12 Reasons Why You Should Consider Nerdio Over Its Competitors

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I have been at Nerdio for over 4 months now and the reason why I joined the company is because it solved all the problems I was having while I was working as a consultant delivering Citrix & Azure Virtual Desktop environments.  If you are deploying Azure Virtual Desktop (formerly Windows Virtual Desktop) in Azure, then you really need to look at Nerdio as it will make your deployment and management easier and will reduce costs by up to 75%.

In this post, I will list 12 reasons why you should give Nerdio a serious look before you choose another vendor.

1. Licensing Commitment

Most vendors out there will force you to commit for a minimum period for a set number of licenses. At Nerdio, we do not have any commitment buy-in. If you choose our Enterprise product, we do ask for a minimum set amount, but you are free to cancel at any time without any penalties. You also pay for what you use; if you use less, you pay less.

2. Licensing Cost

Nerdio does not have the same overhead costs that our competitors have, therefore, we can offer a lower price point. Our competitors pricing is on average $30 per user for licensing, whereas Nerdio licensing starts as low as $3 per monthly active user. That is literally 1/10 of the cost of our competitor’s licensing costs.

3. Product Innovation

At Nerdio, we pride ourselves on really listening to our customers. If a customer or partner has a suggestion, we take that suggestion seriously and have our engineering team work on it. With 15-20 new features each month, our product is being driven by those who use it day to day.

4. Built for MSPs

Nerdio Manager for MSP has been built from the ground up for MSPs. We are the best and most established multi-tenant management platform on the market today. You can manage all your customers from one single place, saving you time and effort.

5. More Focused Support

We have seen thousands of Azure Virtual Desktop Deployments using our software, so there is not much we have not seen. When you log a support ticket with Nerdio, you will get straight to a technical expert in Azure and Azure Virtual Desktop. We have 2 Microsoft MVPs on staff and many more employees with deep, specialized knowledge in Azure. We respond to every support request within 4 hours and there is no Tier 1/2/3 to go through.

6. Advanced Compute Auto-scaling Platform

One of the Nerdio features which is the most popular is the Auto-scaling platform. It is the most advanced on the market and saves our customers on average 60-75% on Azure compute costs. It is truly dynamic and creates and deletes hosts on the fly. We can fine tune it to behave how we want it to behave; for example pre-staging hosts, configure how aggressive we want it to be, and we can set the hours where it will not scale back in.

7. Advanced Storage Autoscaling

Storage Autoscaling is an industry first. Storage is expensive in Azure and we solve that problem by automatically swapping out your managed disks to a lower tiered version when the VMs are not running, and automatically expanding and reducing the Azure Files IOPS and sizes to meet your storage needs. You only pay for what you use.

8. Image Management

Using Nerdio we can also fully manage your desktop images. With most of our competitors, you must create the images in other ways; i.e., manually, or via DevOps, Packer, etc. Nerdio utilizes Scripted Actions to easily enable you to create images in less than 30 minutes and using Scripted Actions install the software you need without having to log onto the VM. We will automatically create staging images and shared image galleries to make your release process easier and less risky.

9. Host Density

A common myth is that our competitors have lower costs due to the toolsets used to increase host density. This is not true. The compute you use to run Azure is the same as our competitors. We have built in Scripted Actions which can optimize the hosts and recent innovations like sleeping tabs in Edge and Teams offloading ensure that the host density you get with Nerdio is the same as our competitors.

10. Monitoring

Nerdio uses AVD Insights to enable in-depth monitoring of your AVD Environments. This enables us to fine tune what we want to see, rather than having to use pre-build monitoring dashboards that our competitors use. We can also customize this to show only what we need to see to reduce costs.

11. Nothing Proprietary

Nerdio sits on top of the existing AVD Service. This means that if for some reason there was a problem with, or you decided to remove Nerdio, your services would continue to run.

12. Azure Capability

As Nerdio integrates with the Native Azure service, as newer features and improvements are made, Nerdio users benefit from that also. This means increased security, better monitoring, faster VMs.

All these combined makes for a compelling solution, something all of us here at Nerdio are so passionate about.  Cheaper licensing costs, easier management, and up to 80% Azure Compute and Storage cost savings are the reasons why customers keep on coming back to us for more.

Nerdio is built from the ground-up as a true Cloud-first solution. As Azure and Azure Virtual Desktop develop, then we develop alongside it and continue to get better and better.

And with 15-20 new features each month, we have even more awesome features on the way.

The future is bright; the future is Nerdio!

