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The Definitive Guide to Monitoring Virtual Environments
The virtualization of physical computers has become the backbone of public and private cloud computing from desktops to data centers, enabling organizations to optimize hardware utilization, enhance security, support multi-tenancy and more. These environments are complex and ephemeral, creating requirements and challenges beyond the capability of traditional monitoring tools that were originally designed for static physical environments. But modern solutions exist, and can bring your virtual env

OVERVIEW

The virtualization of physical computers has become the backbone of public and private cloud computing from desktops to data centers, enabling organizations to optimize hardware utilization, enhance security, support multi-tenancy and more. These environments are complex and ephemeral, creating requirements and challenges beyond the capability of traditional monitoring tools that were originally designed for static physical environments. But modern solutions exist, and can bring your virtual environment to new levels of efficiency, performance and scale.

This guide explains the pervasiveness of virtualized environments in modern data centers, the demand these environments create for more robust monitoring and analytics solutions, and the keys to getting the most out of virtualization deployments.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

·        History and Expansion of Virtualized Environments

·        Monitoring Virtual Environments

·        Approaches to Monitoring

·        Why Effective Virtualization Monitoring Matters

·        A Unified Approach to Monitoring Virtualized Environments

·        5 Key Capabilities for Virtualization Monitoring

o   Real-Time Awareness

o   Rapid Root-Cause Analytics

o   End-to-End Visibility

o   Complete Flexibility

o   Hypervisor Agnosticism

·        Evaluating a Monitoring Solution

o   Unified View

o   Scalability

o   CMDB Support

o   Converged Infrastructure

o   Licensing

·        Zenoss for Virtualization Monitoring

IGEL Powers Rich Multimedia Computing Experience for Fulton Financial Corporation
In an effort to optimize the productivity of its employees and enable them to have more time to focus on their customers, Fulton sought to upgrade the thin clients for its Citrix application virtualization infrastructure. With the help of its Citrix partner and IGEL Platinum Partner, Plan B Technologies, Fulton selected the IGEL Universal Desktop (UD6) thin clients featuring Intel Celeron J1900 Quad-Core processors and the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS).

Fulton Financial Corporation has a long and storied history that began in 1882 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where local merchants
and farmers organized Fulton National Bank. The bank’s name was chosen to honor Lancaster County native Robert Fulton, the inventor and artist best known for designing and building the Clermont, the first successful steamboat.

In an effort to optimize the productivity of its employees and enable them to have more time to focus on their customers, Fulton sought to upgrade the thin clients for its Citrix application virtualization infrastructure, with the help of its Citrix partner and IGEL Platinum Partner, Plan B Technologies.

In selecting a desktop computing solution to support its Citrix application virtualization infrastructure, Fulton had one unique business requirement, they were looking for a solution that would mirror the experience provided by a Windows PC, without actually being a Windows PC.

During the evaluation process, Fulton looked at thin clients from IGEL and another leading manufacturer, conducting a “bake-off” of several models including the IGEL Universal Desktop (UD6). Fulton like the fact that IGEL is forward- thinking in designing its desktop computing solutions, and began its IGEL roll-out by purchasing 2,300 IGEL UD6 thin clients in 2016 for its headquarters and branch offices, and plans to complete the roll out of IGEL thin clients to the remainder of its 3,700 employees in the coming months. The bank is also leveraging the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) to manage its fleet of IGEL thin clients.

Charity Golf Tournament Sponsorship Results in a Hole-in-One for IGEL and Lockton Companies
Lockton was in the midst of a Citrix VDI roll-out when one of its thin client manufacturers changed some of the key features on the model the insurance broker was using to power its endpoints. This presented a number of challenges that the Lockton team needed to overcome during a critical stage in the VDI roll-out. Lockton was introduced to IGEL by Choice Solutions, an IGEL Platinum Partner, and selected the IGEL Universal Desktop (UD2-LX); IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS); IGEL Universal D

Although Lockton is the world’s largest privately owned insurance brokerage firm, clients most frequently describe the insurance broker as team members who make their businesses better. Energy, innovation and deep expertise fuel Lockton’s focus on solving its clients’ problems and achieving real results.

