We’ve Rolled out Liquidware’s Red Carpet for former RES and AppSense Customers!

RedCarpetIf you are a former AppSense or RES customer and are uneasy about changes from your longstanding UEM solution in the wake of acquisitions by Ivanti, consider Liquidware ProfileUnity.

We’ve made it Easy to Switch
We’ve recently on-boarded several large customers with 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000+ user desktops.  We’ve even developed a best practice methodology to get your users switched for minimum or zero downtime. We even have trained AppSense and RES staff to help you with the transition! Furthermore, we now have an additional European office in the Netherlands to service this area.

ProfileUnity has all the options a large enterprise needs including administrative Role-based access and auditing, profile roll-back capabilities, innovations in cloud storage for easy high-availability and seamless moves to DaaS, and more. We have related case studies of others that have switched that we’d be glad to share those with you.

Liquidware has a program where you can switch to Liquidware ProfileUnity for a very attractive offer. In fact, we upgrade many customers to ProfileUnity for about the same their upcoming renewal! Depending on the number of products you’ve been using from AppSense or RES this may vary but the offer is bound to save your organization real money!

We call this the Dare2Compare Ivanti Upgrade program. Once you become a customer of Liquidware you’ll have access to many innovative features and benefits that you did not have in AppSense Environment Manager or RES WorkSpace Manager.

Exclusive Features former AppSense/RES Customers Gain with ProfileUnity:

  • Full UEM capabilities with no required infrastructure – ProfileUnity leverages your existing Windows infrastructure with no dedicated servers required.
  • Cloud native Object-Based storage options for profiles, data, and the hosting of the configuration. This feature can be leveraged for high-availability in on-prem environments or for a move to DaaS.
  • Built-in Application Rights Management – ProfileUnity features Application Restrictions and Privilege Management without the need to buy additional products.
  • Application Layering – ProfileUnity features access to integrated Liquidware FlexApp Layering for a nominal additional cost. Application layering will revolutionize the way you roll out Windows desktops by enabling you to minimize base images.
  • ProfileDisk and Profile Containers – ProfileUnity gives you easy Guided Configuration options for implementing VHD or VMDK ProfileDisks or Profile Containers which makes large profiles like Office 365, Windows Indexing, and Microsoft OneDrive easy to manage and very fast to load. It’s an automated process to roll-out. We introduced this in 2014 so we’ve lead innovation in this area, no scripting is necessary.

We want you to know that, as the independent leading third-party in UEM, you have alternatives, we want your business and Liquidware values its customers and partners! So how do you get your Dare2Compare deal started?  Email us at sales@Liquidware.com and we’ll work with you to get a POC started, show you how to easily convert your UEM data to ProfileUnity and start using new and innovative features from Liquidware today.

 

 

Performing a SpotCheck Inspection with Stratusphere UX

The ability to meet expectations and deliver the appropriate user-experience on shared infrastructure platforms such as VMware View and Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop can be a complex and a challenging endeavor. One of the ways you can stay ahead of the curve is through a point-in-time analysis called the SpotCheck. Liquidware engineers and our partner community have been using Stratusphere UX and this technique—leveraging known levels of acceptable performance and baselines—to identify infrastructure and platform constraints that can contribute to a poor user-experience.

The SpotCheck inspection takes a broad look at overall infrastructure and platform health as a means to provide a picture of resource usage and performance of the virtual or cloud environment. The objectives of the SpotCheck are as follows:

  • Provide a 360° view of virtual desktop resource use and performance
  • Gain visibility of critical issues, both known and unknown
  • Identify and provide analysis of performance issues
  • Establish real-world baselines to gauge normal/abnormal operations
  • Document and report on findings

How is it Used

The inspection methodology focuses on the most important metrics that are relevant to the user-experience. It is not a comprehensive process with complete visibility of all details. Rather, the technique is used to bring issues into focus without a time-intensive diagnostic exercise. Watch our webinar video to learn how you can use the SpotCheck inspection to provide visibility and user experience.

