Proactively Analyze Your VMware Environment with Runecast

Keller Schroeder IT Engineer Chris HaynesChris Haynes[Senior Systems Consultant]

Is your VMware environment secure?  Has your environment been configured to best practices?  Are there any known VMware or hardware bugs out right now that may affect the hardware and VMware version you are running on?  Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to chase all that down manually?  Well now you don’t have to.Runecast Logo

Introducing Runecast software. Runecast is a Linux appliance that runs as a virtual machine that proactively analyzes your VMware environment and compares it to current VMware KBs, configuration best practices, and security hardening guidelines, and provides recommended remediation steps for any variances it finds.

It is easy to install & configure and even more intuitive to use.  You’re up and running and scanning your VMware environment in minutes, and the web interface presents simple dashboards to show your current status that you can drill down into for more details…

Runecast Dashboard

In a nutshell, here’s the services that Runecast provides:

  • Security hardening checks, direct from VMware’s vSphere Security Hardening Guide
  • Industry standard configuration best practice checks/validation
  • Log collection and analysis against known issues in VMware KBs

With Runecast software, you can eliminate the manual work involved to perform security hardening and best practice configuration checks.  You can schedule automated checks, get notifications for non-compliance issues, and filter out compliance checks that don’t apply to your company’s policies.  You can easily generate compliance reports and pass security audits.

You can prevent services outages by discovering potential issues in advance and fixing them proactively. Your VMware configurations and logs are continually being analyzed against all VMware Knowledge Base (KB) articles, which Runecast downloads the latest updates on a regular basis. You will receive alerts for known issues and recommendation on how to fix them or mitigate any risks.

You can purchase a permanent version of the Runecast software to run onsite, or you can pay a one-time assessment fee to perform a month long analyze & fix cycle if preferred.  If you want to know more, check out the 30-day trial at https://www.runecast.biz and/or give your Keller Schroeder Account Executive a call at 812-474-6825 and ask for a demo and pricing details.


VMware AirWatch – Enterprise Mobility Management

KS Airwatch Logo

Chris Ross  – [Systems Engineer – Network Solutions Group]

Do you have a mobile workforce?  How are you controlling ghost IT and data leakage?  How are you providing corporate resources to help your mobile sales team?  Is that sales team able to leverage up to date data from the internal databases?  If you are struggling to answer any of these questions, AirWatch may be the solution for you.  By utilizing applications such as AirWatch Inbox, AirWatch Browser and AirWatch Container, complete control of data can be obtained while seamlessly providing internal corporate resources to a mobile workforce in a secure and safe manner.

Do you have an intranet website that your sales team is currently having to spend countless minutes laboring through VPN’s and multiple sign-ins just to access?  AirWatch Browser can present that intranet website in a seamless experience as if the user was browsing a normal internet page, no multiple sign-ins, no hassle of a ensuring correct VPN credentials.

Sending the latest monthly sales numbers from a behind the firewall SharePoint site?  AirWatch Container can link to that SharePoint site and give your mobile workforce a secure and controlled method of access.  All the while preventing data leakage on the mobile device by ensuring any controlled information stays inside AirWatch Container.KS Airwatch Container

As a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant, VMware AirWatch is setting the stage for how Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) should look.  The mobile worker population continues to grow and is forecasted to reach over 1.3 billion in 2016 and with this growth requires new security and management concerns.  VMware AirWatch is positioned to be that solution by leading in both security functionality and features delivered to the mobile worker.  Below you can find a brief summary of the main AirWatch features.

Enterprise Mobility Management Platform

Container
VMware AirWatch Container provides complete separation of corporate and personal data on devices, securing corporate resources and maintaining employee privacy. AirWatch enables organizations to standardize enterprise security and data loss prevention strategies across mobile devices through our flexible approach to containerization.

Devices
VMware AirWatch Mobile Device Management enables you to gain visibility into the devices – including smartphones, tablets and laptops – connecting to your enterprise network, content and resources. Quickly enroll devices in your enterprise environment, update device settings over-the-air, and enforce security policies and compliance across your entire device fleet. Manage any mobile device type, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops, rugged devices, printers and peripherals with support for multiple operating systems including Android, Apple IOS, BlackBerry, Chrome OS, Max OS and Windows across your organization.

Apps
VMware AirWatch Mobile Application Management enables you to manage internal, public and purchased apps across devices enrolled in your organization. Distribute, update, track and recommend apps with VMware AirWatch Catalog. Build custom business apps with the VMware AirWatch Software Development Kit or by following AirWatch-sponsored ACE documentation, or wrap existing internal apps for advanced security with VMware AirWatch App Wrapping.

