Monday, November 28, 2011

Get started with RES Workspace Manager Express

In this video I will show how to get started with RES Workspace Manager 2011 Express to replace roaming profiles and login scripts or GPO's.

Yes, the video is longer than normal but I have captured the complete process with reboots and all. Even so it is only 18 minutes long!

Download your FREE version of RES Workspace Manager 2011 Express here.

Register and get started with  RES Baseline Desktop Analyzer here.


Monday, November 21, 2011

RES Service Orchestration SR3

Service Release3 of RES Automation Manager Service Orchestration is now available for download.

These are some of the fixes:

  • Action 'Provide Information' could not be completed when using categories with many subcategories.
  • Clients and Dashboard: Support for Swedish language. Blame me if it is not correct :-)
  • New Site ID generated after upgrading to SR2.
  • Services not returned when person was marked for deletion. This could occur:
    - If the person was marked for deletion through a Data Reader/Data Link
    - If the return workflow contained at least one action.
  • Special characters not shown correctly in e-mail notifications.

The service release is available for download here


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Leveraging Microsoft ConfigMgr in RES Automation Mananger

Many companies that use RES Software products already have Microsoft ConfigMgr (SCCM) in place for application and OS distribution. Also companies that yet have to purchase RES products use Microsoft ConfigMgr ;-)

In this video you will see how you can leverage an existing ConfigMgr infrastructure to build and maintain a library of IT changes with the help of RES Automation Manager 2012.

RES Automation Manager also extends the capabilities of Microsoft ConfigMgr with the introduction of a self-service portal. A very easy way of introducing a private application market place for your user's.

See this post on what else is new in RES Automation Manager 2012.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

Delivering IT as a Service the easy way

I've added a new video by request that shows the value of using RES Dynamic Desktop Studio to deliver ITaaS.

Just sit back and enjoy the show...


Seamless Change of Application Delivery Infrastructure

I have created a short video that shows how IT seamlessly can change application delivery infrastructure without affecting end-user productivity.

Using Zero Profile Technology in RES Workspace Manager allow IT to make these kind of seamless changes.

Happy user = happy admin!

Increase the speed and adoption of new technologies by implementing a User Workspace first!


Monday, October 31, 2011

RES Automation Manager 2012

RES Automation Manager 2012 enhances existing capabilities with the following:

Cross platform support (including Red Hat & SuSE)
Take all your existing management scripts, copy & paste them into controlled and secure modules. Can be included in RunBooks to make changes in multi-tenant systems & services. 
New Linux Tasks:

  • Execute Command
  • Reboot
  • Shutdown
  • Download Resource

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager integration

Utilize the Automation Manager Self Service Portal to install applications through collections in ConfigMgr. You can also query the ConfigMgr client status (version, available services, cache options etc).

Scalability and performance improvements, including native 64-bit support
Unlimited scalability through the new Dispatcher+. Previous recommended limit per Dispatcher was 150 CCA (concurrent agents). This limit has been removed.

Launch window support
Control when jobs can be launched on systems to prevent changes during business hours. This can be overruled in the delegation model (for emergency maintenance).

Agent, Team and evaluator relationship enhancements
Allows for running queries and then automatically perform an action based on the outcome.
Evaluators now included:

  • =
  • >
  • <
  • <=
  • >=
  • <>
  • LIKE 

Enhanced support for evaluators in the following queries:

  • Query AD Computer
  • Query AD Group
  • Query AD Object
  • Query AD Organizational Unit
  • Query AD User
  • Query Computer Properties
  • Query Disk Space
  • Query Installed Programs
  • Query Service Properties
  • Query TCP/IP Properties

New Task: Change Team Membership
Add or remove agents from teams directly in a task.

New Global Setting: Default Schedule
To have an additional safe net the default scheduling can be changed from Scheduled to On Hold. This also applies to rescheduled jobs.

Job Scheduling
The option to schedule offline agents at next boot is enhanced with; or when Agent is resumed after hibernate, sleep or standby. this is very useful for managing laptops.

RunBook Scheduling
The option to use RunBook parameter has been enhanced with the following;

  • to select Agents on computer name
  • to select Agents on active Console user
  • to select Agents on last Console user
  • to select most recent Agent on last Console User

Global Variables
When configuring a Task, the values of many fields can now optionally be replaced with Variables. Similar to parameters, Variables function as placeholders for customer-specific values, such as, server names, passwords or credentials. Different from parameters however, Variables are resolved at the moment of Job execution, rather than at the moment of Job scheduling.

Plus many additional enhancements.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Citrix Synergy 2011 Barcelona

Citrix Synergy 2011 in Barcelona is just around the corner. RES Software will be exhibiting as usual and will be there with more people than ever.

