VDI with VMWare View

Kris Linville, Sr. Systems Consultant


As we join the show, John, our friendly Support Engineer, is about to get a call from an end user, Jane, who’s experiencing an issue. Just for fun, let’s pretend that John & Jane live in a world of physical desktops, which we know can be tricky. Let’s listen in…

John: “Desktop Support. This is John. How can I help you?”
Jane: “Hi John, this is Jane. I think something is wrong with my computer.”
John: “Okay, tell me what’s going on and I’ll try to help.”
Jane: “Well, I was searching for something on the internet and a window popped up that said my computer was infected and I need to run a scan on it. I clicked on the button and then a bunch of pop-up ads started opening. They have filled up my entire screen now and the computer is so slow that I can’t even close them.”
John: “Clicking on that virus scan button installed some malware on your hard drive and we will need to send a technician to your desk to get it cleaned up. I will create a work order for you and someone should be down there in a couple of hours.”

Jane: “A couple of hours!? I have to have this report finalized in less than an hour or it won’t reach the client on time. We could lose a lot of money on this account if the report is late.”

John: “Today, we only have one technician on site. She is working on an urgent issue. Do you have your report saved on the network so that you can work on it from a different machine?”


Jane: “No, I always save my work in the My Documents folder so that I can easily find everything.”
John: “Okay. I’ve created a work order for you. Hopefully the technician will be able to get to you soon and will be able to correct the issue without losing any of your local files.”




Well, that didn’t end on a positive note. I’m sure John would have preferred to resolve Jane’s issue immediately but simply didn’t have the tools at his disposal to do so. We can change that. Workstations are as important to the end users’ abilities to perform their individual jobs as the servers are to departments or the company as a whole.


Virtualization isn’t just for servers. Consider how virtualization of desktops might benefit your organization.

How much does desktop administration cost you?
• Time spent on deploying new desktops
• Time spent installing software on each physical desktop
• Time spent fighting malware infections
• Time spent replacing failed hard drives
• Loss of user data saved on local hard drives
• Time lost by users waiting on desktop maintenance 

Okay. Let’s visit that scene again but this time John & Jane live in the world where Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) has made their environment much more manageable through VMware’s View application…

John: “Desktop Support. This is John. How can I help you?”
Jane: “Hi John, this is Jane. I think something is wrong with my computer.”
John: “Okay, tell me what’s going on and I’ll try to help.”
Jane: “Well, I was searching for something on the internet and a window popped up that said my computer was infected and I need to run a scan on it. I clicked on the button and then a bunch of pop-up ads started opening. They have filled up my entire screen now and the computer is so slow that I can’t even close them.”
John: “Clicking on that virus scan button installed some malware on your hard drive. I can get that taken care of from here; it will just need to be refreshed.”
Jane: “What will a refresh do?”

John: “It will clean off all the changes to your desktop. It will be like that malware never happened.”
Jane: “But I have been working on a report all morning and it’s saved in the My Documents folder.”
John: “No need to worry. We redirect the My Documents folder to network storage so all of your files will still be there.”
Jane: “Ok, how long will the refresh take? I really have to get my report done before… Hey, my screen just flickered and all the pop-ups are gone.”
John: “Your desktop has been refreshed and should be working just fine now.”
Jane: “My report is still here in the My Documents folder from my last save point. Wow, thank you so much!”
John: “You’re welcome, Jane. Have a great afternoon.”




Wow! That worked out better for both of them! By deploying virtualized desktops and making use of VMware View, John’s company was able to provide him the tools to quickly identify and resolve Jane’s problem.


View simplified desktop administration allowing John’s company to now:
• Deploy new desktops in minutes not hours
• Standardize desktops based on a single golden image
• Instantly remediate malware infections and software errors
• Add new software and apply patches once and push them out to all desktops non-disruptively
• Redirect user files to network storage for robust backup and recovery
• Reduce desktop footprints with small form factor zero clients

If you’d like to live in Jane and John’s world, contact your Keller Schroeder Sr. Account Manager for more information or a demonstration of this product and how you, together with Keller Schroeder, can benefit your environment.


