Hey CloudReady Fans!
Ease of management has been a part of our mission with CloudReady since its launch four years ago, bringing the G Suite integration and Chrome Enterprise management available on Chrome OS devices to any PC or Mac. Today, we’re putting some of the feedback and insight we’ve gained in those four years to work in three additional features to help administrators of CloudReady.
Peer-to-peer updating has been a feature on Chrome OS for some time, and now CloudReady will also support it.
v73.1 was the first version to support Peer-to-Peer (P2P) updating by bringing in a new update server with important protocol changes. And now with the stable release of v74.4, all up-to-date devices are eligible for these more efficient updates.
P2P updates allow managed CloudReady devices on the same local network to share their update payloads with one another, reducing the total network bandwidth required to complete an OS update. These transactions occur silently in the background, just like CloudReady updates always have. They also maintain security by ensuring update payloads are signed by Neverware, and only ever downloaded from a device managed under the same domain.
Just as with Chrome OS devices, P2P updates are enabled for all managed devices automatically and cannot be disabled in the Google Admin console. Instead, customers who do not want their devices to use P2P should disable multicast DNS (mDNS) in their network settings interface.
The same changes that allow individual devices to share their updates also allow for another bandwidth-saving option: update caching.
A caching server uses a proxy to download and serve copies of commonly accessed webpages and payloads, minimizing bandwidth constraints caused by many devices contacting the same endpoint. When it comes to Chrome OS and CloudReady updates, their availability over HTTP make them perfect candidates for caching, allowing devices to retrieve an exact copy of their update without leaving the local network.
Google’s Support page on update caching includes a number of important considerations that you should review carefully if you are considering update caching.
Mandatory Enterprise Enrollment
While P2P and Update Caching both enable functionality that was already possible on Chrome OS, our third feature brings the ability to do something that is only possible on CloudReady.
Mandatory Enterprise Enrollment is a new management feature for CloudReady that allows admins to require that devices be enrolled for Chrome Enterprise management prior to first use, and even optionally set a domain name to restrict enrollment to their chosen G Suite domain.
Mandatory Enterprise Enrollment is made possible via an interaction with my.Neverware.com and Neverware’s servers, similar to our existing CloudReady licensing. Some changes in the my.Neverware.com console surface these controls, including the “Plugins” tab being renamed to “Device Configuration” and the addition of a new sub tab for Enrollment:
When you enable Mandatory Enterprise Enrollment via the checkbox above, your devices will check in with Neverware servers prior to first login and then automatically lock the device to Google’s Enterprise Enrollment screen, requiring the person setting it up to successfully enroll it (to the domain of your choice, if configured) before it will allow any other use.
This feature provides peace of mind for IT Admins who need to ensure only fully managed devices are deployed in their environment.
Note that existing deployed CloudReady devices are not impacted by Mandatory Enterprise Enrollment - only newly installed devices on v74.4 or higher will support this feature.
For more info and answers to common questions about Mandatory Enterprise Enrollment, visit the CloudReady Knowledge Base.
With all of these new features, we hope IT admins who are rolling out CloudReady for the first time, expanding their install base, or just maintaining healthy machines will see benefits.
If you have thoughts or needs for future improvements like these, we encourage all customers to bring that feedback to our support team, their Account Manager, or any member of the Neverware team.
Forrest Smith is Neverware's Director of Product & CX. A native of the Buffalo, NY, area, Forrest came to Neverware as a sales intern and never left. He runs on coffee, PB toast, and dollar pizza slices.
View all posts by Forrest.