IGEL- User Experience Metrics with Stratusphere UX!

With more users than ever connecting with devices enabled with an edge OS like IGEL, it’s important to gather user experience metrics of this “First Mile” of connectivity.

Monitoring the user experience of your virtual desktop environment (Citrix, VMware, Amazon WorkSpaces, Nutanix XiFrame, etc) is nearly mandatory these days but knowing the complete end-to-end user experience should not be ignored. You don’t want any blind spot for your total connection path for end users. Your desktop UX is only as good as your weakest link so not having performance visibility of any edge OS and connections could be the downfall of your overall user experience. Many things may impact users’ session including their local network or WiFi access point performance, local hardware, resources, etc.

Liquidware has an alliance with IGEL which has enabled us to integrate a purpose-built agent called the “Connector ID” within the IGEL Edge OS. To monitor your IGEL Edge OS user sessions you simply go into the Configuration section of the IGEL OS or management console and check a box to enable the Connector ID. Then you enter the URL of your Stratusphere hub which is a virtual appliance. That’s it, your user experience metrics will start flowing into Stratusphere and you can co-relate these with your virtual desktop sessions to get comprehensive end-to-end user experience metrics.

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Select capabilities of Stratusphere UX running on IGEL OS include:

• Verify IGEL client user experience meets organization SLAs (i.e., performing to or better than expectations or requirements.)
• View latency between IGEL OS powered endpoint and remote systems
• Monitor applications & processes ¢ excessive utilization ¢ runaway processes ¢ non-responding applications ¢ rogue processes
• Verify user experience before and after IGEL OS upgrades/changes
• Inventory of users, machines, and applications processes
• Trace the route or the path from the endpoint to the virtual desktop server

For more information see this solution brief or reach out to schedule a demo today.

ProfileUnity and FlexApp v6.8.3 r2 is Now Available for Download!

We’re excited to deliver the latest version of our User Environment Management and Application Layering solutions in ProfileUnity and FlexApp v6.8.3 r2.

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ProfileUnity and FlexApp v6.8.3 r2 Management Console

The new r2 version builds on v6.8.3 that was first available earlier this year. Version r2 has updates to our existing features and a few new features as well such as VHDX support for ProfileDisk and FlexApp and hourly billing for the AWS Marketplace. This solution also remains available in the Microsoft Azure Marketplace as BYOL.

A significant update has been made to the FlexApp filter driver for faster attach speeds and increased compatibility.

Here’s a quick summary of what’s been introduced to date with version 6.8.3 and the r2 update:

v6.8.3 and v6.8.3 r2 (January 9 and June 17)

    • Seamless FlexApp compatibility with FSLogix
    • Enhanced Windows 10 Multi-session OS support (WVD)
    • FlexApp Speed improvements on launch from cloud
    • Security hardening (client)
    • r2
      • VHDX Support for FlexApp and ProfileDisk
      • Bug fixes, FlexApp, File Extensions, etc.
      • Updated FlexApp filter driver for speed and compatibility
      • Hourly Billing for AWS
      • FlexApp and Base Image Runtime Installer tool for C++ Runtimes and .NET frameworks

If you are an existing customer, we encourage you to update your ProfileUnity and FlexApp implementation, you can get started with one-click in the About area of the management console under available updates.  By upgrading you’ll be able to take advantage of the latest features and most customers will see enhanced FlexApp performance. If you’re not yet a customer, you can download here and have access to evaluate the solution today!

 

 

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