Make sure you stop by to get the latest and greatest on the RES Software great offerings.

You probably heard of RES Workspace Manager 2011 Express being launched this Wednesday. Now you have a possibility to see it in action at the booth (#200).

We will also make another announcement that you do not want to miss.

There will be presentations and live training courses available to attend at the booth.

Attend the following session;

Delivering ITaaS today with Citrix Technology (SYN603)

Geek Speak Live! Panel Session: Desktop Transformation - thinking outside of the out-of-box scenario

Geek Speak Live! Panel Session: User Profiles smackdown (SYN507)

Citrix: It's all about me! Desktop personalisation and user profiles (SYN317)

Intel Corporation: Intelligent Desktop Virtualization helps optimize your deployment (SYN602)

These are the great technical people you can meet at our booth and in sessions:

  • Bob Janssen - CTO and co-founder of RES Software, The Netherlands
  • Bob de Kousemaeker - Product Manager, The Netherlands
  • Grant Tiller - Product Manager, United Kingdom
  • Eddie van Ravesteijn - Presales Director, The Netherlands
  • Arie Joosse - Presales, The Netherlands
  • Haakon Flender - Presales, Norway
  • Frode Kipperberg - Solution Engineer, Norway
  • Adam Stockley - Presales, United Kingdom
  • Alexander Sebestian - Presales, Germany
  • Sean Donahue - Senior Deirector, Global Alliances, US
  • Jeff Wettlaufer - Senior Director, Global Product Marketing, US

And many many more....Oh and I will be there as well!

This is where you will find us:


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

RES Workspace Manager - NOW FOR FREE!


First, why should you even bother about this free version?

If you already find it very easy to manage what the user gets on their desktop and why, you probably already have Workpace Manager installed :-) If not, you need it to prepare for any future changes and to be able to deliver IT as a Service.  Feel free to take a look at any of my previous blogs and videos about User Workspace Management.

What can it do for you?

The management of your users will be greatly simplified! You can migrate existing desktops into managed workspaces with minimal impact. I urge you to use RES Baseline Desktop Analyzer to quickly get from current state to desired state. RES BDA is also for FREE!

You will get context aware desktops. How about;

  • Follow me printing
  • Follow me shares
  • Follow me applications
  • Follow me configuration
  • Follow me user settings

The users will be happier with a profile solution that really works! Easily switch between Windows XP and Windows 7 or even Windows 8 without loosing personal settings.


You will get:

  • The leading profile management solution for free
  • A replacement for group policies
  • A replacement for login/logout scripts


Note: The free version is of course limited in its functionality. But be amazed over what you actually get for free...

There is absolutely NO EXCUSE anymore for creating complex group policies or managing insanely long login scripts. You do not even have to bother about user profiles!

Download your free version here NOW and take the first step towards nirvana.

Oh...did I mention that it is for FREE? And the context awareness? No? is free AND context aware :-)


Monday, September 19, 2011

Windows 8 Persona Management

This short video demonstrates RES Workspace Manager handling persona's (profile) between Windows 7 and Windows 8 in real time.

It just works!


Monday, September 5, 2011

World leading solution now even better!

RES Workspace Manager SR2 is released. This world leading User Workspace Management solution is now even better!

This service release does not only contain improvements but also new functionality. Here's a few examples:

1. Configuration Wizard - Now customers can get up and running with the solution even quicker with the built-in configuration wizard. This wizard will guide you through common configuration choices and paths in a few steps. You can choose between Evaluation or Production setup. It even includes sample data for Usage Tracking analysis!

2. Navigation map - The console has been enhanced with a navigation map to make it even easier to quickly jump to desired sections.

3. Video tutorials - Video tutorials make it even quicker to get started with RES Workspace Manager as well as configuring various parts such as Folder Synchronization and Workspace Model. You will find all video tutorials here.

Besides the above new features, RES Workspace Manager also now officially supports Citrix XenApp 6.5, has reduced network I/O, support for Baseline Desktop Analyzer files support for shares in advanced connection states and more...

Make sure to upgrade if you are an existing customer or install if you want to make the single most important step in your desktop management strategy.


Thursday, September 1, 2011

Change, Adapt and Expose!

Change, adapt and expose. Three words that describe what RES Dynamic Desktop Studio does for an IT department based on organisational requirements.

When there is a organisational need or requirement, it will almost always end up in some sort of technical change. Let me give you an example:

There is a new person joining the company. In order for that person be productive access to services is required. One of the services required is e-mail. The IT department will have to create an e-mail account on a mail server (often done manually).