Content
VMware AirWatch Mobile Content Management secures document distribution and promotes content collaboration anytime, anywhere with VMware AirWatch Content Locker. Access your corporate content in a secure container with advanced data loss prevention policies. Promote collaboration with editing, annotation and commenting capabilities for shared files.

Email
VMware AirWatch Mobile Email Management delivers comprehensive security for your corporate email infrastructure. With AirWatch, you can control which mobile devices access email, prevent data loss, encrypt sensitive data and enforce advanced compliance policies. Containerize email and provide a consistent user experience with VMware AirWatch Inbox, a secure email client.

Browsing
VMware AirWatch Browser is a secure browsing alternative to native browsers and provides organizations with the ability to configure customized settings to meet unique business and end-user needs. Define and enforce secure browsing policies for intranet sites without a device-level VPN. Enable secure browsing with whitelists and blacklists or kiosk mode.

Telecom
VMware AirWatch Telecom Management enables IT to easily monitor data, voice and roaming usage alongside devices from the admin console. With AirWatch, IT has insight into telecom usage to help save time, money and resources. Roaming restrictions, automated compliance enforcement and self-service options for end users simplify telecom management for IT.

These are only a few of the features that AirWatch can offer you.  If you would like to learn or ore to see a demo of AirWatch, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.

 


VMworld 2015 – End User Compute (EUC)

VM World ExteriorMatt Barton – Senior Systems Engineer

What tech conference combines 23,000+ people, 785 sessions, 1,000,000+ sq ft, miles of walking, painfully slow wifi, all spread over 6 days in the heart of San Francisco?  Any guesses?  Of course it’s VMworld 2015.  I had the good fortune of being able to attend this year.  Focusing on VMware’s End User Compute (EUC) technologies and future roadmap, along with 20+ scheduled sessions, I was ready to tackle the onslaught of information.

VM World ANY

VMware’s catchphrase this year was “Ready for Any” and they did not let down attendees.  Two key takeaways from this conference were VMware Project A2 and the latest release of VMware Horizon 6.2.  The announcement of Project A2 occurred during Tuesday’s Keynote address, and included Microsoft VP for Windows Enterprise & Security Jim Alkove.  Project A2 combines Airwatch Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) and VMware Horizon App Volumes to manage and deliver applications to Physical Windows 10 PCs.  Combining Airwatch EMM and Horizion App Volumes will speed application delivery to your endpoints by extending the ease of virtual application deployment & management to your physical devices.  There was also a demonstration highlighting the import of System Center application packages into App Volumes. VMware has recognized that most organizations cannot rip & replace their existing virtual desktop/application environment.  Instead they look to become the unified deployment and management portal of choice for Microsoft RDSH, Citrix, mobile, and traditional Horizon VDI deployments.

VMware also announced VMware Horizon 6.2.  This newest version of VMware’s VDI solution brings a number of incremental improvements to the table.  Some Remote Desktop Session/Remote Desktop Session Host (RDS/RDSH) enhancements of note include Skype for Business for RDS, RDSH Farm Load Balancing, and File Type Associations for Published Apps.  This last enhancement allows users to click on a document on their physical Windows device and, if the application is not installed locally, to be redirected seamlessly to the application on their Horizon View desktop or RDSH session.  VMware Identity Manager provides single sign on and a Self-Service App Store, allowing users to access on-premise web-based applications, SaaS applications or native mobile apps from any device.  Combining Identity Manager with Airwatch EMM and Enterprise BYO is a reality, allowing for dynamic app provisioning based on a wide range of policies.

Overwhelmed
After 6 days of all things VMware, I left feeling a bit overwhelmed. However, I look forward to implementing these new features as we strive to be “Ready for Any.”


TechSpot Recap : VMware-Kaspersky “Avengers: Age of Ultron” Premiere

Carissa Montgomery, Marketing & Communications CoordinatorStandee

 

On Friday May 1st, VMware and Kaspersky Lab joined Keller Schroeder in treating a group of our clients and their guests to a private showing of “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” at Showplace Cinemas.

Before the movie began, attendees and Keller Schroeder employee-owners listened to presentations from VMware and Kaspersky Lab featuring the latest from their technologies.

DezAfter beginning with an overview, VMware Healthcare Systems Engineer Max Abelardo discussed what was new with the vSphere 6 server virtualization platform, end-user computing using VMware, and the vRealize cloud management platform.

Chris Streeks, Systems MaxEngineer with Kaspersky Lab, then explained how clients could secure their virtual environments with Kaspersky. His talk centered around handling virtual endpoint security at scale and methods of virtualized protection.

AudienceAttendees also had the chance to win prizes. Matthew Yeley from MSWARS Research walked away with an Avengers-themed prize pack. David King with P&I Supply won our grand prize, a $100 VISA gift card.

