Author: missybeaudelot

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4 Reasons We Recommend You To Go Platinum!


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Citrix Summit 2016 announced the addition of many new features to XenApp and XenDesktop Platinum edition. As a result, customers are empowered with an array of powerful new features and functionality that raises the bar even higher when it comes to simplifying the management, delivery, monitoring and optimisation of applications, desktops and user experience.

The benefits of upgrading to Platinum are plentiful. Here are just some of the reasons why we recommend you optimise your existing investment in Citrix by making use of the functionality available in this value-packed, feature-rich edition, and as a result achieve a greater ROI.

Eliminate migration headaches –
Reduce the cost and complexity of migration by up to 90% with AppDNA.

At some point or another, migrations impact us all. Windows 10 is set to be the most rapid OS migration in history; yet many businesses that want to take advantage of the improved user experience and productivity consider the effort of upgrading and maintaining systems daunting. Traditional upgrade methods, such as waiting for PC swaps, are becoming increasingly impractical, whilst Windows 10 provide a rapid, unified approach for companies to changing their OS. XenDesktop already helps companies to reduce costs and streamline operations, allowing for easy, fast OS migrations to all employees, however Platinum goes the extra distance in reducing the headache caused by migrations.

One of the ways Platinum edition will reduce your migration headaches is through AppDNA. Incorporated as standard, AppDNA enables you to confidently discover, automate, model and manage applications for faster application migration, easier application virtualisation and streamlined application management – reducing cost and complexity of application upgrades, migrations and updates by up to 90% in the process.

AppDNA will assess and provide analysis as to whether a particular application is compatible with an associated operating system and identify whether the business application will easily migrate over, avoid spending countless cycles going through manual application testing and remediation cycles for each application on each operating system. In addition, AppDNA will detect if an application is going to break another during upgrade, uninstall or repair – profoundly reducing migration headaches in the process!

Manage roaming users –
Dynamically control security levels based on the user, location and device.

An increasing amount of employees are empowered to work whilst on the go and as a result businesses are experiencing an array of positive business outcomes. However the nirvana of mobile users has heightened the importance of being able to dynamically adjust to changing conditions as users roam between different locations and devices.

SmartAccess, which is incorporated in Platinum edition, allows policies and resources to be intelligently applied based on different conditions such as the user’s location and endpoint device – allowing you to strategically align with business priorities while offering users a better user experience.  One aspect of SmartAccess that will provide value for many customers is secure application access by location. This provides the ability to interrogate the endpoint device, to give contextual access to applications. For example, an application that provides access to secure, sensitive information can be managed so that users can only access it whilst physically located in the corporate office, and if they were to try and access it remotely, the secure application will not be available. Or maybe you just remove printing or download rights when accessing from unsecure locations.

Another benefit of SmartAccess is location-based Citrix policies, which give the ability to allow users working within specific locations to access their virtual desktops in the most efficient manner possible. For example, a SmartAccess policy can be created to identify when a user is working within a low-bandwidth office. After identifying the location of the user via their pubic IP address, the Citrix session can automatically be optimised for low-bandwidth to create a better user experience.

Increase Visibility –
Save up to £80 per CCU for end-to-end monitoring across full Citrix stack.

The SCOM Management Pack available as part of Platinum provides comprehensive, end-to-end monitoring that delivers a single pane of glass visibility into your entire Citrix desktop virtualisation, networking and mobility environment. Customers can proactively monitor the quality of the Citrix end-user experience and infrastructure health performance across market-leading products such as XenDesktop, XenApp, XenMobile, and NetScaler, all while leveraging the existing monitoring platform.

Also, using a feature called Enhanced Director Monitoring, administrators now have more flexibility when it comes to managing their XenApp and XenDeskop deployments. Desktop and server OS usage reporting, proactive notification and alerting, app limits, reboot warning and override control over roaming sessions ensure the administrator is notified of error conditions, or excessive resource usage, before they impact the overall performance or availability of the solution.

Save Costs Elsewhere in Your IT Budget –
Save up to £100 per CCU with Director and SCOM incorporated.

Something worth having is rarely free, however upgrading to Platinum can help you to save costs elsewhere in your IT budget – making it a compelling and cost-effective solution.

