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#Windows #Azure Desktop Hosting Deployment Guide – #RDS, #BYOD – via @michael_keen

November 12, 2013 Leave a comment

This is great! Have a look at this guide!

Hello everyone, this is Clark Nicholson from the Remote Desktop Virtualization Team. I’m writing today to let you know that we have just published the Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Deployment Guide. This document provides guidance for deploying a basic desktop hosting solution based on the Windows Azure Desktop Hosting Reference Architecture Guide. This document is intended to provide a starting point for implementing a Desktop Hosting service on Windows Azure virtual machines. A production environment will need additional deployment steps to provide advanced features such as high availability, customized desktop experience, RemoteApp collections, etc.

For more information, please see Remote Desktop Services and Windows Azure Infrastructure Services.

Continue reading here!

//Richard

Organizational Challenges with #VDI – #Citrix

And yet another good blog post by Citrix and Wayne Baker. This is an interesting topic and I must say that the blog posts still goes into a lot of the technical aspects, but there are more “soft” organisational aspects to look into as well like service delivery/governance model and process changes that often are missed. And as Wayne also highlights below and that’s worth mentioning again is the impact on the network that also was covered well in this previous post: #Citrix blog post – Get Up To Speed On #XenDesktop Bandwidth Requirements

Back to the post itself:

One of the biggest challenges I repeatedly come across when working with large customers attempting desktop transformation projects, is the internal structure of the organisation. I don’t mean that the organisation itself is a problem, rather that the project they are attempting spans so many areas of responsibility it can cause significant friction. Many of these customers undertake the projects as a purely technical exercise, but I’m here to tell you it’s also an exercise in organisational change!

One of the things I see most often is a “Desktop” team consisting of all the people who traditionally manage all the end-points, and a totally disparate “Server” team who handle all the server virtualization and back-end work. There’s also the “Networks” team to worry about and often the “Storage” team are in the mix too! Bridging those gaps can be one of the areas where friction begins to show. In my role I tend to be involved across all the teams, and having discussion with all of those people alerts me to where weaknesses may lie in the project. For example the requirements for server virtualization tend to be significantly different to the requirements for desktop virtualization, but when discussing these changes with the server virtualization team, one of the most often asked questions is, “Why would you want to do THAT?!” when pointing out the differing resource allocations for both XenApp and XenDesktop deployments.

Now that’s not to say that all teams are like this and – sweeping generalizations aside – I have worked with some incredibly good ones, but increasingly there are examples where the integration of teams causes massive tension. The only way to overcome this situation is to address the root cause – organizational change. Managing desktops was (and in many places still is) a bit of a black art, combining vast organically grown scripts and software distribution mechanisms into an intricately woven (and difficult to unpick!) tapestry. Managing the server estate has become an exercise in managing workloads and minimising/maximising the hardware allocations to provide the required level of service and reducing the footprint in the datacentre. Two very distinct skill-sets!

The other two teams which tend to get a hard time during these types of projects are the networks and storage teams – this usually manifests itself when discussing streaming technologies and their relative impacts on the network and storage layers. What is often overlooked however is that any of the teams can have a significant impact on the end-user experience – when the helpdesk takes the call from an irate user it’s going to require a good look at all of the areas to decipher where the issue lies. The helpdesk typically handle the call as a regular desktop call and don’t document the call in a way which would help the disparate teams discover the root cause, which only adds to the problem! A poorly performing desktop/application delivery infrastructure can be caused by any one of the interwoven areas, and this towering of teams makes troubleshooting very difficult, as there is always a risk that each team doesn’t have enough visibility of the other areas to provide insight into the problem.

Organizations that do not take a wholesale look at how they are planning to migrate that desktop tapestry into the darkened world of the datacentre are the ones who, as the project trundles on, come to realise that the project will never truly be the amazing place that the sales guy told them it would be. Given the amount of time, money and political will invested in these projects, it is a fundamental issue that organizations need to address.

So what are the next steps? Hopefully everyone will have a comprehensive set of requirements defined which can drive forward a design, something along the lines of:

1) Understand the current desktop estate:

Read more…

Microsoft is progressing quickly! – SkyDrive Pro updated to 25GB and improved sharing – via @BasvanKaam

I must say this once again, Microsoft looks to be on the right track when it comes to getting back as one strong supplier of services in the future/present “BYOD” world. As I wrote in my post #Microsoft – On the right track! – #Windows, #BYOD, #Citrix now Microsoft is actually targeting to solve many of the gaps that we see with today services for BYOx scenarios. For instance how to manage what you want on top of the device (Azure, Intune, SkyDrive, Work Folders etc…) in a controllable fashion and not a full managed device that costs you a fortune to manage… and ShareFile, Box and others are great solutions that have many features that SkyDrive doesn’t have. But there is one thing that they all lack (or please enlighten me!!):