RES Automation Manager can automate this change immediately upon the request (i.e. need) from the organisation through fully automated service orchestration. No IT interaction required.

But is this all? No, just adding a mailbox will not enable user's sending and receiving e-mail. The technical change needs to be adapted and exposed to the user based on their need and individual situation.

First they need a mail profile and then, if  they are a remote worker, they need offline access . Maybe additional mailboxes needs to be opened, and finally the signature needs to be created.

RES Workspace Manager takes care of everything that needs to be adapted and exposed.

RES Automation Manager takes care of the technical change.

These products are RES Dynamic Desktop Studio.

RES Dynamic Desktop Studio will help any IT department with making changes, adapting and exposing them based on the actual user need and situation.

Here's a demo!


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Independant Overview of User Environment Management!

Ruben Spruijt at PQR has finished the last touch on his awesome whitepaper on not only WHY to invest in User Environment Management (Workspace Management), but also guidelines on HOW to chose a solution.

It contains a head-to-head analysis of the following vendors; 

Appsense, Citrix, Immidio, Liquidware Labs, Microsoft, Quest, RES Software, Scense, Tricerat, Unideska and VUEM.
This whitepaper is really good reading if you want to get an independent view on this subject of which I personally have been blogging about for a while now, maybe a bit biased ;-)
Some excerpts from the whitepaper:

"It’s important to have a Vision and Strategy around Application and Desktop Delivery. User Environment Management should be part of this Vision and Strategy. Designing, building, managing and maintaining the Optimized (Virtual) Desktop infrastructure using the right technologies, corresponding vendors and products is the destination."
"Our experience is when the organisation understands the meaning of user workspace management and sees the opportunities and benefits this provides to the users and the IT organisation, the customer is often surprised that this solution has not been applied earlier."
Please follow Ruben Spruijt on Twitter: @rspruijt to get more insight on this topic.
Rubens article can be found here along with a link to download the whitepaper.
For more information on RES Dynamic Desktop Studio please visit the website or read some of my blog entries here!
Great work Ruben and team!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Visit RES Software at Citrix Synergy in San Francisco

RES Software are happy to be a platinum sponsor at Citrix Synergy in San Francisco May 24th to May 27th.

This is a great opportunity to meet with myself and my colleagues to get the latest and greatest from RES Software and how we continue add value to Citrix solutions.

You'll find us at booth #308

Here we will do in booth demo's and presentations as well as educational sessions.

Make sure you also attend our break-out sessions with Bob Janssen and Jeff Fisher:

Managing FlexCast Delivery with RES Dynamic Desktop Studio - Thursday May 26th, at 2:00 PM at Moscone 2024

RES software solutions for Desktop Transformation - Friday May 27th at 2:00 PM at Moscone 2024

If you cannot attend, you can still follow what happens on Twitter and Facebook

Hope to see you in person.


Friday, April 29, 2011

How to do more with less in three easy steps

According to Gartner, 40% of unplanned downtime is caused by human errors. This is also the only way for IT to do more with less! Besides greatly reducing unplanned downtime, automating your daily IT tasks will;

  • Standardize IT
  • Increase Quality of Service
  • Free up time to focus on strategic responsibilities
  • Grow IT maturity
  • Increase security

RES Software Automation Manager gives you an easy way of automating daily IT tasks without adding to complexity or increasing the administrative overhead. There is NO point in selecting a solution that is complex - not if you have any of the above goals.

The following videos will explain the three steps that will help you move from a Basic to a Dynamic IT as a Service environment.

Step 1 - Take an existing manual task and automate it:

Step 2 - Create Run Books and delegate them to help desk:

Step 3 - Delegate IT changes back to the organisation through self service:

By taking this practical, non-complex and easy approach to IT maturity and Microsoft I/O model, It staff will be less stressed and users more happy. Nirvana?

Take your first easy step now...


Thursday, March 31, 2011

How to split the Workspace Manager datastore

I have created a video that shows how you easily can split the RES Workspace Manager database to a primary and secondary datastore.

The primary will be used for configuration and log data and stored in a high available Microsoft SQL server environment.

The secondary datastore will be used for Usage Tracking and I have selected to store this in a MySQL server database running on RedHat Enterprise Linux 5.6.

Before we go ahead and split the data store we have to make sure that all clients have the MySQL Connector ODBC drivers installed.  This is done in a few seconds with RES Automation Manager.

When the connector software has been installed we can go ahead and split the data store.

When the split is complete, RES Workspace Manager will automatically create a new pointer on the Workspace Composer so Usage Tracking data is copied to the new datastore.


