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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

UNC Health Care Leverages IGEL in Virtual Desktop Infrastructure Deployment
UNC Health Care selected IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) and IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) for simplicity, cost-savings and security. This document outlines key findings on how IGEL helps organizations manage entire fleets of thin clients from a single console. In addition, you will see how IGEL Universal Desktop Converter provides IT organizations with the flexibility they need to convert any compatible thin client, desktop or laptop computer into an IGEL thin client solution, wi

UNC Health Care selects IGEL Universal Desktop Converter (UDC) and IGEL Universal Management Suite (UMS) for simplicity, cost-savings and security.

“The need to provide users with access to their desktops from any device anywhere, anytime is driving a growing number of IT organizations to migrate toward VDI environments,” said Simon Clephan, Vice President of Business Development and Strategic Alliances, IGEL. “One of the key advantages that IGEL brings to the table is the simplicity that comes from being able to manage an entire fleet of thin clients from a single console. Additionally, the IGEL Universal Desktop Converter provides IT organizations with the flexibility they need to convert any compatible thin client, desktop or laptop computer into an IGEL thin client solution, without having to make an upfront investment in new hardware to support their virtualized infrastructures.” 

UNC Health Care selected the IGEL UDC and UMS software for its Citrix VDI deployment following a “bake-off” between thin client solutions. “IGEL won hands down due the simplicity and superiority of its management capabilities,” said James Cole, Technical Architect, UNC Health Care. “And, because the IGEL UDC software is designed to quickly and efficiently convert existing endpoint hardware into IGEL Linux OS-powered thin clients, we knew that by selecting the IGEL solution we would also realize a significant reduction in our capital expenditures.”

Since initiating the deployment of the IGEL UDC and UMS software, UNC Health Care has also experienced significant time savings. “Prior to deploying the IGEL UDC and UMS software, it took our team 25-30 minutes to create a virtual image on each system, not counting the personalization of the system for each use case, now that process takes less than 10 minutes, and even less time when converting the system to VDI roaming,” added Cole.

Additionally, the ease of integration between the IGEL UDC and IGEL UMS with Citrix XenDesktop and other solutions offered by Citrix Ecosystem partners, including Imprivata, has enabled secure access to the health care network’s Epic Systems’ Electronic Medical Records (EMR) system.

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.

Omaha School District Leverages IGEL’s Revolutionary Micro Client
Millard Public Schools is currently leveraging the IGEL UD Pocket, a revolutionary micro client, inside the district’s computer-aided design (CAD) classrooms to securely and cost-effectively deliver Autodesk software to their CAD students via a Citrix virtual desktop.
Millard Public Schools was looking for a secure and cost-effective way to deliver graphics intensive CAD applications to students via Citrix virtual desktops. The school district selected the IGEL UD Pocket and is now leveraging the micro thin client inside its CAD classrooms. Some of the key benefits the district has experienced as a result of the IGEL solution include ease of management and configuration, time and cost savings, support for a robust multimedia experience, and enhanced endpoint security as students are now only able to access their Windows-based, GPU-enabled virtual desktops from a secured Linux-based endpoint.
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.

A Journey Through Hybrid IT and the Cloud
How to navigate between the trenches. Hybrid IT has moved from buzzword status to reality and organizations are realizing its potential impact. Some aspects of your infrastructure may remain in a traditional setting, while another part runs on cloud infrastructure—causing great complexity. So, what does this mean for you?

How to navigate between the trenches

Hybrid IT has moved from buzzword status to reality and organizations are realizing its potential impact. Some aspects of your infrastructure may remain in a traditional setting, while another part runs on cloud infrastructure—causing great complexity. So, what does this mean for you?
 
“A Journey Through Hybrid IT and the Cloud” provides insight on:

  • What Hybrid IT means for the network, storage, compute, monitoringand your staff
  • Real world examples that can occur along your journey (what did vs. didn’t work)
  • How to educate employees on Hybrid IT and the Cloud
  • Proactively searching out technical solutions to real business challenges
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.
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.

vSphere Troubleshooting Guide
Troubleshooting complex virtualization technology is something all VMware users will have to face at some point. It requires an understanding of how various components fit together and finding a place to start is not easy. Thankfully, VMware vExpert Ryan Birk is here to help with this eBook preparing you for any problems you may encounter along the way.

