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BriForum is once again coming to London for 2013, it will be taking place on the 16th to 17th of May at the etc Venues St Pauls Conference Center.

For those of you who haven’t been to a BriForum before, the conference exclusively covers end user computing from an independent stand point. Hosted by Brian Madden and TechTarget it is a must attend event for anyone involved in the administration, configuration or design of end user computing solutions. Expect the show floor to be filled with companies demonstrating and talking about their latest technologies, the conference rooms to be packed while there are presentations on how to get the most out of your environment or find the right solution for you and the whole conference jam packed with likeminded individuals.

I covered last year’s event and you can find my blog posts here >>

Of course I will be covering this year’s event with more information and more photographs than before so I hope you can make it and I look forward to catching up and of not be sure to join in on twitter and va my blog.

Today was the second and final day of BriForum taking place in London, today’s main focus was the breakout sessions. Again I sat on a number of sessions and spent a lot of time catching up with VMware and other vendors in the main hall.

My best session was that by Ruben Spruijt for a second day, this time Ruben was joined by Login VSI, they jointly contribute to the site and whitepapers of Project VRC. They were presenting the initial findings of a year long piece of work to understand the impact of various anti virus software on VDI and SBC saturation. If you haven’t check out project VRC I highly recommend you do, those that have know that the analysis so far has concentrated on the saturation point of a HP DL360 G6 with various VDI and SBC workloads. The initial findings that were presented cover Trend, McAfee, Symantec and Microsoft Forefront, one of the biggest findings was the impact of not completing a full scan prior to rolling out your VDI desktops from the golden image, without this initial scan the saturation point of the server was near instant. The surprising winner at this time appears to be Microsoft Forefront with the least impact on the saturation point. Many including the presenters pointed out however this maybe inline with the features offered from the products and no comparison of features was carried out. They are currently completing this analysis and you should see the white paper on their site soon.

Another session I enjoyed was that of Nutanix, who were launching in EMEA today, as mentioned yesterday Nutanix is a building block approach to delivering compute and storage, the CEO Dheeray Pandey was presenting around the subject of big data and how their product takes from the learning’s of Google Approach by adding storage locally alongside compute. Their technology uses a number of new technologies to ensure the storage is highly available (Appearing as a NAS to vSphere) but ensuring the storage is kept local to the VM where possible. They do this not in a traditional VSA way but by using their controller VM on each host to directly interact with the local, Fusion IO, SSD and SATA storage using RDM’s and Direct Path IO. They went on to talk about their unique distributed metadata service medusa and distributed disk maintenance service curator to help allow them to scale but keep availability and performance at the forefront of the solution. I was also lucky enough to have a hands on demo with Rob Tribe the new Regional SE Manager EMEA , I was pleased to see that not only is Nutanics addressing a need particularly for VDI I have seen for some time but they are doing it with a very simple user interface. Watch my blog for a dedicated post on this subject as I dig further and get access to their lab.


The day was rounded off with Brian Madden thanking the attendees announcing that they were looking into doing a BriForum in Australia in November (To the surprise of Gabe and the TechTarget staff, as I understand its only in the investigation phase at present) A large number of attendees then went over to the Nutanix launch party at The Grand Union Bar where announcement’s were met with beer and food. It was good to catch up with fellow vExperts Darren Woollard And Greg Robertson as well as chatting with Brian Madden about everything other than work including Gin and Curry amongst other things.

All in all I have had a very good couple of days, picked up some good tips, made some good contacts and caught up with some familiar faces, I’m looking forward to watching the sessions I was unable to attend. All I would hope for the next year is that the vendor sessions could be tweaked, I know these guys sponsored the event but a number of the vendor sponsored sessions were over an hour of a sales presentation rather than the subject that was in the show guides.

If you get the chance to go there is another BriForum in July in Chicago and Brian suggested that they would be back in London again next year.


Today was the start of the 11th ever BriForum taking place in London at the Hilton Metropoliton near Paddington and I have been lucky enough to have been able to attend.

The morning started off after registration with a welcome from Brian Madden himself, Brian reminisced over previous BriForum’s remembering the first that took place in a cinema with many members of his family including his Mum helping with the running, back in those days BriForum was all about Terminal Services, todays focus is desktop virtualisation.

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Brian covered how many people including himself spent many years trying to loose the responsibility of the “desktop” and spoke about the great pleasure he had when he gained the key to the datacenter and lost the responsibility of the desktops. Today virtualisation is the sexy bit of desktop virtualisation.

Brian spoke about what the desktop actually was with many people referring to the desktop as the white / black / grey box in front of the user or others the background and icons on the screen, the truth is the desktop hasn’t changed much over the last 10 years, we’re all still staring at the same background with icons, the only difference is today we are trying to wedge Windows onto any device possible whether it is really suitable or not.

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Consumerization of IT was then discussed or as Brian likes to call it FUIT, the fact that IT needs to ensure what they are delivering to there end users is a good solution or the end user will soon end up going to the App Store and downloading a touch friendly equivalent. The example that was used was presenting Word to a user on an iPad via VDI, whilst it maybe used for the first week, the user will soon get fed up of not having a mouse, they will search for Word in the App Store download docs to go, soon realise they couldn’t save their apps to their network drive and be using dropbox. We are finally getting to a position where we can have a hybrid outlook to our applications allowing our user to use a mixture or native and legacy applications using the technologies available to us, one example of this would be VMware’s Project Horizon.

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Brian went on to discuss the important elements of the desktop, these where summed up under 6 headings, Device HW Interface, The UI, App Runtime, App Launcher. Provisioning Target, App Integration, Security Container, Configuration Container.

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Following the welcome the breakout sessions began, my favourite sessions throughout the day were both of the sessions by Ruben Spruijt @rspruijt CTO at PQR, the first was The VDI Smackdown covering many aspects (the bad and ugly) of VDI with common points of failure, the second being Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 demos, Ruben was a great presenter with a lot of passion around his subjects. I highly recommend you read some of his white papers on the project VRC website I also enjoyed the AppSense session where the demonstrated a number of products that they had available for free, in the works or currently in beta these included Data Locker a free DropBox encryption tool, DataNow a corporate DropBox replacement and Project Acorn User (Persona) virtualisation solution for the Mac, I will cover these products in more detail in a later blog post.

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In the main hall there were a number of vendors, the main vendor of interest to me was Nutanix who were launching their EMEA team at BriFroum, Nutanix make a storage and compute based product encapsulating both technologies into a build block approach. Nutanix utilise Fusion IO as well as SSD’s and Spinning Disks in their nodes to build a solution that can be quickly and easily scaled for VDI solutions amongst other workloads. I also enjoyed catching up with Atlantis Computing who make an IO accelerator and digging into Liquidware Lab Stratusphere UX for VDI user experience monitoring.


It’s been a very long day for me 5.30am 09.30pm and I will be heading back down to London again for 8am tomorrow, but it has defiantly been a worthwhile visit. I hope to follow up on a lot of the elements learnt at Briforum in more detail over the coming weeks.