De voordelen van Windows Virtual Desktop voor de IT-organisatie

The benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop for the IT organisation

Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) is a Microsoft service you can deploy to offer your users a virtual Windows 10 workspace from the cloud. In a previous blog, we explained what the benefits of Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD), a platform-as-a-service, are for the business. In this blog, we take a look at the IT benefits.

1 – SCALABILITY

As Christiaan already explained in his blog, one of the greatest advantages offered by Windows Virtual Desktop is its scalability. This feature provides benefits for the business but also certainly for the IT organization. If, for example, you are building a classic Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environment, you must first establish an entire infrastructure. You do that on the basis of requirements. One of those requirements is the number of users you estimate will work in that environment. Is that a hundred or is that a thousand? This number is a key factor in how you will build the environment and what you must invest in it. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you no longer have to worry about that because that infrastructure is now already offered from the cloud as a service. This means that you can set up a WVD environment for a small legal office just as easily as you can for a large corporate business – because the exact same WVD platform is available to everyone.

2 – TRIAL BALLOON

So, with WVD, you can relatively easily establish a proof of concept and you can very easily scale that up or down according to the client’s current needs. Previously, you had to take account of a large number of issues and once you had built the environment with all sorts of components, you just hoped that it would also be used and accepted. With Windows Virtual Desktop, you can very easily put up a trial balloon to discover whether the WVD platform offers what the client is looking for. If that is the case, you can continue to build the environment. If not, you can look for a different solution.

3 – LICENSING COSTS

Many organizations are familiar with Microsoft. They already have licences for multiple Microsoft products and therefore often also for Windows Virtual Desktop. This means they can offer their users a hosted desktop without extra licensing costs from a different third-party supplier. Whether the Microsoft WVD solution offers them exactly what they need, or whether another market solution such as that from Citrix or VMware is more suitable, remains to be seen. But if the Microsoft WVD solution satisfies their requirements, this can quickly reduce licensing costs.

THE BIG PICTURE

Where you previously had to build a physical infrastructure in a data centre or on-premise at the client, this is now a thing of the past thanks to Windows Virtual Desktop. In many cases, extra licensing costs are eliminated and upscaling or downscaling is a snap. This does not alter the fact that you still must have sound knowledge of how to set up the Windows host where the end user lands and that you must have good insight into the wishes and needs of the client. For example: How do you deal with User Environment Management? How do you link the on-premise Active Directory to the Azure Active Directory? How do you deal with existing legacy applications? Establishing a standard WVD workspace can be done quickly, but how should this be integrated in the big picture? How do you administer such an environment if it runs in production? We have years of experience with hosted desktop environments and with linking a cloud environment to an organization’s existing environment. We also have a complete set of tools at our disposal to make all of this possible. Because we operate independently of any vendor, we can give you honest advice about what the best virtual workspace solution is for your organization.

INTERESTED?

If you’re looking for someone who can help you configure Windows Virtual Desktop and ensure that your employees have access to a suitable desktop-as-a-service, please get in touch – we’d be delighted to help you.

Benno Rummens

 

De voordelen van Windows Virtual Desktop voor de business

The benefits of Windows Virtual Desktop for business

Research by the Netherlands Institute for Transport Policy Analysis suggests that the coronavirus crisis will permanently change the way in which we travel and work. If working from home becomes more commonplace, it will have a positive effect on current problems such as traffic jams and CO2 emissions. All of this means that a future-proof workplace will be essential. Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) can provide precisely that – a platform-as-a-service that can give your users a virtual Windows 10 workplace from the cloud, with access to their desktop and applications at any time and from anywhere. In this blog, we’ll look at the four benefits of WVD for business.

1 Simple to scale

WVD is offered as a cloud service, which means that it can be scaled both up and down with ease. In the event of fusions and takeovers, you can ensure that your new employees have the standard workplace in no time. In addition, if your business recruits seasonal workers, temporary contractors, or partners, you can easily provide them with access to your network and business applications without major investment expenditure.

2 Costs

This flexibility has a cost benefit in that you can scale your users up and down on a monthly basis, paying a monthly fee for only those workplace resources that have actually been used. You never pay for resources that you don’t use.

3 Accessible form all devices, from anywhere

WVD is available worldwide, which means that access is available from anywhere. If you have an internet connection, you have a workplace, which is very useful in times like these. Even call centre staff who would normally work from a large open-plan office can enjoy access to all applications and communications functions with WVD. Employees who prefer to work from their own device, such as a MacBook, can also obtain access to the corporate workplace with WVD. In addition, WVD allows you to grant temporary access to companies developing software for you. The developers will then know that the software they are creating actually works within your landscape.