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Nerdio Manager Case Study: M.Holland

Case Study

Learn how a billion-dollar plastic company used Nerdio Manager to transition to the cloud quickly and easily.

 

About M.Holland

From healthcare to cars, plastics play a critical role in most of the products we use daily, and M. Holland plays a critical role in the plastics industry. Founded in 1950 and headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, M. Holland is a leading international distributor of thermoplastic resin. The company helps suppliers identify and leverage the most strategic channels to markets around the world, while also offering sourcing and supply chain solutions. Its product line includes materials that can fit virtually every application, manufacturing process, and market.  

M. Holland does over $1 billion in annual sales and sells to more than 4,000 customers. Since 1950, the company has grown steadily through both organic growth and numerous acquisitions. Most important for M. Holland is the deep, on-going relationships that it establishes with clients, through a consultative approach and a focus on long-term partnerships. 

Situation

Although M. Holland has been in business in the United States since its founding in 1950, it has recently increased its presence around the world, with branches in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and expansion plans for Europe and Asia. However, the company was reaching the limits of its mostly on-premises IT solutions. Its 350+ employees around the world need access to business-critical systems around the clock. The company’s growth and expansion plans meant that it could no longer afford to have all its IT infrastructure located on premises.  

Over the years, M. Holland had built its IT infrastructure around an on-premises Microsoft stack, but that wasn’t keeping up with their requirements in today’s more agile business environment. “With our existing systems, if our office went down, our company was dead in the water,” said Vincent Rocco, System Administrator, M. Holland Company.  “We started a transition to more cloud-based systems because we need to keep the business running 24/7, 365 days a year. Our business couldn’t stop if the office went down.” 

Solution

Although M. Holland has been in business in the United States since its founding in 1950, it has recently increased its presence around the world, with branches in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and expansion plans for Europe and Asia. However, the company was reaching the limits of its mostly on-premises IT solutions. Its 350+ employees around the world need access to business-critical systems around the clock. The company’s growth and expansion plans meant that it could no longer afford to have all its IT infrastructure located on premises.  

“Azure Virtual Desktop is a no brainer for us,” – Vincent Rocco, System Administrator, M. Holland Company.

Over the years, M. Holland had built its IT infrastructure around an on-premises Microsoft stack, but that wasn’t keeping up with their requirements in today’s more agile business environment. “With our existing systems, if our office went down, our company was dead in the water,” said Vincent Rocco, System Administrator, M. Holland Company.  “We started a transition to more cloud-based systems because we need to keep the business running 24/7, 365 days a year. Our business couldn’t stop if the office went down.” 

Results 

For M. Holland, Nerdio Manager is a key component for its transition to more cloud-based solutions. It’s made overall management of M. Holland’s virtual environments much more efficient and easier. 

Using Microsoft’s native solutions for managing virtual disks can be cumbersome. According to Rocco, the company would have to go through multiple steps, from creating an image, stopping it, prepping it, deallocating it, and then imaging it.  

“Since day one, Nerdio Manager has made Azure Virtual Desktop incredibly simple,” said Rocco. “The biggest value for us has been Nerdio’s ability to do master image creation.” 

“I had many issues when I tried to do it natively through Microsoft,” he said. “That’s why we went with Nerdio Manager.” 

In addition, M. Holland cites Nerdio’s extensive online, always-available technology resources as a key to easy deployment and ongoing management. “Nerdio has incredible training videos,” said Rocco. “If you want to learn anything, they have a video about it.” 

By using Nerdio Manager, M. Holland has been able to turbo-charge their transition to AVD, creating an IT environment that’s much more robust, secure, and available than their previous on-premises solutions. It’s enabling more effective support and easier management of functions like master image creation to help M. Holland continue to grow their business. But for Rocco, it’s not just about what Nerdio Manager for WVD can do for his company, it’s also personal. “Someone with limited knowledge like me can come in, learn Nerdio, and be an Azure WVD guru,” he said. “It’s great.”

But for Rocco, it’s not just about what Nerdio Manager can do for his company, it’s also personal. “Someone with limited knowledge like me can come in, learn Nerdio, and be an AVD guru,” he said. “It’s great.”

“I couldn’t have done what I’ve done without Nerdio and got my company to the point that we’re at without Nerdio,” – Vincent Rocco, System Administrator, M. Holland Company.

Download the application today from the Azure marketplace and begin a free 30-day trial: nerdio.co/nmw. 

