5 Easy Steps to Set Up Your VDI

Comment

5 Easy Steps to Set Up Your VDI

For the past 5 years, IT thought leadership has espoused the benefits of cloud computing, and enterprise adoption is finally taking action. In Deloitte’s most recent CIO survey, 53% have cloud guidelines and strategy in place, and 94% recognize they need to substantially change their IT operating models. And yet, technical complexities still represent the primary challenge to shifting to a “cloud-first” organization.

At Neverware, we work closely with businesses, from startups to global enterprises, and they all want to secure, manage, and modernize their IT infrastructure. Though our primary focus is improving their endpoints, we've found that many don't realize that VDI has matured into a mainstream market of solutions that can help smooth the transition from local, legacy computing to a more secure, robust, cloud-first world. Paired with CloudReady, VDI can help your company achieve:

  • Universal access to the same applications and files, no matter the location or endpoint device

  • Significantly more secure, reliable and consistent user experience

  • The flexibility to manage and deploy applications remotely to thousands of machines

  • Simplified and centralized device & credential management


VDI has a reputation for being confusing and difficult to implement, but it’s easier than ever to get started. If you are new to the VDI space, here is our high-level road map to get the right solution in place for your organization.

1. Know Your Needs

As with any IT project, the first thing to do is perform the necessary due diligence to fully understand the needs and requirements of the problem you are solving for your organization and its employees. We recommend focusing on:

  • End User Computing Habits: Understanding exactly how and where your users are accessing existing infrastructure and doing their job will be a paramount detail to consider*. This knowledge will allow you to understand scenarios such as whether increased mobility and remote access can lead to a more productive workforce. Enterprises have had success understanding their company’s computing usage by device type by using IT usage diagnostic tools such as Softwatch.

  • Current Technology & Hardware: Knowing what your current technology is, its end-of-life support, and capacity to be a part of the future solution.

  • Mission-critical Applications: What are your organization's mission-critical applications and how can implementing the right technology enhance the use of those applications for your employees?

  • On-premise or Cloud: Does it make sense to leverage your existing datacenter resources or begin to shift your workload to the cloud? Is it better to build and deliver the infrastructure from your local datacenter or as a managed service (DaaS) to your organization? What are your disaster recovery requirements? Investing time to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy will yield results deep into the future.

  • Security Requirements & Regulatory Compliance: Are there existing regulations and controls in place - for example, HIPAA in healthcare or Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) in the financial industry - to which the chosen technology solutions must adhere?

  • Understanding the ‘Pain Points’ of the Current Way of Working: Understanding historically and specifically which elements of the current end-user computing infrastructure have caused pain for both your IT team and users. Was it Windows updates? Security flaws? Audit findings and failures? Weak management capability? (We can go on forever!)


Once you understand your organization's needs and the problems that virtual desktop infrastructure will solve, you can move on to evaluating potential vendors.


2. Evaluate and Target the Right Vendor(s)

One of the great things about adopting VDI today is that the space is both mature and competitive, with choices that can fit your priorities. Spending the time to understand the advantages of each vendor will make the choice even easier for your organization. Some examples of specific areas to evaluate and align with your organization’s needs are:

  • Performance & scalability

  • Application and infrastructure requirements

  • Ease of implementation & management

  • Simplicity and existing system integration

  • Budget & timing

  • Storage requirements

  • Peripheral support

  • Security requirements

  • User change management required

  • Endpoint and device support

New vendors are popping up regularly, leaving an enormous amount of options to choose from. The industry’s top solutions, Citrix Virtual Apps & Desktops and VMware Horizon, are the most commonly adopted technologies and are used by some of the biggest enterprises on the planet.

However, there are also a number of other vendors in the space that we’ve come across that are known for providing great products that offer simplicity, easy setup, or other differentiators you might value, including:


We recommend having a meeting or conversation with as many vendors as time allows, in order for your team to form a well-rounded opinion on what’s out there.


