EUC Fellowship Retreat. What is this?

Beautiful Okinawa

Gents,

If you follow me on Twitter you probably saw a tweet about the EUC Fellowship Retreat, planned for early November in Okinawa, Japan. With that in mind, I can bet you have a couple questions in your mind like:

  • What is this EUC Fellowship Retreat?
  • Is this a competitor or something like PubForum/E2EVC?
  • Why the hell is this happening in Okinawa, Japan?

Probably you have other questions (costs?) and I will try to answer all these the best I can and of course give you a brief history of why this Fellowship Retreat came to the picture.

Back in the day, you do remember we had the now defunct BriForum conference (I still remember the very first one in DC, in a movie theater, 2005). Over the years many people became regulars, going to almost, if not all, BriForums. These include people like myself (missed two or three at the most), Benny Tritsch, Shawn Bass, Tim Mangan and so on. The list is indeed long. After many years of seeing each other not only at BriForum but at other conferences, we decided we should have a nice get together with the families at a nice place. I still remember suggesting somewhere crazy but exciting like the French Polynesia. We talked and talked about doing it in Europe or other exotic places. Making a long story short, we could not agree on a place and such gathering ended up happening in a small place in the Boston area. As I was tied up with other things and did think Boston was indeed lame, for something that had the potential to happen in Fiji, I simply decided not to go.

Now with the death of BriForum, the only remaining conference by the community for the community is indeed the Master Ghetto, a.k.a. PubForum or to make it sound more professional, E2EVC. Do not let it fool you though. It is still the same, with horrible coffee, bad food and an agenda that changes almost every hour. The problem I have with PubForum is just the fact it grew to a point it became a real conference. Interaction with your peers becomes an issue and more than that, attending a session is an issue as well due to different tracks, conflicts with your own sessions and so on. Sure Alex will tell you to watch the videos later. Let me tell you if a conference has bad coffee and horrible food, almost certainly the videos were not produced by Peter Jackson. Seriously, watching a video is not the same as being there, asking questions, interacting or just ruining the whole thing like Alex usually does with his dumb questions.

In a rare moment of intelligence, I thought it would be awesome to have some sort of very small conference at a great place (like I suggested for the BriForum Retirement Home Vacation), in ways similar to what Steve Greenberg from Thinclient.net got going last year. Before you say this is a copy of what he created, let me tell you this is not the case at all. To prove my point, let’s take a look at the main differences between his retreat and the EUC one I am proposing:

  • So far this is Arizona only. Our plan is to have the EUC one move around the globe, always in November (for a reason I will explain, what makes it a lot of fun) and again, always in a great, unforgettable location. For 2019 as an example, plans point to Moo’rea, French Polynesia.
  • EUC is three days, with a post conference trip where all attendees get together and spend time together. Plan for this year is to arrive in Okinawa on November 2nd and fly to Tokyo on the 7th, to spend three days together there.
  • EUC is a closed event in ways and limited to 15 people, period. Moving forward it may even become an invite only event.
  • Idea is to keep most of the sessions with some hands-on, almost like having all sessions as workshops.

As you can see, there are many differences indeed. So, now, why November? This is an interesting decision and I will explain it. The idea is by November, all major conferences from all relevant vendors in this industry are done. Citrix Synergy, Microsoft Ignite, VMWorld, and so on. With a high degree of accuracy I can almost bet all the ‘good stuff’ these vendors wanted to show over the year was already shown. More than that, just looking at the acquisitions that happened in the past, these almost never happen in November/December. As examples:

  • Unidesk: acquired January (Citrix)
  • Norskale: acquired September (Citrix)
  • Immidio: acquired February (VMware)
  • CloudVolumes: acquired August (VMware)

“Ok, we get it. So WHY NOVEMBER?”. Simple. The idea is at the last day of the EUC Master Retreat, this group of attendees will review everything that happened in the EUC industry for that year, and produce a report with our findings and thoughts. What was good, what was bad, what was nasty. With suggestions to all the vendors on how to improve their products. An end-of-the-year report about the EUC with all you need to know that was relevant and more than that, good and bad. This will be done every year and published for all the vendors (and our peers) to see. That is the reason behind the November’s decision.

With all that in mind (and my apologies for the long post) this is the plan for the first EUC Fellowship Retreat, supposed to happen in November 2018:

  • Location: Okinawa, Japan. If you have no idea where this is, just google it and look at the images. You will understand why we decided on this place.
  • Dates: November 5th, 6th and 7th.
  • Broader Plan: arrive in Okinawa, November 2nd, Friday. Spend the weekend with your EUC peers and on Monday, November 5th we start the retreat. On Thursday November 7th we had back to Tokyo (as you have to fly in through Narita or Haneda) and spend the weekend there, heading back home on Sunday, November 11th. Given the time zone, everyone should be home indeed on Sunday, ready to go back to your normal life on Monday, minus the jet lag of course.
  • Costs: honestly, no idea at this stage as we are still dealing with locals in Okinawa trying to secure a venue. In terms of trip costs, having been to Japan several times I can certainly give you an estimate for the trip itself, minus whatever the venue will end up costing each. You can fly to Tokyo for around USD 1000-1200 (less depending on how long in advance you book, especial deals etc). Flying to Okinawa is cheap (sometimes USD 150). Hotels and food, it depends on where you want to stay. Like any other place you can go for Royalty like treatment or not. But you can certainly get a very decent place in Tokyo for less than USD 200 a night (I always stay at the Royal Park Shiodome – very good and perfect location with great prices – or at the Park Hyatt – this is more like Royalty but I have a huge discount). Food is cheap if you do not plan to go for sushi at Jiro’s every day. If we all decide to AirBnb we can certainly bring the cost down quite a bit.
  • Registration: you can register here. Plan is fifteen (15) people maximum. At the moment, only ten (10) spots available.

