People say if they make an action figure of you, that’s when you know you’ve made it as a star in Hollywood. But what does it mean when Hollywood changes to fit around YOU?
When a product has an entire Special Interest Group created around it and a whole “event-within-an-event” dedicated to it, that’s when you know you have a SUPERSTAR on your hands. That’s what Citrix NetScaler is. It’s an A-list celebrity of a product that has been for years changing the Networking and Application Delivery Controller industries. I’ve worked on all sorts of platforms in my career and I’ve never seen so much love given to a specific product like this.
If you haven’t heard, the Citrix User Group Community (CUGC) that launched last year and has over 10,000 members now has just recently launched a Networking Special Interest Group (SIG) you can sign up for here:
Do you love NetScaler? Do you want to read exclusive content from community members (NetScaler aficionados) just like you that can’t be read anywhere else? Do you want to interact directly with the NetScaler and CloudBridge product teams? How about discuss your config or questions with some of the top NetScaler engineers and architects in the world? That’s what the SIG is for. To bring all these people together and talking. This is big, products don’t typically have a SIG built around them so this tells you how important NetScaler is at a global scale. There are 2 very sharp NetScaler experts that you will know from their tireless work online with the EUC/Networking community already that are helping to lead this Networking SIG: Dave Brett and Marius Sandbu. Their expertise is well known and you have full access to their knowledge and others when you sign up for the SIG.
Once you sign up this is what the Networking SIG home page looks like. You’ve got access to the latest exclusive blog posts by NetScaler/CloudBridge experts on the left. To the right of that are files, configs, themes, whatever you need to share with your Networking peers. Below that is the Community Calendar where you can actually sign up for email reminders whenever a Citrix Networking related event is going to happen. And I leave the best part for last, the Forums to the right! This where you engage with not only your peers, but the Citrix NetScaler and CloudBridge product teams. You can post feedback or questions and you’ll often find a Citrix NetScaler product manager respond. They’re not obligated to do this, they just love the products they work on just as much as you do. Citrix’s product teams love to hear feedback and this is your opportunity to give it to the product teams directly!
The other thing I want to talk about is NetScaler Connect at Citrix Synergy 2016 which will happen in a few weeks in Las Vegas. NetScaler Connect is a “event-within-an-event”. It’s a whole track of sessions around Citrix NetScaler. It’s a huge event and the first time Citrix is doing something like this so I’m very excited about it.
If you get to Synergy early, there will be a NetScaler Connect Welcome Reception where you get to meet some of the names you’ve probably interacted with online, social media, the community forums, etc. as well as the product teams at Citrix around NetScaler and CloudBridge that have put out the products, written documentation, and maybe even taught you a thing or two in the monthly NetScaler Master Class Webinars.
Let’s take a look at the two “Super Sessions”. This is strategy. These are some of the thought leaders in the Networking space at Citrix and the industry talking about their vision for Software Designed Networking (SDN), Software-designed WAN (SD-WAN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), with a focus on datacenter and cloud security. These are those can’t miss sessions if you want to know what your career is going to be focusing on for the next 5 years. This is what you, your boss, and your boss’s boss should attend:
Next up are the “NetScaler Connect” technical breakout sessions. Let’s face it, this is what you come to Synergy for. To get the latest technical news and how-to info straight from the product teams. This is what we live for, and the number of breakout sessions this year is so massive I can barely take a screenshot. Be prepared to scroll:
I want to highlight 5 Networking focused breakout sessions in this list that will be presented by some fellow Citrix Technology Professional (CTP) members. If you’re new to Synergy, a good bunch of the breakout sessions above are from Citrix product team members. In these sessions they usually announce details that sometimes aren’t even announced during the initial Synergy keynote. These are people that know the product inside and out and will Q&A with you all day long answering the tough technical questions. Last year I saw people jumping out of their chairs in one session applauding so really, make it a point to attend the ones that really interest you. You want to be first to hear about the new stuff!
Then you have these CTP sessions where anything can happen. You get to listen to real world info coming from actual field experience that these CTPs have had first hand. It’s always exciting to listen to them speak because it feels so much more personal coming from a peer that will tell you how things are, no marketing or sugar coating. You’ll spot me right in the front row taking pics of the slides with my phone, the knowledge that gets shared with you in the CTP sessions is invaluable.
You’ve got Jarian Gibson (CTP) with Eduardo Molina talking about Tips from the Field on simplify application access with NetScaler Unified Gateway:
Thorsten Rood (CTP/MVP) has a session categorized under XenApp/XenDesktop but also includes discussion around NetScaler Gateway. The session is going to be around Receiver + StoreFront + Gateway which is a pretty common stack for a lot of people:
Sam Jacobs (CTP) is talking about NetScaler troubleshooting and debugging best practices:
Thorsten Rood (CTP/MVP) will also talk about how to make your webapps faster and much more secure.
Esther Barthel (CTP) will cover how to automate NetScaler using NITRO API and PowerShell:
The other part of Synergy is the actual training you get to do in the Instructor-led Learning Labs. Hands on with an instructor. You have to pay an extra $99 bucks and show up to Synergy a little early, but trust me it’s more than worth it to be able to take up to 3 of these labs. There are two things you need to know. You MUST reserve a spot. It’s going to be tough to just walk into these because there are limited spots. It’s not like the breakout sessions where you can usually get into anything even without reserving. If you notice a reservation says “Full”, see if it repeats and sign up immediately if it says “Available”.
On all 3 days of Synergy, every attendee gets lunch. In the same area you pickup your lunch, there’s going to be reserved tables for Lunch Table Tech Chats. This is where community members and CTPs just like you have volunteered their time and are available to discuss Networking as well as other topics like Desktop and App Delivery, Mobility Management, Cloud, Security, and Speak Your Geek (talk about anything). They just love tech like you. It’s first come, first served so get there early. At the very least just go have a seat and listen in if you’re shy, they don’t bite. 🙂
The last item I want to talk about is Match.Geek where you can sign up to speak with the top minds in not only Networking but the entire Citrix product stack in little 30 minute sessions. There are so many people with so many backgrounds represented, I can’t even begin to highlight them all. Some of them are Citrix employees and some are part of the community/CTPs. They’re all volunteering their time to discuss whatever questions are asked. You can click on each session and get an idea of that person’s specialties. Again, spots are limited so please do sign up immediately if it says Available so you are guaranteed a spot. Click on the screenshot below to enlarge and then prepare to scroll…for a very long time. Really, it’s impressive how many sessions there are:
One other bit of advice around Synergy itself, my fellow CTP Neil Spellings puts together a Synergy Survival guide every year with a lot of great info on logistics for the event. This is helpful to newbies and alumni alike so give it a read:
So, action items for you. You love NetScaler or you wouldn’t have made it to the bottom of this write-up. Get signed up for the CUGC Networking SIG (https://www.mycugc.org/page/networking-sig). It takes 2 minutes of your time to sign up, but the contacts and info you will have access to will set your Networking career up for life. Please feel free to leave a question or comment below, or better yet post on the Networking SIG Forum. 🙂 See you at Synergy!