Before jumping in, it is important to understand your business or industry as well as company and departmental elements such as work habits, seasonality, time of day, expectations, approximate system loads, core applications, etc. These elements are critical for data interpretation as well as for threshold evaluation. For example, where shift and other time-dependent staff workloads may exist, moderate-to-high storage latency may be acceptable during shift changes (with high numbers of people logging in and out). However, these storage characteristics will not be acceptable during work hours, as they will impede productivity and contribute to a negative user-experience and loss of productivity.

SpotChecks leverage both known best-practices as well as trended user-experience metrics as a means to diagnose and remediate workspace, infrastructure and platform issues. And not all steps in the process will be relevant in all instances, but the overall methodology applies a broad-to-narrow approach to troubleshooting and remediation.

A Repeatable Series of Steps

SpotCheck steps include a situation analysis, where an assessment of your reasons for performing the inspection are considered. This may seem obvious and unnecessary but understanding the situation and rationale will guide analysis and help ensure that you attain your desired outcome. After the initial situation analysis, a cursory data review is employed. Stratusphere UX is used to gain insight into metrics and information to help identify patterns and trends. For example, the screen capture below provides data on all users by user-experience (UX) score. At this stage we’re simply looking for yellow and red indicators. Later, you’ll take additional steps to further examine machine-level resource constraint (CPU, memory, login delay, applications not responding, etc.).

SpotCheck-One

After the cursory data examination, you’ll leverage the details, metrics and information to narrow the field and begin to identify key resolution points—as well as the specific users, machines and applications affected. This step in the process is about peeling back the layers of information to examine potential areas of concern. You may approach this exercise with known and accepted industry values at hand for comparison. On subsequent inspections you may leverage specific points-in-time to baseline and compare what is deemed normal (or abnormal) in your environment. The approach and guiding methodology should be consistent with the situation-analysis and cursory data review.

For example, Stratusphere UX can be used to look at machine indicators that may have contributed to a decrease in overall UX score. Below you will see a graph depicting CPU percent average. At this point, we do not know what is causing CPU spikes in activity; we simply know that there are sustained (Peak 1 and 2) CPU metrics in the timeframe under consideration.

SpotCheck-Two

With Stratusphere UX, you can zoom in on detail for one of the affected machines. Below you can see CPU details on a specific machine presented by hours on the same day. Here we see a somewhat level CPU utilization during the entire day with a spike at 13:00 hours.

SpotCheck-Three

We know that CPU spikes can occur for a number of reasons (poorly provisioned machine, badly written application, etc.), however in this case, we can use Stratusphere UX to drill into the 13:00 hour segment and see a few applications that are consuming the CPU and likely are causing the utilization spike. Below you can see Adobe Illustrator, Camtasia and Windows Explorer are the culprits. Of course you should ensure that these are not user error (browser tabs) and that they are not isolated cases—by looking at other application use and timeframes to gain a well-rounded and informed picture.

SpotCheck-Four

The last steps in the SpotCheck methodology involve defining a resolution plan and documentation of relevant findings. Documentation may already be a part of your organization’s IT practice. A SpotCheck inspection should conform—or be adapted—to any best-practices already in place. Using Stratusphere UX and the SpotCheck inspection methodology will make it easy to compile the details and information to take appropriate remediation steps.

Periodic SpotCheck inspections are a good way to stay ahead of the complexity and challenges associated with supporting common platform and cloud architectures. A solution like Stratusphere UX provides you with the visibility—details, metrics and information—necessary to minimize risk in your environment and make sure you are meeting performance expectations and delivering a satisfying user-experience. If you’d like to learn more, download our SpotCheck Inspection Whitepaper.

This type of inspection previously required a substantial amount of guesswork, but as analysis and best-practices have evolved, so have the solutions to support this endeavor. We’d love to learn more about your challenges and how a Stratusphere UX SpotCheck inspection has helped.

Microsoft Office 365 and One Drive – One User, Two Desktops, Windows 7 and 10

Many Citrix, VMware, and Microsoft RDSH customers leverage ProfileDisk and Profile Containers to handle large profiles for non-persistent VDI and RDSH environments. ProfileUnity accomplishes this by containerizing all or part a users profile to virtual disk. One of the use many ProfileDisk use cases that has been proven over the years is Office 365 Cached Mode & Indexing. ProfileUnity also has the ability to “containerize” parts of the profile onto VHDs that the solution automatically manages.

