On 14 March we (DuCUG) held our fifth event. For me it's a real special event as I'm involed as a organizer and also this time selected as a speaker of one of the BYOS sessions again. As usually I wrote down my experiences of the session of this day, which can be found in this blog.
The first session of the day was GPU-accelerated high-end graphics performance in Citrix XenServer/XenDesktop environments presented by Benny Tritsch. Benny started explaining GRID/GPU accelerated Desktop Remoting and the options available between MS, Citrix and VMware and which options are taking into account in this presentation. He continued describing how the options are functioning, characteristics and the supported format for each vendor: GPU Sharing/API Intercept (MS, Citrix, and VMware), Dedicated GPU (Citrix, VMware), and GPU Virtualization (Citrix). Benny continued mentioning the compatible servers for NVIDIA/Citrix vGPU (GPU Virtualization) and his experiences about BIOS requirements. Benny described the possibilities of the different GRID cards and compatibility map for all vendors and GPU accelerated options. Next topic was the test lab overview used for the tests. Benny is showing the results with videos and bandwidth usage. He explains the results really clearly, non-biased and based on the practical usage.
The second session of the day was presented by Julien Stanovic and Barry Schiffer and was called SSL Performance deep dive featuring Citrix NetScaler. The session started Barry explaining SSL and why SSL is being used (Validate identity, secure communications), followed by how an SSL session is established and the session will be focusing on asymmetric communications (PKI). Julien continued the session explaining his experiences between physical and VPX NetScalers and the possibilities Citrix officially is announcing, introducing the testing results they have performed. The test shows that when running a VPX the underlying hardware is the factor determines the performance results. Julien continued with the results offered by a VDX hosted on a SDX with and without Cavium. They also did a test with 4K SSL certificates on the same hardware. Results with Cavium are almost unbelievable lower than the other hardware platforms. Barry and Julien ended the session with the following conclusions: CPU architecture impacts, cavium impacts, and SSL bit size impacts. They came up with one more thing: NetScaler VPX does not scale (you can add more CPU to the VM, but he is only using two CPUs). There was some time left over and there was some good comments made by the audience.
After a short break Andrew Wood continued with the session PVS is better than MCS, AMD and Intel and Intel and VDI performance and other notes from the field. Andrew will discuss five most important notes from the field. Andrew started with his vision that VMware View isn't as poor as many think. He compared on this own well-known way how it compares with XenApp/XenDesktop. Hit second topic was about the hypervisor. Andrew mentioned the Project VRC survey and the result of used hypervisors. He explained the importance of (dedicated) NFS Kernel Ports. Andrew also explained how he creates a kind of kernel port on XenServer (he offers to share the scripts). Third topic was about Power Settings in the BIOS configuring the BIOS to Maximum Performance. He is referring to testing of Helge Klein about this topic. His next topic was about controversial topics with some super funny pictures as an introduction. He discussed about PVS is better than MCS (MSC is no single image management; PVS is rapid deployment/single image management). His no1 Notes from the field is about Intel and AMD. He is sharing his testing results showing that Intel performance is much better than AMD, so he advises to use Intel at this moment.
After the lunch the traditional BYOS were on the agenda. The first BYOS session was brought by Timco Hazelaar with the title NetScaler and StoreFront troubleshooting 101. Timco started with StoreFront history, followed explaining the NS traffic flow. Topics Timco discussed were: placement of the NetScaler, NSIP, SNIP, AG VIP, port numbers for firewalls, callback StoreFront, NS - Management Tooling / Java Runtime tips and tricks, putty, WinSCP, Licensing. Timco also shared this troubleshooting tips and tricks about Licensing, Authentication, Radius and Network issues.
After Timco I together with Freek Berson on stage with our session Microsoft Windows Server 2012 R2 RDS vs Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, a comparison. Hopefully the audience enjoyed the session.
The last BYOS session was presented by Bram Wolfs. Bram started with describing the App-V 5 characteristics. Bram continued with the App-V 5 deployment options: App-V 5 Full Infrastructure, SCCM. He did not mention the stand alone options, but that's also a deployment option. Some attention points are: multiple management, PowerShell script required and more. Bram introduces his App-V 5 scheduler tool, a stand-alone extension to manage App-V 5 publishment. Bram demoed his tool in detail. It's a very interesting tool with lots of possibilities. Definitely worth checking if you don't want an App-V5 Infrastructure.
After a short break we continued with a customer case by Danny van Dam. The title of the presentation is App-V 5.0 met Remote Desktop Services Customer Case and Best Practices. Danny started with explaining the current infrastructure, sounds familiar for most environments CPS45, WI, RES WM 2012. Current App-V 4.6 has no back-end and the customer would like to keep that the same way for App-V 5. Danny mentioned the current version and updates for App-V 5. Without App-V back-end PowerShell is required. Also vDisk size should be reduced as possible. Danny explained the SharedContentMode in details. Danny did several tests: packages not in the vDisk / PowerShell script, time to load 40 minutes, packages not in vDisk with App-V 5 backend, time to load 30 minutes, pre-caching in vDisk / vDisk process take s longer no load time. Should be thought about app updates both at reboot and running XenApp servers (scripts). Danny shares some best practices: offer packages through IIS webfolder instead of CIFS share, easier to load balance, no HA storage required and mentioning the tuning tips by Ingmar. App-V sequences best practices are: most packages converted by App-V converter will not work, sequencer needs to be installed for PowerShell converter module, require x86 PowerShell, package scripts required for managing file type associations, combination groups. Machine level publishing all users get all apps when using the no back-end possible: tooling like RES WM, Silo for Desktops and Apps. Danny also created a script for pre-caching. Also a bit strange is that the XML cannot be read only from CIFS. As an alternative for the ContentShareMode, you can use full caching on the persistent disk based on de-duplication on the storage level. Danny mentioned that SP3 for App-V 4.6 offers support for Win 8.1/Srv2012R2.
Traditionally the official program of the DuCUG ended with a Geek Speak session. Kees and Barry hosted this session. Several topics were discussed like XenApp 6.5 v XenApp 7.5/XenDesktop 7.5, StoreFront 2.x versus Web Interface, NetScaler MPX v VDX, XenMobile, Desktopplayer for Mac. Also we discussed about Synergy and presenting on events in general. After the Geek Speak session, there was some time to talk to each other, exchange news and more together with some drinks.