Monthly Archives: November 2009

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Holiday Survival Kit for “Techies”

Adrian Kingsly-Hughes wrote a great article on his zdnet blog entitled “Turkey Day” tech support survival kit. Even though Thanksgiving Day is behind us, those who are technically inclined will have ample opportunities through the rest of the Holiday Season to be buttonholed by family and friends who are…um…technically challenged.

This article describes how, with a little planning and preparation (and a few large-capacity USB flash drives), you can be ready to ride to the rescue of those whose plaintive cries for help can’t be ignored without negative social consequences.

Fenwick Sighted at Seattle Interface Show

Fenwick J. Moose (our PR Manager) attended last week’s Seattle Interface show. In addition to hanging out at the Watchguard booth, Fenwick took a turn around the show floor, where, of course, he was mobbed by people clamoring to have their pictures taken with him. Here are just a few (click on picture to view full size):

Working the Watchguard booth

With Peter and Kristin of Watchguard

Yuan-Chi Hsu and Julian Wilcoxon of Citrix

With Chad Arnold and a colleague at the TW Telecom booth

Our friends at 3R Technology - the PC recycling folks

Our buddies Dave Brown and John Ford from DataCore

In our opinion, the Face2Face folks do a great job putting together a 1-day show with a lot of good content. It’s probably the best-attended local technology trade show in Seattle these days. Plan ahead to check with and sign up for next year’s show.

You can also view more Interface pictures on Fenwick’s Facebook page. (Yes, he has his own…and if you’re on Facebook, you too can be a Friend of Fenwick.)

How Difficult Are You Making It?

I have gone through an interesting business exchange recently. It left me confused and irritated - not to mention I have now wasted way too much time on getting no results. As marketing manager here at Moose Logic I am always trying to find ways to best leverage money vs. time when it comes to marketing activities. Things have been picking up a bit lately and at the time of this story I have 4 confirmed live events happening in the next 3 months. I am realizing that I no longer have time to properly advertise one of the aforementioned events, but I do have budget for it.

To my luck Moose Logic has recently been contacted by a company that is offering the exact services I need. Since I have never contracted out for these services I was in no position to just “sign up” without doing my due diligence. I looked around a bit on the internet to discover certain trends and tips when hiring for these types of marketing services. Feeling better prepared to handle the outsourcing of this task I now went looking for pricing. The marketing company that had contacted Moose Logic (let’s call them Company X) got the benefit of my first call because of their proactive efforts in contacting us.

I asked another co-worker to reach out to this company and find out what their pricing is. The initial contact was simple – they asked what services we were looking for, when we needed the services, etc., all of which we happily answered.  At the end of the conversation my co-worker asked for a quote for their services. A few hours later she received an email from what I assume is the supervisor of the person who answered the phone.

Form Letter from Marketing Company X

This is clearly a form letter that is updated with our information, but totally disregards the phone conversation we just had with them, and more importantly does not give us any pricing for the services just requested.

So we reached out to Company X again to say thanks for the information but we are really trying to getting a quote for services. Shortly afterward we got another email - with a PDF attachment. “Alright, a quote!” I think to myself as I open the attachment.

Boiler Plate PDF from Marketing Company X

This is just page 1 of 3 of the PDF we received from Company X. Needless to say, there was no price attached anywhere - not in the email, not in the PDF.  Just more “boilerplate” saying what a great company they are, how awesome their services are, etc.

So, this got me thinking about how we do business here at Moose Logic. How many road blocks to business do we put up without even being aware of it? Do we try too hard to tell everyone why do business with us, rather than just doing business? If there are hurdles in our business, how do we find them and address them?

What about your business? Do you make it easy for your customers to do business with you, or are you losing business without even realizing it? Who do you ask to find out?

Well, I offer up Moose Logic and this blog post as a forum for anyone who wishes to tell us one way or the other on our business processes and our responsiveness to customer needs, or anyone who just wants to relate a similar story. We may all learn something new.

Disaster At the Interface Show

Moose Logic had a great time yesterday in the Watchguard booth at the Seattle Interface Show. Several of you filled out forms requesting evaluations of Watchguard products, or information in other areas of interest. Unfortunately, all of those forms were taken in a vehicle break-in at the parking garage of the Convention Center - along with pretty much everything else that was in the car.