4 Security

WVD runs in the cloud, so the data stays in the cloud too. It is never stored locally on laptops or other devices, significantly reducing the risk of data leaks, which is especially important in finance, healthcare, and government.

Enabling it is just the start…

Microsoft provides Windows Virtual Desktop as a platform-as-a-service. Enabling it alone does not mean that your employees will have immediate access to a complete workplace just yet. Once the WVD machines have been enabled, it’s important that they are monitored and kept up to date in terms of security patches and functionality: the right applications need to be installed, data need to be accessible, and the experience needs to be kept at a high level. In short, Windows Virtual Desktop still needs to be configured so that you can give your employees a desktop-as-a-service.

Interested?

If you’re looking for someone who can help you configure Windows Virtual Desktop and ensure that your employees have access to a suitable desktop-as-a-service, please get in touch – we’d be delighted to help you.

Christiaan de Vin

Wat als jij de helft van je projecten zou stopzetten?

Three reasons to use Managed Services

IT is an indispensable part of modern business operations, as it’s all the more important that you are able to guarantee the continuity of your IT processes and give your employees 24/7 access from anywhere. This is something that you can manage in-house, but you can also opt to outsource at least some of it. In this blog, Arno Diefenbach, Operations Manager at Login Consultants, discusses three reasons for using managed services.

1 Full attention to the core business

You can choose a managed services structure for strategic reasons. Do you feel that workplaces, including the underlying infrastructure, should just be there when they’re needed? Do you consider your IT a bit like water from the tap or electricity from the wall and would prefer to devote your energy to your core business? By choosing a good managed services partner, you can enjoy a flexible IT infrastructure where quality, performance, and availability are guaranteed.

2 Hire in expertise of additional help

If you have your own IT department with a good team of experienced and skilled people, but just need an extra pair of hands or a bit of added expertise in certain areas, then managed services would be a good fit. Imagine that your IT team doesn’t have the expertise to deal with Citrix, but that expertise is something you need. You can opt to outsource that particular area, while your IT department can look after the rest of your IT. These days, when the labour market is pretty tight, this can be a useful solution. In addition, if you need some temporary extra capacity or a little flexibility and speed, managed services can be helpful.

3 24/7 Availability

For certain companies, having an IT environment that is operational 24/7 is important so that users can work day and night without encountering problems or challenges. If you work with an experienced managed services partner, you’ll have 24/7 access to specialist expertise in the IT workplace and you can be confident that your employees will be able to work without interruption at any time of the day (or night).

Want to learn more?

Our engineers are specialists in Citrix, VMWare, and Microsoft. We keep our expertise continuously up to date. Our managed services allow you to move the responsibility for the workplace and application infrastructure wholly or partly into someone else’s hands, allowing you to focus entirely on your core business. If you’re interested in what solution best fits your needs, please get in touch for a no-obligation discussion. We would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

 

Het belang van een mobiele strategie

The importance of a mobile strategy

Employees are working with ever increasing flexibility, and that has implications for their workplace. In this blog, Erwin Klaver, Senior Consultant at Login Consultants, explains why it’s important to have a mobile strategy and what the five key considerations are.

Fewer worries thanks to standardization

Remote working is becoming more and more important, especially for a mobile workplace. Anytime, any place, anywhere is the new standard, and especially now, when it is more important than ever before. By working with a standardized workplace, and so a standardized mobile workplace as well, you can reduce your IT department’s workload, lower your costs, and allow your company to focus on what it’s good at – its core business.

1 Managed or unmanaged

When it comes to a mobile workplace from the cloud, employees can work securely from both their own device (BYOD) and a device provided by their organization (CYOD). This is possible with both a managed and unmanaged workplace. With an unmanaged workplace, you can opt for data security: the applications and data behind the applications are secured based on App Protection. In addition, you can force employees to use Microsoft Outlook instead of the Apple or Google Mail (Android) mail app, irrespective of the device they are using. This can be regulated with Conditional Access. If you opt for a managed workplace, whether it’s a Windows, iOS, or Android device, then you can enjoy workplace security. In this case, you can enforce both policy and far-reaching settings in much the same way that they are traditionally configured.