It is this spirit of innovation that led Lockton to recently embark on the deployment of Citrix Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) at its headquarters in the Country Club Plaza area of Kansas City, MO., and local office locations across the United States and around the globe.

Lockton was about a quarter of the way through its Cirrus VDI deployment when one of its thin client manufacturers changed some of the key features on the model the insurance broker was using, without warning. This presented a number of challenges that Lockton’s IT team was unable to overcome during a critical stage in the VDI roll-out.

Around the same time Lockton was experiencing issues with the thin client manufacturer, they participated in a charity golf tournament in Kansas City that was hosted by IGEL Platinum Partner Choice Solutions and sponsored by IGEL. Following the golf tournament, Lockton tested the IGEL Universal Desktop (UD2-LX) and the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) management console. The insurer realized immediately that the superior design and secure infrastructure management capabilities would make it possible for them to easily manage their entire network of thin clients in the U.S. from the company’s headquarters in Kansas City, and this was a key selling point.

To date, with the help of Choice Solutions, Lockton has deployed 1,200 IGEL UD2-LX thin clients and expected that number to increase to 1,800 by the end of 2017. Lockton also has a small number of licenses for the IGEL Universal Desktop Converter software which they are leveraging to turn hardware from other thin client manufacturers into IGEL-powered endpoints. Additionally, the insurer is using the IGEL UD Pocket to deliver the IGEL desktop to employees using legacy thin client hardware.

Ease of Management and Flexibility Lead to Long-Term Relationship for IGEL at Texas Credit Union
Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union was looking for a more powerful endpoint computing solution to deliver e-mail and core financial applications through its Citrix-based infrastructure to its end-users, and IGEL’s Universal Desktop thin clients and Universal Management Suite (UMS) software fit the bill.

Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union is more than just a bank. It is a financial cooperative intent on helping its members save time, save money and earn money. Over the years, the credit union has grown from providing financial resources to military service members and their families to serving hundreds of thousands of members across Texas and around the world. RBFCU has a presence in three major market areas — Austin, Dallas and San Antonio — and has more than 55 branches dedicated to serving members and the community.

First and foremost, RBFCU is people. It’s the more than 1,800 employees who serve members’ needs each day. It’s the senior team and Board of Directors that guide the credit union’s growth. It’s the members who give their support and loyalty to the credit union each day.

To help its employees provide the credit union’s members with the highest levels of services and support, Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union relies on IGEL’s endpoint computing solutions.

Austin Solution Provider Powers DaaS Offering with IGEL and Parallels
In 2014, Austin-based Trinsic Technologies introduced Anytime Cloud. Anytime Cloud is a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution designed to help SMB clients improve the end user computing experience and streamline business operations. Through Anytime Cloud, customers gain access to the latest cloud and virtualization technologies using IGEL thin clients with Parallels, a virtual application and desktop delivery software application.

Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Trinsic Technologies is a technology solutions provider focused on delivering managed IT and cloud solutions to SMBs since 2005.

In 2014, Trinsic introduced Anytime Cloud, a Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) designed to help SMB clients improve the end user computing experience and streamline business operations. To support Anytime Cloud, the solution provider was looking for a desktop delivery and endpoint management solution that would fulfill a variety of different end user needs and requirements across the multiple industries it serves. Trinsic also wanted a solution that provided ease of management and robust security features for clients operating within regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services.

The solution provider selected the IGEL Universal Desktop (UD) thin clients, the IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC), the IGEL OS and the IGEL Universal Management Suite. As a result, some of the key benefits Trinsic has experienced include ease of management and configuration, security and data protection, improved resource allocation and cost savings.

