and we kind of you know, thought through that we modernize it to be web native.

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Allen: Not not just web native but more performant and really looked at many of the common tasks that administrators would perform because 10 and 15 seconds save here and there.

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Allen: Over the days and weeks really add up so very much on on that journey to take when from what many folks may be aware of in more of a traditional mmc console on premises to really rethink a lot of those tasks to be more more cloud native.

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Andy Whiteside: web web refine those consoles where their native native web which you guys are working hard to take all those legacy products and make them native in the cloud and access that way, unless the tackle the next one here Alan.

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Andy Whiteside: We talked about logins I again I jokingly say I can’t believe we’re still talking about slow logins after all these years but that’s that’s that’s solvable these days with some architecture and some technology.

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Andy Whiteside: The next one on the list here of things that wind is going to do for you in a native and I can’t stress the word native enough add environment is system optimization what what’s that mean.

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Allen: yeah so so system optimization or or image optimization.

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Allen: Really ensures that when users are connected in their sessions, and this could be one to one traditional vdi or could be multi user like we spoke about earlier in a server or when 1011 multi session capacity.

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Allen: Every user is different, and even if you have users, that are among the same class right your typical knowledge worker working with office applications.

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Allen: User a can be more resource intensive than user be right So how do you handle that, especially when they’re coexisting on that on that same host.

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Allen: system optimization makes the most intelligent use of your Ram your cpu and your io and it does so in real time to ensure that everyone’s getting a great experience and we’re we’re we’re Fair sharing resources.

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Allen: The way this works is the agent is intelligently analyzing what’s happening out of process and, more specifically, a thread level.

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Allen: So it knows if one particular process or threads are consuming excessive cpu cycles, for example.

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Allen: It can detect that it can lower that process priority in real time, so the user can still get done the task they need to.

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Allen: while at the same time is preserving the performance of that host and, ultimately, in many cases preventing a helpdesk ticket.

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Allen: Take the Web browser, for example, right that’s one of the biggest memory hogs still right if you launch your web browser in your instance.

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Allen: Your if I can take you know I think on my local machine it’s like usually takes around a gig or more than a gig is what it hovers around.

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Allen: I can tell you that for a fact that the Web browser request far more memory and it’s working set that actually needs and just so we can have it on hand.

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Allen: And that’s because it just wasn’t designed for vdi stay and I remember guys are probably like, seven, eight years ago I worked with the.

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Allen: With the Google chrome team to help optimize Google chrome and that time it was with jenna so you know, right from the right from the earlier days.

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Allen: When Google chrome was i’d say more in its infancy than it is now, it was an optimized solution.

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Allen: In a Zen APP multi multi user environments, so you know we thought about this, and we continue to work with these various vendors, but at the end of the day, the browser still primarily designed to be run on endpoints.

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Allen: And by itself it’s not very efficient, to be honest, especially when it comes to ram consumption, so we can with whim automatically detect that and.

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Allen: Have the browser think it has this working set of memory, but we can swap we can do things on the back end to make far more efficient use of memory if there’s other sessions or other processes that really.

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Allen: need that memory, so, in short, it’s the most intelligent use of cpu Ram and I know that you can possibly have in either a a single user scenario or multi user scenario, so you know you’re getting you’re getting the best of what you’ve got available.

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Andy Whiteside: And Todd if I were to say that’s extremely important now because of multi session winton windows 11 and azure being about the only way, you can cost effectively run a bunch of desktops that makes sense.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: yeah it makes a lot of sense and it actually, you know as as Alan was talking about this, I go back to the wayback machine, when I was first getting into it and I was a.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: I was a job scheduler on a mainframe and as 400 platform where basically I had to look at see what jobs to schedule.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: To run and looking at which ones could interact well with each other, which ones were going to be the cpu hog which ones are going to consume.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: way too many resources because we were doing batch processing at night and then interactive processing throughout the day.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: And you never wanted to have those two mics so when when when to me, is a is a lifesaver nowadays, because it does a lot of that scheduling and a lot of that resource management, where you can actually see.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: The impact of you know, the noisy neighbors or the the the challenging of the challenges of having way too many browser sessions open up in a in a in a misaligned or miss configured desktop environment.