2 Ensure a platform-independent workplace

Platform independence is extremely important. The look and feel of the workplace must always be the same whether your users are working with Windows 10, iOS, or Android.

3 Enforce good security

Protecting the identity of your employees is increasingly important, and logging in with just a username and password is no longer enough. With a mobile workplace strategy, you can ensure that multi-factor authentication is enforced. Logging in with a PIN or facial recognition technology are new kinds of login that render usernames and passwords obsolete. Yubikey and the Microsoft Authenticator app on a mobile phone are also secure, password-free login alternatives.

4 Manage the workplace with Microsoft Intune

A good cloud workplace is built on Microsoft best practices – in other words, management is carried out from Microsoft Intune, Microsoft’s platform for integrated management of all devices, both business and personal. It allows you to support multiple mobile ecosystems, from iOS and Android to Windows and MacOS, stay up to date with a scalable and globally accepted cloud service architecture, and fully protect your data.

5 Provide ease of use with self-service

If your employees can install their devices themselves, it can save your IT department a lot of work. Microsoft Windows Autopilot, perhaps used in combination with white glove, allows your employees to do just that – without having to involve the IT department. It is also available for Apple, with Apple Business Manager, and Android, with Android Enterprise. You should also consider self-service password reset, so that users can reset their passwords or adjust multi-factor authentication without having to contact IT.

How would the transition work?

Is your organization ready for the transition to a mobile workplace? We can help you. We start the process with a workshop, where we will establish the requirements and preferences of your organization. We’ll then use this as the basis for a design. If you can see your organization in the design, we can begin the technical implementation, test phase, and pilot phase, before the environment starts production. It’s important that this kind of environment is introduced correctly and that its added value is clear to employees. We will also make sure that adoption gets sufficient attention.

Want to learn more?

If you’re curious as to what this could mean for you, please get in touch for a no-obligation discussion. We look forward to discussing the possibilities with you.

 

By: Erwin Klaver, Senior Consultant

How to scale quickly and safely to facilitate more homeworkers?

“Sometimes an organization finds itself in complex situations that are not covered by its own ‘disaster recovery plan;

  • A crisis is forcing many more people to work from home than was planned in the DR scope?
  • The support of your Windows version on which the IT of your organization runs, will be phased out faster than expected?

I’d love to share my vision – with some practical answers – on this current challenge.”

“There are scope challenges when designing disaster recovery planning. What are the scope, duration and responses to be considered in the planning stage? Often these were based around short time frames, a denial of access, and were targeted on keeping key workers, perhaps the traders for instance, active. These scope challenges were hidden behind scenes. Then the Corona Virus crisis impacted. This crisis situation has made these potential scope challenges a reality – now an organization is forced to consider all workers working from home for an extended period. We must change course very quickly.”

“This is in stark contrast to the typical IT scenario of when the ‘end of running support ‘ of a desktop OS is announced, then you can take time, plan systematically and take step by step actions. But also look at current events: suddenly almost the entire company works from home – how do you scale up quickly is this even possible in terms of capacity without compromising security?”

‘How do we scale up our virtual workplaces and what role can the cloud play in this?’ I have received this question several times in the past few weeks, from different organizations with different situations. There is a common thread throughout their stories, always the same principles emerge. ”

When developing workplaces, organizations take into account a certain intensity of use. If that use increases exponentially – for example because all employees now need to work at home – the planned capacity in the datacentre will not be readily available. You cannot simply double or triple the number of workplaces without the environment coming to a complete standstill as capacity is quickly exceeded.

 To quickly increase the demand for processing capacity to meet this new demand is a challenge.

  • A large banking organisation may be able to redeploy existing servers from its existing server farm capacity.
  • For another organization delivery of new hardware in the short-term will be a challenge.

The availability of servers for rental or purchase, as with face masks, is a scarcity. Purchasing new hardware to increase capacity is a supply chain nightmare at the moment as stocks of new server hardware are now depleted. Moreover, is purchasing hardware the correct commercial decision?

The cost of the investment to meet extreme and maximum capacity demand should be considered Who can say how long the need for additional capacity for the VDI virtual desktops going to last and what happens ‘post crisis’ to this extra capacity?

Let me be clear: I am convinced that with the cloud fast, secure and highly scalable solution is possible for the increased capacity requirements of virtual desktops. For example, Microsoft Azure can be billed on a consumption model aligned to usage per hour. Many of the cloud providers offer this scalability but note should be taken not only of the ability to scale up but also the ability to decommission quickly post event.

