• Category Archives Cloud
  • Varrow Madness 2015 : IT’s a wrap

    Another year, another great Varrow Madness event is now in the books. This is one of the big events I look forward to every year.  This annual free conference is a juggernaut and showcases some of the best solutions and technologies in the industry and is a balanced approach of showing where things are heading in the market and more immediate trends and needs. This year was held at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro North Carolina.

    Varrow Madness is themed and centered around March Madness basketball tournament. North Carolina has a special connection with the tournament with the number and density of in state teams that make the sweet 16 year after year.  IT folks can be very passionate about their technology but NC IT folks can also be very passionate about their basketball. When NC State won with the buzzer beater, there were some very happy people and some not so very happy people.

    I am a VA Tech fan so take that for what it’s worth, Let’s go Hokies…  We are not in it this year though… always next year.

    This is my after action report of Varrow Madness 2015.

    Madness Kick Off and Keynote 1

    The event kicked off with a special video intro The History of IT video

    The intro video for Varrow Madness 2015! The History of IT. https://t.co/RElbVEGfeL #VM15
    — Jason Nash (@TheJasonNash) March 20, 2015

    After the video Varrow CEO and co-founder Jeremiah Cook took the stage to welcome everyone and provide a very touching keynote and kick off Varrow Madness to our Varrow family of customers, partners and all other attendees. It is always a treat to hear Jeremiah speak and reminds me every time on why I wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

    BreakOut Sessions

    There were over 45 individual breakout sessions in one day with a fantastic lineup of Varrow and special guest speakers so it is really hard to choose what to attend. As it is a one day only event, none of the sessions are repeated. With topics from traditional datacenter, software defined networking from both NSX and ACI, Cloud technologies, Mobility, End User Computing (EUC), Security and DevOps we had it all. There really is something for everyone at this event.

    So what did I do at Varrow Madness, glad you asked…

    Breakout #1
    EUC Layering – Comparing and Contrasting the Options by Varrow Architect Earl Gay

    About Earl: (Give him a follow on twitter He will make you laugh and learn). Earl also delivers great information on his blog as well.

    Session Information

    About the session: Layering technologies can help ease application management for both physical and virtual desktops. There are many different technologies that fall under the layering umbrella, even though many of them work in dramatically different ways. In this session, we will discuss the options available from different vendors.

    This technical session was packed with great information around the current players delivering layering technologies in the market today.

    Also don’t fret if you couldn’t make Varrow Madness. Earl will giving the EUC Layering Smackdown at Briforum Denver this July 20th – 22nd, don’t miss it.

    Breakout #2
    Automate your life with PowerCLI 6.0 by Alan Renouf

    About Alan: Alan Renouf is a Product Manager at VMware focusing on Automation Frameworks and CLI, he is responsible for providing the architects and operators of the cloud infrastructure with the toolkits/frameworks and command-line interfaces they require to build a fully automated software-defined datacenter. Alan is a frequent blogger at http://blogs.vmware.com/PowerCLI and has a personal blog at http://virtu-al.net. You can follow Alan on twitter as @alanrenouf.

    Session Information

    Attend this session to find out why PowerCLI 6.0 is the best way to automate your life, remove those common unwanted tasks, manage your environment from vSphere to vCloud and even improve your love life! Find out how PowerCLI can automate the latest vSphere 6.0 features and make you a superhero.

    This was a great session packed with information, PowerCLI 6.0 is a great release with a ton of new enhancements, enhancements that enable other products like VSAN, vCloud Air, module based approach that could enable faster development of PowerCLI enhancements in the future.

    For a full rundown of PowerCLI 6.0 Check out the announcement post here. I am a big fan of PowerCLI and Alan, Alan has done a lot for the community including his well known vCheck Script.

    If you haven’t started with Powershell or PowerCLI, anyone can learn and use powershell and make their lives easier. Alan has also written several books about PowerCLI as well that would be excellent resources for getting started with PowerCLI.