For more information regarding the VMware, Kaspersky, or our upcoming events, please contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager.


Spotlight On…

Kris Linville

Employee Owner: Kris Linville



With over 10 years of experience in the Information Technology field, primarily in the Financial/Banking industry, Kris has supported Linux servers running intranet, extranet and web sites along with custom-developed online banking applications. Kris’ technical skills include OS installation, migrations, upgrades, patches, backup and recovery design and implementation, security hardening, performance tuning, project management, and customer service support. Kris joined the Keller Schroeder team in August 2011 to focus on Linux, VMware and NetApp system technologies.


Kris’ certifications include: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4 Certified Technician (RHCT), Cisco Unified Computing Technology Support Specialist, Cisco Data Center Support for UC Specialist, VMware Certified Professional (VCP5), VMware Desktop Virtualization 5 (VSP-DV), NetApp Accredited Installation Associate, NetApp Accredited Storage Architect Professional


Kris currently lives in Newburgh with his wife, Brianna and two children Logan (age 11) and Lanae (age 7). His hobbies include martial arts, video games, action movies, and dabbling in website design. Kris and his family also enjoy camping and spending time outdoors.


Contact the Keller Schroeder Account Team to learn more about Kris and how you can leverage his experience and skills to benefit your organization.


Spotlight On…

Employee Owner: Lee Lamey


LeeLameyLee has over 11 years of experience in the Information Technology field. He was the lead Network Administrator for a large healthcare organization where he designed and implemented the Cisco network infrastructure including Route/Switch, Security, and Wireless. He also assisted in maintaining the Microsoft Active Directory domain services in an environment with over 300 servers. His most recent efforts have been centered around planning and designing networks for several small and medium businesses for all infrastructure areas including Local and Wide Area Networks as well as voice and data servers. In addition to these infrastructure projects, he has acted as the lead deployment and troubleshooting engineer for a large radiation therapy manufacturing company where he focused on network connectivity and server systems on the radiation machine. Within his role at Keller Schroeder, Lee supports clients’ Networking, Microsoft, VMware and NetApp Virtualization solutions. Lee is a Senior Systems Consultant.


Lee’s certifications include: Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)


Lee and his wife Beckie have been married 16 years and have 4 children, Brayden, Ava, Easton and Owen. His free time is filled with family, camping and CrossFit!


Contact the Keller Schroeder Account Team to learn more about Lee and how you can leverage his experience and skills to benefit your organization.


FlexPod Your Muscles

Jeff Gorman, Business Unit Director


As the requirements for data center infrastructure (network, servers, storage) continue to change rapidly across all industries, many organizations experience a variety of challenges with designing, procuring, and managing their environments. The continuous process of working to ensure compatibility and desired functionality among server platforms, hypervisors, storage hardware, and networking hardware can be a daunting task. Even after successfully navigating the compatibility maze and rolling new systems to production, it can be equally difficult to get a holistic view of support from vendors for any of the hardware. Treating the data center as a collection of individual components rather than a collective system makes scalability difficult and creates operational challenges that are typical of very heterogeneous environments.


flex-express


Cisco and NetApp have partnered in an attempt to develop a much more readily deployable and supportable model for current data centers. Their FlexPod solution provides a pretested, validated architecture that is integrated and delivered through the partnership between NetApp and Cisco. FlexPod is not a product. It is a combination of best-in-class components that have gone through a process to be validated to meet performance, scalability, and interoperability requirements while also providing operational efficiencies. FlexPod validated architectures are available for environments of all sizes. The solutions integrate NetApp storage, Cisco Nexus switches, and Cisco UCS servers. Because the solutions are validated, the concerns regarding ensuring compatibility among server, storage, and networking hardware are eliminated. This validated design approach to data center solutions also allows FlexPod customers to access cooperative support, providing a single source for support for any of the components within the architecture.


FlexPod solutions are validated across multiple leading hypervisors, including VMware, allowing organizations to leverage the benefits of both server and desktop virtualization to maximize the utilization of the included resources. Each of the FlexPod validated designs provide organizations with a means to scale to keep up with business demands.


CiscoNewLogo


The FlexPod offerings consist of Cisco’s UCS B-Series server ecosystem, Nexus switches, and NetApp FAS storage. The FlexPod Express offering is geared toward small and medium sized business by integrating Cisco’s C-series rack mount servers with Nexus switches and NetApp storage. Numerous validated designs exist for both offerings, providing best practice guidance for design and implementation of all components when implementing things like server virtualization, desktop virtualization, and even application specific needs like SharePoint, Exchange, and SQL.


na_gold_2c


Keller Schroeder’s technical team carries certifications and experience with the components of the FlexPod offerings. Contact your Keller Schroeder Account Manager to schedule a time to learn more about how the offerings may be of value to your organization as you look to deal with the challenges of handling growth and operational support for your data center infrastructure.