Office 365 cached mode is especially useful for Outlook by placing a local copy of your mailbox(es) on your desktop. This local copy performs more seamlessly than relying on a network/cloud copy of the same mailbox(es).  The problem with this on with non-persistent VDI comes because mailboxes are rather large, often gigabytes in size. Folder redirection, roaming profiles, profile tools from Citrix & VMware, and Microsoft UE-V can’t handle this use case for many reasons.

Microsoft OneDrive is also challenge in virtual desktop environments. To fully realize the potential of OneDrive, synced files need to reside both in the cloud and locally. In virtual desktop environments that are non-persistent, the cloud based OneDrive files need to transfer to the local desktop at every session. This is unacceptable because your cloud files will never by locally available when you need them. Transferring your files for every desktop session would also consume an exorbitant amount of bandwidth.

Both of these challenges in Office 365 become a simple physics problem really, “How do you get the large profile, including items like the Office 365 cache, to the users’ desktop without impacting login.”

ProfileUnity’s ProfileDisk and VHD features can do this seamlessly by enabling the users’ profile to reside on a VHD. ProfileDisk looks so native to Windows that Windows itself knows no difference of whether the data is local or on the network/cloud storage. ProfileDisk and VHD containers are unlike other approaches in the market because they do not use a file system filter driver or any “man in the middle” shim to present the profile to the session. The result? A lightning fast profile that loads in mere seconds. Outlook indexing for VDI also works great with the technology.

When you couple ProfileUnity’s ProfileBridge technology with ProfileDisk and profile containers you get an unmatched Windows user profile solution. ProfileBridge enables users settings to synch across two or more Windows OS veresions – perfect for mixed OS environments or for avoiding user downtime when you migrate users.

There are many other use cases for ProfileDisk and profile container technology but don’t forget, these are mere features in ProfileUnity with FlexApp, the industry’s most complete User Environment Management & Application Layering solution available today. We were innovative when we introduced ProfileDisk to handle large profiles in late 2014. We continue to be the only full UEM solution with a technology like ProfileDisk and VHD containers as features. Check out this new video I just wrapped up demonstrating ProfileDisk with Office 365 in a non-persistent VDI environment. 

An oldie but a goody… From 2015… ‘FlexApp is cool, but where do I start?’

If you are a first time user of Application Layering technology you may be overwhelmed by the choices. You may also be wondering, “What applications should I start with?” In short, just about any application that does not require full application isolation is a GOOD candidate for FlexApp Layering, so your options are nearly limitless.

Some applications may require frequent updates or put stress on IO subsystems. Many line of business applications need to be ‘always available’ for the business to function. For DR, companies have invested storage replication for critical systems. However, this is not the case for virtual desktops which can be the most critical systems of them all.

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David Bieneman explains how Liquidware transforms rigid and risky desktops to dynamic optimized workspaces

In this video, I explain how Liquidware transforms yesterdays monolithic desktops into dynamic virtual workspaces. Harvesting the good, making your User Persona, Applications, Data and Policy portable, while removing obfuscation and delivering visibility into your most important resources. The bottom … Continue reading

Jason E. Smith and Kevin Cooke discuss the Liquidware Essentials bundle at Citrix Synergy 2018

In this short video, Jason E. Smith and Kevin Cooke deliver an overview of Liquidware Essentials, which includes ProfileUnity to decouple user profiles from the OS, FlexApp to deliver Windows applications to any hosted virtual or physical desktop and Stratusphere UX to provide visibility to the desktop workload and user experience you are delivering.

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Using Stratusphere UX to Proactively Manage Spectre and Meltdown Efforts

Spectre and Meltdown, and the newly coined category of speculative execution side-channel vulnerabilities, have created new challenge for workspace administrators—namely, the challenge of being able to report on an enterprise scale, quantify performance impacts and mitigate negative effects. A colleague of mine wrote specifically about the performance challenges in “Meltdown and Spectre – Minimize impact and avoid performance problems.”

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