    Keynote #2
    Alexis Ohanian – Co-founder of Reddit and and has been involved in a number of other startups such as Hipmunk and more…

    Alexis Ohanian is an American internet entrepreneur, activist and investor based in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, best known for co-founding the social news website Reddit, helping launch travel … Wikipedia

    I wish i had video I could share of this keynote, but what I can share is this was a great engaging keynote, he capture the audience with his colorful keynote.. He also made me want to go eat Waffles at Waffle House, go on a binge watching Smooth McGroove videos and look at pictures of grumpy cat…  I also had to go play a game of Scorched Earth for old times sake.

    This is not the actual video from our event but a TED Talk

    After the keynote, I got to meet Alexis for a few minutes. This guy is awesome, I am now a fan. On Slack we were talking about how much Alexis reminded us of one of our own Varrowites, AJ Kuftic. In fact they were talking together, I even think there is even a resemblance between the two…

    If you are not using Slack for internal communications, you should be. Slack was also given a big shout-out during the DevOps Toolkit session I attended next.

    BreakOut #3
    The DevOps Toolkit – Jonas Rosland, EMC – aka @virtualswede

    Jonas works for EMC Code – perhaps a lesser known division within EMC that focuses on Open source tools and development to help the community and EMC. Check out their Github page.

    “CODE OPEN, DEPLOY EVERYWHERE” – EMC believes in open source. CODE is here to share and collaborate with developers worldwide.

    Session Information

    Business opportunities change all the time, and every business opportunity is now an IT project. In this session, you’ll learn about the toolkit that IT needs to understand to better survive in this more rapid and fluid world of IT/Business intersection. Learn about Automation, Continuous Deployments, working with Public Clouds and other tools/techniques to deal with projects that need to move at the speed of business.

    This was another fabulous session and really got me thinking about DevOps, this is something that has crossed my mind from time to time. As someone who has dabbled in development of things from scripts and automation, this session hit a spark for me to really start digging further in DevOps and how this can help enable business and IT, both internally and more importantly for our customers.

    BreakOut #4 and final session for me. Last but not least and saving the best for last.

    The last session of the day for me was the “Mobility Panel”

    The panel consisted of an all star team of Varrow engineers and the scary thing is this just a bit of the depth that Varrow has in this technology.

    Panel Members

    • Thomas Brown – VMware VCDX-DTM #187 (1 of only 7 in the world) and Mobility Architect
    • Earl Gay – Mobility Architect VMware vExpert, Citrix Synergy Speaker
    • Jim Ryland – Just about every Citrix certification you can imagine – extremely smart and talented
    • And me… let’s move along

    Session Information

    This is an open Q&A session with Varrow Mobility’s best and brightest. Are you considering VDI? Wondering how to reign in those mobile devices? Curious what your peers are doing in the end user computing space? Bring your questions and get a chance to ask Varrow’s Mobility experts.

    This session was great, lots of questions about End User Computing and mobility trends with everything from Desktops as a Service (DaaS) Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Enterprise Mobility Management questions that cover products like Airwatch, XenMobile, application management technologies like layering and much much more. We could have easily went another hour with questions.

    What I did not get to do:
    I missed a number of great breakout sessions from a lot of great guest speakers like Scott Lowe (VMware), Chris Colotti (VMware, VCDX), Brian Gracely (ECM Code), Sean Cummins (EMC VMAX), Andy Gossett (Varrow CCIE), Rawlingson Rivera (VMware, aka Captain VSAN), Mike Foley (VMware Security), Nelson Estevez (Citrix Netscaler), Geremy Meyers (Citrix) Art Harris (Varrow Citrix), Sarath Velagaleti (Varrow Citrix), Josh Coen (Varrow VCDX), & Jason Nash (Varrow CTO, Dual VCDX-NV & DCV) & Many more

    I do wish the sessions were recorded, maybe one day.

    Event Closing
    The event ended with a ton of prize give sways and a Thank you to all attendees of the event. After all the many prizes were handed out, there was one last piece of business to attend to and that would be the St. Patrick’s Day Happy Hour.

