Foundation for Success (Redux)

on Monday, 08 September 2014 20:13.


As nights vs days becomes score draws and children are kicked off to university/school/nursery (delete as appropriate) it's time to admit its been a busy summer. Not had a chance to sit down and write here, I've a backlog of stuff to put on: no thanks in part to pressing F5 on the BBC's transfer page.

Still, I'll signal kick off by proudly standing under the steely eye of stewards and stating that Gilwood CS has put pen to paper to support the  SAFC Foundation of Light for the third year running. 

Scarf above Head Shot

The SAFC Foundation of Light uses the power of football to educate and motivate young people from Sunderland and its surrounding areas and last year, helped over 42,000 children through innovative projects, advancing literacy and numeracy and improving confidence and aspirations, as well as raising awareness of citizenship issues and improving employment skills. To find out more about the SAFC Foundation's work browse through what they do.

If you too are prompted to help, you can help raise funds as an individual, or perhaps your company can help the Foundation in a business capacity.

Onward and upward...





This item was brought to you by The Dave Brubeck Quartet at Carnegie Hall by Dave Brubeck Quartet. 


the early bird catches the reduced conference entry prices...

on Saturday, 19 July 2014 13:30.


While at the London VMUG this week, I attended Mike Laverick's well time kept session on the excitement that is a career in IT - specifically focused around the need to keeping skills fresh. A career in IT can be a job for life, but very likely not in the same role, or company. 

In his overview for Tech Ed Europe 2014 Aidan Finn talked about how traditional learning mechanisms can no longer keep up with sprint development, new features out every few weeks, and RTMs every 12-18 months. I'd agree with Aidan that conferences (and user group meetings) can give you a valuable and focused time to get to grips with new technologies, understand trends and discuss these with your peers for review and extra insight. 

Often there is best value in booking early for these events, not only for flights and accommodation but, for the early bird discount on the conference itself. Some are coming fast to a close:


VMworld Europe 2014 Early Bird Pricing ends on 29th July 2014  (with an additional discount if you've subscribed to VMUG Advantage, which in addition to the other benefits VMUG Advantage gives is worth your investment in VMUG Advantage) - so get your registration hat on

Time for Citrix Labs to make a Greater Exhibition of themselves Now Dropbox have DropKick?

on Sunday, 08 June 2014 19:51.


Dropbox has subsumed another early stage startup, the (ex) stealth company Droptalk . Dropbox now have a team and tool that (apparently) allows you to share links privately with friends via a Chrome extension; prior to assimilation there were plans for this to be followed by both iOS and Android applications. This is in addition to Zulip who were developing similar stuff. You can find out more detail on the acquisitions and transfers from TechCrunch.

Mobility has become key. Mobility means not only working outside of a cubicle, or indeed a single office location but between devices. File synchronisation services (such as Dropbox) have developed beyond allowing offline working and file backup to allowing simplified transfer of files between devices. And indeed, there is a natural progression again as few work in splendid isolation.

I've worked with Huddle and Citrix's Podio which are great for on-line team collaboration - with Podio perhaps edging it by allowing you not only to share calendars, content and conversations but create workflows and applications and share (or re-use) those resources with a wider community. 

There is an advantage in having your team's file sync service be supported by an efficient quick messaging/conversation: to discuss document changes; to ask a quick question, to free flow ideas before committing to the document. To ask about slippage, to brag about early delivery. There is no team without interaction and communication. Teams are social. A lack of a usable social tool was arguably a  reason Microsoft bought Yammer.   

One business alternative to Dropbox is Citrix ShareFile. Could Citrix compete to Dropbox's acquisition?

Citrix's Crystal Palace is a tool that you can install on Android, iOS, Mac Windows that allows you to send files, links and clipboard information from your device, to your colleagues devices directly (using Citrix's Sharefile file sync tool). Very neat. Very simple transfer of files and data not only between your own devices, but those of colleagues and clients too. As such, can allow for faster (by it being targeted) collaboration with that collaboration extending to links and clipboard: removing email and interacting more directly (questions around traceability slightly to one side) 

But it is not "discussion". 