3. Pilot, Test and Tweak

This isn’t a new dance move, but rather the process of narrowing the potential VDI vendors that you will want to evaluate in a pilot of their technology. This process includes setting up your local or cloud-based infrastructure, accessing the client on test endpoints, and putting the product through real-world computing scenarios that are relevant to your organization. Tweak, evaluate, and document while keeping alignment with the original goals, expanding your test scenarios with each iteration to cover as many use cases as possible.

A couple helpful steps for this pilot stage:

  • Ask plenty of questions. Communicating with the support and sales engineering teams of each vendor organization will give you some perspective on how ‘life after purchase’ will be.

  • Take your time. Don’t be afraid to spend extra time on any level of validation that will be important to your organization and allow for a smoother transition.

  • Socialize. Involve as many IT and project stakeholders as possible and listen to feedback. Nothing can stomp on the perception of a new technology harder than bad attitude as a result of stakeholders simply not being heard.

4. The Final Pass

Once a particular solution passes all of the target criteria set by the IT department and project team, we recommend pulling together a wider audience. Find friendly users at every level of the organization and let them put the technology through its final pass of validation. You’ll be surprised at what value this can add to the implementation from a change management standpoint. We recommend at least a week of broader testing to uncover any potential issues that were not found in the pilot stage.

5. Define Strategy, Communicate & Roll Out!

Your project team should develop a clear, methodical, and phased rollout strategy. We recommend in your rollout strategy that you start with the teams and departments whose workflows will be least disrupted by, and the best match for, the virtualized desktop experience. Ideally, all of your devices are managed through a centralized console, ensuring the ability to efficiently migrate to the new way of working.

It’s also important to establish clear messaging to the entire organization, to inform and set expectations about the new technology implementation and its inherent value.

Be sure to build some buffer into your rollout timeline to communicate with your end users during the rollout process, collecting continuous feedback along the way. Don’t be afraid of pausing to identify and resolve any potential hiccups before moving to the next phase of the rollout.

Congratulations! It took a little bit of leg work, but your IT infrastructure is now set up for the foreseeable future. Additionally, you’ll have secure, manageable technology that is closely aligned with the goals of the organization, adding value and solving challenges that the previous platform could not.


Have questions about how VDI and CloudReady/Chrome OS work? Post them here, and we’ll be more than happy to talk about them with you!

Comment

CloudReady v74.3 now available!

CloudReady v74.3 now available!

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

We're excited to release v74.3 today to all release channels for the Home Edition, and to the Dev and Beta Channels for Education and Enterprise Edition.

Devices on those channels can expect over-the-air updates for this release over the next few hours, if they haven’t received them already.

If you’re interested in previewing this release, subscribe to the Dev or Beta Channel to get an over-the-air update now.

Release Notes for v74

  • OS Upgrade to 74

  • Fix: Some devices were reporting randomly generated mac addresses. This fix should cover all such cases.

  • Fix for task bar buttons that were unresponsive in v73.1 on the new user login screen.

  • P2P updates: In v73.1 we released initial support for P2P updates. With v74.1 comes the first opportunity for CloudReady devices to receive updates from another device in the local network already running CloudReady.

    • NOTE: As part of adding P2P updates, we have switched to a new update server for all CloudReady clients on v73.1 or later. That URL will now be https://cloudready-paid-update-server-2.neverware.com

  • UMA Metrics: We are now utilizing Chrome’s User Metrics Analysis to help us identify possible issues and improve CloudReady. Neverware only collects data in order to improve the customer experience for Neverware’s products and services. We will never sell any of your personal data. For more info regarding our privacy policy, click here.

New in v74.3

  • Fixed: Braswell (and potentially other) GPUs show issues that are most severe when accessing Google Sheets. The problem may manifest any various modern Intel hardware with low-powered chipsets, and may cause crashing.