    Invitation for Next Year.
    Next year Varrow Madness will be held in Charlotte North Carolina at the Westin – Stay Tuned as we get closer to the event. Come join us next year, you won’t be disappointed.

    Some random tweets and comments from the event:

    Had an awesome time @VarrowMadness #vm15 ! Until next year! And thanks for the props y’all. #CiscoACI
    — vCarly Stoughton (@_vCarly) March 20, 2015


    @TheJasonNash: One minute it’s @scott_lowe talking #VMwareNSX and next it’s @_vCarly talking #CiscoACI ! #VM15” Damn. Talk about #BrainHurt
    — J Metz (@drjmetz) March 19, 2015

    So @alexisohanian is taller than me. AND YES I KNOW MOST PEOPLE ARE TALLER THAN ME. #VM15 pic.twitter.com/RxoG3tfWKM
    — Jason Nash (@TheJasonNash) March 19, 2015

  • Things just got real: Varrow Enterprise Hybrid Cloud

    Varrow just announced their release of its hands-on enterprise hybrid cloud environment they are showcasing at the Carolina Panthers game on Oct 30th. I got to see a live demo and it was impressive to say the least and I don’t impress easily. A lot of work obviously went into it led by Josh Coen and Chris Horn of Varrow.

    This demo was exciting to see and it showed what these solutions can do when combined and set up properly. I have seen a lot of demos and several companies talk about setting up a true hybrid cloud envionrment but this was one of the first time I saw all of the puzzle peices put together.

    From the release regarding the goals of the lab.

    In the design of its hands-on enterprise hybrid cloud, Varrow set out to build a hybrid cloud environment where both public and private cloud resources could be monitored and managed from one point of control, where workloads could easily be moved to and from public and private clouds, and where normally complex and time-consuming tasks are automated and reduced to a few mouse clicks.

    Cloud has always been a bit of hype and buzzwords but this is the closest I have seen to the “vision”

    Automation is something I find near and dear to my heart and can be a complex undertaking but is well worth the effort and was one of the highlights for me. It is one of the lynchpins of a true Hybrid Cloud in my opinion. There is a lot that goes into this solution from a technology standpoint.

    The infrastructure platform for Varrow’s hands-on enterprise hybrid cloud is built upon industry leading solutions from VMware, Cisco and EMC.  The VMware software stack is built around VMware’s vCloud vRealize suite and includes integration of VMware’s vCAC, vCO, LogInsight, and vCOPS with Cisco UCS compute and Nexus 9000 switches, providing full 40Gb connectivity and a solid foundation for software-defined networking (SDN).  EMC storage infrastructure includes Isilon, XtremeIO, VPlex, VNX, VNXe and VMAX; all storage platforms are abstracted and managed via EMC’s software defined storage platform, EMC ViPR. The Varrow Enterprise Hybrid Cloud is currently federated with Peak 10, Amazon AWS, Azure, and vCloud Air, allowing for the seamless migration of workloads from the Private to Public Cloud.

    From what I saw in the demo I think they nailed it and it was very compelling. This was not just another cloud presentation or bullet in a product brief talking about product capabilities.  This was not vaporware. They actually pulled together all of the pieces you would imagine in a real hybrid cloud scenario and showed it from an Administrator’s view and how people at various levels of the business could see and interact with it.

    Things just got real.

  • Ultimate XenDesktop / XenApp 7.5 Landing Page

    Citrix has recently released XenDesktop and XenApp 7.5. This page was created to mainly link content directly related to this latest release. As this post has grown, it will be adding some relavent 7.x content as well that may still apply to the 7.5 release. The purpose of this post is an easy referance or jump point to some of the content released officially from Citrix and the greater Citrix community including CTPs, bloggers and analysts. Most of the posts linked below will be of a technical nature.

    I will be updating this page regularly and if you find an article worth adding. Please let me know by commenting or messaging me. All comments are welcome.