Friday, March 25, 2011

Relieving IT stress by implementing automation - Step 3

The final video in the series on 'How to relieve IT stress' explains how RES Automation Manager and Service Orchestration further removes the need of human interaction when implementing changes in the IT infrastructure. The Run Book we created in the previous video can now be delegated back to the organization as a service. This will;

  • Allow the organisation to decide when changes are needed
  • IT will still be in control on how the changes are implemented
  • Free up time for both the IT administrator and the service desk

This is the third and final step in the maturity process moving from a rationalized to a dynamic IT environment.

Compare the 'Before Automation' video with the 'Step -3' video. How much time did IT spend on making the actual change in the 'Step -3'  video?

This means more time to deliver on strategic responsibilities and less resources needed for mundane repeatable tasks.

Here's the previous videos in the series;

Step 2 - Creating Run Books

Step 1 - Automating daily IT tasks

Before Automation


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Relieving IT stress by implementing automation - Step 2

This third video in the series on 'How to relieve IT stress' explains how the previously created task in RES Automation Manager can be turned into a run book and delegated to service desk. This will;

  • Minimize IT administrator workload
  • Create more time for strategic initiatives.

This is the second step in the maturity model moving from a standardized to a rationalized IT infrastructure.

In the next video I will show how these Run Books can be delegated back into the organisation through self service. This will not only offload the service desk but also allow the organisation to be in control on when changes will be made while IT still are in control on how the changes are implemented. Stay tuned...


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Relieving IT stress by implementing automation - Step 1

This video shows that automating daily IT tasks with RES Automation Manager can make changes;

  • Predictable
  • More secure
  • Increase Quality of Service

This is also the first step in the maturity model moving from a basic IT environment to a standardized IT environment.

In the next video, I will show how you can create Run Books of the standardized tasks and delegate them to service desk. This will further relieve stress from the IT administrator.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Relieving IT administrator stress by implementing automation - Before Scenario

The only way to do more with less is to automate daily IT tasks.  I will show, in four different videos, how easy this is done with RES Automation Manager.

Before scenario: No processes or automation in place. Changes are being done ad hoc and 'uncontrolled'. User request a change that has to be done in Active Directory by an IT administrator.

This video shows how changes could be done in the above scenario.

In the next video I will explain how risk can be reduced by automating daily IT tasks. Step 1 in the maturity model.


Focus on the right things when delivering services to your users

Delivering It services is not an easy thing. Sometimes we make it even more difficult than necessary. We will have to live in a world of multiple service delivery mechanisms. Users will have multiple ways of accessing services. VDI, TS, desktops, laptops and other mobile devices. For IT to keep up with new demands they must invest in new technologies. The problem is that this only adds to complexity and the difficulty managing the users.

Take a look at the list below and think about delivering IT services and what is most important;

How? (delivery technology)
When? (time)
Where? (location)
Why? (ID/role)
What? (content/service)

Having a technical background I know that it is easy to fall back into your comfort zone - technology.  But is this always best for the company?

My preference would be like this;


With this I am not saying that how is unimportant but it should not be priority one!

What potentially could happen is that the technology itself will limit on what you must deliver. You should be able to select the best technology for every purpose and not let this result in a more complex environment to manage.

You need a solution that helps you focus on what to deliver instead of how - i.e. managing a hybrid environment.

Such solution could be RES Workspace Manager. RES Workspace Manager helps you manage the desired state of the user. Decoupling all user related settings from the underlaying technology stack. You can call it virtualization, but we call it User Workspace Management. The context of the user (ID/role, location and time) will determine what will be delivered using a hybrid delivery technology.

Look at an earlier blog post explaining the concept of User Workspace Management.


Friday, March 4, 2011

Applying multiple policies on the same application

In this short video I demonstrate how you easily, without scripting or creating multiple application packages, can apply multiple configurations on a single application instance.

For more information about context aware just-in-time application configuration, please visit RES Software.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Removing Local Administrator Rights

I have created a new video, this time with better audio, that demonstrates how to apply Dynamic Privileges to an application. Dynamic Privileges can help remove users having local administrator rights on their computer.

Please visit RES Software for more information on how you can decrease your desktop TCO and at the same time increase security.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Turn existing scripts into dynamic and reusable tasks

A lot of administration, particularly on servers, is used with scripts either with Powershell, VB or Secure Shell (SSH).  You can basically do anything with scripts and more and more features are exposed to scripting.

The problem with scripts is that they are usually hard to maintain and troubleshoot. They are rarely documented which results in painful hand overs to new administrators. Scripts are also often created for one distinct purpose and cannot be reused.

So how can you take existing scripts and make them dynamic and reusable?

The answer is RES Automation Manager.

