Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Case Study: Office Depot

CASE STUDY 

Learn how Office Depot, the office supply retailer, transitioned their on-premises staff to a remote workspace and saves 40% on Azure costs during the COVID-19 pandemic using Nerdio Manager for Enterprise. 

 

About Office Depot

Office Depot, an office supply retailer, is a banner brand of The ODP Corporation. The ODP Corporation is a leading provider of business services, products and digital workplace technology solutions for small, medium and enterprise businesses. 

 

The Situation 

During the pandemic, Office Depot was looking for a way to move their employees from an in-office workspace to a work-from-home environment using Azure Virtual Desktop. Office Depot had no experience setting up a remote workspace for their employees, so they brought in Nerdio to assist with the deployment and management of Azure Virtual Desktop for their staff. 

“…Using Nerdio Manager in conjunction with Ansible, they were able to automate images to recreate automatically.” 

The IT team at Office Depot found the image and session management process difficult to do at scale and was looking for a way to automate the process. Nerdio Manager for Enterprise was installed into the existing environment and used to automate the image creation and rollout process. Using Nerdio Manager in conjunction with Ansible, they were able to automate images to recreate automatically. 

Office Depot’s applications are older and require connectivity back to an on-premises mainframe system with special terminal emulation software. Nerdio assisted with proper key mapping to get terminal emulation software to connect with their system. Several applications required a specific image configuration that Nerdio Manager helped automate. 

Office Depot is in a unique position because they own Compucom, a Managed Service Provider (MSP). They wanted Nerdio’s help to build a platform that they could use internally for Office Depot and an external MSP service for Compucom customers. 

 

The Solution

Nerdio provided Office Depot with a way to address the needs of their parent company as well as those of their IT service provider. They helped with creating a system that set up Office Depot to provide MSP support internally as well as to their company, Compucom, to sell the service to their customers. Azure Virtual Desktop was rolled out to a large number of users. Both published desktops and RemoteApps are used extensively in this environment. 

“…As a result of Nerdio Manager’s auto-scaling capabilities, Office Depot is saving up to 40% on Azure compute and storage costs.” 

 

The Results

Nerdio manager for Enterprise helped automate the image and session management process for Office Depot. Working in tandem with Ansible, Nerdio was able to automate images to recreate automatically. As a result of Nerdio Manager’s auto-scaling capabilities, Office Depot is saving up to 40% on Azure compute and storage costs. 

DOWNLOAD THE CASE STUDY HERE

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

 

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Case Study: Mr. Cooper Group Inc

CASE STUDY 

 Learn how Mr. Cooper Group, Inc., a large US-based home loan servicer, scaled their remote capabilities to match the increase in business during the COVID-19 pandemic using Nerdio Manager for Enterprise. 

About Mr. Cooper Group, Inc

Mr. Cooper Group, Inc., one of the largest home loan servicers and the largest non-bank servicer in the United States, was looking for a solution for scaling up their virtual desktop to meet their increasing needs after the pandemic sparked a dramatic increase in home-buying which led to rapid growth. With 3.5 million customers and $650 billion in unpaid principal, Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. serves customers through their portfolio of brands including Mr. Cooper, Champion Mortgage, and Xome. The company had a very large existing Citrix implementation on-premises, but they weren’t sure they wanted to stick with Citrix during the transition to virtual work. 

The Situation 

As the pandemic brought on a massive increase in real estate purchases, Mr. Cooper Group, Inc.’s business was growing fast, and with that rapid growth came new licensing and infrastructure needs. Their small IT team needed help managing a large virtual desktop deployment: 20 workspaces, 70 host pools, 2000+ VMs, and 20,000 CPU cores. Their current Citrix environment had worked for Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. in the past, but the recent increase in business would require upgrading their investment, and they wanted to see whether Azure Virtual Desktop would bring more value for money than Citrix. The company’s initial evaluation of AVD found it difficult to manage and lacked the necessary features for the implementation of their scale. Microsoft brought in Nerdio to design and implement a custom solution. 

“…Their small IT team needed help managing a large virtual desktop deployment: 20 workspaces, 70 host pools, 2000+ VMs, and 20,000 CPU cores.” 

The Solution

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise’s elegant design delivered the capabilities Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. needed to deploy, manage, and optimize AVD at a price point that delivered significant savings. Not only was Nerdio able to provide a sleek, customized deployment, but they also seamlessly integrated the company’s legacy line of applications with Azure Virtual Desktop, enabling a quick and easy implementation during an extremely busy time. Nerdio then stayed on as an expert ISV to support the company’s 9000 users, two-thirds of whom use the environment concurrently.

 

The Results

With Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. was able to migrate more than 10,000 users from Citrix to Azure Virtual Desktop quickly and efficiently.

“…Nerdio Manager is helping Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. save over

$200,000 per month..”

They were also supported throughout the process: when Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. was forced to pause their migration halfway through due to another app’s performance issues, Nerdio helped them optimize their environment to get back up and running. The cost savings were significant, too — Nerdio Manager’s cost optimization is helping Mr. Cooper Group, Inc. save over $200,000 per month in Azure computing and storage fees.