DOWNLOAD THE CASE STUDY HERE

Find Nerdio in the Azure Marketplace: nerdio.co/nmw

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Case Study: Velocity EU

Case Study

Learn how UK-based Velocity EU used Nerdio Manager for Enterprise for Enterprise to migrate 1,400 higher education users to the cloud in just a week.  

 

About Velocity

Velocity EU is at the forefront of helping all types of organizations deploy managed, remote computing and communications services to employees, partners, and users. As its name suggests, Velocity EU’s business model is focused on scalability and speed.  

Velocity EU started in 1998 using Microsoft Windows Terminal Server to connect a thousand users to a FoxPro database. Since then, they have developed deep expertise in remote desktop solutions and unified communications. Over the years, Velocity has helped hundreds of companies, from enterprises to educational institutions to small businesses, rapidly deploy integrated data and communications workspaces.  

Velocity’s products, such as Velocity Cloud Desktop, seamlessly integrate a corporate phone system (or PBX) with a managed corporate desktop. Velocity Cloud Desktop is a Microsoft Windows-based solution that enables companies to easily deploy and manage Windows 10 cloud desktops anywhere. The solution is a combination of Microsoft AVD, a communications platform, hardware devices, and a managed environment. The product is supplied as a managed subscription service that includes everything a user needs to operate their virtual desktop. 

Velocity’s solutions, including Velocity Cloud Desktop, are designed to enable remote workers to set up and start using fully integrated cloud desktop and communications capabilities in minutes. It is a capability that ended up being very important at the start of 2020. 

Situation

When the Covid-19 pandemic hit in the spring of 2020, Velocity’s integrated products were perfect solutions for remote work and enabling remote access to business-critical systems. While the solutions were ideal for any company, large or small, that wanted to securely enable remote workers, Velocity recognized that it needed to immediately assist educational institutions to find ways to keep students learning remotely.  

“On the day the pandemic started shutting organizations down, our phones were ringing off the hook,” said Al Green, CCO, Velocity EU, Inc. “We needed to help our higher education customers figure out how to scale up remote access with limited budgets and technology limitations.” 

A perfect example of this situation was BSix Brooke House College. BSix is a central London college with approximately 1,400 students and 200 staff. It offers instruction in a range of levels and subjects, including vocational courses. 

When the pandemic hit in March 2020 and it became apparent that students and staff would have to be working remotely for months or longer, BSix recognized it needed to completely revamp how it delivered its services. Specifically, it needed to find a way to rapidly (in a matter of weeks) provide a comprehensive remote learning environment that would support its students and teachers.  

“At the time, none of us expected the demand for enabling remote connections to be so urgent,” said Green. “Or how quickly we’d need to deliver those systems. Our customers were asking for something the next day, or the next week.” 

An additional challenge for BSix is that like many other educational institutions, it had not traditionally designed its internal systems and communications architecture around remote learning. Instead, it had focused on on-premises hardware and software. BSix had about 1,000 traditional desktop computers and about 40 mobile devices. For telephone communications, the college was entirely dependent on a legacy PBX phone system located on premises. The only existing remote connectivity the college had was a virtual private network (VPN) implemented via Zscaler for a limited number of staff. Scaling up this solution was prohibitive because of cost and technology limitations.  

However, the college was lucky in that, in conjunction with Velocity, it had already started to put in place a hybrid architecture with good connectivity and hardware that could enable a migration to full cloud infrastructure. The infrastructure was based on the Microsoft stack, from Microsoft Windows to Microsoft Active Directory, Microsoft Azure, Office 365, SharePoint, and more. The college relied upon on-premises file storage and additional client/server applications to manage and deliver the curriculum.  

To survive the pandemic and support its students, BSix needed to migrate its existing on-premises IT infrastructure to a cloud-based infrastructure through which it could redeploy those 1,000 traditional desktops as cloud-based virtual services to students and teachers. It also needed to find a way to enable cloud-based telephone communications in a scalable and cost-effective way.  

And, to top it off, all this had to be done almost instantly.  

Solution

To get started, BSix engaged Velocity to help them design an integrated, cloud-based infrastructure that would support remote learning and teaching, as well as seamlessly integrate telephone communications.  

While Velocity had plenty of experience in the education, health care, and enterprise markets enabling remote workers, it never had to do it in such a compressed timeframe.  

The first part of the solution was straightforward. Velocity first examined cloud-based options for BSix, including Amazon Workspaces. However, since BSix was already using Microsoft solutions, Velocity made the recommendation to move the existing college desktop computers to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) running on Azure to provide a virtualized Windows environments for remote students and staff.  