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Andy Whiteside: You guys um we as INTEGRA are big fans of virtual gpu.

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Andy Whiteside: One of the challenges with virtual or physical or virtual gpu in a multi session environment, whether it’s server os or client os is not having real boundaries that prevent one user from stepping on another any possibility, we might be able to help us out there someday.

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Allen: I guess i’ll take the initial stab there.

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Allen: is a possibility, when when you look at gpus things are a little bit more specific they’re certainly whether I mean primarily on the video side, or even from amd and Intel.

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Allen: there’s a lot that that goes into some of the scheduling elements, but we are seeing more gpu adoption across mainstream use cases.

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Allen: And that’s something that that could potentially be considered, I know, at least from the marketing side I meet regularly with the nvidia.

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Allen: And the amd teams and there’s a lot of great innovation happening there, especially on the cloud front right and you look at like the azure and V series and and some of the new.

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Allen: gpu virtualization options, whereas in the past in the cloud right you basically you know kind of got that whole gpu and let’s be honest like for many cloud vdi workloads you didn’t need that whole gpu right with 32 gigs of Ram and you know pretty pretty beefy.

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Allen: You know, you know clock speed and such so yeah so i’d say that there is a possibility there gpus is a is a continually evolving space for us and there’s a lot of exciting things happening there yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Where do where do I put in my feature request golly that’s a game changer if you guys could.

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Andy Whiteside: Let me get gpus and multi sessions, but not worry about us stepping on each other’s it pulled up on the screen, you know actual virtual desktop I use all the time, except when i’m doing podcasts.

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Andy Whiteside: And you know we’ve got gpu and every single one of our vdi is these days, because it just makes it so much snap you’re going back to todd’s.

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Andy Whiteside: tonight’s conversation while ago we want it to be native experience like computers all have gpus in them you take the gpu out and expect the cpu to make up that difference you’re going to fail.

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Allen: yeah I totally agree interesting use case yeah we should follow up on that one.

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Andy Whiteside: i’ll tell you i’ll tell you where the Center royalty checks.

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Andy Whiteside: Alright next on the list here is APP security what is when i’m doing to add additional security around application execution, and I believe you might as well go to hit this one around privileged elevation.

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Allen: yeah definitely so on the APP security front, it really comes down to things like APP locker encryption understanding the security footprint of the specific vm and some of the.

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Allen: The specific policies that that apply to it so basically you can work with a different APP locker policies, and we know that this is common among some of our customers and how they.

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Allen: How they’re basically define their images and not even in some high security environments, but again just the notion that you’ve got so many users working remote now that you want to ensure that you’re.

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Allen: Taking these Defense in depth mechanisms, so it was a woman, some of these capabilities The other thing that I want to touch on to that’s important.

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Allen: Many of these capabilities in when in this web cloud service and consequently in the citrix optimization Pack for native as your virtual desktop.

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Allen: you’re getting the same capabilities as if you have the full on citrix DAS solution right, so I think that’s important to know certainly you don’t you don’t get the full.

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Allen: hd X, we have user experience technologies and the ICA protocol if you’re running a native as your virtual desktop when we talked about when you get a lot of these core capabilities.

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Allen: Because like was mentioned earlier, these are mostly agnostic to the underlying platform that you run on, and you know when we first acquired and working with the solution, this was something that even ran on physical systems, too.

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Allen: So just wanted to point that out, and then you know when we talk about the the application.

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Allen: Security and I kind of alluded to this earlier if you’ve got legacy applications homegrown applications, which I think pretty much every organization does nowadays.

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Allen: When is a fantastic way to securely deliver those while hopefully at the same time, you can put a plan in place to.

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Allen: modernize those applications and figure out a best path forward the applications run under the context of when so users never.

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Allen: need to have elevated access rights and has a full paper trail, so you can understand when and how users are accessing these applications, what exactly is going on.