There are many other ways that Platinum can help customers to realise cost savings, whether it be via incorporated features such as Director, AppDNA, or Cloud Bridge (WAN optimisation that removes the existing requirement, or the need for more bandwidth to support Citrix) or through the inclusion of features such as CommTrade that alleviates the need to use a third-party monitoring solution in addition to Citrix. Each of these inclusive products results in cost savings – to warrant the cost of Platinum – and in the process optimises the return on investment you achieve.

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Secure Your Endpoints Without Compromising User Experience


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What is more important to your business – security or user experience? For many UK businesses, this is a common predicament that often instigates a reaction to focus heavily on one, resulting in the other being detrimentally impacted and consequently adding unnecessary risk and complexity. However, security or user experience is not a compromise any business should make.

Last week, Cetus attended AppSense’s annual partner conference – Elevate. Not only did this provide a timely opportunity to take a closer look at LANDesk; the US-based market leader in Unified Endpoint Management who acquired AppSense just a few weeks ago, but it also reiterated the importance of comprehensively securing and managing IT environments with focus on users-first.

After all, delivering a secure, cost-effective and optimised workspace can be complex. Many businesses look to digital workspace technologies to reinvent the way employees work, however in the process there are many technical obstacles that need to be overcome. Businesses are forced to contextually adapt the workspace based on where, when and how users are trying to be productive whilst maintaining optimum levels of security and compliance.

However, in a world where attacks are becoming more sophisticated and regulations are ever-changing, how can businesses secure endpoints and maintain compliance without detrimental impact on user experience?

Increasing end-user demands.
End user demand are innocent – more often than not they are looking to simplify the experience they have when completing a work related objective, enable them to work more efficiently and ultimately optimise their productivity. These demands are fuelling many decisions made by IT today, supported by Forrester research that predicts user experience will increasingly influence EUC investments moving forward.

Typically, the examples of end-user demands we see include faster logon times, more responsive desktops and applications, whilst also experiencing a consistent user experience across devices and sessions. The way in which we are working has become transitional – constantly moving between devices, applications and desktops in order to get our work objectives complete in the most effective way.

But these end users are no longer just demanding, they are doing. Flexible working has been a hot topic for many years, with users seeking to achieve the same experience as when in the office when on the move. In the last 3 years alone, we have experiences a 21% growth in the amount of people working from home, 16% growth in the number of users working whilst travelling and 8% growth in the amount of people working from public places.

With these user demands now a reality, most users feeling they need full admin rights over their devices – particularly with 26% of employees paying for their own primary device due to preferred user experience – and the number of applications managed (or not) by IT ever-increasing (whether supported by technology or not) it is crucial to ensure the empowerment of people is at the heart of IT.

Security is a higher priority than ever.
Digital workspace investment priorities have taken a notable shift towards security – reflected in the increasing amount of security representatives who we see attend meetings about end user computing (EUC) implementations. Reinforcing its position on the agenda, it comes as no surprise that 81% of CIOs are focussed on security for their annual spend in 2016.

For some time now, Gartner have referenced their adaptive security architecture, which talks about businesses seeking to predict, prevent, detect and respond to potential threats, to mitigate risk. So what surprises us is that there is no evident vendor that covers that complete cycle within an integrated solution. Is that about to change?

The LANDesk acquisition of AppSense expands their mutual operational security capabilities with new technology for securing and simplifying workspace management at scale across physical, virtual and cloud delivered desktops. Together, offerings from both companies combine to support four proactive security strategies that, when implemented, can mitigate up to 85% of all targeted threats.

Security or user experience is not a compromise any business should make. Cetus will help you achieve both by using digital workspaces technologies to reinvent the way employees work, whilst putting security at the centre of your enablement strategy for 2016. With long-standing relationships with key technology vendors – backed by technical competencies and accreditations – we have been delivering EUC projects to businesses of all sizes for many years.

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Had Your Disaster Yet? Well That’s OK Then, Isn’t It?


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We have all done it. At one point or another, we have all personally been a victim of losing data, a document, contact numbers, or even an entire desktop through ignorance to take backing up seriously. It can be a painful mistake to make, but try to imagine what the consequence would be if an entire business did not have a backup solution in place – the disruption is incomprehensible and costly.