If we promised you information, and you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from us, please contact us so we can make sure you get the information you’re looking for, and please accept our apologies for the inconvenience!

Implementing the New Citrix XenDesktop 4 Licensing Model

A couple of days ago, while reviewing some of the blog posts here, I happened to read Sid’s post regarding Citrix’s new per device or per user licensing model for XenDesktop 4. That led, in a somewhat convoluted way, to this post, which will focus on how you would implement this new model.

Even though I already knew some of the changes that were being incorporated into this licensing model, as soon as I read his post I immediately asked myself how, exactly, from a technical standpoint that was going to work? You see, at that exact point in time I was actively working on upgrading our XenDesktop (XD) and Provisioning Server (PVS) lab to XD4 and PVS5.1 sp1, so this topic really interested me - for the simple reason that what Citrix says is supposed to happen was not what I was seeing in my lab. At that point I was already running XenDesktop 4.0 in my lab, and I’d done nothing to put any per user or per devices licenses in place (I do however still have my previous XD Platinum Licenses from my XD 3.0 build on my 11.6.1 license server), but everything worked and I was not getting any license errors. Strange, you say? I agree!

So, like any curious tech, I started what turned out to be a long and exhaustive search for information regarding how the new license model should be implemented. But after a few hours, and a few emails between Sid and I, I had unfortunately turned up nothing, zilch, nada! In fact, the only thing I could find from Citrix - and this is pretty much common knowledge at this point because lots of people have already blogged on the topic - is the set of XenDesktop 4 documents located in the new Citrix eDocs Library. However, if you actually plow through the XenDesktop 4 documents, you will discover that there is no information on how, from a technical standpoint, this new license model is supposed to be implemented.

During my search I did run across one (yes, only one) blog post which had some insight regarding how it will actually work. That blog post was by Helge Klein of Sepago, a Citrix partner in Cologne, Germany. In that post, Helge states, “If what I have been told is true, the current version of XenDesktop 4 has no licensing enforcement built in.” (emphasis added) Now that statement really got me interested, because that was consistent with what I was actually seeing in my lab, but could it really be true?

Again, my curiosity required that I had to verify this information one way or the other. So today I picked up the phone, called the Citrix XenDesktop support team, and asked, “How does it work?” The initial answer (which I actually expected and would have bet money on) was, “I don’t know!”

To the credit of the Citrix technical support person I had on the phone, he did not just let this drop. Rather, he kept digging and reviewing information until he finally turned up an “internal only” document - which, of course, he could not share with me. However, based upon what he was reading in that document, his answer - specifically regarding the named user model - was that any user who is supposed to be assigned a license will need to be placed into the OU that was created during the install of the Desktop Delivery Controller (DDC). My reaction was, “What? You guys are going to require a business to move their users from their current OU(s), which may have group policies being applied, and place them into the XD OU? That’s crazy, because businesses, especially larger enterprises, are going to laugh at us!” Then I asked, “Can we at least nest the OUs to maintain GPO and AD structure?” to which the answer again was, “I don’t know.”

Once again, to the credit of the Citrix support person, I was asked to hold and give him a few minutes so that he could go talk to the escalation team and get a definitive answer. When he returned he confirmed what he had told me about how it was supposed to work…however, he also confirmed that today in XenDesktop 4.0 there is no license enforcement mechanism coded into the product. Basically, the license enforcement is based upon the honor system and what is written in the EULA.

That’s not necessarily bad – it’s worked reasonably well for Microsoft for many years. And our experience over the years has been that nearly all businesses want to be legally licensed, and will comply with license requirements as long as (1) they understand what constitutes compliance (which hasn’t always been easy), and (2) they don’t feel like they’re being ripped off. But it’s certainly a bit unexpected, to say the least.

So, finally, I had the answer directly from the Citrix XenDesktop support team regarding how it is implemented, which left only one more question: When will license enforcement be implemented? The answer: “I don’t know!” So, until Citrix decides to shed some light on this for us, we’ll just live with EULA-enforced licensing.

One last thought: With all due respect, wouldn’t you think that Citrix would want to tell their own internal support people the details about something like this BEFORE the product actually launches? Maybe they didn’t want the world to know about the lack of license enforcement – but things like that always come out…it’s just a matter of time. (Pssst! Hey, Citrix – it’s not a secret anymore!)