The Microsoft Azure platform was chosen to offer a British-based government organization more than 15,000 emergency workplaces. It provided an environment that can be quickly scaled up to meet the immediate demand and, importantly, post event, scaled back down.

Fast Deployments require a different project approach

I would like to explain how the new project approach works, in two steps each of a few weeks duration:

  1. Minimal viable to be up and running
  2. Adding business apps in short sprints.

 Step 1: Minimal viable

We start by asking an important question: what is the ‘ minimal viable product’ for the organization to be up and running? With this minimal definition of the workplace, a significant proportion of employees can perform their main tasks and be productive.

Typically this is the basic functionality, for example with five core applications, but without the dozens of special and often complex apps used in the organization.

How are these agreed?

Firstly – a clear and concise conversation with the business managers to ask; ‘What is the core basic functionality to enable employees to be productive? Secondly – coordination with the security team. In partnership an acceleration through their procedures is required to ensure that practical security that is optimal for the circumstances.

 

What is the result then?

The workplace that we offer organizations according to our new working method is standard CIS-1 compliant. We apply a kind of bypass solution to avoid the regular and long-term change processes – to really make quick metres in a short time. It must be expedient, call it a ‘practical, decisive emergency-breaking-laws – solution ‘ with this in place we can move forward quickly. I am convinced that it is a responsible approach , with reasonable controls for optimal security at a basic level – with a mandate from the customer and his Change Control Board.

 

From a scratch start to a production environment.

How is this possible?

This success depends on an acceleration of construction by the deployment of standard building blocks. Think in particular of proven elements, such as image recipes for Windows 10 , 2016 server and 2019 server with tuning components and best practices in which we reduce the opportunity for errors.

Furthermore, our customs experts deploy various tools in the software suite of Login VSI , the ability to automate and monitor are introduced from the start . I see it not only great opportunities provides for acceleration of the construction process , but also to take it quickly into BAU management .

In this way, the new environment can also be operational quickly, with well-arranged patching and monitoring.

Step 2: Add apps with quick, short sprints

After deployment the following weeks are also well spent. With fast scrum sprints, the project team can be adding new applications to the virtual workplace daily. In a normal deployment each app is singularly tested, validated and UAT before deployment. In this crisis speedy deployment we use app bundles in short sprints. Our experience shows us that as the virtual workplace can be fully constructed in a period of three weeks to 80-90 percent completion. This quickly allows working functionality to be delivered to all employees to enable home working

 

I would like to point out an important condition for success. Building a good test environment. There needs to be an acceptance environment where the customer can validate the functioning of an application before release to production. Many test – and acceptance – environments that I have seen are based on the principle of ‘doing the same change in multiple isolated environments ‘. The disadvantage of this approach is that the environments are by definition different, so that the test results cannot be completely trusted. The approach we choose is that the test – and acceptance – environment is an integral part of the production environment in which the image using ‘staging’ is brought into production. This methodology is standard part of our deployment approach.

In conclusion

One thing clients should consider: invest time and attention in ‘broadening’ the disaster recovery plans. Think not only fires or other disasters, but consider all disruptions of business, for extended periods of time. Even then such must plan provided in a fast alternative to the standard IT, with an Azure or cloud  environment as a failsafe and practical plan for rapid scaling up. Virtual desktops can be a part of your disiater planning in the light of a crisis such as the Coronavirus. This proactive planning helps to keep an organization agile and ready to respond to the future, whatever it may look like.

 

And know: with the right support, the cloud can be your ally. ”

 

Chris van Werkhoven, CTO Login Consultants

 

ADOPTION OR TRANSITION? EQUALLY IMPORTANT, EACH WITH A RADICALLY DIFFERENT IMPACT

Adoption of new technologies is crucial, but without attention to administration, it’s only part of the solution. In this blog post, Cyril Roosenboom, IT Business Consultant at Login Consultants, explains why transitioning to the cloud involves more than adoption alone.

 

MANEAGEABLE DIGITAL CHANGES

Before the introduction of the cloud (yes, there was life before the cloud), the biggest workplace change was the transition from Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7 or from Windows 7 to Windows 10. A new taskbar, a new start menu, and a new version of Microsoft Office were pretty much the biggest changes you could expect. While this may have taken some getting used to, It didn’t take too long to get is all back under control.