This eBook explains how to identify problems with vSphere and how to solve them. Before we begin, we need to start off with an introduction to a few things that will make life easier. We’ll start with a troubleshooting methodology and how to gather logs. After that, we’ll break this eBook into the following sections: Installation, Virtual Machines, Networking, Storage, vCenter/ESXi and Clustering.

ESXi and vSphere problems arise from many different places, but they generally fall into one of these categories: Hardware issues, Resource contention, Network attacks, Software bugs, and Configuration problems.

A typical troubleshooting process contains several tasks: 1. Define the problem and gather information. 2. Identify what is causing the problem. 3. Fix the problem, implement a fix.

One of the first things you should try to do when experiencing a problem with a host, is try to reproduce the issue. If you can find a way to reproduce it, you have a great way to validate that the issue is resolved when you do fix it. It can be helpful as well to take a benchmark of your systems before they are implemented into a production environment. If you know HOW they should be running, it’s easier to pinpoint a problem.

You should decide if it’s best to work from a “Top Down” or “Bottom Up” approach to determine the root cause. Guest OS Level issues typically cause a large amount of problems. Let’s face it, some of the applications we use are not perfect. They get the job done but they utilize a lot of memory doing it.

In terms of virtual machine level issues, is it possible that you could have a limit or share value that’s misconfigured? At the ESXi Host Level, you could need additional resources. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but you might need another host to help with load!

Once you have identified the root cause, you should assess the impact of the problem on your day to day operations. When and what type of fix should you implement? A short-term one or a long-term solution? Assess the impact of your solution on daily operations. Short-term solution: Implement a quick workaround. Long-term solution: Reconfiguration of a virtual machine or host.

Now that the basics have been covered, download the eBook to discover how to put this theory into practice!

Mastering vSphere – Best Practices, Optimizing Configurations & More
Do you regularly work with vSphere? If so, this free eBook is for you. Learn how to leverage best practices for the most popular features contained within the vSphere platform and boost your productivity using tips and tricks learnt direct from an experienced VMware trainer and highly qualified professional. In this eBook, vExpert Ryan Birk shows you how to master: Advanced Deployment Scenarios using Auto-Deploy Shared Storage Performance Monitoring and Troubleshooting Host Network configurati

If you’re here to gather some of the best practices surrounding vSphere, you’ve come to the right place! Mastering vSphere: Best Practices, Optimizing Configurations & More, the free eBook authored by me, Ryan Birk, is the product of many years working with vSphere as well as teaching others in a professional capacity. In my extensive career as a VMware consultant and teacher (I’m a VMware Certified Instructor) I have worked with people of all competence levels and been asked hundreds - if not thousands - of questions on vSphere. I was approached to write this eBook to put that experience to use to help people currently working with vSphere step up their game and reach that next level. As such, this eBook assumes readers already have a basic understanding of vSphere and will cover the best practices for four key aspects of any vSphere environment.

The best practices covered here will focus largely on management and configuration solutions so should remain relevant for quite some time. However, with that said, things are constantly changing in IT, so I would always recommend obtaining the most up-to-date information from VMware KBs and official documentation especially regarding specific versions of tools and software updates. This eBook is divided into several sections, and although I would advise reading the whole eBook as most elements relate to others, you might want to just focus on a certain area you’re having trouble with. If so, jump to the section you want read about.

Before we begin, I want to note that in a VMware environment, it’s always best to try to keep things simple. Far too often I have seen environments be thrown off the tracks by trying to do too much at once. I try to live by the mentality of “keeping your environment boring” – in other words, keeping your host configurations the same, storage configurations the same and network configurations the same. I don’t mean duplicate IP addresses, but the hosts need identical port groups, access to the same storage networks, etc. Consistency is the name of the game and is key to solving unexpected problems down the line. Furthermore, it enables smooth scalability - when you move from a single host configuration to a cluster configuration, having the same configurations will make live migrations and high availability far easier to configure without having to significantly re-work the entire infrastructure. Now the scene has been set, let’s get started!

Implementing High Availability in a Linux Environment
This white paper explores how organizations can lower both CapEx and OpEx running high-availability applications in a Linux environment without sacrificing performance or security.
Using open source solutions can dramatically reduce capital expenditures, especially for software licensing fees. But most organizations also understand that open source software needs more “care and feeding” than commercial software—sometimes substantially more- potentially causing operating expenditures to increase well above any potential savings in CapEx. This white paper explores how organizations can lower both CapEx and OpEx running high-availability applications in a Linux environment without sacrificing performance or security.