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Looking ahead to Citrix Synergy 2010

Brian Madden has attended Citrix's annual user conference since it began in 1998. In this week's column, he gives a sneak peek into the sessions at the 2010 show.

Citrix's annual user conference takes place next week in San Francisco (my home town). I've been attending this event for 13 years, ever since the first one called "Thinergy" with a few hundred other folks back in 1998. For the past 10 years or so, this conference was known as "iForum." which was the humorous inspiration for my own conference known as "BriForum."

What to expect from Brian Madden at Citrix Synergy 2010

Brian Madden and Gabe Knuth will both be at the event talking to customers and vendors.

They'll live-blog the keynotes, tweet the news, record several demos and do an episode of "Brian Madden TV" from the expo hall.

Stay tuned!

Citrix Synergy is not the biggest show out there, but with about 4,000 attendees, it's definitely significant. This conference is relevant because most of the attendees are there for desktop virtualization. Compared with something like VMworld, which gets about 10,000 attendees, Citrix Synergy is probably the single event with the most desktop virtualization vendors and users in a single space.

So what do we have to look forward to at Synergy this year? Many expect that Citrix will make its XenClient "bare-metal" client hypervisor publicly available. We've been talking about XenClient for a while. This capability will extend XenDesktop so that client devices (laptops or desktops) can run virtual machines (VMs) directly on the client. Think of this in the context of "offline" virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI).

Originally scheduled to be released in 2009, Citrix XenClient has been in private beta, with all participants agreeing to not disclose anything about their experiences with the product.

But a quick look at the Synergy agenda shows that there are several breakout sessions about XenClient, and banner ads around the Web promote that Citrix will raffle off several XenClient laptops to Synergy attendees. So I think it's a safe assumption that XenClient will be available for people to play with and talk about -- at least in a public beta if it's not released outright.

XenClient will be all the rage at the show. VMware has been talking up its client hypervisor capabilities a lot recently too, although the company just backed a release target of the first half of 2010, so we'll see if we learn anything else.

Gabe Knuth and I will be leading a breakout session called "Fifteen Reasons Why VDI Fails." This will be a main session in the main conference, so we're both very excited about that.

Synergy also plays host to some less formal, more technical breakout sessions called "Geek Speak." Fellow Citrix Technology Professionals Rick Dehlinger, Steve Greenberg and Shawn Bass and I will participate in a Geek Speak session about the myth of VDI power savings where we try to figure out whether virtual desktops are actually more "green" than traditional desktops.

So it should be a great show. Stay turned to and for all the news and analysis from Synergy as it unfolds. And if you'll be in San Francisco next week, stop by and say hello.

Brian Madden is an independent industry analyst and blogger, known throughout the world as an opinionated, supertechnical desktop virtualization expert. He has written several books and more than 1,000 articles about desktop and application virtualization. Madden's blog,, receives millions of visitors per year and is a leading source for conversation, debate and discourse about the application and desktop virtualization industry. He is also the creator of BriForum, the premier independent application delivery technical conference.

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