Migration to the Cloud 

In a short period of time, Velocity was able to migrate all of BSix’s existing applications (including bespoke ones) into the new AVD environment. It also moved all the college’s teaching resources from the on-premises network to a cloud-based SharePoint instance, enabling all remote teachers and students to access them. 

Another consideration for BSix was how to enable digitally challenged students who didn’t currently have access to a computer. To manage that, Velocity procured, supplied, and deployed three hundred laptops for low-income students. It also supplied two hundred new managed laptops for BSix staff. 

On the telecom side, Velocity was also able to transition BSix from their legacy PBX platform to a fully managed, cloud-based PBX solution that worked seamlessly across many multiple remote locations.  

But once Velocity had the infrastructure, hardware, and telephone infrastructure figured out, it still had a critical challenge ahead to meet BSix’s requirement for getting students and staff back up and effective in the new virtual learning environment as fast as possible.  

Management

While the new cloud infrastructure could support a thousand or more virtual users, Velocity needed to find a way to quickly scale up the deployment and management of those users and virtual environments. Otherwise, BSix would have to invest enormous amounts of resources in time and staff to manage each of the 1,000+ virtual Windows desktop instances. 

Using the native Microsoft capabilities would provide a solution for BSix, but one that would require significant time and resources. Another alternative would be to use Velocity’s internal automation toolkit in combination with expanded internal and technical support, but with time constraints so tight, and the need to get students and teachers back up and engaged with the educational process as quickly as possible, it wasn’t an ideal solution. 

Additional analysis provided Velocity with a third alternative: to partner with the best automation tool vendor and partner closely with them. That’s the route that Velocity chose. 

“After careful evaluation of automation vendors and tools, we decided that the Nerdio Manager for Enterprise platform was the best solution for BSix,” said Green. “Nerdio is comprehensive, and it did exactly what we needed.” 

Results

For Velocity and BSix, a key part of coming up with a solution was leveraging  Nerdio Manager for Enterprise’s capabilities for easily and automatically deploying and managing Microsoft virtual desktops. “Nerdio was on the same page with us. We engaged right away with key people at Nerdio and were able to get it to do everything we needed it to do,” said Green.   

The results were almost immediate. Even under rapidly changing circumstances brought on by the pandemic, Velocity was able to use Nerdio Manager for Enterprise and the Microsoft stack of technologies to deploy a proof-of-concept within twenty-four hours for a complete re-platforming of BSix’s core systems from an on-premises architecture to a cloud-based architecture. 

After careful testing and analysis, BSix gave Velocity the authorization to proceed with the full project. 

Within one week, Velocity had used Nerdio Manager for Enterprise to scale BSix’s cloud deployment to a full production of 1,400 users. 

The project was tremendously successful, and all students and teachers were able to complete the rest of the year with full, integrated access to BSix’s educational systems.  

“Nerdio was a core part of our success story with BSix college,” said Green. 

In fact, the unexpected transformation to a cloud-based infrastructure was so successful, that BSix has extended the project with Velocity to additionally replace all its desktop computers with AVD terminals in areas of heavy use, such as libraries and labs.  

In addition, BSix has also chosen to standardize their desktop delivery going forward on the Velocity Cloud Desktop platform.  

“Our customers absolutely love the cloud-based solution using Nerdio Manager for Enterprise,” said Al Green. “The fact that everything we now deliver going forward for them will be based on AVD just demonstrated how successful this solution has been.”  

Download the application today from the Azure marketplace and begin a free 30-day trial: nerdio.co/nme 

DOWNLOAD THE CASE STUDY HERE

Find Nerdio in the Azure Marketplace: nerdio.co/nme

What is Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD)? Here’s What You Need to Know

On June 7th, 2021, Microsoft announced Azure Virtual Desktop, or “AVD”.  If you want to know the technical details behind the marketing, understand whether this a new product or rebranding of the existing WVD, what Microsoft’s vision is for AVD, and what’s new in virtual desktops in Azure, then read on. 

Is Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) a new product? 

No.  AVD is Microsoft’s attempt to re-align Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) branding with their vision of the future of virtual desktops.  Replacing “Windows” with “Azure” in the product name serves to clarify at least a couple of things: 

  1. Azure Virtual Desktop is likely to not remain exclusive to Windows, whereas Windows Virtual Desktop certainly implied that.  This means that other desktop OS support (e.g. Linux) could possibly be introduced in AVD in the future. 
  2. Azure Virtual Desktop is all about Azure.  For those of you wondering if the Windows 10 multi-session OS would at some point become available for on-premises or other cloud deployments, I’d say that this is an indication that it won’t.   