For that reason, disaster recovery (DR) is an increasingly prevalent topic in IT today. When businesses speak about disaster recovery often it is insinuated that these solutions are in place ‘just in case’ of natural disaster or terrorist attack for example, but in actual fact, disaster recovery is about mitigating the detrimental impact of any unplanned incident – whether this be a cyber-attack, equipment failure, or even human error.

The reality is such that businesses have become reliant on their IT infrastructure, and seamless access to data, applications and desktop. So much so, it is unthinkable to operate without – for any length of time. Backup and DR solutions are in place to provide the utmost assurance to businesses that they can recover to ‘business as usual’ in an efficient way to minimise disruption to the wider business.

It therefore comes as no surprise that an increasing number of conversations we are having at the moment are centred on backup, archiving and DR. We predict that over the next 10 years this will become even more important as the amount of data businesses are creating and consuming will grow at an alarming rate. It’s anticipated that the number of files used by a single business will multiply by a factor of 75, whilst the amount of data that businesses consume will exceed 50 times what it is today.

As a result, a business’s footprint of intellectual property and data will form the lifeblood of business operations and access to these will be even more critical than it is today. Losing access to this will absolutely not be an option for many businesses.

An untested backup is not worth anything.
Bearing this in mind, even more surprising than no DR strategy at all is an untested DR strategy. Regularly we ask businesses how often they are able to conduct a full (and realistic) enactment of their business continuity plan. The overwhelming response is that the majority have not tested their DR solution due to resource, time and cost constraints and, consequently, have no idea whether the solution would meet expectations in the event of an actual outage.

However, the increasingly complex our IT solutions get – with an increasingly assortment of servers, data, applications and desktops – in many cases will result in a decreased ability to recover from an incident. Forrester research suggests that in 2007, 30% of businesses could recover from disruption in less than one hour, compared to only 2% in the increasingly complex and IT-centric environments we operate in today.

Transforming recovery objectives into actuals.
From the businesses we speak to, many appear to be hanging their hat on ‘recovery time objectives’ and ‘recovery point objectives’ however, why have an objective – that in most cases is never ratified – when you can have an actual? This is where Continuum is different…

Continuum – Cetus’ managed backup, archiving and DR service – provides recovery assurance in the shape of recovery time actuals. With a minimum of monthly testing, Continuum automates and tests DR procedures that allow flawless failover in the event of an incident – whilst giving you quantitative evidence of how long you would take to recover from an unplanned incident.

A single solution for the ultimate assurance.
Whilst many solutions on the market provide a level of protection for a business’s server infrastructure – consequently allowing them to recover back-end functionality – many fail to consider their users’ desktop environment and the importance of having up-to-date client software to connect to the back-end servers.

Continuum allows user desktops to protected in the same manner is the server infrastructure; enabling complete testing and restoration of this critical element. Based on simple regular subscriptions, our cloud-based solution gives you the confidence that your backup requirements are fulfilled from a secure location, backed by accurate SLAs, trusted technology, expertise and experience – providing you with scalable solution that will mitigate risk and uncertainty for your business.

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The Future is Cloud First


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Will you still be relevant after cloud? Will your business still be able to compete in the market you operate in? These are the questions that businesses have to consider, adapt and plan for in today’s technology-transformed landscape, and the reason why an increasing amount of businesses are adopting a “why not cloud” approach to their IT strategy.

Over the past few years, cloud adoption has prevailed in the context of both business and personal usage – with reportedly over 84% of UK businesses having formally adopted cloud services. Gartner analysts predict that by 2020, a corporate ‘no-cloud’ policy will be as rare as a ‘no-internet’ policy is today, but in actual fact we believe that most UK-based businesses are close to that stance today.

It therefore comes as no surprise that cloud services have dominated the conversations that we have had with our customers for many years, but notably the conversations have changed – further echoing the rate of adoption and acceptance of cloud in the workplace.

From demystifying the cloud, to leveraging the cloud.
When cloud services were in their infancy, much of our time was spent demystifying the cloud – educating businesses about what cloud was all about, and helping them transition into being ‘cloud-ready’; however it has become an increasingly different conversation. Today, we are talking about how businesses can leverage the cloud to optimise their business outcomes, and remain relevant and competitive in a challenging economy.