CONFUSION WITH THE CLOUD

It wasn’t until companies began transitioning to the cloud that things really started to change with respect to the way we work. Creating a digital workplace that was available any time and anywhere was the starting point, not the end goal. Objectively, this was considered a positive change: suddenly you could access your desktop applications and files regardless of where or on which device you worked. While this was extremely useful, it was also highly confusing for users. Whereas before, files used to be saved on the G, H, or Y drives and were assigned their own version number, they now are floating in the cloud and version management is taken care of for you.

 

THE ADVENT OF ADOPTION

There was a huge gap between the old situation (meaning today’s new version can do a heck of allot more than yesterday’s old version) and the new one since the introduction of the cloud. It soon became clear that this new situation demanded a different approach. Change is hard, and human behaviour is an important aspect in this process and needs to be considered. If people are forced to change behaviours and habits that have become instinctive, they will be less inclined to adopt and embrace even the most ingenious solution that is beneficial to them. Microsoft recognized the importance of providing more onboarding user-support when introducing new products and therefore launched the term ‘adoption’.

 

ATTENTION TO BOTH ADOPTION AND TRANSITION

In our view, switching to a digital workplace requires more than extra just support during the change process; it also calls for specific support with the management role changes. The adoption process supports employees during the change process in the exact way Microsoft intended. But a new digital workplace infrastructure also calls for a new management style approach. This is known as transition: supporting the administrators in the change process.

 

WHOLE DIFFERENT BALL GAME

It is very important to understand the distinction between these two concepts, as they require a whole different ball game and equally have a radically different impact. Adoption involves introducing new features to a large group of users in the right way and order and making them understand the added value, ease of use and benefits to them, so they no longer want to use anything else. Transition involves a much smaller group; the system administrators, but the potential impact for them is much higher. Their work method will change completely, which often means transitioning from an administration type organization to a management style organization. On their own, adoption and transition are just part of the solution. Both require close attention and care to achieve the best possible results for the organization.

 

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

The primary goal of any digital workspace is to create an environment that meets the needs of all employees. This means for the administrators as well; one cannot function without the other. If you would like to learn more about what we can do to help streamline your change process, feel free to contact us. We look forward to getting to know both your users and administrators.

 

THE SEVEN ADVANTAGES OF DESKTOP-AS-A-SERVICE

When it comes to DaaS workplaces, the possibilities seem endless. What’s the right cloud solution for your organization? Do you go for a big player or a small one? A public cloud or a private cloud? Despite the wide range of options to choose from, the advantages of a DaaS workspace are more or less the same. Dennis Sigmond, End User Computing Architect & Managing Consultant, explains the advantages in this blog post.

1 FROM A CAPEX TO AN OPEX MODEL

Many companies struggle with their investment budgets. When you switch to a DaaS workspace, you are transitioning from a CapEx expenditure model (which calls for a large one-time payment) to an OpEx model (in which you pay a monthly fee for your service).

2 FLEXIBILITY

Another major advantage of a DaaS workspace is that it’s easy to scale up and scale down the number of workspaces as needed. We recently implemented a DaaS workspace for a major retailer that allowed them to adjust their capacity based on their peak seasons. Having workspaces in the cloud makes things much easier and more dynamic.

3 COST SAVINGS

Typically, VDI or RDSH environments within the client’s datacenter are scaled for the maximum number of employees who can work simultaneously. Using the example of the retailer above, this peak is only necessary a few times a year. For the majority of the year, they’re dealing with overcapacity. A DaaS workspace makes it easy to scale up and scale down and pay for the actual usage, thereby leading to potential cost savings.

4 MORE-AS-A-SERVICE

In comparison to on-premises VDI workspaces or workspaces hosted on an Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), a larger part of the solution is offered ‘as a service’. This unburdens your own IT employees, allowing them to focus on more important issues, such as creating a client-specific workspace with custom applications and a specific look and feel.

5 SECURITY

Security is a top priority from the onset of a new DaaS workspace (security by default). On-site workspaces, on the other hand, must be manually secured (security by design).

6 ACCESSIBLE ANY TIME AND ANYWHERE

The cloud is always accessible. If you have an internet connection, you can always access the cloud network and get to work, regardless of the device or location.

 

This approach, especially in the time when we are dealing with the COVID-19 virus, also provides the flexibility to allow some business units to work from home, or facilitate the on-boarding of consultant workers securely.

7 INNOVATION

Innovation is an important part of a DaaS service. Innovations are implemented automatically throughout the subscription period, meaning you don’t have to do a thing. New functionalities are added all the time.