Barracuda Message Archiver

– Jeff Gorman, Business Unit Director

 

Without question, email is the de facto standard for business communication. As the use of email grows, companies are facing the challenge of ensuring that their email traffic is adequately stored and compliant with various industry regulations as well as other corporate policies.

Not long ago, before the onset of many of the corporate, government and industry regulations that companies must adhere to today, the predominant way to store email and other sensitive data was through backup tape. One reason for the reliance on this form of data retention is that, until now, the cost and complexity of email archiving solutions made them difficult for businesses to consider. However, accessing data through backup storage can often be costly and inconvenient for most companies. Email archiving solutions present a much more centralized and secure option for storing email so that it can be retrieved easily and in a timely fashion.

There are four primary reasons to consider an email archiving solution to help manage the massive amounts of data that are sent and received by an organization.

First, the solutions provide litigation support. The cost of finding and producing information relevant to legal proceedings in an unmanaged retention environment can be excessive. Archive solutions structure the storage of mail and are designed to greatly simplify that data collection process.

Second, the solutions excel at storage management. Not only does the volume of email messages continue to increase annually, the size of the average email also grows each year. With increased use of file attachments and embedded images in mail messages, the storage requirements are rapidly growing. Archiving solutions provide a more resourceful way of handling this issue than simply provisioning additional storage. The ability to migrate messages beyond a certain age to storage outside of the live mail database, while still leaving it readily available to end-users, reduces the workload on mail servers. The ability of archiving solutions to deduplicate and optimize the storage used for the archived data further reduces resource requirements.

Third, implementing an email archiving solution improves knowledge management within the messaging environment. Email archiving systems provide additional tools essential to storing and controlling access to an organization’s knowledge base, kept within the messaging environment.

Finally, an email archiving solution achieves industry compliance. There are numerous regulations impacting most business verticals that require some form of email retention as well as specific parameters of how email should be stored and for how long it must be retained.

Email archiving solutions help with the concepts of:

  • Email permanence (maintenance of messages in their original form)
  • Security of email (protection against unauthorized access & safeguarding from destruction)
  • Auditability (accssibility of messages in a timely fashion, by authorized personnel only)

These characteristics make email archiving solutions beneficial for organizations requiring compliance with FRCP, SOX, HIPAA, SEC/NASD, and many other regulatory guidelines.

One archiving solution that has a proven track record with organizations of all sizes is the Barracuda Message Archiver, which has the capacity to store and index years’ worth of data through a combination of internal and external storage. In addition, the Barracuda Message Archiver’s comprehensive email indexing features allow administrators and auditors to quickly sort emails based on typical message fields: sender, recipient, received date, created date, subject line, size, attachments, importance, words in the message body and so on. Further, email attachments are fully indexed and messages can also be tagged for in-depth searches for the purposes of legal discovery, regulatory compliance requirements or for efficient sorting of large repositories of emails.

The Barracuda Message Archiver helps achieve compliance by maintaining integrity over the storage, access, and content-based policies governing emails. With its role-based administration, the Barracuda Message Archiver enables you to assign special privileges to Auditors enabling them to search and enforce content-based policy to comply with regulations. With a set of tamper-resistant protections built into the system, the Barracuda Message Archiver safeguards against potential alterations or deletion of archived emails.

The exponential growth of email has created a variety of data management challenges across all industries. Contact your Keller Schroeder Senior Account Manager today to coordinate a review of your current messaging infrastructure and to discuss whether an email archiving solution may help you achieve multiple modern-day business requirements.
 