  • When initiating printing in Google Sheets or Slides, CloudReady does not allow users to select a printer and will instead jump directly to printing the document as a PDF. This has been fixed in v74.3.

  • Fixed: Send Feedback window (“Tell us what’s happening”) may require scrolling to view the Send button in previous versions of v74.

  • Powerwash buttons were falsely-active and attempts to trigger a powerwash resulted in a reboot or frozen device. We have returned the powerwash buttons to be disabled.

  • Fix for some font display issues which we discovered due to their impact on a digital testing app. We released a patch for this fix, which will also be included in this release.

  • Fixed: Additional Hardware Information section in device details on my.neverware.com was not populating for Lenovo ThinkCentre M58 devices.

  • Fixed: The Google Directory API section on the device details page on my.neverware.com for enrolled devices was not populating in 74.2. This has been fixed in 74.3

  • Fix for long log off times: When logging off in v74.2, the device sits at a black screen for a long time. This has been fixed in v74.3.

  • Fixed touchscreen and touchpad functionality on Lenovo N24. This device is not yet certified, but is expected to be soon.

  • Fixed touchpad issues on HP Elitebook 840 G5. This device is not yet certified but may be soon.

Unstable releases often have unforeseen bugs. We rely upon Dev Channel users to report those to us in our forums. If you're ok with a little instability, please jump to this new release and let us know what you think and report any issues using the links below.

Update to CloudReady v72.4 for Education and Enterprise Editions

Update to CloudReady v72.4 for Education and Enterprise Editions

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

Today we’re releasing a patch update to the Enterprise and Education Editions of CloudReady v72.4 to fix an issue with font display.

We take stability and reliability seriously, and like to minimize patching like this unless a major concern is raised. In this case, we were informed that usability for high-stakes digital testing on CloudReady might be impacted by an issue with fonts so we are releasing this patch to help customers avoid any disruption to such an important process.

If your organization is planning to use CloudReady devices for digital testing in the coming weeks, we recommend updating your fleet to this patch on the stable channel to help avoid any issues.

Supported Editions can expect over-the-air updates to be available over the next few hours.

As always, Neverware recommends customers keep CloudReady up-to-date with the latest stable versions. You can review what versions your CloudReady fleet is currently on by visiting the my.Neverware.com dashboard. If your devices are not already running v72.4, make sure you are following our network recommendations.

CloudReady v74.2 now available!

CloudReady v74.2 now available!

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

We're excited to release v74.2 today to the Dev Channels for Education and Enterprise Edition customers and the Beta Channel for the Home Edition.

Devices on those channels can expect over-the-air updates for this release over the next few hours, if they haven’t received them already.

If you’re interested in previewing this release, subscribe to the Dev or Beta Channel to get an over-the-air update now.

Release Notes for v74

  • OS Upgrade to 74

  • Fix: Some devices were reporting randomly generated mac addresses. This fix should cover all such cases.

  • Fix for task bar buttons that were unresponsive in v73.1 on the new user login screen.

  • P2P updates: In v73.1 we released initial support for P2P updates. With v74.1 comes the first opportunity for CloudReady devices to receive updates from another device in the local network already running CloudReady.

    • NOTE: As part of adding P2P updates, we have switched to a new update server for all CloudReady clients on v73.1 or later. That URL will now be https://cloudready-paid-update-server-2.neverware.com

  • UMA Metrics: We are now utilizing Chrome’s User Metrics Analysis to help us identify possible issues and improve CloudReady. Neverware only collects data in order to improve the customer experience for Neverware’s products and services. We will never sell any of your personal data. For more info regarding our privacy policy, click here.

New in v74.2

  • Fix for TPM-enabled devices that had cryptographic issues in v74.1. This is fixed for v74.2.

  • Files App doesn't show the Downloads folder on pre-existing accounts after updating to v74.1 via UEFI. In v74.1 we’ve rolled back this change, which should preserve the Downloads folder. Note that the new “My Files” directory won’t be editable by users in v74.2 as a result of this fix.