Microsoft’s vision is for AVD to be a very flexible Azure-based VDI platform for any use case. 

What are some of the new features that Microsoft announced together with rebranding WVD as AVD? 

There are several important features that Microsoft has been working on for some time based on customer feedback.  Some of these were publicly announced on June 7th when Windows Virtual Desktop was renamed to Azure Virtual Desktop.  Let’s explore each one. 

Azure AD Join 

This capability is something that WVD users have been asking for since the day it launched back in late 2019.  Currently, AVD requires session host VMs to be joined to an existing Active Directory Domain Services domain.  This can be an existing AD domain controller or Azure AD DS PaaS service.  This one requirement adds significant complexity to AVD deployments.  You need a vNet that can route to a domain controller, correctly configured DNS, AD credentials to join the domain, etc.  The AD pre-requisite is also making SSO more challenging requiring users to type in their password twice – once for their Azure AD password to subscribe to AVD feed and then again for their AD password to log into a session host. 

Azure AD joined session hosts will not only eliminate the additional complexity of requiring AD but will unlock new features such as single sign-on (SSO), easier integration with Microsoft Endpoint Manager, and new security capabilities from streamlined management of session host VMs via Azure AD.  Users who still need to rely on Active Directory will continue to be able to use it and can transition to easier-to-manage Azure AD joined hosts over time. 

Microsoft Endpoint Manager support for Windows 10 multi-session 

For those who want to manage both physical and virtual desktops through Microsoft Endpoint Manager, it is now possible.  Managing personal, single-session desktops has been possible for a few months now and recently multi-session support for MEM was released in preview. This could be an alternative to managing host VMs using images, which we often find to be the easier method, and instead manage each VM as a standalone device.  There are some limitations with multi-session VMs in MEM, namely the fact that “User scope policies” aren’t currently supported and all Windows 10 multi-session configurations must be targeted to Azure AD device groups. 

Onboarding QuickStart via the Azure Portal 

Historically, WVD has been challenging to deploy quickly from start to finish, which is one of the reasons Nerdio Manager was created.  Several months ago, Microsoft created the WVD QuickStart to speed up and automate a basic deployment.  You specify the needed parameters, and the automation builds out all the necessary components so you can start testing WVD in an hour or two rather than spend days or weeks reading documentation and configuring things manually.  The WVD QuickStart was not an official Microsoft product and did not come with Microsoft Support.  It seems that now that this QuickStart concept has been formally integrated into the Azure portal to speed up AVD deployments and will be fully supported. 

RemoteApp streaming with per-user monthly pricing 

Many software publishers (ISVs) are looking to AVD as a platform to deliver their rich, Windows-based apps to customers at scale.  ISVs have to solve the technical challenge of how to create a secure, multi-tenant environment for many customers that’s manageable and easy to support, and also figure out the commercial model to estimate the Azure consumption that each customer’s users will drive.   

To add more complexity, WVD licensing wasn’t very clear in these ISV scenarios.  That’s because WVD is an entitlement of a Windows 10 Enterprise subscription for the customer.  If an ISV wants to publish an application, they need to ensure that all users connecting to this RemoteApp have the necessary Win10 subscription in their corporate Azure AD tenant.  This is obviously a huge challenge. 

The new licensing model for ISV app streaming in AVD will allow software publishers to pay Microsoft for each user connecting to the application via AVD ($5.50/user/month for RemoteApp and $10/user/month for desktop) without having to worry about the user’s existing Windows 10 Enterprise entitlements.  This new pricing goes into effect on January 1st, 2022, and until then ISVs can publish applications with no additional licensing needed under a “promotional period”. 

It’s very important to note that no technical changes are being made to AVD as part of this remote app streaming announcement.  This is simply a new licensing model for a specific ISV use-case.  For those familiar with RDS in the SPLA program, this will look very familiar.  Also, the Azure consumption (i.e. VMs, storage, bandwidth, etc.) is not impacted by this either.  

With Azure Virtual Desktop, do I still need Nerdio Manager?  

We certainly think so.  If you want to save 50% to 75% on Azure costs, increase the reliability of your deployment through no-code orchestration, and reduce IT admin time and Azure skills required for ongoing management, then yes, Nerdio Manager remains the best way to go.   

LEARN MORE ABOUT NERDIO MANAGER FOR ENTERPRISE AND IT PROFESSIONALS HERE.

LEARN MORE ABOUT NERDIO MANAGER FOR MSP HERE.