 

TRADITIONAL APPLICATIONS IN A DIGITAL WORKSPACE

 

My colleague Christiaan de Vin recently wrote about working with a portal workspace. These types of workspaces allow companies to grant central access to various applications, such as SaaS and provide their employees with secure single sign-on access from any location.

 

Unfortunately, many organizations still use traditional applications for various reasons, one of which is that some older apps simply cannot be replaced. Despite not being in the cloud, these apps have to remain accessible to employees in the portal workspace. DaaS could be a good solution to help ‘cloudify’ these traditional applications in the form of a published app or published desktop. In this way, organizations can continue to offer these apps to their employees without them worrying about where the application or the information came from.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

If you’d like to learn more about the benefits of a DaaS workspace and which DaaS solution would best suit your needs, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

 

Citrix’s new user personalization layer

In the past Citrix released a feature that was called Personal vDisk. This was an extra disk attached to a Citrix Virtual Desktop. On this vDisk users could install applications that were not in the default image. This sounds as a nice solution for many developers, who had to work on virtual workstations and using many complex development tools. But this Personal vDisk could not be used in a pooled environment. In my opinion the name was not as it should be. It’s not a user’s personal vDisk, but a Machine bound vDisk. If you added this disk for a user, that machine became dedicated for that unique user. When the machine would crash, it was not so easy to attach the vDisk to another virtual desktop.

User personalization layer

From Citrix virtual apps and desktops version 1909 and later it is possible to use a real Personal vDisk. It is called “User personalization layer” and can only be used on a single session VDA (Virtual Delivery Agent). So, it can only be used in a VDI environment and not in a multi session SBC environment.

The user personalization layer feature is based on Citrix App Layering technology,but does not need the whole App Layering infrastructure with a Citrix App Layering appliance. The user personalization layer can also be used with pooled desktops. This is the first Citrix product that can be used with non-persistent machines. It does not matter if these non-persistent machines are created with Citrix Provisioning (PVS) or Machine Creation Service (MCS).

Applications

  • Users can install almost all applications on their VDI with this feature. The installed applications will be stored on the user personalization layer virtual hard drive. But there are some exceptions. Applications that modify the network stack or hardware are not supported . For example VPN client software. Applications that have boot level drivers are also not supported. Virus scanners are an example of this type of applications. Also, applications that install a driver like printer drivers. And the last are enterprise applications such as Microsoft Office and Visual Studio. Most of the time this kind of applications are already installed into the master image. So, this exceptions are not really an issue. The last exception are applications that install a local user or group on the machine. That user or group change will not be persistent. This seems logical as we want that this user layer can be used on non-persistent/pooled machines.

 

Requirements

If you want to implement the user personalization layer feature there are some requirements.
The required components versions are:
• Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops 7 version 1909 or later
• Virtual Delivery agent (VDA) version 1912 or later
• Citrix Provisioning version 1909 or later (optional)
• Windows 10 Enterprise x64 version 1607 or later

 

Citrix is also advising to use a good profile management solution, to keep and roam the user settings. If you decide to use Citrix Profile management, turn off the deletion of user information at logoff. Applications installed by the users can have settings who need to roam with the user to the next session.

Maximize the layer size

There is an option to maximize the user layer. De default size is 10 GB but you can change the size as you like with a Citrix GPO in Citrix Studio. It is also possible to set a hard quota on the VHD’s by using Microsoft’s quota manager on the file server.

With the Citrix GPO in studio you must also set the User Layer Repository Path. This is the path to a file share close to your VDI’s on fast storage. You need to set some special file permissions on this UNC path. See the table below:

Special notes

User personalization layer has still some limitations. You cannot update the machine catalog with a master image running a new OS installed. Even the same version of Windows 10. Best practice is to apply updates to the OS within the same master image used when creating the machine catalog. This statement from Citrix is a big disappointment. We know that Citrix App layering had also no support to add existing layers to a new OS. But for Windows 10 Images you will need this. We hope support for this will be on the roadmap. Secure boot is also not supported yet. User layer settings override settings applied in the Master image and Computer GPO’s loaded during a boot. So, it is best practice to create a User Logon Script to run gpupdate /force at user login. This will have impact on your login performance.

More information?

