Special Guest Blog: A Journey with Stratusphere UX

I’m excited to share this contributed post as it’s a topic and message I believe is quite important. In this new edition, end-user computing expert Peter von Oven writes of the user onboarding process and taking a user-centric approach to the transformation journey.

I love the approach of Putting User Experience at the Center of the Workspace. It’s an approach that is near and dear to Liquidware; and a core tenant of how Stratusphere UX has been designed. Peter’s book is focused predominantly on practical and actionable methods to best manage the user lifecycle of VDI atop the VMware platform, but the overall message is relevant for all user transformations—physical, virtual or cloud-delivered.

Look for it now at Packt Publishing and very soon on Amazon. Congrats Peter. –Kevin


Special Guest Blog
Author: Peter von Oven
(peter@dropletcomputing.com)

So now that I have completed my 11th book on virtual desktop infrastructure with VMware Horizon (shameless plug box ticked), I’ve had chance to reflect on the content. The idea of the book was not to be just another installation guide. After all, the technology piece is easy, but the why do it in the first place, and how to do it is far more of a challenge. Instead, the idea is to treat the whole project as a journey, starting with what initiated the project in the first place, building the business case, analysis, proof points, and then deploy some form of desktop delivery technology. Whether that be cloud-based, on premises VDI, or even physical desktops for that matter. This is where the Liquidware technology comes into its own and becomes your travel companion for the journey.

So, to put that into context. The journey undertaken in the book in this case consisted of three distinct parts. Planning the journey, so looking at what you have in place today, planning how to get there, and then looking at the destination; where do you want to end up at. One important point to highlight is that these parts are not to be taken in isolation and form the entire itinerary just to go back to the journey analogy.

Planning the End User Journey

How does that relate to the Liquidware Stratusphere UX solution? First off in the planning stages, and understanding what you have in place today, or finding your baseline. Afterall, there is no point looking at planning any journey if you don’t know where you are starting from. For example, in my role as an EUC consultant I often ask the customer the question of “how many apps do you have?” Quite often the answer starts with “erm…” or “about”. Those that do roughly know, typically I would end up having to apply the rule of ten. Whatever number the customer gives you, you simply multiply that by ten to get the real answer. Stratusphere UX can answer this question easily and precisely. It builds that baseline of your desktop estate, creating a comprehensive inventory, right down to the level of what resources are being consumed, and even a complete breakdown of the login process. Not only that, it can tell you which machines are ideal candidates for virtualizing, or can be migrated to a cloud-hosted workspace. Equally it will tell you those that would not be, complete with the reasons why.

Now armed with that baseline and a complete picture of your environment, the journey can continue, and you can start testing and deploying your chosen technology platform. But how do you know you are headed in the right direction? The answer is Stratusphere UX again, this time with its ability to take the baseline of your environment and comparing it to the solution you are testing. In this scenario Stratusphere UX helps fine-tune the environment before you deploy into production and onboard your end users. You can easily tune the environment to ensure the end user experience is at its optimum. This is the key advantage that Stratusphere UX offers. Although it can monitor the infrastructure, it concentrates on the end user experience. Perfect, as the end users and their experience is going to make or break the environment and so delivering them the best experience possible can only be a big plus point. It’s the difference between success and failure. You can deploy the fastest most up to date infrastructure, yet if a user logs on and receives a poor performance then its game over. In this scenario often infrastructure monitoring tools report that all is well, yet the user reports otherwise. Stratusphere UX turns this the other way round and starts with the end user.

Journey’s End. Or is it?

Now at this point organizations have assessed, tested, and deployed their desktop environment and so think they are done. Wrong. The onboarding may have been completed, however the end users’ real journey has just begun. What happens if their circumstances change?  Maybe they change roles and therefore app requirements change. Overtime apps and OS’s will update, meaning a potential change in resource requirements. It’s a strong possibility that the first time you’ll know about it is when they call into the help desk to report an issue with performance. This is where the ongoing monitoring Stratusphere UX delivers comes into its own. The ability to track usage and resources proactively is invaluable. As is the ability to check whether the issue is affecting one user or your whole user estate, before it becomes a bigger issue. But that’s just the start.

Summary

The biggest takeaway for me having Stratusphere UX along for the ride as the book moved through its journey along the different project phases – from project definition, design and testing, deployment, and ongoing management – is that it’s not just about assessment.  It’s not just about tuning, and it’s not just about management and troubleshooting. It’s all about end user lifecycle management. How to understand your current environment and plan the onboarding of the end user onto a new platform, whether VDI, cloud-based desktops, or even a hybrid approach. Then, once onboarded, to continue to manage that user for the lifetime of them consuming resources, ensuring they always receive the best experience possible.