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Allen: If you need to run additional scripts additional parameters, you can go ahead and do that.

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Allen: In fact, you can even specify time periods that users are allowed to run these elevated applications and say hey you know what.

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Allen: This internal homegrown legacy application, we only want to run explicitly during the hours of nine to five if the users access the system after hours that’s great they can access the other Apps, but they cannot access this APP as an elevated APP.

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Allen: So there’s a lot of control that that one delivers and just again those those Defense in depth strategies as part of it.

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Andy Whiteside: I hope there’s somebody listening to you know listening or watching the video that goes along with this someday that goes, I had no idea.

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Andy Whiteside: And i’ve been struggling with that, for years, because we run in those people all the time that just.

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Andy Whiteside: don’t know what all has been brought into the citrix portfolio and you know didn’t know there were solutions out there to fix this stuff anyway they’re still running around and that one of the week.

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Andy Whiteside: Where every user has admin rights 1000 persistent desktops running an azure with every user having admin rights.

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Bill Sutton: We still see that Andy and particularly in citrix environments I don’t know that i’ve seen it in azure but i’m sure it’s there.

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Bill Sutton: But you know this was this was the domain of third party products for a long time, the ability to to elevate privileges to allow processes to run in the context of an admin like Alan was referring to.

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Bill Sutton: And it’s it’s you know really nice to see this as part of the basic whim, offering.

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Bill Sutton: Both from a citrix perspective as well as an azure because this is a problem that that customers a real world problem, the customers experience.

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Bill Sutton: Especially with those legacy Apps that need that are putting things in the wrong place in in on the system that require that elevation to even run.

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Allen: yeah and one other thing just just on the security side.

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Allen: Because we’re so closely tied into the operating system and we understand the native api’s and how to hook them, we can secure any child processes that get run or if say legacy application spawns off.

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Allen: You know command prompt right our power Shell prompts there’s even the ability to further control that through when and decide what should and shouldn’t.

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Allen: be allowed, so it really provides a truly hardened approach, while at the same time ensuring that users can be productive and and get things that done that they need to day to day.

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So.

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Andy Whiteside: Go ahead.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: Sorry, I was just gonna say I think it’s even more critical nowadays that everyone is having to maintain a level of compliance.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: and show auditors, you know things like what user accounts have administrative privileges, whether they be on the domain itself or whether it be on local machines.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: In the ability to track when a user does ask for that elevated privileges to do a specific task or install a plug in or do something that’s unique to their session or their specific.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: Use case and be able to actually manage it much better in still maintain that high level of security as well as that maintain that could those levels of compliance as well.

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Andy Whiteside: Well, I like to get that you use the word manage, because in the past somebody’s got admin rights in a group a local group somewhere and unless you had a task to go back and fix that they kept it forever.

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Andy Whiteside: And it just like that.

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Andy Whiteside: Somebody through under the bed just kept building up build not now it’s time to move and you gotta you gotta you gotta damn mess at that point.

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Andy Whiteside: i’m self elevation I don’t know, did you guys did we hit on that as part of this security piece.

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Allen: Todd alluded to, that a little bit, but in addition to the administrator kind of defining which applications should run with elevated permission and how you go about doing that.

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Allen: users can request elevated permissions if they if they need to install something or work with an executable that requires it.

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Allen: And this is something that that can be approved or or disapproved and again, providing that full full paper trail, so it works on both sides.

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Allen: predefined by the admin as well as the end user actually requesting things when needed, because at the end of day you can’t possibly define every request that may come in.

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Andy Whiteside: And goes, where does that the the request by the user, where does that show up where does, where does an admin know that that’s happening or needs to happen.

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Allen: yeah so I believe it’ll actually show up in the console and there’s a way you can get.

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Allen: alerted on that as well, so basically just in the context menu, you can request elevated permission on that particular executable and then it kind of kicks off.

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Allen: A workflow so that can be approved and the administrator could even define in advance specific users to kind of auto approve and and how they want that to kind of.