Secure Printing Using ThinPrint, Citrix and IGEL: Solution Guide
This solution guide outlines some of the regulatory issues any business faces when it prints sensitive material. It discusses how a Citrix-IGEL-ThinPrint bundled solution meets regulation criteria such as HIPAA standards and the EU’s soon-to-be-enacted General Data Protection Regulations without diminishing user convenience and productivity.

Print data is generally unencrypted and almost always contains personal, proprietary or sensitive information. Even a simple print request sent from an employee may potentially pose a high security risk for an organization if not adequately monitored and managed. To put it bluntly, the printing processes that are repeated countless times every day at many organizations are great ways for proprietary data to end up in the wrong hands.

Mitigating this risk, however, should not impact the workforce flexibility and productivity print-anywhere capabilities deliver. Organizations seek to adopt print solutions that satisfy government-mandated regulations for protecting end users and that protect proprietary organizational data — all while providing a first-class desktop and application experience for users.

This solution guide outlines some of the regulatory issues any business faces when it prints sensitive material. It discusses how a Citrix-IGEL-ThinPrint bundled solution meets regulation criteria such as HIPAA standards and the EU’s soon-to-be-enacted General Data Protection Regulations without diminishing user convenience and productivity.

Finally, this guide provides high-level directions and recommendations for the deployment of the bundled solution.

Solution Guide for Sennheiser Headsets, IGEL Endpoints and Skype for Business on Citrix VDI
Topics: IGEL, Citrix, skype, VDI
Enabling voice and video with a bundled solution in an existing Citrix environment delivers clearer and crisper voice and video than legacy phone systems. This solution guide describes how Sennheiser headsets combine with Citrix infrastructure and IGEL endpoints to provide a better, more secure user experience. It also describes how to deploy the bundled Citrix-Sennheiser-IGEL solution.

Virtualizing Windows applications and desktops in the data center or cloud has compelling security, mobility and management benefits, but delivering real-time voice and video in a virtual environment is a challenge. A poorly optimized implementation can increase costs and compromise user experience. Server scalability and bandwidth efficiency may be less than optimal, and audio-video quality may be degraded.

Enabling voice and video with a bundled solution in an existing Citrix environment delivers clearer and crisper voice and video than legacy phone systems. This solution guide describes how Sennheiser headsets combine with Citrix infrastructure and IGEL endpoints to provide a better, more secure user experience. It also describes how to deploy the bundled Citrix-Sennheiser-IGEL solution.

Ovum: Igel's Security Enhancements for Thin Clients
Thin client vendor Igel is enhancing the security capabilities of its products, both under its own steam and in collaboration with technology partners. Ovum sees these developments as important for the next wave of thin client computing, which will be software-based – particularly if the desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) market is to take off.

With hardware-based thin client shipments in the region of 4–5 million units annually, this market is still a drop in the ocean compared to the 270 million PCs shipping each year, though the latter figure has been declining since 2011. And within the thin client market, Igel is in fourth place behind Dell and HP (each at around 1.2 million units annually) and China’s Centerm, which only sells into its home market.

However, the future for thin clients looks bright, in that the software-based segment of the market  (which some analyst houses refuse to acknowledge) is expanding, particularly for Igel. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) technology has stimulated this growth, but the greatest promise is probably in the embryonic DaaS market, whereby enterprises will have standard images for their workforce hosted by service providers.

Salem State University Teams with IGEL, Citrix and Nutanix to Deliver Digital Workspaces
Limited IT resources drive need for the IGEL’s robust management features; maturity of Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure, and the simplicity and time-to-value for Nutanix’s hyperconverged infrastructure offering make the combined solution a no-brainer for the university.
When Jake Snyder joined Salem State University’s IT department, the public university located just outside of Boston, Mass. was only using traditional PCs. “95% of the PCs were still on Windows 7 and there was no clear migration path in sight to Windows 10,” recalls Snyder. “Additionally, all updates to these aging desktop computers were being done locally in the university’s computer labs. Management was difficult and time consuming.”