Spotlight On…

Employee Owner: Toby Ellis

Toby Ellis
Toby Ellis is a Senior Network Consultant with 16 years of experience with Microsoft Windows Server and related technologies. He has been directly involved in the design and implementation of Active Directory, Group Policy, Exchange Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Small Business Server, Terminal Services and Microsoft Clustering. In addition to Microsoft technologies he has also designed and implemented VMware solutions and specializes in physical to virtual conversions of Microsoft server solutions. His additional skills include Cisco firewall and switch configuration, and Apple hardware and operating system support.
Toby’s certifications include: Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator, Microsoft Exchange and SQL servers, Active Directory Infrastructure, and VMware Virtualization.
Toby is an avid cyclist and plays guitar with his band The Waywards. He has been married to his wife Jesika for 7 years and they have two lovely daughters; Margo (age 6) and June (age 2).
Contact a Keller Schroeder Account Manager to learn more about Toby and how you can leverage his experience and skills to benefit your organization.


Spotlight On…

Employee Owner: Phil Lewis


Phil Lewis-2Phil has over 27 years of experience in the Information Technology field. His career has spanned Product Distribution, Financial, Manufacturing, and Healthcare environments. Early in his career, he was a COBOL and Assembler Application Programmer/Analyst in MVS and z/OS mainframe environments. He has experience installing, maintaining, and supporting an extensive environment on a Parallel Sysplex. Phil has managed DASD and tape environments of IBM, StorageTek, and Spectra equipment. He has extensive experience in the development of storage, backup/recovery, and disaster recovery plans. Phil has also been responsible for OS installation, maintenance, and hardening of AIX/ Linux. Since joining the Keller Schroeder systems team in 2008, Phil has broadened his experience by specializing in VMware virtualization technologies, NetApp SAN deployments, and backup/recovery solutions. Phil is a Senior Consultant.


Phil’s certifications include: Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 4 Certified Technician (RHCT), VMware Certified Professional (VCP) 3 & VCP4.


He and his wife, Vicki, have been married 30 years.  They have one daughter, Megan, a sophomore at U of E. They are active at First Southern Baptist Church where Phil is a Sunday school teacher, deacon and trustee.  He enjoys martial arts, volleyball, softball and watching NCIS.  


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


Put Your Data Center on a Diet

Kris Linville, Sr. Systems Consultant


Bikini season is just around the corner. Is your data center ready for its pool-side reveal? If you’ve spent years packing your data center full of sweet devices and high-calorie cables that have your racks bulging at the waist line, it’s time to put your data center on a diet…the UCS diet.


Data centers grow quickly in number of servers due to departmental application requirements. Maybe the HR department or the Accounting department is gearing up for a brand new system that would require multiple application and database servers for load balancing and redundancy. Is there enough rack space to install all of that new hardware? Is there space to add additional racks if needed? Obviously, it doesn’t take long for a data center to start feeling the effects of packing on those extra pounds time after time.


UCS-racks-beforeVirtualization can be leveraged to quickly get you back down to your target size. Reducing many physical servers to just a few VMware hosts is a great way to kick-start your diet. However, over time you will notice that as your admins and users get comfortable with their new diet, combined with how easy it is to deploy more virtual servers, your waist line will slowly start to creep up again. More hosts will be required to support your virtual workloads and before you know it your once-empty racks will be full again. How can you mitigate the effects of this “yo-yo” diet?

UCS-racks-after

Cisco Unified Computing System (UCS) is the solution to your virtualization “yo-yo” diet. Combine the space and administration efficiency of virtualization with the resource density offered by Cisco UCS B-Series Blade Servers and you will finally be able to maintain the ideal trimness you’ve been longing for. UCS is designed to create high-density, scalable environments that can reduce an entire data center of physical servers into a single rack.



By condensing up to 8 physical rack servers into a single 6U UCS B-Series Chassis with up to 80Gb of bandwidth per blade, not only can you reduce the physical foot print of your resources; you can do it with only a fraction of the cables and network ports needed for equivalent power and bandwidth to physical servers. A 42U server rack full of 2U physical servers would reduce down to just 18U with two slots to spare and can reduce your cabling and network port requirements by over 60%.




If your data center is suffering from a bulging waist line with no sign of an end to the overindulging of rack and network port space, contact your Keller Schroeder Sr. Account Manager to find out how the UCS diet can help you get lean and maintain.