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Allen: play out so good amount of flexibility, and this is an area that was introduced several quarters back, we continue to iterate and improve on it, and as always customer feedback, is welcome.

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Andy Whiteside: So let’s hit this last one scripted task I mean there’s lots of ways to have task happen in our technology world today, but what is when bringing to the world of scripted tasks specifically around the end user and the desktop management.

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Allen: yeah so so scripted task is all around ensuring the the customized ability or maybe if there’s a specific tweaks or updates that need to be done to a system.

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Allen: You could potentially use it to install software as well, though, admittedly at you know that there’s other ways, you can go about doing that, but.

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Allen: Managing the lifecycle of systems and especially when we talk about specific dedicated systems or managing something ad hoc outside of the.

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Allen: The full on image lifecycle update process and kicking out a new revision for the platform it’s a great way to securely ensure that.

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Allen: These updates are being pushed to to the system, while at the same time again having that paper trail when is very big on.

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Allen: ensuring appropriate logging at the agent level at the console level, so you have a great amount of insight into what’s happening, and, should you have an issue with a particular.

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Allen: You know task or script or other function, you know exactly where it happened, and in many cases, why that that may be the case so.

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Allen: yeah, so this is, this is a great one and it just goes to show how well rounded the Web solution is, and you know, in addition to its core capabilities of optimizing performance and scalability yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Interesting bill Todd any thoughts on scripted test.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: he’s using auto exact bad.

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Bill Sutton: yeah or or some of the really squirrely older ones I can I can’t even remember the names of them, but yeah much, much more.

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Bill Sutton: seamless than then we dealt with in the past.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: And I really you know Alan hit on a very critical.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: comment here is that all of these tasks can be captured so that you have a log of what happened, what actually happened and what has been running right because you know we don’t want to have these abandoned process either these orphan processes running out there.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: Just like you don’t want to have you know the the the folks that got elevated privileges in the word, then those privileges were never taken away right so there’s some there’s some great things here.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: That women’s bringing to the table here do we can we can definitely leverage, both as administrator as well as security professionals.

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Andy Whiteside: Ellen crazy thought here, but is there any like if you had a trusted partner or to the head agent that could go in, as part of the whim agent install is there, everybody talks about allowing that to be bundled in with whim, and the agent.

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Allen: Interesting thought I haven’t heard it come up in in in conversations, but definitely something to consider in terms of trusted partners or if some of our citrix ready ecosystem Members are looking to to get something in there yeah it’s a possibility.

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Allen: I mean one one thing that we often hear is like like api’s right from from that side like give us the api’s give us the api’s you know, we want to be able to tie in to the capabilities and the data set.

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Allen: But ya know when when when it’s come a long way, it continues to have an active roadmap.

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Allen: yeah and there’s there’s definitely a lot, a lot more that we can do, and on that note, I just want to say, like when we talk about the partner community.

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Allen: Right citrix is always of the mindset of the 8020 rule right, we want to get most of the customers, most of the way there and then we realized for them to get all the way there and meet all the use cases.

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Allen: that’s where you know the partner ecosystem comes in, you know trusted channel players, such as yourselves.

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Allen: And all these other software hardware vendors in in citrix ready to really help complete the solution and that’s what I always say it’s very much a compliment not compete.

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Allen: And I we provide that core set of functionality and and all these other great vendors provide additional capabilities for for customers that do need to take it that that extra mile to meet their business challenges yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: yeah be foolish, the thing you’re solving all the challenges, because there’s challenges that will be realized today that you didn’t think about didn’t had no idea that even matter to somebody but somehow needed.

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Allen: Exactly, some of them are vertical specific, some of them, maybe even regional specific yeah there’s new challenges every day.

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Andy Whiteside: Well guys, I appreciate you jumping on today thing else on this topic that you want to bring up.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: I think we’ve I think we’ve covered a lot.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: For for what was what I thought was gonna be a very simple topic is turned into a.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: ton of information that we shared here, and you know there’s all kinds of great places to learn more about it.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: Whether it be you know citrix tech zone or call up your your citrix rapport you know call anyone from INTEGRA and i’m sure you guys are would be willing to help guide customers in the right direction.

