First off, it really is just a “wow” moment that I never thought would happen between the 2017 and 2018 Synergy. It has been a wild 12 months from just being a normal Citrix Nerd to a Citrix CTA in September last year, to a Citrix CTP in February 2018. This Citrix Synergy is the most important to date because this is my first time being a Citrix CTP. I have always, and continue to, look up to all the current and past CTPs as my Citrix Super Heroes and now I have made it to the Citrix Justice League, or the Avengers, whichever you prefer.
Breakout Sessions Schedule
Have the Citrix Phone Apps (Have your confirmation code and the email you registered with)
Top 5 Reasons I go to Synergy
- Meet People–I have made so many friends over the past 10 years of going and that is why it is number one. I have run into people that live all over the world but we all have one thing in common we use Citrix and we use it all different ways which is awesome.
- Hear from People related to number one but I love hearing presentations and real-world customer success stories because it motivates me to try and be “cool” like them. Citrix is used in every industry vertical and every company size and that says a lot about their customers, you can learn a lot from a lot of people.
- Keynotes–I’m a nerd and the Keynotes usually are technical and demo something awesome, strategic and talk about something that is coming that you will want to have and my favorites are wildcard keynotes from people that are not in the IT space because you will learn something about their slice of the world and think about things not like a nerd. My top two have been Colin Powell and Life is Good Cofounder Bert Jacobs (Citrix Summit)
- Demos, Demos and Demos–I’m just like most, I love blinky lights that do awesome things and seeing products in the expo hall or on the stage is awesome. Sometimes they Win, or they have an Epic Fail, but I still love the vision and drive to do things that haven’t been done.
- Shindigs–I’m from TN, sorry, but I love some of the events outside of the keynotes and breakout sessions and then, of course, the parties and receptions. I have met a lot of lifelong friends from these events and I think it is a must instead of going “back to the room” to get out there and have some fun and do something different. I’m a huge fan of finding a couple of slots to go to the Self-Paced labs and dominate them like Contra!
Top 5 Must Do at Synergy
- Go to the Keynotes–You don’t want to miss the Day One Keynote, as it will for sure set the stage for the rest of the week and what cool things will be going on.
- Breakout Sessions–It might be death by PowerPoint, but you will find some gems and without a repeating schedule for many it can make your decision that much harder.
- Self-Paced Labs–Go in there and you should find a Lab that relates to your current world, and then another one that might be like a virtual tire kicking to see if you want to take it back to your mothership.
- Take a Cert–When else will you get a free one? Get out there, pick one and try it. They always have cool prizes or flair that you get if you earn certain Expert level certifications, so roll the dice and study and Win!
- Pace yourself–This is a multi-day marathon. This is not the week for shoes that aren't broken in or extra stuff in your backpack to weigh you down. Pick your note-taking device and bring a couple of snacks each day (there will be some provided but it is always good to fall back in case there isn’t something you like). If you have a refillable water bottle, there are usually refill stations if you’re not a soda\pop person. Remember, you want something to carry expo hall swag in, but save your lunch money for a quick Uber\Lyft if needed to run your bag back to the room before heading to some of the events each night–it will be well worth the 10-20 dollars to get there and back in most cases (mileage may vary :-)
Breakout Sessions–My Picks
I have been looking through the session catalog and here are my top session picks and events:
If you get there before Monday at 6:30 so you can go to Navigators Reception, for new Synergy-goers, and the CUGC Pregame reception (click here to register for the Pregame).
Don’t miss the Keynote. This is where some of the new stuff will be shown off.
SYN237: Citrix and Nutanix: the 2018 inside scoop – This one will go into all the new things that Citrix has done with Nutanix in 2018 by CTPs Jarian Gibson and Kees Baggerman
SYN212: Security for Citrix products in the cloud – This session goes over a couple of topics that I have discussed in the past on where to start with VDI security and practical countermeasures that you can implement. Dual CTPs again with Chris Rogers and Joe Shonk.
SYN141: Keys to delivering a successful user experience – This session will dive into how to measure User Experience and at the end of the day that is a big deal for all Citrix deployments. Excited to see what Ron Kraft has to say from Bank of America.
Tuesday Welcome Party, Munchies and Drinks
Looking forward to seeing Dr. Condoleezza Rice speak after hearing Colin Powell speak last year and knowing a little bit about her career, it should have some good insights.
SYN105: Deploying Citrix Workloads on different clouds: CTP best practices for a successful deployment – A new 2018 CTP like me, Christiaan Brinkhoff will be talking about some of the best practices with George Kuruvilla from Citrix too. If you're planning on going to Citrix cloud, you will not want to miss this one.
SYN211: The naked truth: CTPs investigate Citrix Cloud performance – Double CTP Presentation again with the great Dr Benny Tritsch and Thomas Krampe on the performance within Citrix cloud deployment that you should know about and understand. If your planning on going to Citrix cloud you will not want to miss this one either.
SYN124: Using Citrix Analytics to reveal internal threats – Citrix Analytics is one of my new jams, since it was showcased a little over a year ago. I hope to learn more too. This is a such a cool security nerdy feature. Doesn’t appear that it will be super nerdy, but I’m still a fan boy.
SYN131: Central image management: Provisioning Services and Machine Creation Services today, tomorrow and beyond – If you are using MCS or PVS, this may be a "must" to hear about the enhancements with either technology. I have been a die-hard PVS guy, but MCS with modern servers systems like Nutanix are changing my mind a bit.
Thursday 9:00AM Keynote
Looking forward to hearing about some AI\Machine Learning and some of Michael Lewis’s insights on the world.
SYN219: Better authentication made easy: MFA and reCAPTCHA! – I have been a fan of Thorsten Rood (CTP) and all his insights on NetScalers. Add some Multi Factor Authentication and I’m in. Having MFA is a must to ensure someone needs more than a username and password to get in. Safety First!
SYN106: Delivering high availability in a hybrid cloud architecture for XenApp and XenDesktop – I love some great designs that are HA across multiple datacenters, and providers that create more fault domains and hearing how things get glued together. This should be a good one.
SYN220: NetScaler MAS practical guide: NetScaler ADC automation and management with Stylebooks and Configuration Jobs – Another session with a new 2018 CTP, Carsten Bruns, with Esther Barthel, who has been a CTP for 4 years. If you have a NetScaler and MAS, you need to be here. The work that I know that has been put into this presentation and this subject will help you if you have these products. Good stuff for sure.
SYN132: Citrix Provisioning Services real-world usage and benefits – I’m a PVS fan boy, I’m sorry, but I want to hear how Cerner is doing their thing. The scale they use XenApp and PVS is pretty crazy.
SYN232: Protect your business from unwitting users – Another security related presentation, who would have guessed, but from the description this should have some different information than the other Citrix Analytics-related presentations. It shows as technical-advanced, so hopefully it gets in the weeds.
Looking forward to seeing everyone out in Anaheim!!