Special Guest Blog: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) with Azure: User and Workspace Management from Liquidware Webinar – by Symon Perriman

SymonSpecial Guest Blog
Author: Symon Perriman
(Symon@SymonPerriman.com, Twitter @SymonPerriman)

Desktop virtualization (or “VDI”) has become commonplace for organizations which need to offload processing from their end user devices to managed desktops due to performance or security needs.  Over the past decade, millions of these temporary virtual machines (VMs) have been created and destroyed by enterprises for their remote site workers, task workers, power users, or those operating in regulated industries with strict compliance needs.

Continue reading

Microsoft WVD and Liquidware – Better Together – NEW Joint Solution Brief!

clarkquote(2 minute read) – Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is coming and Liquidware is hearing from many customers that they plan to deploy a proof-of-concept or pilot to test the waters as soon as possible. Microsoft has a public preview program in the works and you can now register here to apply for access to the program. If you’ve been following Microsoft WVD you’ve seen that Liquidware has been named by Microsoft to the short list of focused partners that Microsoft is working closely with, as mentioned in this Microsoft blog.

Continue reading

Multi-Faceted End-to-End Visibility with Stratusphere UX

In previous posts I’ve written about real time visibility, and whether it’s a necessity or red herring. I’ve also written about quantifying the user experience and putting user metrics at the center of your workspace visibility effort. And regardless of whether you employ physical PCs, on-prem multi-session shared infrastructure or cloud-based solutions to deliver your end user workspaces, I hope you subscribe to the following core tenet… User-centric visibility is paramount in the monitoring and diagnostics of the end user workspace.

Continue reading

Windows User Profile Disks are Good but…

GoodButWith the widespread adoption of Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox Enterprise, etc., Windows user profiles are now more bloated than ever before. In virtual workspace environments this can be a big challenge because if your users don’t have very fast access to their large user profile, user experience suffers greatly. Some type of profile containers/disks are now available from most desktop virtualization vendors. Profile disks, offloading the user’s profile to a virtual disk hosted on an SMB or in the cloud, is the very baseline type of profile that you must have to have a profile persist in virtual non-persistent desktop environments.

Continue reading

What’s New in Stratusphere UX 6.1

I’m excited to share some detail about our latest release of Stratusphere UX. Version 6.1 packs a ton of new features, including a new custom dashboard builder, a host of new Advanced Mode Inspectors, SpotCheck views and an all-new process optimization feature.

Whats-New

User experience can be an elusive goal in your end user workspaces. With this release we deliver a solution that continues to lead the market with features to help you quickly resolve issues, minimize risk, save time and money.

Continue reading

Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop is a Big Deal! Read to learn why…

Brief Overview: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) was announced a few days ago at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. We at Liquidware think it’s a really big deal. You may have seen that Liquidware is mentioned in Microsoft’s announcement blog as already having incorporated support for WVD.

What is Windows Virtual Desktop and Why It’s a Really Big Deal!
With Microsoft’s announcement they are evolving their modern desktop technologies (formerly RDmi) to deliver, for the first time ever, a turnkey Windows Virtual Desktop hosted exclusively on Microsoft Azure Cloud. More specifically, WVD is a multi-user version of Microsoft Windows 10 that is only available on Microsoft Azure – workloads and storage will be hosted on Azure.  This is significant because previously customers had to procure everything they needed on prem or in the cloud of their choice and then assemble the parts. The solution is touted to be cost-effective because, as of now, any customer with a Windows 10/Microsoft 365 and E3/E5 or F1 subscription is eligible for WVD at no additional charge except for Azure compute and storage costs (which you’d have to pay in any cloud scenario).

Microsoft is marketing WVD as truly turnkey saying you can, “Quickly virtualize and deploy modern and legacy desktop app experiences with unified management—without needing to host, install, configure and manage components…”

Continue reading

Hello EUC World, It’s Me, Jeff Pitsch

For those that don’t know me, I’ve been in the EUC space for 20+ years.  I cut my teeth on WinFrame in what feels like a lifetime ago (in technology time it actually was).  In that time, I was a founding member of the CTP program and a Microsoft MVP for a number of years in Terminal Services/RDSH.  I’ve worked with small companies and Multi-national corporations on their Citrix environments but six and a half years ago I took a job at a company called Unidesk.  They had this technology called layering and it offered a way of delivering applications that was unique.  Over those years layering companies have come and gone (including Unidesk) but layering has grown in popularity and has, in my opinion, really started to take off in enterprise application deployments.  Why has it taken so long?  Simple answer is every technology takes time to grow and when it reaches a certain point it either stays and grows or dies on the vine.  Basically, smaller companies work out the “new technology” kinks and enterprises pick it up from there.

Continue reading