The university realized something had to change, and that was one of the reasons why they brought Snyder on board – to upgrade its end-user computing environment to VDI. Salem State was looking for the security and manageability that a VDI solution could provide. “One of the biggest challenges that the university had been experiencing was managing desktop imaging and applications,” said Snyder. “They wanted to be able to keep their student, faculty and staff end-points up to date and secure, while at the same time easing the troubleshooting process. They weren’t able to do any of this with their current set-up.”

Snyder first saw a demo of the IGEL solution at the final BriForum event in Boston in 2016. “It was great to see IGEL at that event as I had heard a lot of good buzz around their products and solutions, especially from other colleagues in the industry,” said Snyder. “After BriForum, I went back and ordered some evaluation units to test out within our EUC environment.”

What Snyder quickly discovered during the evaluation period was that the IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) was not just plug-and-play, like he had expected. “The IGEL UMS was a very customizable solution, and I liked the robust interface,” continued Snyder. “Despite competitive solutions, it was clear from the start that the IGEL devices were going to be easier to use and cheaper in the long run. IGEL really was a ‘no-brainer’ when you consider the management capabilities and five-year warranty they offer on their hardware.”

Salem State University currently has 400 IGEL Universal Desktop software-defined thin clients deployed on its campus including 360 UD3 thin clients, which are the workhorse of the IGEL portfolio, and 40 UD6 thin clients, which support high-end graphics capabilities for multimedia users. Salem State has also purchased IGEL UD Pocket micro thin clients which they are now testing.
Strayer University Improves End User Computing Experience with IGEL
Strayer University is leveraging the IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) and IGEL UD3 to provide faculty, administrators and student support staff with seamless and reliable access to their digital workspaces.
As IT operations manager for Strayer University, Scott Behrens spent a lot of time looking at and evaluating endpoint computing solutions when it came to identifying a new way to provide the University’s faculty, administrators and student support staff with a seamless and reliable end user computing experience.

“I looked at various options including traditional desktops, but due to the dispersed nature of our business, I really wanted to find a solution that was both easy to manage and reasonably priced,

especially for our remote locations where we have limited or no IT staff on premise,” said Behrens. “IGEL fit perfectly into this scenario. Because of IGEL’s simplicity, we are able to reduce the time it takes to get one of our locations up and running from a week, to a day, with little support and very little effort.”

Strayer University first began its IGEL deployment in 2016, with a small pilot program of 30 users in the IGEL UDC. The university soon expanded its deployment, adding the IGEL UD3 and then Samsung All-in-One thin clients outfitted with the IGEL OS and IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS). Strayer University’s IGEL deployment now includes more than 2,000 endpoints at 75 locations across the United States. The university plans to extend its deployment of the IGEL UD3s further as it grows and the need arises to replace aging desktop hardware.
IGEL Delivers Manageability, Scalability and Security for The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group realizes cost-savings; increased productivity; and improved time-to-value with IGEL’s software-defined endpoint management solutions.
In 2016, The Auto Club Group was starting to implement a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution leveraging Citrix XenDesktop on both its static endpoints and laptop computers used in the field by its insurance agents, adjusters and other remote employees. “We were having a difficult time identifying a solution that would enable us to simplify the management of our laptop computers, in particular, while providing us with the flexibility, scalability and security we wanted from an endpoint management perspective,” said James McVicar, IT Architect, The Auto Club Group.

Some of the mobility management solutions The Auto Club has been evaluating relied on Windows CE, a solution that is nearing end-of-life. “We didn’t want to deal with the patches and other management headaches related to a Windows-based solutions, so this was not an attractive option,” said McVicar.

In the search for a mobile endpoint management solution, McVicar and his team came across IGEL and were quickly impressed. McVicar said, “What first drew our attention to IGEL was the ability to leverage the IGEL UDC to quickly and easily convert our existing laptop computers into an IGEL OS-powered desktop computing solution, that we could then manage via the IGEL UMS. Because IGEL is Linux-based, we found that it offered both the functionality and stability we needed within our enterprise.”

