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Forever Indebted to Citrix Co-Founder Ed Iacobucci

It was the summer of 1997 and I was a computer enthusiast trying to find my place in the technology world. I had just landed my second consulting job as a Windows NT specialist deploying servers for a real estate investment trust in Chicago.

About a week into the job I started to notice these cool-looking minicomputers that I later understood were thin clients. I was intrigued by this little device and very curious as to how it worked, I started to do some digging and since I was in the same work area as the admins supporting the system I started to listen in on challenges, help desk complaints and more and was just fascinated by the whole concept of multiple, isolated users on the same server.

But the feature that captured me -- and this will read funny to most of you today, but it was so true back then -- was “shadowing.” The ability to remote control the user's session? That was so cool, James Bond-like, and I could connect to a disconnected session. I was hooked.

I knew at that moment that the way to differentiate myself from the army of technicians that Microsoft was building was to find my niche. And Citrix was that niche.

I started helping out by taking some help desk calls that no one else wanted to deal with, or helping out those annoying and difficult users. It was an experience that taught me so much. Later, I borrowed the bits and installed the software on my home lab and got started using Citrix WinFrame with Windows NT 3.51 (the version being used at the time). I stayed with this REIT for about a year and upgraded to MetaFrame 1.8, if my memory serves me correctly. From then on my consulting career and my professional career was designed around Citrix.

A few years later as I was researching an issue online, I came across a user on a forum with a challenging issue that I had seen and I immediately replied. Apparently, an acquisition editor for Syngress was scouting these forums in search of authors and came across my response and sent me an e-mail asking if I would like to write a chapter in a Citrix book she was working on? What? Me, author? The thought had never occurred to me, but I was always up for a challenge, I though the worse that could happen was she would not like my writing style and that would be the end of it. I ended up writing six chapters in that book, literally half of it. From then on my writing career took off and I started writing books, blogs and white papers, some for profit and some for recognition and exposure.

In the following years I needed a new challenge, a new hill to conquer and I was very impressed with Dan Charbonneau and his CBTnuggets. Dan had developed this new method of delivering digital content in small nuggets, basically a learn at your own pace kind of training videos and I had seen his NT series and found this other stuff intriguing.

CBTnuggets was growing and attracting new instructors and covering new topics so I had the idea of developing a Citrix MetaFrame XP Nugget. I pitched the idea to Dan, even though I'd never spoken into a microphone -- trust me, it's weird talking for hours to yourself with no audience interaction and having to anticipate what will maintain student interest. Dan graciously helped during this period and CBTnuggets published the very first Citrix computer-based training for MetaFrame XP A smashing success, I would meet people and they would recognize me just by my voice. I have made a habit, it seems, of being the first to publish content in specific formats. I was also the first to publish a VMware ESX 3 training course. This period of my life got my training and public speaking career started.

In later years I would be introduced to vMotion, which had the same effect on me as Citrix's “shadowing” did back then and I immediately fell in love, head over heels with VMware.

I wanted to share my story with you today, as a tribute to Ed Iacobucci, Citrix's co-founder, who passed away last week. I never met Ed, but I've introduced him to many of my students in my training courses, most recently in my TrainSignal Citrix XenApp 6 course. I'd say Ed is responsible for jump-starting my career on so many levels. Last year, I was so happy when I followed him on Twitter and he followed me back. To me, it was truly an honor. Ed Iacobucci, a true visionary who was ahead of his time is following me on twitter. It doesn't get any better than that.

With Ed Iacobucci's passing, a big star has fallen out of the technology sky. Thank you for everything you have done for me and my career and may God accept you in his heavens and may your soul rest in peace.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 06/24/2013 at 3:24 PM


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