Encryption at rest on Windows, OS X and Linux OS’s/distributions, here all providers are leaning on that you already have hard drive encryption like BitLocker etc. But who manages that then? Can you then say that your service is “BYOD-compliant”? I wouldn’t say so… It’s not only SmartPhones and Tablet devices that we loose… but here Microsoft and SkyDrive may be the first to come with encryption on at least Windows 8.1 devices and somewhat manageable…

But again back to the announcement from Microsoft and SkyDrive:

Microsoft announced today that it is giving business users more storage space and a better way to share files across multiple devices. As first reported by TechCrunch, through its SkyDrive Pro accounts, employees will now receive 25GB of storage to start out with, a sharp increase from 7GB — and even this capacity can be increased to 50GB or even 100GB. Additionally, using SkyDrive’s Shared with Me view, users can share files with their friends and co-workers securely and in real-time.

According to Microsoft Senior Product Managers Mark Kashman and Tejas Mehta, the new storage space limits will be available for both new and existing customers.

This certainly makes the service standout among its competitors, namely Dropbox and Box. It was only about a week or so ago when the latter heralded in the launch of a new pricing plan aiming to increase the number of small businesses using its service. For personal users, Box also wound up doubling the amount of free storage they received.

Here’s how you can figure out the overall storage for each user:

With Office 365, you get 25 GB of SkyDrive Pro storage + 25 GB of  email storage + 5 GB for each site mailbox you create + your total available tenant storage, which for every Office 365 business customer starts at 10 GB + (500 MB x # of user(s)1).

While Dropbox, Box, and Hightail certainly are some of the popular services out there today, SkyDrive isn’t something to be trifled with either. Through its integration with the Surface, Windows Phone, and other Microsoft products, along with iOS and Android devices, it has the potential to be a very powerful service.

As for the new sharing feature, just like you would perhaps see in Google Drive or any other cloud storage service, SkyDrive Pro is now offering a Shared with Me view that lets you take a shared document and view, edit, re-share, download, and more — all as if it were in your own storage bin.

1106.SDP shared with me 2.png 550x0 Microsoft updates SkyDrive Pro for businesses, now with 25GB of space, better file sharing, and more

But Microsoft isn’t stopping there, as it is adding several minor, but interesting enhancements to SkyDrive. The company has also increased the overall file upload limit to its SharePoint Online service to 2GB per file. Files placed into the recycle bin will now remain…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

A look at Work Folders – #Microsoft, #WorkFolders, #MIM, #BYOD – via @STEALTHPUPPY

This is an interesting new feature by Microsoft. I’ve touched upon the topic in my earlier post: #Microsoft – On the right track! – #Windows, #BYOD, #Citrix

And here you have another good blog post from Aaron Parker around the topic!

Microsoft announced some interesting new features in Windows Server 2012 R2 at TechEd 2013 and one of those that piqued my interest is Work Folders. I’m not the biggest fan of Redirected Folders and Offline files, but it’s essentially the only enterprise solution Microsoft provides today for taking your data offline. Microsoft needs to provide a completely new method of syncing file data – one that is designed for todays use cases and computing environment.

Work Folders is a brand new direction for enabling access to data in offline scenarios, along the lines of Citrix ShareFile and Dropbox, but without the web and sharing features. Like most Microsoft OS features, Work Folders is tied to a specific release of Windows; however according to this Channel 9 video, Microsoft will release Work Folders for Windows 7, iOS and “other devices” (presumably Android). This is excellent news.

Here’s a short look at setting up and connecting to Work Folders using the preview releases of Windows Server 2012 R2 and Windows 8.1 – what’s version 1.0 going to deliver?

Server Configuration

For a more detailed walkthrough on deploying Work Folders, download this document: Windows Server 2012 R2: Enabling Windows Server Work Folders.

Work Folders is a component of the File and Storage Services role in Windows Server. I’ve installed Windows Server 2012 R2 into a virtual machine and am using local storage.

WorkFolders-InstallRole

Once installed, Work Folders is managed through Server Manager:

WorkFolders-ServerManager

Creating a new sync share is performed via a wizard which will first ask where the Sync Share will be located. This can be a new folder or an existing share – mixing user home drives and Work Folders should be possible. Note that at this time, Work Folders only supports providing users with exclusive access to Sync Share location – there is no provision for providing access to shared data. Read more…

#Citrix #XenDesktop 7 on #vSphere Validated Design Guide is available now!

Really good design guide by Citrix and blog post by Carisa Powell:

We are pleased to announce the availability of the Citrix Solutions Lab 5000-user XenDesktop 7 on vSphere Validated Design Guide.

Yes, you read that right, XenDesktop on vSphere.  XenDesktop is also known to many vSphere customers as the best VDI solution for vSphere, and this design guide showcases the latest release of XenDesktop features and functionality all being hosted on a vSphere hypervisor.  XenDesktop is the best of both virtual apps and desktops from a single platform, so XenDesktop is VDI, XenDesktop is app virtualization, XenDesktop is server-hosted apps and desktops, XenDesktop is secure remote access, XenDesktop is mobility…and with XenDesktop 7 you get all of this functionality from a single platform.