As The Auto Club Group continues to expand its operations, it will be rolling out additional IGEL OS-powered endpoints to its remote workers, and expects its deployment to exceed 400 endpoints once the project is complete.

The Auto Club Group is also looking at possibly leveraging the IGEL Cloud Gateway, which will help bring more performance and functionality to those working outside of the corporate WAN.
PrinterLogic and IGEL Enable Healthcare Organizations to Deliver Better Patient Outcomes
Healthcare professionals need to print effortlessly and reliably to nearby or appropriate printers within virtual environments, and PrinterLogic and IGEL can help make that an easy, reliable process—all while efficiently maintaining the protection of confidential patient information.

Many organizations have turned to virtualizing user endpoints to help reduce capital and operational expenses while increasing security. This is especially true within healthcare, where hospitals, clinics, and urgent care centers seek to offer the best possible patient outcomes while adhering to a variety of mandated patient security and information privacy requirements.

With the movement of desktops and applications into the secure data center or cloud, the need for reliable printing of documents, some very sensitive in nature, remains a constant that can be challenging when desktops are virtual but the printing process remains physical. Directing print jobs to the correct printer with the correct physical access rights in the correct location while ensuring compliance with key healthcare mandates like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Healthcare Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) is critical.

Healthcare IT needs to keep pace with these requirements and the ongoing printing demands of healthcare. Medical professionals need to print effortlessly and reliably to nearby or appropriate printers within virtual environments, and PrinterLogic and IGEL can help make that an easy, reliable process—all while efficiently maintaining the protection of confidential patient information. By combining PrinterLogic’s enterprise print management software with centrally managed direct IP printing and IGEL’s software-defined thin client endpoint management, healthcare organizations can:

  • Reduce capital and operational costs
  • Support virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and electronic medical records (EMR) systems effectively
  • Centralize and simplify print management
  • Add an essential layer of security from the target printer all the way to the network edge
UD Pocket Saves the Day After Malware Cripple’s Hospital’s Mission-Critical PCs
IGEL Platinum Partner A2U had endpoints within the healthcare organization’s finance department up and running within a few hours following the potentially crippling cyberattack, thanks to the innovative micro thin client.

A2U, an IGEL Platinum Partner, recently experienced a situation where one of its large, regional healthcare clients was hit by a cyberattack. “Essentially, malware entered the client’s network via a computer and began replicating like wildfire,” recalls A2U Vice President of Sales, Robert Hammond.

During the cyberattack, a few hundred of the hospital’s PCs were affected. Among those were 30 endpoints within the finance department that the healthcare organization deemed mission critical due to the volume of daily transactions between patients, insurance companies, and state and county agencies for services rendered. “It was very painful from a business standpoint not to be able to conduct billing and receiving, not to mention payroll,” said Hammond.

Prior to this particular incident, A2U had received demo units of the IGEL UD Pocket, a revolutionary micro thin client that can transform x86-compatible PCs and laptops into IGEL OS-powered desktops.

“We had been having a discussion with this client about re-imaging their PCs, but their primary concern was maintaining the integrity of the data that was already on the hardware,” continued Hammond. “HIPAA and other regulations meant that they needed to preserve the data and keep it secure, and we thought that the IGEL UD Pocket could be the answer to this problem. We didn’t see why it wouldn’t work, but we needed to test our theory.”

When the malware attack hit, that opportunity came sooner, rather than later for A2U. “We plugged the UD Pocket into one of the affected machines and were able to bypass the local hard drive, installing the Linux-based IGEL OS on the system without impacting existing data,” said Hammond. “It was like we had created a ‘Linux bubble’ that protected the machine, yet created an environment that allowed end users to quickly return to productivity.”

Working with the hospital’s IT team, it only took a few hours for A2U to get the entire finance department back online. “They were able to start billing the very next day,” added Hammond.

How to Develop a Multi-cloud Management Strategy
Increasingly, organizations are looking to move workloads into the cloud. The goal may be to leverage cloud resources for Dev/Test, or they may want to “lift and shift” an application to the cloud and run it natively. In order to enable these various cloud options, it is critical that organizations develop a multi-cloud data management strategy.