Mobile App Development

– Jill Epperson, Business Unit Director


Life is a series of trade-offs. You can choose to have lunch at a fancy, sit-down place and generally get a better meal, but the trade-off is it costs you more time and money than the fast food joint. You can choose to see that new blockbuster movie the day it hits the theater, but the trade-off is you are going to pay more for that movie theater experience than if you just wait until it is released on Netflix. You can choose to hit that snooze button for the fifth time tomorrow morning, but the trade-off is you may end up at work wearing two different shoes because you were so rushed you didn’t notice (okay, yeah, I did that one time).

The point is trade-offs are everywhere and mobile app development is no different. At Keller Schroeder, we are often asked what the best strategy is for mobile app development. Do we recommend using native languages, like Java and Objective-C? Or is it better to take advantage of the cross platform tools available today, such as Mono/MonoTouch and PhoneGap?

Choosing a mobile app development strategy centers primarily around creating a better user experience versus lowering the development investment and shortening timelines.

In general, the closer you get to native app development, the better the user’s experience is going to be because this is where you are able to take full advantage of the device’s capabilities and APIs. However, typically, it’s going to take longer to develop apps using the native languages – particularly if you are developing across multiple devices. You cannot, for example, write code for an iPhone in Objective-C and expect it to also run on Android or Windows devices.

The flipside is that you can use a cross platform tool like PhoneGap and get an app up and running pretty quickly that can, with minor effort, be deployed to different devices. However, the app is going to look and behave the same across all devices, so users may perceive a more generic experience. Additionally, it may be challenging to implement more complex behavior or functionality in a tool like PhoneGap because you are mainly using HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

Mono/MonoTouch, on the other hand, does a nice job of getting you closer to the native app experience and still gives you the advantages of cross platform development cost and timeline. Mono/MonoTouch allows you to write your code in C# and share business logic across iOS, Android, and Windows devices. You do, however, have to build the presentation features individually for each device you are targeting.

Tools like Mono/MonoTouch and PhoneGap, as well as other cross platform tools, will be behind the curve regarding support for new device features, and you are going to deal with their individual bugs and quirkiness. The app itself may be a bit larger in size than a native app, and/or may perform a little slower (although, perhaps not enough for the user to notice).

So how do you decide on a strategy? Start by considering what is important for your mobile app development project and which trade-offs you are willing to accept. Here are some key considerations:

• Which device types are you going to support?
• What languages does your development team already know?
• How complex is the app?
• What is your timeline and budget?

Consider these questions and then contact your Keller Schroeder Sr. Account Manager for more information on how you, together with Keller Schroeder, can navigate the trade-offs of mobile app development.

And don’t forget to check your shoes tomorrow morning.


Staffing Options to the Rescue

– Susie Mattingly, Business Unit Director

Keller Schroeder’s Staffing Solutions group has earned an excellent reputation for working alongside our clients to provide flexible, customized options to fit their unique staffing and recruiting needs.

Options include:
• Contractor Placement (Temporary)
• Contract–to-Hire
• Full-Time Placement (Fee-based recruiting for direct hires)
• Payrolling (Payment Subcontracting)

With candidates scarce for a hard-to-find legacy skill and more work than they could handle, a client turned to Keller Schroeder Staffing Solutions for assistance. Their desire was for immediate temporary assistance with the workload, or to hire an individual to work directly for them. Unfortunately, the candidates emerging from the search process did not possess the industry experience needed for a direct hire, but the client decided on an individual with the right skillset for a temporary period of time to help with the short-term work overload. The individual picked up the requirements for the position quickly. Within three months, because of a pre-arranged contract-to-hire approach recommended by Keller Schroeder, the client made the individual an offer of employment. A great “try before you buy” option to consider, “Contract-to-Hire.”

Often it is preferable to bring in talent that is “tried and true.” Recently a client contacted an individual they had worked with years ago to see about working together again. The candidate was available for the engagement and Keller Schroeder Staffing Solutions was contacted about hiring the individual for a temporary period of time. The client had recruited, interviewed and selected the candidate, so Keller Schroeder’s “Payrolling” service made it easy to place the candidate on the job right away, avoiding the complexities of internal hiring. Keller Schroeder’s “Payrolling” service is a cost effective way to utilize experienced, known contractors for any engagement.