Yet, Citrix have an environment that can reduce the cost of acquisition through innovation. Their Citrix Labs output has a number of projects that not only include Crystal Palace but Cloudex and Convoi:


Clouddex lets you learn about and connect with your coworkers, all from your smartphone. Use the built-in expertise search to leverage the collective wisdom of your whole company. The “Build a Team” wizard makes it simple to staff a new project with just the right mix of people and talent.

Convoi is a  team nascent team calling in one simple app. With just a tap people can communicate with all their team members. No phone numbers and no access codes. They can create teams as they need for their personal and work interactions and to stay connected.


Undoubtedly, discussion and collaboration is key for organisations, without that, teams fail and die. Those involved in "traditional" file  sync/backup who want to appeal to the enterprise need to add value to their core service to aid such collaboration. Dropbox have gone down the acquisition route - but have nothing yet (both the Dropkick and Zulip acquisitions were in early development). Citrix has the benefit of having the foresight to to have a skunk works team who appear to be ahead, or at least on the curve. The key will be in who can deliver a reliable solution the quickest. There are larger players in this market  (Apple, Google, Microsoft) - but the likes of Dropbox and Citrix can offer a cross platform environment which is more readily deployable because it can sit across different devices types and OSes. You can't truly collaborate and hold yourself to a single platform.

The question for Citrix is - the output of their Citrix Labs team is impressive, but will they simply continue to fiddle on clever projects while their competitors deliver more rapidly and burn them.  

Briforum London 2014 - when pictures paint a thousand words

on Saturday, 24 May 2014 15:51.


Briforum 2014 is the only technical virtualization conference that completely dedicated to desktop virtualization, VDI, application virtualization, Remote Desktop Services, and the consumerization of IT: called Briforum. I've been attending Briforum since it started in Washington in 2005. I had a chance to attend the last years Briforum London.

This year same venue (still good in terms of location and room size/flow). A different set of sessions and some new vendors, chiefly FSLogix who look to provide dynamic application visibility, which enables policy-based control of when any application is visible to individual users or groups from a single golden image: very interesting. 

I normally write a good deal for a report but in an effort to catch up on other things I'm going to refer you to the ingenious Barry Coombs who did some jaw droppingly marvelous blog posts on the event quite deftly erasing suggestions that you can't create valuable content on tablet devices. 

I was lucky enough to be "the other guy" presenting with Jim Moyle on Atlantis Computing's sponsor session The Future of Desktop Storage: Hyper-Convergence and In-Memory. Here is what Barry made of it:


By all means check out Barry's other session notes on his blog

Or read the twitter feed.


Three pick out sessions?

The Mirage Desktop: Or why we abandoned VDI and went back to Physical Desktops from Daniel Bolton and Jim Moyle. A useful insight into managing a large desktop/laptop estate and some useful new information to put into a session I'm hosting next weekend in Brussels

How Folder Redirection Impacts User Experience and Breaks Applications Helge Klein & Shawn Bass. I knew a lot of this from experience - but the detail and test results across OS platforms was very detailed and useful. Likely they'll have even more data for Boston so well worth a visit.  

Thin Clients - Don't Believe the Myth. How to make the right decision for your company Andrew Morgan and Shawn Bass. There are benefits of thin clients for sure, but a lot of information and knowledge on them needs to be revised and reconsidered in terms of performance, longevity, licenses and security to name but some. This is what the Andy and Shawn ably do. 


Worth a Sol Campbell?

If there was a critique of the event it would be that the face value ticket price is high. Not that there isn't value in attending - but a £5-600 fee would likely drive greater numbers.  

A workshop track could also be useful; maybe for a different/additional fee that allowed a longer/deeper dive into a particular topic. 

Still, as with 2013's event, I was impressed with the content, had good conversations and met great people. Sadly, I'm unlikely to get to Boston - but don't let that stop you. If you're umming and ahhing - go,  you'd be in for a treat.