In RES Automation Manager you can easily import your existing scripts and turn them into a module/task. This task can then be scheduled in a controlled fashion by administrators with no administrative rights on the systems the script is being executed on. By using parameters in RES Automation Manager the scripts can be generic, dynamic and reusable. I will explain exactly how it works in the below video.

If you want to know more on how to get in control, please visit RES Software on the web.


Query uptime and perform controlled reboots

I got a question last week from a company if they, with RES Automation Manager, could easily query uptime on their Windows servers and then perform a controlled reboot.

I have created a video that demonstrates how this can be done.

Beware that this is a very powerful tool and could cause unwanted results if used in the wrong way.

This can be avoided by delegating control and setting a scope on possible systems where the task can be executed.

If you want to know more about RES Automation Manager please visit RES Software on the web.


Monday, February 21, 2011

How to change local administrator password in less than 60 seconds on all computers

In this video I demonstrate how easy it is to change the local administrator password on all servers and desktops in less than 60 seconds.

With RES Automation Manager making changes like this is as easy as 1 2 3!

This module can be delegated to help desk and the actual change is done without them having local administrative rights. All changes are audited.

For more information, please visit RES Software on the web.


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

How to remove local admin rights and elevate rights when needed

Removing local administrator rights from desktops and laptops have a huge impact! According to Gartner you could reduce the TCO with as much as $1237 per user per year! It could also, according to Microsoft, mitigate the effect of 92% of critical vulnerabilities.

There are a lot of reasons why local administrative rights is needed. It could be legacy applications, access to specific Control Panel applets or applications that need to change hardware settings.

What are we waiting for? Let's go ahead and see how it can be done.

RES Workspace Manager 2011 have the possibility to add Dynamic Privileges to specific processes for specific users.

In the video I demonstrate how it is configured and the way it works.

If you want to know more, please visit RES Software.


Friday, January 21, 2011

How to enforce Separation of Duties in a Windows Server environment

Some regulations require organisations to enforce separation of duties. In a Windows server environment this is very hard to achieve. When doing maintenance on a Windows server and logging on to the server, you automatically have access to all applications and resources. There is no way of giving different user groups access to individual application sets. If you have to do maintenance on a domain controller it is even worse. You now have been given the keys to the kingdom.

Here´s an excerpt from Wikipedias definition of Separation of Duties:

In information systems, segregation of duties helps reduce the potential damage from the actions of one person. IS or end-user department should be organized in a way to achieve adequate separation of duties. According to ISACA's Segregation of Duties Control matrix [3], some duties should not be combined into one position. This matrix is not an industry standard, just a general guideline suggesting which positions should be separated and which require compensating controls when combined.

Separation of duties should prevent any individual to have access to a single complete system.

With RES Dynamic Desktop Studio, life will become a lot easier. You can make sure users only can access applications tied to their duties, and when they have to perform these duties, an approval process need to take place.

In this demo I show how this could work.

Please visit RES Software for more information about RES Dynamic Desktop Studio.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RES Virtual Desktop Extender (VDX) Demo

I have produced a short video demonstrating the capabilities of RES Virtual Desktop Extender. RES Virtual Desktop Extender technology let users seamlessly access local applications from their virtual desktop or terminal server start menu. In the video I demo the difference looking at a HD video on your virtual desktop with and without VDX.

Another reason for using this technology, apart from resource intensive applications, is applications that needs access to local hardware. How do you burn a DVD from your virtual desktop?

For more information about this technology, please visit RES Software.


Monday, January 10, 2011

How do you secure a virtual desktop environment?

Securing central environments like Terminal Server (with or without Citrix) has always been a challenge due to the fact that many people are accessing the same computer. Worst case you have to have multiple Terminal Server farms to adapt to different security needs. This requires complex configuration and management.  The challenge is the same when it comes to VDI.

A successful and cost effective VDI implementation requires as few images as possible running in stateless/non-persistent mode. Traditional desktop management tools is not enough.  Traditional security based around the device will also fall short. Since the user's desktop now runs in the data center, knowing the physical location of the user is critical.

This also brings us to another question; how do you troubleshoot an environment where desktops reverts back to the previous state when the user's log off? More about this in my next blog article.

What you need is dynamic context aware computing. Settings, configuration and security based around the user's context will ease the adoption and management of virtual desktop infrastructures.

In this movie I demo context aware security to comply to some security regulations where applications only are allowed to run at specific physical locations. By having a context aware and dynamic VDI environment, changes in the user's context (in this case the location) will automatically update the workspace and make sure security regulations are followed.

Please watch my previous video about User Workspace Management to get more details about the concept of context aware computing.