The speaker line-up for Catalyst 2011’s user-centric computing track has been finalized and I wanted to take a moment to share it with you. A prominent CTO has called Catalyst “the most intellectual conference in all of IT,” and if you haven’t attended Catalyst before, there are plenty of great reasons to get there this year. We have extensive coverage of server- and client-virtualization, cloud computing,and many other hot topics. The rundown of sessions in the user-centric computing track is listed below. I hope to see you there!

Application Delivery in a People-Centric World
Chris Wolf
A common theme has emerged among many organizations planning their next-generation desktop strategy—applications should be deployed to people, not devices. Device-centric application delivery often results in a user tethered to a device, with that user’s productivity determined by the availability of a single compute device, such as a desktop or laptop. Moving away from device-centric computing is no easy task, but can result in significantly better business continuity, security, and operational efficiency, not to mention increased user productivity. Today, many organizations have more questions than answers regarding the way forward. Fundamentally changing the organization’s application delivery and support model cannot be done overnight, but instead requires a commitment to numerous strategic and tactical initiatives. This session doesn’t offer a magic bullet to get you to a people-centric support model, but does offer practical guidance derived from the experiences of leading and bleeding edge organizations.

Protocol Wars: What Matters? 
Sumit Dhawan – Citrix, Jon Rolls – Quest Software, Vittorio Viarengo – VMware
The remote display protocol has been the source of considerable debate among desktop virtualization vendors, with protocol performance and features often a tipping point in many product decisions. This lively debate looks to answer the question of “What matters?” in terms of protocol feature set. Leading experts from Citrix Systems, Quest Software, and VMware will be on stage to not only challenge the assertions of their peers, but also to answer your most pressing questions.

Making Sense of Desktop Virtualization
Dustin Fennell, VP and CIO, Scottsdale Community College
Desktop virtualization as a strategic application delivery platform promises a number of compelling benefits, but it can be difficult to translate these promises into successful (and reliable) deployments. In addition, successful desktop virtualization implementations leverage many different strategies and technologies and go well beyond simply virtualizing the desktop. This session provides attendees with an overview of the different technologies that can be leveraged to provide a comprehensive end-to-end virtual solution. Moreover, strategies for success and realized benefits will be identified based on a long-term real-world successful virtual desktop implementation.

Attendees will leave this session with the following:

  • An understanding of the different virtualization technologies the make up a comprehensive end-to-end virtual computing environment
  • Strategies for success that have been proven by a successful virtualization project
  • Examples of realized benefits from a real-world desktop virtualization project

Desktop Virtualization: Lessons Learned
Elio Benincasa, AVP, Infrastructure Management, Manulife Financial
IT groups have used various technologies to meet the challenge of an increasingly demanding workforce.  Over the last few years desktop virtualization has matured allowing IT groups to provide more stable and reliable infrastructure for the delivery of applications to the business.  John Hancock Life Insurance has taken advantage of this technology to enhance our remote application delivery capabilities.  This session will highlight our Virtual Desktop Infrastructure approach: the challenges addressed, the benefits realized, and future possibilities.

Opposing Views: Meeting the Needs of Tomorrow’s Workforce
Chris Fleck – Citrix; Noah Wasmer – VMware
Mobility and user-centric computing have placed us at a crossroads. Users want to access their business applications from a variety of endpoint devices. However, an application that may run great on one device (e.g., laptop) may offer a miserable user experience on a mobile device such as an iPhone. In an ideal world, IT would have the capability to deliver “just enough app” to a given device, and do it dynamically. While vendors agree on the notion of delivering just enough app, opinions vary on how to do it. This session presents opposing viewpoints from two of the brightest industry luminaries within Citrix and VMware. Both speakers will present their views in intense 10 minute mini-sessions, allowing ample time for audience Q&A.

User Centric Computing is Everyone’s Problem: Expert Panel Roundtable
Chris Wolf, Nik Simpson, Eric Siegel, Michael Disabato, Phil Schacter
Transitioning from a device-centric to a user-centric application delivery model impacts all areas within the IT organization. In this session, a panel of experts in topics such as infrastructure, networking and telecom, mobility, and security will share insights mined from industry best and worst practices. Close coordination among traditional IT silos is key to user-centric computing success, and this session will provide insights on how to succeed in a very complex evolution in how IT supports end users. The session concludes with ample time for attendees to present their most challenging integration questions to the panel of experts.


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