If you would like to know more about this subject, feel free to contact us via marketing@loginconsultants.nl

 

Door Vincent van Zeijl

 

How to successfully launch a new system

For those in charge of IT projects, the moment a new system is commissioned is always exciting. In this blog post, Manfred Rothfusz, Technical Consultant at Login Consultants, explains how to guarantee the performance and continuity of your new system in advance.

Waiting on feedback

When a new system is commissioned, the main test is how users experience the changes and whether the performance meets their expectations. Of course you’ve tested the system, but regardless of how many functional administrators and key users you involve in the pilot, the real test is when the key user group starts using the new environment. Mistakes can lead to considerable criticism and reputational damage, among users and in the media.

Identifying and resolving bottlenecks

Having large groups of simulated employees carry out scripted activities can help you gain insight into their perceived response time. By analysing this response time, bottlenecks in your IT infrastructure can be identified and solutions can be developed.

No reputational damage

We recently saved a major government institution from reputational damage. Before commissioning their new environment, we tested it with thousands of simulated employees. During the first test, it became clear that the environment was so slow that roughly thirty per cent of these employees were unable to work. Had the employees been migrated in small groups, as was the original plan, the performance would have been affected. In this case, we would have needed to stop the migration to identify the problem, which would probably have taken months. By testing the environment in advance using simulated employees, we managed to identify and resolve the issue before the launch. After expanding the hardware capacity, we retested the system with thousands of simulated employees and managed to launch it with no problems.

New electronic patient record

Another example was the launch of a new electronic patient record (EPR) by two university hospitals. It’s not possible to use a new EPR with an existing one, which meant that big bang migration was inevitable. By creating a thousand simulated doctors, two thousand simulated outpatient employees, and two thousand simulated nurses and having them consult with 25,000 simulated patients in a two-hour timeframe (much more than they would ever see in practice), we were able to determine that the performance and continuity of the environment could be guaranteed. This prompted the IT organization to immediately green-light the EPR migration.

Better safe than sorry

My motto is ‘better safe than sorry’. In practice, this always turns out to be the best bet. By testing the environment in advance with simulated employees, we can accurately identify the performance and continuity. This approach is not only useful with new environments, but also with Microsoft updates, new versions of a transaction system, and critical business applications. By identifying what could happen in the future, IT organizations minimize the risk of problems and show their users they’re in control.

WANT TO LEARN MORE?

If you’d like to learn more about the possibilities and opportunities of these simulations, contact us. We would be happy to discuss the possibilities with you.

 

By Manfred Rothfusz, Technical Consultant

 

Social Intranet, workspace portal, or cloud collaboration?

Can we still house applications, documents, and information flows in different systems or is it time for a more logical solution? In this blog post, Leen Mulckhuyse shares his vision.

The power of three

Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone in the summer of 2007. The thing on everyone’s mind was: why didn’t we think of this earlier? In those days, almost everyone had a personal digital assistant (PDA), an MP3 player, and a mobile phone – three devices with three different operating systems, three batteries, three screens, three processors, and three memory modules. When Steve Jobs combined these three into one device, everyone wanted to have one!

Workspace portals, social Intranet, and collaborative platforms on the move

We see the same thing in the discussion surrounding today’s workspace portals, social Intranet, and collaborative platforms such as Microsoft Teams, The social internet has been poised to take over classic no-interaction internet for years now, often at the initiative of HR departments. At the same time, IT departments are moving documents from conventional shared files and document management systems to cloud-based collaboration platforms such as Microsoft Teams and Google G-Suite. The workspace portal trend has yet to reach its peak, but we can all agree that the days of centralized start menu management are gone. Companies are replacing their Windows applications with SaaS and other web-based versions.

Are you on board?

Organizations that house their application landscape, their documents, and their information flows in different systems can expect the same outcome as the IT users who refused to give up their Palm Pilots, Nokia 6500s, and iPods in 2007. All of these devices had too many bugs, were too much hassle, and offered too little functionality and convenience.

From different systems to a logical trinity

A combined portal is not only a logical fusion of different functionalities; it is also a driving force behind user adoption. This remains the biggest challenge, particularly when implementing social Intranet. I rarely hear initiators say that they went ahead and posted a message on social Intranet to set a good example months after it was launched. When a portal is a convenient place to share information and access applications and files, it automatically becomes a pleasant work environment as well – a place that prompts you to ask: why didn’t I think of that?

Want to learn more?

If you’d like to learn more about the possibilities and opportunities of combined portal solutions, feel free to contact us. We would be happy to discuss these with you.