What Citrix technologies are most important to your work?
I work for a large, traditional grocer in the United States and use Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (not to be confused with citrus in our produce department). We deliver a productivity desktop to our retail locations and various other line of business applications to our business units. I’ve worked at my current employer for over 13 years and have seen the environment grow from a couple hundred physical servers we managed individually to over a thousand virtual servers managed with Citrix Provisioning Services. Because of the size of the environment, Citrix Provisioning Services is my favorite tool in the tool chest. I’ve also grown fond of PowerShell and am using it for simple tasks from querying for user sessions to automating complex tasks.
What are the biggest technology challenges you deal with and how do Citrix technologies help resolve them?
We have thousands of retail locations with limited bandwidth, making traditional PC management difficult. Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops allows us to deploy applications/desktops and updates promptly without negatively impacting the WAN. Citrix Provisioning Services enable us to deploy image updates quickly–we’re able to rollout (or rollback) image updates with a simple reboot.
Login times are vital to us–the more time our associates can be on the store floor selling instead of in the back office on a computer is critical. Our users will have a handful of short sessions a day and need to return to the floor. The quicker the logon time, the better. We measure login duration with Citrix Director. We use the metrics from Citrix Director to identify opportunities for improvement. We’re preparing to implement Citrix WEM to improve login times by reducing GPO processing and login script by moving both to WEM.
Tell us about leading the Cincinnati CUGC and what makes a great meeting.
I co-lead the Cincinnati CUGC with Eduardo Molina (CTP) and Chad King, and have been involved since the beginning. I’ve been working with Citrix technologies for over 20 years and know several others in the area with similar backgrounds and always wanted to form a local user group. CUGC made it possible to for Eduardo, Chad, and myself to build the local group for like-minded individuals to share their experiences. It took us a few meetings to figure out the best locations, time of day, and relevant content to attract attendees. We have had a bunch of successful meetings and have had presentations from Carl Webster, Ron Oglesby, Patrick Coble, and Martin Zugec. Some of the best meetings have been when we’ve been able to have an open dialog, and members share where they have challenges and what they’ve done to overcome those challenges.
You're also on the team planning the upcoming Midwest XL. What are you most excited about?
I’m excited to be involved with the Midwest XL this year. If you haven’t been to an XL event and have the opportunity to go, I highly recommend fitting it into your schedule. The XL event is like a mini Synergy packed into one day with some of the best content you can absorb. If you’ve been to Synergy, you’ll know that some of the best presentations are those by CTP/CTA community members. We have some outstanding presenters scheduled including Daniel Feller (CTA), Shane Kleinert (CTP), Steve Greenberg (CTP Fellow), Patrick Coble (CTP), Benjamin Crill (CTA) & Scott Bowling. I’ve seen many of these presenters before, and they are top-notch. Last year, the event was in Indianapolis, and this year we’ve moved the event to the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati. We’re just over a month out, and I’m looking forward to interacting with my peers in the CUGC community.
What's the best advice you've received in work or life?
To stay relevant, the world we live in is ever-evolving, especially in the technology space. The jobs or processes we do today become obsolete or irrelevant quickly. I previously worked for a company that printed paper forms, the world changed around them, and they failed to stay relevant and are no longer doing business. In your career, keep your skills current, continue reading and studying, learn something new. If your employer is behind on the latest technologies, don’t let them hold you back, maintain a home lab, learn PowerShell. It’s not necessarily technical, but it’s a quick read: I recommend reading "Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life" by Dr. Spencer Johnson.
Finally, outside of work and CUGC, what do you do for fun?
I’m a husband of 20+ years, and we have three kids, ages 17, 10, 6. Outside work, my wife and I balance our time supporting our kids in their activities. Our son, the oldest, is a high school senior this year, and he is involved in football and hockey. Our middle will be entering fifth grade, and our youngest will be entering first grade–both girls and are involved with ballet and gymnastics. I’ve been a long-time hockey fan but didn’t play growing up. I got my son involved in hockey at an early age, starting him in skating lessons at three. I quickly learned that it would be easier to teach him if I learned too, so we learned together. And for almost fifteen years, I’ve been playing men’s league ice hockey. I’m lucky enough to share the passion of hockey with my son, and during his off season, we’re able to play hockey together on the same men’s league team. I’m also a life-long Tom Petty fan and was lucky enough to see him in concert 18 times including a couple of front row shows at Red Rocks and Nashville.