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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.

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.

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.

Parallels RAS and Microsoft Office 365: Deliver a Superior, Cloud-Optimized Employee Experience
When used together, Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) and Microsoft deliver an enhanced method for employees to access Office 365. With increased security and management options, Parallels RAS delivers a superior employee experience on any device or platform—anywhere.
Microsoft Office 365 is fast becoming the industry standard, with companies rushing to adopt the solution to maximize flexibility and bring down budget costs. However, the online version lacks certain features to maximize the end-user experience and improve employee productivity. This is where a comprehensive, affordable virtualization can be useful. When used together, Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS) and Microsoft deliver an enhanced method for employees to access Office 365. With increased security and management options, Parallels RAS delivers a superior employee experience on any device or platform—anywhere.
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.
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.

Introduction to Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop
This whitepaper provides an overview of WVD and a historical perspective of the evolution of Windows desktops – especially multi-session Windows. This paper was authored by industry veterans with active involvement in multi-session Windows desktop computing since its inception in the early 1990s. Disclaimer: Professionals at Liquidware, a Microsoft WVD partner, authored this paper based on information available at the time of writing.
Microsoft announced the general availability of Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) on September 30, 2019. The release came after an initial public-preview-evaluation program that lasted about six months. This whitepaper provides an overview of WVD and a historical perspective of the evolution of Windows desktops – especially multi-session Windows. This paper was authored by industry veterans with active involvement in multi-session Windows desktop computing since its inception in the early 1990s. Disclaimer: Professionals at Liquidware, a Microsoft WVD partner, authored this paper based on information available at the time of writing. Information regarding WVD is evolving quickly; consequently, readers should understand that this whitepaper (v2.0) presents the most up-to-date information available. Any inaccuracies in this paper are unintentional. Research and buying decisions are ultimately the readers’ responsibility.
Unlocking Digital Transformation with Adaptive Workspace Management
Digital transformation can be stalled for organizations that do not start this process of re-architecting their workspace provisioning approaches. In this whitepaper, Liquidware presents a roadmap for delivering modern workspaces for organizations which are undergoing digital transformation. Liquidware’s Adaptive Workspace Management (AWM) suite of products can support the build-out of an agile, state-of-the-art workspace infrastructure that quickly delivers the resources workers need, on demand

The driving force for organizations today is digital transformation, propelled by a need for greater innovation and agility across enterprises. The digital life-blood for this transformation remains computers, although their form-factor has changed dramatically over the past decade.  Smart devices, including phones, tablets and wearables, have joined PCs and laptops in the daily toolsets used by workers to do their jobs.  The data that organizations rely on increasingly comes from direct sources via smart cards, monitors, implants and embedded processors. IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence will shape the software that workers use to do their jobs. As these “smart” applications change and take on scope, they will increasingly be deployed on cloud infrastructures, bringing computing to the edge and enabling swift and efficient processing with real-time data.

Yet digital transformation for many organizations can remain blocked if they do not start changing how their workspaces are provisioned. Many still rely on outmoded approaches for delivering the technology needed by their workers to make them productive in a highly digital workplace.

In this paper, Liquidware presents a roadmap for providing modern workspaces for organizations that are undergoing digital transformation. We offer insights into how our Adaptive Workspace Management (AWM) suite of products can support the build-out of an agile,  state-of-the-artworkspace infrastructure that quickly delivers the resources workers need, on demand. AWM allows this  infrastructure  to be constructed from a hybrid mix of the best-of-breed workspace delivery platforms spanning physical, virtual and cloud offerings.

Why User Experience is Key to Your Desktop Transformation
This whitepaper has been authored by experts at Liquidware and draws upon its experience with customers as well as the expertise of its Acceler8 channel partners in order to provide guidance to adopters of desktop virtualization technologies. In this paper, we explain the importance of thorough planning— factoring in user experience and resource allocation—in delivering a scalable next-generation workspace that will produce both near- and long-term value.

There’s little doubt we’re in the midst of a change in the way we operationalize and manage our end users’ workspaces. On the one hand, IT leaders are looking to gain the same efficiencies and benefits realized with cloud and next-generation virtual-server workloads. And on the other hand, users are driving the requirements for anytime, anywhere and any device access to the applications needed to do their jobs. To provide the next-generation workspaces that users require, enterprises are adopting a variety of technologies such as virtual-desktop infrastructure (VDI), published applications and layered applications. At the same time, those technologies are creating new and challenging problems for those looking to gain the full benefits of next-generation end-user workspaces. 

Before racing into any particular desktop transformation delivery approach it’s important to define appropriate goals and adopt a methodology for both near- and long-term success. One of the most common planning pitfalls we’ve seen in our history supporting the transformation of more than 6 million desktops is that organizations tend to put too much emphasis on the technical delivery and resource allocation aspects of the platform, and too little time considering the needs of users. How to meet user expectations and deliver a user experience that fosters success is often overlooked. 

To prevent that problem and achieve near-term success as well as sustainable long-term value from a next-generation desktop transformation approach, planning must also include defining a methodology that should include the following three things:

•    Develop a baseline of “normal” performance for current end user computing delivery
•    Set goals for functionality and defined measurements supporting user experience
•    Continually monitor the environment to ensure users are satisfied and the environment is operating efficiently

This white paper will show why the user experience is difficult to predict, why it’s essential to planning, and why factoring in the user experience—along with resource allocation—is key to creating and delivering the promise of a next-generation workspace that is scalable and will produce both near-and long-term value.

A Guide to VDI Change Management
Testing can protect business continuity.
How testing protects business continuity

Leverage testing to ensure your change plan is successful

Read this white paper and learn how to:
  • Ensure uptime while implementing change
  • Maximize the end-user experience in a constantly changing environment
  • Leverage testing to guarantee a successful roll-out of your change management plan in both pre-production and production
Create and Maintain Superior VDI Workspaces
Both Login VSI and IGEL bring their own specific strengths to the table, giving you the ability to focus on securing and optimizing endpoints, whilst also optimizing end-user experience.
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Both Login VSI and IGEL bring their own specific strengths to the table, giving you the ability to focus on securing and optimizing endpoints, whilst also optimizing end-user experience.

Read this white paper and learn how:

  • IGEL & Login VSI provides better VDI workspaces to any enterprise
  • The roll-out of VDI is only successful when end-users are happy
  • To keep VDI environments healthy via Change Management
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