Greetings Community Comrades!

The “Geek of the Week” blog series highlights one of our exceptional community members each week, so you can get to know more about them, and what they do in and for the community!

Our Geek of the Week is:

Stephane Thirion
CTO/Owner – IT Architect
Paris, France

What was your very first IT project and what was your role?

My first real project was back in 2001 in a private bank located in Paris, I had to understand and stabilize a Citrix MetaFrame 1.8 (Windows NT4 Terminal Server Edition) farm of 20 servers. They had a lot of issue mainly because of printer drivers (classic BSOD at that time) and in 6 months I had everything working like a charm with new applications and desktop deployed. The server installation and deployment was fully automated just by scripting. When everything had been stabilized, it was time to migrate toward MetaFrame XP on Windows 2000. I was at that time between administrator and engineer and I learned so much this year, reading every single line of the “Citrix MetaFrame Tuning Tips” written by Rick “Master” Dehlinger and learning concepts and basics of virtualization.

Tell us the story of how you started working at Activlan?

Serge Rajevic (Activlan CEO) started Activlan in 2000 and I was one of his customers back then (IT Manager in a comic company) and he asked me to join him several times, this is one of the best decisions I made in my life. Since then we progressed together and continued to make Activlan grown every day on the virtualization market in France. I am now CTO and Architect of this very cool company.

Besides being an IT architect/consultant, what other industry & job appeals to you?

I love my job, I know I’m lucky to have a company who always follows my move and push me to go forward and across the world. Before doing my actual job, when I was at school I wanted to be a coroner (!) and now if I had to change to another job I would radically change my world to become lighthouse keeper and photographer in Kerguelen Island.

What is your favorite comic-book-turned-into-a-live-action-movie and why?

I don’t know too much about that but I think Wolverine is ultra cool. With his skeleton in metal alloy adamantium, his three retracting bone claws on each hand and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound, disease or toxin at an accelerated rate, who can beat him? He’s the strongest and one of the most mysterious Marvel character.

What is your favorite Sci Fi movie and why?

My favorite Sci Fi movie is BattleStar Galactica – The Plan, because I’m a huge fan of the series. This mix between Science Fiction, strategy, action, betrayal and inter-galactic wars is amazing.

What’s your favorite thing about living in France?

I think I could live almost everywhere I’ve been, I was born in France and I live in this country since. I like mostly the food and good wine; nothing can beat a mix of all the French cheese with a glace of red wine. Even if France is a small country; we have all kinds of landscape, mountain, seas and oceans, cities and countries, even volcano and beautiful islands.

What do you like so far about being a new Citrix Technology Professional (CTP)?

I cannot speak about that, I’m under Non-Disclosure Agreement, but I can assure everyone who is reading this interview, this is ultra cool to be involved so deeply in Citrix’s most secret technologies and research. Being with people who share the same interest in virtualization technologies is very interesting and since I’m new in the CTP circle, I’m learning a lot by listening to everyone talking.

What’s your all-time-favorite TV series (past or present)?

As I mention earlier this is BattleStar Galactica, but I will choose another one, my second favorite is The Shield. I like this series because it looks so real, these policemen who do well their job and are constantly forced to chose between the bad and the worse to have result as a policemen.

What was the biggest Citrix deployment you’ve architected/implemented, and what were the takeaways?

The biggest Citrix I’ve architected was for a French governmental institute, around 44000 seats where I had to think how to provide the right desktop for each user, automating and industrializing the whole solution. At this scale, architecting this kind of infrastructure is a project more than technical, there are also political, organizational and social dimension I had to take in consideration in order to be able to have the best results. This work has been a very good blog provider for my blog (

What topic do you want to discuss most at Geek Speak events in 2012?

I think this year I will focus my presentation on XenDesktop/XenApp, CloudGateway, CloudPortal and CloudStack. I would like to share what I think makes a good Engineer / Consultant and how to last and try to stay at the top in this job, what does it means.

What is your favorite Citrix technology and why?

This is without any doubt XenApp, simply because I began with Citrix MetaFrame 1.0 and I think users will always need their applications in the end. I learned so much with Citrix during all these years, working with Citrix pushed me beyond.

Check out Stephane’s blog at and follow him on Twitter @archynet!

Laura Whalen
Citrix Systems, Inc.
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