The primary goal of a multi-cloud data management strategy is to supply data, either via copying or moving data to the various multi-cloud use cases. A key enabler of this movement is the data management software applications. In theory, data protection applications can perform both of the copy and move functions. A key consideration is how the multi-cloud data management experience is unified. In most cases, data protection applications ignore the user experience of each cloud and use their proprietary interface as the unifying entity, which increases complexity.

There are a variety of reasons organizations may want to leverage multiple clouds. The first use case is to use public cloud storage as a backup mirror to an on-premises data protection process. Using public cloud storage as a backup mirror enables the organization to automatically off-site data. It also sets up many of the more advanced use cases.

Another use case is using the cloud for disaster recovery.

Another use case is “Lift and Shift,” which means the organization wants to run the application in the cloud natively. Initial steps in the “lift and shift” use case are similar to Dev/Test, but now the workload is storing unique data in the cloud.

Multi-cloud is a reality now for most organizations and managing the movement of data between these clouds is critical.

The SysAdmin Guide to Azure Infrastructure as a Service
If you're used to on-premises infrastructures, cloud platforms can seem daunting. But it doesn't need to be. This eBook written by the veteran IT consultant and trainer Paul Schnackenburg, covers all aspects of setting up and maintaining a high-performing Azure IaaS environment, including: • VM sizing and deployment • Migration • Storage and networking • Security and identity • Infrastructure as code and more!

The cloud computing era is well and truly upon us, and knowing how to take advantage of the benefits of this computing paradigm while maintaining security, manageability, and cost control are vital skills for any IT professional in 2020 and beyond. And its importance is only getting greater.

In this eBook, we’re going to focus on Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) on Microsoft’s Azure platform - learning how to create VMs, size them correctly, manage storage, networking, and security, along with backup best practices. You’ll also learn how to operate groups of VMs, deploy resources based on templates, managing security and automate your infrastructure. If you currently have VMs in your own datacenter and are looking to migrate to Azure, we’ll also teach you that.

If you’re new to the cloud (or have experience with AWS/GCP but not Azure), this book will cover the basics as well as more advanced skills. Given how fast things change in the cloud, we’ll cover the why (as well as the how) so that as features and interfaces are updated, you’ll have the theoretical knowledge to effectively adapt and know how to proceed.

You’ll benefit most from this book if you actively follow along with the tutorials. We will be going through terms and definitions as we go – learning by doing has always been my preferred way of education. If you don’t have access to an Azure subscription, you can sign up for a free trial with Microsoft. This will give you 30 days 6 to use $200 USD worth of Azure resources, along with 12 months of free resources. Note that most of these “12 months” services aren’t related to IaaS VMs (apart from a few SSD based virtual disks and a small VM that you can run for 750 hours a month) so be sure to get everything covered on the IaaS side before your trial expires. There are also another 25 services that have free tiers “forever”.

Now you know what’s in store, let’s get started!

Key Considerations for Configuring Virtual Desktops For Remote Work
At any time, organizations worldwide and individuals can be forced to work from home. Learn about a sustainable solution to enable your remote workforce quickly and easily and gain tips to enhance your business continuity strategy when it comes to employee computing resources.

Assess what you already have

If you have a business continuity plan or a disaster recovery plan in place, that’s a good place to start. This scenario may not fit the definition of disaster that you originally intended, but it can serve to help you test your plan in a more controlled fashion that can benefit both your current situation by giving you a head start, and your overall plan by revealing gaps that would be more problematic in a more urgent or catastrophic environment with less time to prepare and implement.

Does your plan include access to remote desktops in a data center or the cloud? If so, and you already have a service in place ready to transition or expand, you’re well on your way.

Read the guide to learn what it takes for IT teams to set up staff to work effectively from home with virtual desktop deployments. Learn how to get started, if you’re new to VDI or if you already have an existing remote desktop scenario but are looking for alternatives.