New Work from Home SpotCheck in Stratusphere UX!   

Our product management team just added a new Work from Home (WFH) SpotCheck in Stratusphere UX. Now it’s easier than ever to quickly check the health of your WFH desktops, no matter where they are.

Stratusphere’s distributed architecture allows you to install the “Connector ID” agent on any Windows, Linux, Mac OS based machine and quickly start gather User Experience metrics via your network, or in this case, the Internet. If you’ve recently started or expanded a WFH program in the wake of social distancing, and you are responsible for supporting those users, you really need to check this out.

Stratusphere can monitor the end user device (usually a PC) and/or a virtual desktop session, such as those from Citrix or Amazon.

The new SpotCheck report enables you to see at a glance the health of your users’ session with metrics that matter most to Work from Home sessions.

The report focuses on key apps or any other app that’s resources are above a certain known good threshold. You’ll know how your key apps are performing or if something else is consuming resources. Of course, Stratusphere’s recent Optimizer feature for Windows can also be used to automatically tune these resources per app, given which app is in the foreground of the user session. Optimizer can also be set to run select apps with a lower resource priority. The new SpotCheck report also focuses in on Network Latency for key apps, Remote Display Packet Loss, Traceroute Network Hops – typical metrics that are key choke points for WFH users.

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To get the new SpotCheck report you can download it from the Liquidware Community forum then import it to your Stratusphere console. If you are not yet a Stratusphere customer and need to assistance diagnosing your users’ WFH desktop/workspace environments with a SpotCheck in Stratusphere, reach out to info@Liquidware.com and your regional contact will be in touch.

Leveraging Your DMZ for Seamless, Rapid WFH Monitoring

As a follow up to my 10 Steps to a Work-from-Home program. I reached out to my colleagues, Steve Hajek and Mark Knouse, here at Liquidware for some additional advice on utilizing Stratusphere UX to monitor the effectiveness of your Work-From-Home (WFH) options.

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Key Monitoring Objectives for WFH Programs

As I mentioned in my previous blog, monitoring WFH environments allows you to answer three key questions:

  1. Who is connecting?   You need to see who is logging in at what times.   These metrics provide  basic information that lets you know that your workers are able to sign  on to the system.
  2. Who is operational?   This set of metrics allows you to get basic performance stats for your users.  Login times, network latency and app response times among them.  This data helps you determine that your users are having an acceptable level of performance and are not frustrated in trying to accomplish work with sub-optimal workspaces.
  3. Who is productive?   This set of metrics can validate what applications are being used, how long they are being used, how they are responding to users’ needs.  Applications are the backbone of work and this information validates that workers are leveraging them to perform their tasks.

Obviously, this is important information for organizations to have in order to validate that their WFH programs are sound, reliable and effective for workers.

Alternative WFH Set Up Stratusphere UX – Collector Deployed into DMZ

You may be facing a situation right now where some portion of your workforce needs to work remotely, although they haven’t in the past, and you must expedite configuring and installing Stratusphere UX to respond to these immediate needs.  By deploying a Collector into a DMZ and leveraging a public IP, you can securely collect Stratusphere UX data in real time and lessen the load on your internal network.

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In this alternative approach, you can configure Stratusphere UX to accept data from your remote users without requiring them to connect to the VPN for the data to be uploaded.  This configuration prevents a delay in data being available in Stratusphere UX, so your views of data are kept  current throughout the day as you review them.

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10 Steps To A Work-From-Home Plan

LiquidwareWFHblogCOVID-19 ushers in a new reality for supporting remote work.

The urgency imposed by the COVID-19 virus has put pressure on organizations to quickly ramp up work-at-home options to allow their employees to remain safe during this uncertain time.  Many of the country’s largest companies are addressing the risks of COVID-19 by limiting travel, canceling or postponing large events, replacing in-person events with virtual ones, and allowing or even requiring some people to work remotely.

Dealing with a pandemic adds just another key reason to support employee work flexibility.  But organizations have an equal responsibility to make sure work is getting done, and that employees are empowered to be as productive as possible.

Most companies understand they will have large numbers of employees working outside corporate ”brick and mortar.”   This fact is either dictated by the job or the need to retain highly skilled employees.  However, many organizations have limited work-at-home options, largely because they’re concerned that they cannot validate how much time is actually being spent on work.

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How do you validate that Work-From-Home programs are effective?

The issue of validating how employees are spending their time is a legitimate one.

You do have a simple method to address the question of  employee activity while off-site. Liquidware Stratusphere UX is an easily deployed, cost-effective solution. If you can measure something, you can manage it.  Once you can manage something, you can extract the most value from it.

Stratusphere UX tracks all employee desktop activity, including when they log-on and log off and what applications they are using during working sessions.   Stratusphere UX uses lightweight agents, called CID keys, to capture this information.  CID keys do not add overhead or slow down workspaces.  The solution can verify worker status from “connected,” “operational,” and “productive” views.

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Citrix Summit 2020 Round-Up from Liquidware!

We just returned from Citrix Summit 2020 in Orlando. Although this show is for Citrix community channel partners, it is the first event of the season. As such, it seems to serve as a jump start for the community each year. 2020 was no exception!

SandDolphinCitrix began its first events at the Swan and Dolphin in Orlando and many Synergy (Thinergy/iForum etc.) and Summits have been held there. This was the first Citrix show in many years to be held at this same venue – so it was a bit nostalgic for many of us longtime community members. I was at the first Citrix “Thinergy” in 1998 and it was a bit of a walk down memory lane to have the Citrix Summit exhibit space in the same hall this year. For a while it seemed that the community outgrew this venue but now it seems perfectly sized for Citrix Summit again. It’s not that the community is necessarily shrinking, the Swan and Dolphin have also added meeting space over the years so it is a bigger venue now. Continue reading

Windows 7 End-of-Support is NOW! What’s Your Safety Net?

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I personally took this picture while on the edge of Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona in 2018. The drop, just three feet from me, was 1,000 feet straight down. You can’t tell it but I was crouching so I would not dare fall…because I did not have a safety net. With a wife and three kids looking on, I had too much to risk! Many others have not been so cautious and have fallen to their death at the exact same spot. But I had a strategy to play it safe.

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Ready or Not – Why you Should be “Cloud Staging” Windows Desktops Now

Cloud-hosted Windows desktops are here to stay, it’s only the speed of their adoption and early pertinent use cases that will be debated/decided on a case-by-case basis. Just like on-prem virtual desktops, not every desktop and user will immediately be a good candidate for a cloud-hosted desktop. To best take advantage of maturing cloud technologies, organizations need to assess what desktops are best for certain users. Continue reading