Simplified IT Operations for Hybrid Environments with the Leostream Platform
Maintaining networks and servers, installing software, upgrading hardware, trouble-shooting, security — the life of a systems administrator is busy. Keeping an IT environment and the array of technology that comes with it in tip top shape can be a lot to juggle. When our customers initially contact us, they are often overwhelmed with the assortment of platforms, devices, and end-user requirements that need to be accounted for when hosting desktops. Today’s technical infrastructures are complex — from VDI, HCI, hosted applications, clouds, virtual workstations, physical workstations, thin clients, zero clients, etc. — there are many ways to mix and match technologies in a hybrid world. When it comes to hosting resources, no one has the time to separately manage and monitor each piece, so how do you bring everything together?
If you’re reading this guide, chances are you are somewhat familiar with the Leostream Platform, which provides crucial functionality for assigning desktops to users and managing their connections. Using Leostream, you can provide end users with consistent, reliable access to desktops from a wide range of client devices while hosting your resources across on-premises or public cloud platforms.
Throughout this whitepaper, we will explore some of the noteworthy features that are used by our customers to streamline administrative responsibilities and drive business initiatives involving hosted resources. We’ll specifically focus on the areas of the Leostream Platform that will assist you with maintaining, monitoring, and optimizing your hosted environment once you are fully deployed and up and running.
Solve your remote access and VDI problem with Leostream
One of our customers recently described Leostream as, “one of those products that does exactly what you need and it makes your life easy and better.” Here’s the thing, our software is designed by technical pros for technical pros with the goal of streamlining administrative functions in an impactful way.
We’re confident that within a short-time of using Leostream, you’ll quickly see the value it adds to simplifying your IT operations, especially if you have a complex or hybrid environment.
During the early stages of configuring Leostream, we work closely with you to architect the platform to best suite your organization’s unique needs. When designing a solution to support your VDI or hosted desktop infrastructure, we configure the platform to leverage the flexible plans and policies to support your preferred workflows. The entire Leostream Platform can be customized at a very granular level to ensure that once the transition is made from proof-of-concept into production you can start taking advantage of the benefits immediately.
In fact, many of our customers find the platform to be so incredibly seamless that it can run mostly on autopilot. Once deployed, some administrators like to “set it and forget it” with the least amount of intervention possible. Others enjoy tinkering with features and exploring new ways to optimize their environments after going live. Whether you’re someone who likes to set it and forget or someone who likes to tinker, we have plenty of options for you.
5 Ways to Simplify IT Operations with Leostream
So, once you have shifted out of your trial phase with Leostream and into production, what can you expect? The platform offers some specific and powerful features for maintaining, monitoring and optimizing your hosted desktop environment that we will cover in the following pages.
On a high level, once your organization is live with Leostream, here’s where you can plan to spend your time as an administrator interacting with the product:
- Maintaining desktop health – Basic maintenance tasks like rebooting desktops are par for the course, and Leostream gives you a centralized way to handle that
- Tracking cloud usage – If you have any type of public cloud component to your design, you’ll want to track usage and spending in order to control costs
- Monitoring user access – Keep tabs on who is using what, and for how long, and identify behaviors that look unusual that would indicate people are logging into something that they shouldn’t be
- Integrating with third-party monitoring/logging tools – We recommend integrating with Syslog servers or taking advantage of email alerts through Leostream to stay on top of any pressing issues
- Scaling -Once you are live, you may want to continue building out your design for more capacity, high availability, and redundancy for business continuity
Let’s dive deeper into each of these topics and the ways you can simplify your IT operations.
1. Centralized dashboard for maintaining desktop health
When you’re managing a wide-scale desktop deployment you will inevitably get calls from users who are having trouble connecting to their desktops. Without Leostream, you may find yourself logging into many different portals or tunneling into individual virtual machines to reboot connections. With Leostream, all of the desktops are centralized, giving you a 360 view of everything. You can see who’s assigned, their logged-in state, the desktop power state, and more. With everything centrally accessible, you can easily perform simple desktop maintenance tasks such as rebooting or connecting to the machine without going to individual portals for each platform.