This design guide combines everything that is XenDesktop 7 and delivers it from vSphere to showcase how you can provide an app, desktop, remote access, and more solution for any type of user:

  • VDI – XenDesktop offers a variety of VDI use cases, whether the user needs a standardized, corporate desktop that remains consistent and routine, or the user needs a personalized virtual desktop that he or she can customize to meet their business needs.  This design guide validates XenDesktop Provisioning Services central image management technology for Pooled VDI on vSphere and XenDesktop Personal vDisk technology for delivering Personal VDI on vSphere.
  • Server-hosted Apps and Desktops – XenDesktop also offers server-hosted apps and desktops by leveraging Microsoft Remote Desktop Shared Hosted (RDSH) technology to enable multiple users to connect and share resources from a single server.  This design guide showcases XenDesktop server-hosted resources from Windows Servers on vSphere.
  • Remote Access – XenDesktop leverages Citrix NetScaler appliances to provide secure, remote access from any location.  NetScaler can be a virtual or physical appliance, and this design guide highlights the implementation and configurations of NetScaler Gateway virtual appliances on vSphere.

So why showcase all the features and functionality of XenDesktop 7 on vSphere?  Staying true to the Citrix vision, XenDesktop continues to remain the only hypervisor agnostic app and desktop virtualization solution – including VDI, virtual apps and more.  This means XenDesktop 7 seamlessly integrates with any hypervisor including Microsoft Hyper-V, Citrix…

Continue reading here!

//Richard

#Microsoft – On the right track! – #Windows, #BYOD, #Citrix

August 19, 2013 2 comments

I don’t know if you all agree but I find that Microsoft is making some really good strategic decisions to align themselves and be ready for the “next generation” workplace and client services. Everyone has been talking about BYOx and that everyone will bring their own device and consume business services and functions on that device in parallel to doing personal stuff.

But has BYOD taken off yet?

I personally think that it hasn’t to the extent that many thought it would, there are some companies in some countries that have adopted it for some use cases and user categories, but the majority is still struggling with it though their business apps and functions aren’t really there to support this way of working yet.

Even if they have a NetScaler or similar remote access capabilities with some sort of Desktop and App virtualization (like Citrix XenDesktop) to run the apps it’s still not enough. How do you solve the offline working scenario? And isn’t hosted apps and desktops just a legacy workaround until those business processes have been SaaS’ified? And what about “dropbox” alternatives, H: drives and G: drives, Sharepoint data etc. There is still a user data mess (read my earlier post on this) that needs to be solved and especially a “mega aggregator” tool for getting data/content and synch across devices in a secure manner (data also encrypted at rest on ALL devices and not just mobiles)…

Microsoft is kind of stepping up here I must say from a strategy point of view that makes me believe in them, even though I’ve said that no one ever will take my MacBook Air from me! Have a look at the features that are coming with Windows 8.1 to support a more “semi-controlled” or “semi-trusted” device, and the new cloud services like Azure AD, Windows Intunes offerings in combination with the online messaging and collaboration Office 365 services. And they are apparently also working on a “legacy” cloud service to offer desktops as a service (DaaS) as I wrote in a previous blog post as well.

I think that Microsoft is moving in the right direction towards offering the next generation enterprise IT services and to support the new way of working, and fast!

Have a look at these posts/articles on the news in Windows 8.1:

Everything you need, right from (the) Start

Microsoft is focused on delivering one experience across all the devices in your life. The centerpiece of that strategy and experience are the Microsoft services and apps that come right from (the) Start on your new Windows device.

This is the first blog post in a series that will highlight the apps and services driving toward this “one experience” vision. This experience comes to life through more than 20 new and improved Microsoft apps and services that come as part of Windows 8.1, including a new one that we are announcing today – Skype, right from (the) Start!

Apps_Graphic_White_REV

It’s where you want to go today….

Read more…

10 Mobile Device Management Leaders That Help IT Control #BYOD, #Gartner, #Citrix, #MDM

Consumers love their smartphones and tablets, so it should come as no surprise that they want to use their devices at work. The pressure to develop and deploy a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is on and coming from every direction, including the ‘C’ suite of executives who tend to be especially keen on using smartphones and tablets for their work.

Managing devices in a BYOD environment is no small feat, and the right mobile device management (MDM) product is a key component in making it work. Here are 10 leading MDM vendors in the market today, drawn from the leaders and visionaries in Gartner’s 2013 Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software.

Magic Quadrant

Figure 1. Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software
Figure 1.Magic Quadrant for Mobile Device Management Software

 
 

Source: Gartner (May 2013)

Continue reading here!

//Richard

 

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