I went kite fishing for the first time last week. Well, during this new adventure I got challenged by my teammates to relate kite fishing to XenDesktop, so this is my public reply to that challenge.

If you haven’t gone kite fishing, I’ll try to give you a brief explanation from a layman’s perspective. Kite fishing is on the ocean and you fly a kite off the back of the boat. Attached to the kite line at intervals is a break-a-way loop that you run the fishing line through. The fishing line is then suspended from kite string with the bait in the water and the job of the fisherman is to keep the bait in the water by either letting out the fishing line when the kite goes higher or retracting the fishing line as the kite drops.

After carefully considering the experience, I came up with four areas where I saw similarities. First, I had never been kite fishing before and quite honestly, I would have never figured out how to kite fish without an experienced person to show me the ropes. Second, choosing the right kind of bait to attract the fish we were seeking required a specific knowledge of the fish diet. Third, setting up the kites and stringing the fishing lines didn’t really require a lot of skill, but you had to have done it before – reading it from a book would not have worked for me. (They tried to explain it to me before they did it and I did not understand until I saw it occur). Finally, keeping the bait in the water was the key to getting a fish on the line.

Experienced Guidance

If this is your first time kite fishing, you want someone who had done it before to show you the ropes. Similarly, if this is your first time building or architecting a XenDesktop farm, you want someone knowledgeable to provide that guidance. As a XenDesktop architect with experience designing and architecting large farms, most of my blogs and whitepapers are targeted to providing you the information I believe is relevant to these tasks. In addition, Citrix has many partners (silver, gold, and platinum) and a professional services organization that are trained in XenDesktop design and deployment as well.

Customer Requirements

Selecting the right kind of live bait is key to a successful fishing trip. If the captain is unable to locate the right type of bait fish for the big fish his charter is seeking, he will not likely be successful. In most cases, an assessment should occur which provides input into the next phase. With fishing, the assessment is fairly simple since the captain just asks, “What kind of fish do you want to catch today?” From the conversations that I had, different type of fish required not only different bait, but different fishing techniques and different locations on the ocean. In much the same way, if you understand the customer’s needs and long-term plans you can better design the XenDesktop farm. The XenDesktop assessment answers questions like “Where will the virtual desktops be accessed from?”, ” What applications will the users have?”, and “What application virtualization platforms will be required?”

Setup and Installation

When feeding out the kite and the fishing lines, the whole environment must be configured in a specific order. With the kite going out first, followed by the first latch with the longest fishing line, then the second latch with the medium fishing line, and finally the short fishing line. If the correct process is not followed, it is likely the lines will get tangled and the first mate is not happy with you… Similarly, the XenDesktop farm needs to be installed and configured correctly to meet the customer requirements. Citrix provides many complimentary resources, such as the XenDesktop Checklist, the XenDesktop Quick PoC Kit, and XenDesktop Training. These items plus many resources are available from the XenDesktop website.

Fine Tuning the Environment

When kite fishing you need to work to keep the bait at a fairly consistent level in the water by playing out or retracting the fishing line based on the changing conditions. You have to account for the constantly changing distance between the free-flowing kite and the ocean waves as well as the direction the live bait chooses to swim. Now I know what a “fish out of water” looks like as it hangs from a kite, pretty funny really, but I digress. The skill comes in accurately judging the amount of line to release or reel in based on the environment. Much like fishing, once you get your XenDesktop environment up and running you will need to adjust for your user behavior. Things like desktop boot storms, user login storms, idle pool settings, patches, etc. all take a little bit of planning and adjustment after you get the environment into production.

If you are ever in the Miami area, I highly recommend Captain Nel Martinez of Top Gun Fishing Charters where I guarantee you will be well taken care of. If you are lucky, you will find some way to relate the trip to work and expense the whole thing.