To learn more about Keller Schroeder’s Staffing Solutions offerings and how they can benefit your organization, contact Susie Mattingly, Business Unit Director, at smattingly@kellerschroeder.com or 812-492-7392 for more information.


Corporate Citizenship


If you Google the words “corporate citizenship”, you will get over 7 million results. Untold numbers of mission statements and books and articles have been devoted to the topic. But I would argue there really is no such thing as corporate citizenship, just as there is no such thing as corporate conscience or corporate philanthropy. Organizations are made up of people, and only the people of an organization can promote citizenship, conscience, and philanthropy.

Those who know Keller Schroeder well would say we have an excellent reputation as a conscientious and caring organization. What I know, though, is that we have been fortunate to retain some very conscientious and caring people. The people of Keller Schroeder have turned our annual Client Appreciation Event into a “give back to the community” event. The people of Keller Schroeder are donating items to Aurora this fall to help meet the needs of the homeless, serving meals at the Ronald McDonald house, and serving on Boards and volunteering at non-profit agencies throughout the area. Over 90 percent of the people of Keller Schroeder give to the United Way, and they do so liberally.

Does it sound like I am bragging? Guilty as charged. But my motivation is to challenge you to use your influence to increase the citizenship emanating from the people of your organization. Part of the reason Keller Schroeder gives back to the community is because of the influence and the “push” by the people in many of the client organizations we serve. You have challenged us by your great example, so let me challenge and “push” you a bit today.

The United Way of Southwestern Indiana celebrates its 90th birthday this year! Founded as the Community Chest of Evansville in 1922, our United Way has been at the center of progress and change in the lives of thousands of people in our community. Today, through coalitions for community impact, 33 partner agencies, and over 60 local programs, someone close to you is being impacted in a positive way through the influence of our United Way.

Is your organization one of the 130 businesses in our community who conduct workplace campaigns which account for 75% of the dollars raised for United Way initiatives? If not, could you have a role in making that happen? Carol Braden-Clarke (812-421-7480), our local United Way President, and her team would be willing participants in helping your staff plan and execute your campaign this fall. One of the things I like best about our United Way is that funding decisions are made by more than 60 community volunteers – people like you and me who drive the corporate citizenship in our respective organizations.

It is very cool that literally every person in our community can make a direct, tangible, broad-based impact on our community through giving or volunteering through the United Way (check out how at www.unitedwayswi.org). Equally cool is the freedom each of us has to impact our corporate culture right from where we are. We can bring forth ideas. We can influence our co-workers. We can increase the citizenship attributed to our respective workplaces – organizations that would be nothing more than empty shells without the people who make them tick!

Larry May
President, Keller Schroeder
Board Member, United Way of Southwestern Indiana


Spotlight On…

Employee Owner: Brian Reine

Brian has over 13 years of experience in the Information Technology field. He has worked in the education, construction and manufacturing industries serving at both technical and management levels. His experience includes networking, programming, systems analysis and design, and systems integration. He specializes in solving business problems using Microsoft technologies. Prior to joining Keller Schroeder in 2010, Brian served as an Information Technology Manager overseeing the global IT infrastructure and services for a large construction and manufacturing company. While possessing an extensive knowledge of Microsoft Server and Messaging technologies, he also has hands-on experience with NetApp storage, corporate antivirus, backup, and web filtering solutions, as well as experience with switches, routers, firewalls, and wireless solutions. He is a Senior Consultant.


Brian’s certifications include: A+, Network+, I-Net+, Security+, and Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer + Messaging.


Brian’s an Evansville West-sider, coaches basketball teams for his kids’, Ashley and Xavier. He also plays a round of Par 3 golf now and again and is an amateur runner, recently participating in a Zombie Run.


Contact your Keller Schroeder Sr. Account Manager to learn more about Brian and how you can leverage his experience and skills to benefit your organization.