Notes from the Road – Part 9: Microsoft Tech Ready 14

Home away from home. I think it a rare occurrence when someone could have had multiple careers like I have, yet one thing remains the same; my frequent trips to the Microsoft campus in Redmond Washington. I would say that I started coming here with a steady frequency back in 2004 when I spent a week at SEATAC airport working for Softricity. Back in those days I was a Hilton points guy.

Then I went to Marriott attaining Gold status, which is nothing when compared to my friend Steve Campbell who is lifetime platinum status. The past several years, I have been a frequenter of the boutique destinations like the Willows Lodge in Woodinville, WA. It was actually Jason Gradel from Citrix who turned me on to this little traveling professionals jewel tucked away in wine country in Washington State. Who said business travel has to be torture?

This trip finds me in a place all too familiar. Microsoft TechReady 14 (TR14.) As I’ve said before, this is the twice yearly gathering of the best and brightest from Microsoft field in the Washington State Convention center for a week-long intense period of product updates straight from the people who develop the solutions. I started coming here when SoftGrid was one of those new products that the field needed to be updated on with my close friend John Flanagan. This event was quite different, though, as I was not a speaker for the first time in over 6 years.

The week was certainly full of highlights thanks to my old and new friends in Microsoft Consulting Services (MCS.) I love talking to these guys because they are the ones in the trenches. They are the ones designing, deploying and maintaining the solutions that the sales guys sell. It is always refreshing for me to listen to what they have to say—the pain points that they deal with the most—and then map an RES Software solution to that pain point and tell them how we can alleviate, if not eliminate, their roadblocks is just superb.

For example, this week I talked to a lot of guys, and there was a single common thread across all the conversations. VDI. Well, not just VDI, but more specifically, VoIP in a VDI scenario. And even more specifically, Lync in a VDI deployment. You see, when applications like VoIP run on a remote desktop but use the local microphone, headset, video, desktop sharing, etc, they can suffer unacceptable latency issues jamming back and forth on the LAN. Not only is the bandwidth getting pounded by all these packets streaming back and forth from hosted desktop to end point device and back again, but the resource performance can get a bit dodgy. This is such a prevalent concern for all my friends in Seattle that they are always talking about it. With a serious push to modernize the desktop with Windows 7, Office 2010 with Lync, System Center, et. al., companies will naturally look at this juncture in their desktop refresh as a paradigm in how they deploy the “modern desktop.” This almost always leads to a discussion around VDI. And of course, in that discussion is always VoIP, especially Lync when it is the Microsoft field doing the conversing.

What I was able to convey to each of them was one of our less publicized products called RES Virtual Desktop Extender, or VDX for short. (Not to be confused with Virtual Dynamix (VDX), one of our premiere deployment partners in the States.) Our VDX product can actually eliminate the latency issues with VoIP when running a hosted desktop. If you are familiar with the concepts of “seamless windows” then you are familiar with basic premise. Take what you know about seamless windows, an application running on an RDS sever in the data center yet seamlessly appearing to the user as a local windowed application on their desktop device. Now flip that 180 degrees (or reverse seamless) and you have VDX. Take an application that is installed on the local endpoint, make it appear to be a windowed application on the hosted desktop in the data center. The user’s perspective remains in that hosted Windows 7 desktop. They never leave that experience. Yet when they run the Lync icon on that hosted desktop, it actually launches the local instance, using all the local mic, speakers, video, etc., but in a seamless window in their VDI session.

Bingo! No Latency because nothing but a screen scrape is traversing the wire. This is a great solution to remove one of the most common blockers in a Windows 7 VDI environment. And the best part is, like all RES Software solutions, the setup and requirements are very easy.

You can actually take an online test drive of RES VDX here. That’s it for this edition of NFR. I am gearing up for what promises to be another stellar week on the Left Coast interacting with hundreds of customers at a Citrix Technology Exchange in LA. Thanks to our amazing hosts Nathaniel and Rick.

Stay virtual, my friends.

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