Known Issues

  • Send Feedback window (“Tell us what’s happening”) may require scrolling to view the Send button in v74.

  • Braswell (and potentially other) GPUs show issues that are most severe when accessing Google Sheets. The problem may manifest any various modern Intel hardware with low-powered chipsets, and may cause crashing.

  • Powerwash buttons are falsely-active but still do not function. The powerwash buttons should be disabled, but currently attempts to trigger a powerwash will reboot or freeze devices.

Unstable releases often have unforeseen bugs. We rely upon Dev Channel users to report those to us in our forums. If you're ok with a little instability, please jump to this new release and let us know what you think and report any issues using the links below.

CloudReady v74.1 now available!

CloudReady v74.1 now available!

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

We're excited to have released v74.1 last night to the Dev Channels for Home, Education and Enterprise Edition customers.

Devices on the Dev Channels can expect over-the-air updates for this release over the next few hours, if they haven’t received them already.

If you’re interested in previewing this release, subscribe to the Dev Channel to get an over-the-air update now.

Release Notes for v74:

  • OS Upgrade to 74

  • Fix: Some devices were reporting randomly generated mac addresses. This fix should cover all such cases.

  • Fix for task bar buttons that were unresponsive in v73.1 on the new user login screen.

  • P2P updates: In v73.1 we released initial support for P2P updates. With v74.1 comes the first opportunity for CloudReady devices to receive updates from another device in the local network already running CloudReady.

    • NOTE: As part of adding P2P updates, we have switched to a new update server for all CloudReady clients on v73.1 or later. That URL will now be https://cloudready-paid-update-server-2.neverware.com

  • UMA Metrics: We are now utilizing Chrome’s User Metrics Analysis to help us identify possible issues and improve CloudReady. Neverware only collects data in order to improve the customer experience for Neverware’s products and services. We will never sell any of your personal data. For more info regarding our privacy policy, click here.

Known Issues

  • For enrolled devices with TPM enabled, updating from v73.1 to v74.1 causes existing user accounts to be locked out after logging out. We have a fix and expect to release it in v74.2.

  • Files App doesn't show Downloads folder after updating to v74.1. Users can put chrome://flags/#enable-myfiles-volume in their URL bar on CloudReady and set the “Enable MyFile as Volume” flag to “Disabled” to work around this issue.

  • Send Feedback window (“Tell us what’s happening”) may require scrolling to view the Send button in v74.1.

Unstable releases often have unforeseen bugs. We rely upon Dev Channel users to report those to us in our forums. If you're ok with a little instability, please jump to this new release and let us know what you think and report any issues using the links below.

CloudReady update URL changes

CloudReady update URL changes

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

TL;DR

Neverware adds new network services in some updates, and does not employ static IPs for our service URLs. Therefore, we always recommend whitelisting all traffic to the neverware.com domain whenever possible.

Update URL Changes

For those customers who restrict network access, please make sure to note the following new update URLs in CloudReady version 73.1 and up, and add to your whitelists (if you are not already whitelisting all traffic to neverware.com):

  • (Enterprise and Education Editions) https://cloudready-paid-update-server-2.neverware.com

  • (Home Edition) https://cloudready-free-update-server-2.neverware.com

CloudReady devices on v73 and higher will use these URLs for all update information going forward.

Update payloads will continue to be downloaded from the same URLs as before, however for v73.1 and higher, the download protocol will be HTTP. Customers should be aware of this change in case they're blocking HTTP traffic. Google already delivers securely signed update payloads via HTTP, and we’re excited to start following this model to close one of the few remaining gaps between CloudReady and Chrome OS.

The old update URLs below still apply to previous versions of CloudReady and should also remain whitelisted until all devices are on 73.1 or later:

  • (Enterprise and Education Editions) https://cloudready-update-server-2015-03-12.neverware.com

  • (Home Edition) https://cloudready-free-update-server.neverware.com

Devices hitting the older URLs (i.e., those on CloudReady 72.4 or earlier) will continue to receive update payloads over HTTPS.