After all, the risk of not keeping up can be costly. Whilst businesses may be able to delay cloud locally, within their immediate environment, change and transformation cannot be stopped – particularly where there are positive outcomes to be achieved. With cloud looking like an inevitable infrastructure choice, the key for businesses is identifying the optimum point to adapt and change –whether that be to a public, private or hybrid cloud environment.

Determining the right cloud for your business – public, private or hybrid.
It’s not always IT departments leading the decision-making process anymore. We are seeing an increasing amount of instances where the board are making the decision of cloud-first strategy independent of technology and delegating to the IT department to implement. To some extent, end users are also driving the decision for cloud by dictating what they need to work more productively. The most important decision does however remain with IT… which cloud is best for my business?

This decision creates many ‘nice’ but important considerations for IT. Many of the problems that non-cloud solutions create – including over-provisioning against user demand – may be alleviated by cloud, however the declining price of cloud can in actual fact create a conundrum for many.

An example of this is AWS announcing their 51st price reduction earlier this year – many IaaS providers are ultimately forced to drop out of the market as they are unable to achieve the economies of scale to be able to provide the same level of service at a competitive price point; reiterated by IDC who predict that 75% of IaaS provider offerings will be redesigned, re-branded or phased out in the next 12-24 months.

Whilst this means that the cloud provides attractively priced solutions, it also means that a strategic decision to go public cloud can introduce risk if you back a single cloud provider directly. Choosing a hybrid cloud can protect you from this risk, and optimise the DR of your cloud based services in the process.

Whilst consuming services of a top-right Gartner magic quadrant provider may drive down your costs, and potentially improve the levels of service, this can cause the problem of an inability to maintain a direct relationship with your cloud provider. So how do you build a relationship with AWS for example?

That’s where Cetus come in.
Cetus has been a driver of the transformation of cloud services. We have been at the forefront of getting customers “cloud-ready” and have organically evolved to empower customers to thrive using cloud services. We still design, build and support, the difference is the flexibility and expertise we provide when helping you determine where you want your IT services to reside.

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Cetus win the “Outstanding Achievement in 2015” award from Citrix Systems


Cetus Solutions win the ultimate award from Citrix Systems, The award for “Outstanding Achievement in 2015.” 

Further endorsing Cetus’s strength in the marketplace, Cetus Solutions were recognised as the Leading Citrix Partner in the UK at the Annual CPA and Awards Ceremony held at Wembley Stadium on 25th February 2016. 

The award for ‘Outstanding Achievement 2015’ was presented to Cetus by Sir Clive Woodward and Jacqueline De Rojas – VP Northern Europe for Citrix, for Cetus’s continued commitment to the Citrix solutions set.  Recognition for this award included the rise to one of only a handful of the UK’s Platinum Partners together with Cetus being one of the first organisations globally to achieve the elite ‘Citrix Specialisations’ across all disciplines for technical training and competence. 

Mike English MD of Cetus Solutions stated: “This prestigious award is perfect recognition for the continued commitment from the Team here at Cetus and further endorses our focus to deliver business solutions underpinned by the highest level of quality, business acumen and technical expertise for our customers.  2015 was an amazing year and it is with great pride that we accept this award and thank the Cetus Team and our valued customers for your support” 

Mark Beaumont, Head of Channel, Northern Europe at Citrix commented: “I’m delighted to recognise Cetus Solutions, winner of the outstanding achievement award at this year’s Citrix Partner Accelerator event. This award demonstrates Cetus’ continued commitment to Citrix, and adds to recent success in securing all four Citrix specialisation accreditations.”

“Smart partnering is vital to Citrix’s success, so it is really important that we highlight the amazing contributions that partners such as Cetus Solutions have made – from managing the sales cycle to designing and implementing cutting-edge digital transformation projects. Congratulations on this well-deserved achievement.” 

Cetus Solutions have been designing, delivering and supporting transformational IT solutions for over 15 years. Helping customers to solve business challenges through the use of technology, using a robust business case methodology to drive tangible benefits and measurable success.
  
For further information contact the marketing team on 0845 130 0344 or marketing@cetus-solutions.com