Resuming: more than a technical gathering, the EUC Fellowship Retreat is a get together, so we can all spend valuable time as a group in a great location somewhere in this vast world. And as a bonus, we get to produce the yearly report that I am sure will become a reference in this industry.

So┬áToto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Arizona anymore.

CR

 

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RDS Modern Infrastructure. Modern?

As tons of people spend the week at sunny Orlando for Microsoft Ignite, here I am sitting at home, reading all these tweets and posts about what is next for Microsoft’s Remote Desktop Services stack, RDS for short.

If you read any of these, you are probably aware that Microsoft is changing RDS for the better (hopefully) and the new platform is being called as of today, RDSMi, a pretty term for ‘RDS Modern Infrastructure’.

The more I read about it, the more I think Microsoft has very little clue on what they have been doing with RDS since its early days, dating back all the way to 1997’s Hydra beta availability. And after seeing this ‘RDSMi’ acronym, I can also say with a pretty good degree of accuracy that marketing and its army of marketeers, are deeply infiltrated on anything RDS. As usual, I can certainly and clearly explain the reasoning behind my assumptions.

First of all, if you are not aware of that by now, I have been in the RDS business for quite some time. By that I mean I was probably deploying RDS for customers way before you got a degree and left school. ‘You’ does include many people in the RDS team in Redmond. And being an RDS MVP since 2001, I have seen it all at Microsoft for a very long time (16 years straight, yes, that long). Not only me but others like Benny Tritsch and even Alex ‘Bozo’ Cooper have experienced the same.

So what is the issue and why I am writing about this? Simple.

One of the biggest things the marketeers out there are now promoting and saying about this incredible ‘RDSMi’ thing is the fact many components now do not need to be domain joined. On top of that, if I am not mistaken, there is also an agent of sorts that is now on your RDS Session Hosts.

In other words, RDSMi is basically what we have been telling Microsoft that RDS should be in the past 16 years. Yes, that long. After getting tired of seeing nothing being done, back in 2003 we actually wrote AND released to the market an RDS Gateway that, guess what, was NOT domain joined! Probably sorcery and witchcraft but somehow I managed not to be burnt alive as a witch or warlock. If Microsoft is naming this new thing RDSMi, what was WTSGateway back in 2003? RDSFVi (RDS Futuristic and Visionary Infrastructure)? So please, there is nothing new or modern here.

What is even worse is the simple fact all this shows how Microsoft (and several other vendors in this industry, Citrix included) ask for feedback from MVPs, CTPs and so on and refuse to take it. Taking it 16 years later, at least for me, does not mean you took my feedback. They simply ignore the fact that people like you and me not only have been in this industry for probably way longer than most of the people in these teams but also that we are the ones architecting AND deploying such solutions in the real world. The hands-on people. Very different than saying ‘we listen to our customers and partners’ when what that really means is ‘we pay third party companies to do some research for us and this is what we got from them’. WITHOUT EVER DEPLOYING YOUR SOLUTION IN PRODUCTION, AT SCALE. Funny.

Resuming, and not to ruin your week at Ignite, Microsoft, especially in the RDS space, is just doing what many people told them over a decade ago. Nothing new here. I have to say I am not that easy to impress. But this, seriously? Good try. Maybe on the next Ignite.

For that reason, I am renaming ‘RDSMi’ to ‘RDS Meh Infrastructure’.

And marketeers out there, I am available in case you need some better marketing work.

CR

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E2EVC, the Ghetto Conference

If you guys follow me on Twitter (@crod, how cool is that?) you probably have seen that Alex and I do exchange some humorous, sometimes harsh, tweets. Thing is, we have known each other for a very long time and more than that, have been friends for that long (Alex will tell you otherwise).

E2EVCBrussels

For many years he invited me to show up at one of the PubForum meetings (yes, E2EVC was called PubForum but for reasons like you having to explain to your boss he should be for a conference with such a name, where people would get drunk, its name changed) and trust me, I tried to be there. Every single time, something would happen, like a curse, and I would end up cancelling my trip.

Fast forward to 2014 and I made it, for the first time ever, to E2EVC Brussels. And even though WiFi sucked, coffee sucked, food sucked and the event was sort of disorganized (nice way to say it), with an agenda that would change 5 minutes before your session, I was hooked.

 

People, even the Dutch, were nice. The sessions were great. Everyone was there really to share the knowledge and more than that, to learn from their peers. What else could I ask for in a conference, other than good WiFi, good coffee and proper food? Nothing.

Since then I have been to Lisbon, Hong Kong, Singapore and now Dublin and I can certainly say the Ghetto conference grew up. Evolved. And is now, by far, the best community event you can go to if you are into EUC and virtualisation in general (apps, servers, containers, etc). And to top it off, nothing comes close price wise. For the price you pay to go to any other conference (I mean just the conference pass) you can pay for the whole trip to E2EVC. Pretty amazing, eh?

E2EVCHongKong

So why am I writing all this about E2EVC? First to show people that Alex and I are best buddies. Secondly to let you know that E2EVC Rome 2016 will happen this upcoming November (18-20) and that you should go for it.

Finally, as I am a cheap ass and Alex told us if we write a blog about it I get a huge discount, so I did it.

E2Evc Rome here I come. Now paying $50 less due to this post.

CR

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