2. Consolidated interface to monitor user access
Since Leostream consolidates everything into one place, you can monitor activity in an efficient manner. A key benefit of the platform is the “resources” pages, which lists everything connected to Leostream such as desktops, users, and end-point devices. With this comprehensive look at all of the resources, you can keep tabs on who is using what, and for how long, and identify behaviors that look unusual that would indicate people are logging into something that they should not be.
We provide a default list of information that can assist you in monitoring resources, such as the power status of desktops, assigned users, last connect time, and more. All of these fields can be rearranged so that information is displayed in a way that is most beneficial for you. You can run queries based on this information and quickly check to see when a user last logged in and if they are still connected. You can even forcefully log a user out if need be. All of these insights can be exported into a .CSV file and brought into Excel for further analysis. You should use these lists to your advantage and configure them in the way that makes the most sense for what you want to monitor and see.
3. Track cloud desktop usage with reports
Once your deployment is live, another big “to-do” is tracking cloud usage. If you have any type of public cloud component to your design, you’ll want to track usage and spending in order to control costs. You can do this by looking at how long users are logged into instances, the size of their instances, etc. By doing this, you can make estimates for spending and also keep an eye on outliers to spot ways to reduce expenditure. By running a report that pulls user assignments you can look at the duration of login activity on cloud machines to see the number of hours a user was connected. This is particularly helpful if you need to bill a client for the hours that a machine was running.
You can also track pool utilization for pools of cloud-hosted machines to estimate cloud costs. Any time a desktop pool is created, you can turn on tracking for the pool to monitor assignments, connections, and pool size information pertaining to how many desktops are available, running, stopped, suspended, and more. The most recent version of Leostream displays this information on a handy graphical dashboard for a high-level snapshot of usage.
4. Integrate with third party monitoring tools to receive alerts
We advise setting up alerts to observe potential issues with your desktop environment. For example, you likely want to be notified immediately if your users are receiving an error when they try to login to a desktop pool or if a center or Leostream Gateway is offline. Notifications can be sent to you for a variety of reasons and help you to stay on top of problems that may need your attention right away.
You have a few ways to receive alerts. The first is integrating with third party monitoring/logging tools. You can relay log messages over to the Syslog server and then your Syslog server can send out emails or notifications. In addition, you can also configure email notifications through SMTP that can be trigged through Leostream.
5. Scale to meet demand and provide high availability
A connection broker lies at the heart of your hosted desktop deployment, physical or virtual, and is the critical component for scaling your environment. The role of the connection broker is to assign resources to end-users and control the end-user experience. It helps to tie all the data centerpieces together, and controls who can access what and how.
Often, only a single connection broker is used during the proof of concept stage of building out Leostream. Of course, if you have a single connection broker, you have a single point of failure. To maximize availability, we advise building out clusters (groups of connection brokers). By adding clusters to your design, you can help support capacity and provide high availability and business continuity.
Once you have your broker set up on an internal database, you can switch it to an external database to scale. As you add new connection brokers to your cluster, you simply attach them to that external database and all of the brokers in that cluster act as a unit so that there is no downtime.
Delegate IT operations with with role-based administration
As we’ve outlined, Leostream can drastically streamline administrative functions. But what if you need to take it a step further and outsource tasks? We are all about enabling you to delegate to other IT professionals or your help desk right from within the platform. Leostream promotes role-based administration so that you can enlist and empower other staff members with the appropriate levels of control to assist with managing the system.
Leostream comes with two roles out of the box. The first role is for the main administrator, which offers full access to all of the functionality within the platform. The second role is for end-users and offers limited access to functionality. From here, you can create as many variations of these roles as you’d like and assign them out to your entire user base.
You can finely tune the levels of access, control and permissions for each role. For instance, say you want your desktop admins to be able to view and login to machines, but you don’t want them to be able to modify the system. Or perhaps you want each IT department head within your organization to have full control with limited access being provided to the IT help desk. All of these scenarios can be accomplished using roles within Leostream.
The list of what Leostream has to offer systems administrators and IT professionals could go on for days. The topics that have been presented here are just a few of the ways the platform is commonly used to simplify IT operations. Ultimately, if you have a complex or hybrid desktop environment, Leostream is the most comprehensive solution to maximize your efficiency. Please contact our sales team to learn how our product can “make your life easy and better”.