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Andy Whiteside: And there’s so much to talk to customers about I went on a road trip last week and got through with these meetings and realized, it was.

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Andy Whiteside: 1000 things I could have brought up, based on what we discussed and just didn’t have enough time so that that’s the idea of partnership right let’s.

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Andy Whiteside: let’s build an evolve a partnership, where, at some point, I know what you know and i’m not bringing up old stuff and i’m telling you new stuff that I know you’re missing.

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Andy Whiteside: A bill you’ve been running a team implementing with them and implementing them yourself for know, maybe five years or more, I don’t know how long citrix has had it probably close to a decade now, and unfortunately time’s flying any additional points on a whim.

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Bill Sutton: yeah I wanted to, I really kind of wanted to you know, since we’ve got him here, I asked Alan a couple of real quick questions about this agent, and about the other one nothing, nothing outside of our topic here, but I know that.

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Bill Sutton: When it comes to deploying the when the agent that you need on a in a citrix environment it’s it’s an option when you install the receiver correct.

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Allen: It is in the in the Meta installer.

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Bill Sutton: yeah.

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Bill Sutton: Sure, I assume you’re pulling it down from the azure marketplace, or something to get it into the virtual desktop environment or pulling it from the Web console one or the other.

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Allen: yeah so so more the ladder and great question so you know customers that are native as your virtual desktop customers.

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Allen: In some cases they may or may not be familiar with citrix right could be their their first citrix service that they’re taking advantage of and if that’s the case, we certainly welcome you to our ecosystem.

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Allen: But there are some notable differences from using workspace environment management within centric solutions versus using it in the optimization pack so i’m glad that this was brought up when you.

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Allen: take advantage of the optimization pack either purchasing it through azure marketplace or or through a partner you’ll effectively have the workspace environment management cloud service tile in citrix cloud.

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Allen: And you’ll be able to download the agent right from the front from the main screen that the new, modern web console we’ve clearly defined the steps you need to get going.

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Allen: very quick time to value the links are there to to download the agent and other components, as well as we have a getting started guide.

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Allen: And I think this is a great proper think Todd mentioned earlier tech zone fantastic clatter on tech zone around reference architectures deployment guides there’s.

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Allen: there’s new video series there and i’ve been looking after the broader content plan as we’ve launched this optimization pack, and as we look to just really up level some of the.

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Allen: Existing workspace environment management content that we have so stay tuned there’s a lot more great content planned.

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Allen: Separate landing pages more videos hopefully have some course where as well, but but yes everything Customers need will be available within the workspace environment management service, and then we put together a nice a nice package to help them get going.

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Andy Whiteside: hey Alan what’s next on the list of native add things that are coming in, you can just say you’ll just have to wait, or you can give us the secret message, whatever it is.

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Allen: um yeah honestly you just have to wait I don’t even know myself and that’s that’s that’s just the truth there.

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Allen: But I mean this is something that microsoft’s incredibly excited about we have regular meetings with the Microsoft team and.

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Allen: And just to have something that works in natively on as your virtual desktop, of course, you know our solutions be at citrix DAS or on premises.

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Allen: give you additional value and cost savings and hybrid and multi cloud and things, above and beyond what you can do with native DVD.

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Allen: But we realized for some customers were native add is the way they want to go for whatever reason.

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Allen: very pleased that citrix has a solution for that now, and I think very quickly customers take advantage of the optimization pack they’re going to see exactly what we can do, and the value that we bring to the table yeah.

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Andy Whiteside: Okay we’ll pay attention see what else citrix does for native you guys thanks for joining, I appreciate it.

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Allen: Thank you pleasure.

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Todd Smith – Citrix: thanks for having us and.

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Andy Whiteside: we’ll do it again in about a week.

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Andy Whiteside: Thank you, everybody.

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Thanks.

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Allen: guys.