    Last Update: 04/11/2014

    Recent Changes


    Installation Posts

      Upgrade Posts

      EdgeSight in XenDesktop / XenApp 7.x

      StoreFront 2.5

        Product Downloads

        Platinum Promotions with XenDesktop / XenApp 7.5 Platinum

        Third Party Integrations 

        Cloud and CSP Links

        Feel free to post new links or suggestions in the comments. This will be an evolving page over the life of the product and I will be linking issues, hotfixes, articles, how tos, videos etc.

      • Goodbye Cisco ACE, Hello Citrix Netscaler

        Lately I have spent a fair amount of my time implementing and configuring Citrix Netscaler devices, the more I use these the more I am excited about this technology, apparently Cisco agrees with me.

        Cisco confirmed this week that it will not develop further generations of its ACE load-balancing products based on a review of data center trends and growth market opportunities. ACE, which is embodied in modules for Cisco 7600 routers and Catalyst 6500 switch and a standalone appliance, was not a growing product line for Cisco.

        ACE is an application delivery controller (ADC). ADCs are vital to virtualized data centers and cloud environments as more VM workloads are added and movde around within and between data centers, and within the cloud. Multiple active paths between switches need to balance traffic loads to ensure application uptime and performance, and reduce latency and congestion

        Cisco has announced a partnership with Citrix to use Netscalers as part of the solution stack. Cisco and Citrix have a long history of working together and many plans laid out for the future.

        The companies also plan to integrate Cisco’s collaboration products with Citrix’s CloudGateway and Xen Desktop virtualization offerings; and Cisco’s ONE programming environment, Unified Computing and Nexus data center switches with Citrix’s CloudPlatform orchestration engine and XenServer products.

        Ok so what does this mean to you if your an ACE customer and now your hardware is EOL, Citrix and Cisco have developed the ACE Migration Program or AMP to help you with the transition.

        In phase one of our networking partnership, Cisco sales teams will now recommend Citrix NetScaler ADC for Cisco Unified Data Center Architecture and Solutions. This will enable our mutual customers to deliver any application or service with the best possible performance, security and availability. Additionally, Citrix is developing a suite of migration tools, reference documents and services to ensure seamless integration of Citrix NetScaler into Cisco Cloud Network Services architectures.
        To fully support customers during this transition phase, Citrix is offering a new ACE Migration Program (AMP) to all global customers. The special program provides Cisco ACE customers with the industry’s most generous product discounts for next-generation ADC solutions, as well as custom NetScaler implementation services provided by world-class Citrix Consulting Services. Citrix is making it easy for ACE customers to migrate to the industry’s best ADC solution, NetScaler. Between now and December 31, 2012, qualified Cisco ACE customers will receive:

        • 20% discount on the MSRP of any NetScaler MPX and multi-tenant NetScaler SDX appliance.
        • 20% discount on the MSRP of a standard 3-day NetScaler Implementation Service provided by world-class Citrix Consulting Services.

        Note: Existing volume license programs apply to the discounted manufacturer suggested retail price (MSRP), if applicable.
        Information on the ACE Migration Program, as well as for materials and resources pertaining to the Cisco and Citrix NetScaler partnership, please visit the Citrix “Welcome to NetScaler” site at www.citrix.com/netscaler/cisco.

        More about the future relationship between Cisco and Citrix

        Cisco and Citrix believe the IT industry is on the verge of the next major architectural transition:  the mobile-cloud era. To help enterprise and service provider customers capture the market transition and transform their business models, Cisco and Citrix will collaborate to unify best-of-breed technologies into innovative solutions for the mobile-cloud era.

        The expanded partnership will include a significant investment in people and resources to drive market-leading technology innovation, solution integration and validation, customer support, and joint go-to-market investment on a global basis.

        • Cloud Networking
        • Cloud Orchestration
        • Mobile Workstyles
        • PertnerShip Momentum

         Expect a few more blogs around the Citrix Netscalers coming up soon. I hope you find this article useful, if you have any comments please leave them below.