Why this change?

With v73.1 of CloudReady, Neverware is introducing peer-to-peer OS updates. The changes above are in service of this new feature, and are expected to bring bandwidth and speed benefits, especially to customers with large fleets.

Most devices, being on the Stable channel, will not be affected until v76.4. As long as they are on 72.4, their machines will continue using the old URLs. Once they update to 74.4, those machines will attempt updates with the new URL, which will happen when 76.4 goes out, as long as they remain on the Stable channel.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns using the links below.

CloudReady v73.1 available on Dev Channels

CloudReady v73.1 available on Dev Channels

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

We're releasing v73.1 to the Dev Channels of the Home, Education, and Enterprise Editions today.

If you're interested, subscribe to the Dev channel to get an over-the-air update now.

Release Notes for v73.1:

  • OS Upgrade to 73

  • Initial support for “Amber Lake” and “Whiskey Lake” Intel CPUs : While we are not yet certifying any of these models, we’ve added initial support for Intel CPUs of these latest mobile generations.

  • Fix for some Dell Airplane Mode buttons on Dell XPS 12 9Q33 and similar devices.

  • Fix for Chromecast failure on Intel Celeron CPU B840

  • Fix for a wide set of modern integrated AMD GPUs that previously would not boot CloudReady. The full set of hardware that this fix helps is not clear, but some examples we’ve seen improved include:

    • R2E and R7E graphics built into AMD GX-series chipsets

    • R6 graphics built into AMD A10 chipsets

  • Fix for issues with wallpaper policies at the login screen: In v72 some customers made us aware of problems where their policy for a login screen wallpaper was not applying or displaying properly - we’ve fixed this in v73.

  • Initial support for P2P updates: Chrome OS has long supported a feature to reduce bandwidth constraints in environments with multiple Chromebooks updating by having them share their update payloads directly to one another via a peer-to-peer process. CloudReady is adding initial support for this type of updating in v73.1, with further improvements coming soon.

    • NOTE: As part of adding P2P updates, we are switching to a new update server for all CloudReady clients on v73.1 or later. That URL will now be https://cloudready-paid-update-server-2.neverware.com

  • Patch for CVE-2019-5786: In keeping with the security best-practices that Google follows on Chrome OS, we are shipping a patch in v73 (and to v72) to fix a critical vulnerability currently known as CVE-2019-5786. As is standard for these types of issues, no details on the issue or the fix will be available for some time in order to provide all vendors sufficient time to patch the issue.

  • Fix for the UI shutdown button: The shutdown button on the login screen should say “restart” instead of “shutdown” when the “only allow users to turn off the device using the physical power button” policy is selected.

Known Issues

  • In v73.1, after a reboot on an enrolled device with Education and Enterprise Editions, on the new user login screen, the buttons on the task bar do not respond when clicked. We are currently looking into a fix.

Unstable releases often have unforeseen bugs. We rely upon Dev Channel users to report those to us in our forums. If you're ok with a little instability, please jump to this new release and let us know what you think!

Update to CloudReady v72.4 on all channels today

Update to CloudReady v72.4 on all channels today

 

Hey CloudReady Fans!

Today we’re releasing a patch to CloudReady v72.4 to include a security patch Google released to Chrome OS’s stable channel earlier in the week.

Details have not been disclosed yet, as is industry standard in these types of events, to help prevent abuse of the exploit until all providers have sufficient time to patch.

Google considers this a critical vulnerability, however, and following their security patch release on Tuesday, we’ve moved quickly to issue our own v72.4 patch to all CloudReady channels and editions before the issue becomes public.

As always, Neverware recommends customers keep CloudReady up-to-date with the latest stable versions.

Both Home and Supported Editions can expect over-the-air updates to be available over the next few hours.