Welcome to CBC Cribs, the blog that takes you into the exciting world of the new Chalfont Briefing Centre, here at Citrix in the UK.

So, why am I writing about a briefing centre?  Previously when we wanted to demonstrate our products to customers we would scrape together some servers, usually acquired from friends in Engineering or kit we had lying around at home.  We’d then build a couple of XenApp servers and maybe a few virtual desktops for good measure.  For the first few years of me being a Systems Engineer this would work out quite well.  It would then move onto a proof of concept or some design discussions and we would be well on our way to helping customers overcome their problems.

The mobility bench and two of the three pods

However, as we’ve grown as a company we have gained so many more technologies, moved our Receiver onto some very diverse devices and started joining all the dots together with our collaboration tools.  Demonstrating different solutions to different devices for different reasons means that we would also need a LOT of tablets, laptops, thin clients and desktop PCs.  My bag isn’t that big and neither is the boot of my car, so we had reached a bit of an impasse as far as what was possible.

We needed somewhere capable of running customer demonstrations and showing the vast breath of what Citrix can do.  Long gone are the days of just showing a seamless applications.  We now want to blend that into creating a new document on a streamed application, saving that to ShareFile and then opening that document on an Android tablet and using the Receiver to do it – on a seamless app, I may add!.  I’m a firm believer in that if you evangelise about a bit of technology you should be able to demonstrate it and enjoy doing it.

The main demonstration screen. We can split this into 4. Perfect for device to device roaming.

The other thing is that if you attend Synergy or watch the keynotes online at CitrixTV you will see the now legendary demonstrations of CDO (that’s Chief Demo Officer) Brad Peterson.  Brad is the yard-stick to which all demonstrations at Citrix are judged so seeing how much cool kit he has at his disposal made me, well… it made me a little jealous 🙂  But that brings us to the present day, and to the Chalfont Briefing Centre.

Chalfont House was built in 1792 and is a listed building, a very pretty one, but protected by UK law so it’s always been a bit of a throw back.  We recognised the need to update and modernise our demonstration areas and that was the first thing to be completed.  We invested in new audio visual services and as you can see from the photos we’ve kept the classic feel but added some 21st century features.  I’ll provide some more details and photos of the entire areas in an upcoming post.

Lots of devices, one Receiver.
Lots of devices, one Receiver.

This is pretty exciting for me on multiple levels.  Gone are the days of raiding the parts-bin of my shed but calling in favours is still very much with us.  And I’m very happy for who I can call on…

, Dell and Whiptail have helped us far beyond what I could ever have expected and provided us with state of the art rack-mounted servers, tablets, laptops, desktops and storage.  To be flippant for a second, everything runs like an absolute beast.

Look for further details on what our kind friends have supplied in later blog posts.

Another big thank you goes out to Brad.  Brad and his team has provided us with consistent VMs very similar to the ones you see at our events like Synergy.

Behind the wizard's curtain...
Mmm toys 🙂

This is really handy because firstly it means we can get the latest updates very quickly and secondly we know they are repeatable.  With these VMs we can show all of our key products in one smooth sequence but break out to talk about things more deeply depending on what the customer needs from us.  It’s a big change and a breath of fresh air.

Finally with all the capacity for compute and storage at our disposal I have other more bespoke plans too, but you’ll hear more of that in later posts from CBC Cribs.

Thanks for reading.


PS – it’s also a great place to watch the NBA highlights on via AirPlay to the AppleTV test HDX media redirection 🙂

HDX testing, honest!
HDX testing, honest!