DOWNLOAD THE CASE STUDY HERE

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

 

Azure Virtual Desktop Advanced Specialization – Part 1: How to Achieve It and What It Entails

AVD Specialization

Here at Nerdio, we are all about empowering not just businesses to succeed with Microsoft Azure, but hardworking IT professionals, too. After all, many of our staff have been in the shoes of an IT admin, consultant, or MSP — yours truly included.

Which is why we’re launching a new, four-part blog series full of helpful tips, tricks and insights to support Azure enthusiasts in the journey toward Microsoft AVD Advanced Specialization, for companies, and also the AZ-140 Certification, for individuals.

To kick off the series – check out our first part exploring what companies have invested (or are investing) in virtual desktop practices in Azure when looking into Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) Advanced Specialization, along with advice for passing the exam from our team of experts.

Next in the series, I’ll take a step back and explore why the specialization is beneficial for companies, weaving in industry perspective and comparison and also my own firsthand experience from achieving the specialization.

What is Microsoft’s AVD Advanced Specialization?

In 2020, Microsoft released the Microsoft Azure Desktop Advanced Specialization: an award given to companies for meeting a strict set of minimum criteria discussed further below.

As Azure is a powerful solution comprised of more than 200 products and cloud services, Microsoft Azure Advanced Specializations can be obtained across several different technologies and areas of expertise.

So why would you want to achieve the AVD Advanced Specialization? When dealing with existing or new customers, this achievement demonstrates that your company, its consultants, and architects have a deep knowledge of Azure Virtual Desktop and that you meet the highest standards for service delivery and support.

How Do We Achieve AVD Advanced Specialization?

To ensure your company meets the minimum criteria, Microsoft will schedule a meeting with a third party auditor by ISSI who will spend approximately 4-6 hours in a workshop style format thoroughly reviewing all of your processes, operational documentation and also any design documentation which has been produced for your customers within the past 12 months. Microsoft does this to test your end-to-end capability to gather requirements, design, deliver and support a full AVD solution. 

Microsoft recommends you have three different customers to show when providing items required for the Advanced Specialization checklist. In our experience, it is better to focus in on a single customer reference that you know and can talk about with a lot of detail.

What Criteria Must We Meet?

Each certification must be held by at least one individual. You will also need to have three people pass the AVD Technical Assessment. We recommend these are the same three people who take the above certifications, and also that these individuals take the AZ-140 exam, which we will detail more later in our series.

What Will My Company Be Asked About?

When you register for the Specialization, Microsoft will send you a full checklist of the type of information you will be required to provide. A few examples include:

  • Marketing materials with your strategy for selling AVD solutions
  • Pre-sales activities
  • Evidence of requirements-gathering exercises
  • High-level design documentation of the AVD solution
  • Low-level design documentation of the AVD solution
  • Operational support documentation (i.e. image updates process, patching process, how to add hosts into a host pool etc)

The whole process should loosely follow the AVD Cloud Adoption Framework. If you can provide evidence that your company has a blueprint that follows all design principles of the AVD CAF, and those processes and procedures are followed throughout each of your customers implementations, then you will have a very high chance of achieving the AVD Advanced Specialization.

Advice from Our Experts on Passing the Exam

Our staff have guided partners through this process and recommend some general tips and advice below:

  • Go through the checklist provided by Microsoft literally line by line. The auditor will cover each section line by line and asked you to provide evidence to show how you have met each requirement.
  • Make sure that your designs match your blueprints and processes.
  • Know your designs well, and ensure you can talk about them in detail to somebody who has never seen the environment before.
  • Ensure that you also have the Azure Landing Zone design’s handy and are able to reference them.
  • Our final and most important bit of advice is when going through the process is to ensure that you can match every single checklist item to section in your documentation (Requirements, LLD, HLD’s etc)

If you want to know more about the AVD Advanced Specialization, stay tuned for the next blog in our series or reach out to us for a FREE 30-minute AVD Advanced Specialization consultation to get your Azure Virtual Desktop Advanced Specialization questions answered by one of our technical professionals.

Find Part 2 here!

Nerdio Manager + Our Road to One Million Users

At Nerdio, we believe strongly in the concept of every individual using a virtual desktop capable of providing them with their optimal work interface and online environment. So, with a great deal of pride, we are thrilled to announce that Nerdio now has reached over one million users across the Nerdio Manager products.  

We are in the early days of mass desktop virtualization – with over one billion Windows devices operating in the world, only a small percentage of those are virtualized. We are also in the early days of our company.  

Reaching one million users is an incredible and exciting milestone for us as a Series A-funded startup. But even more so because Nerdio Manager for Enterprise was only launched in March 2020, and Nerdio Manager for MSPs in February 2021 – and as exciting as our momentum has been to-date, we truly believe we are just scratching the surface.  

With Microsoft’s investments in Azure Virtual Desktop and now Windows 365, the market is starting to realize something we have believed for years—that this technology is the real deal, making our vision possible at scale.  

These developments have been powerful drivers and motivators for our company these past few years as we’ve built and delivered upon our mission to empower Enterprises and MSPs to deploy, manage and optimize virtual desktops in the Microsoft cloud.  

Thank you to all of our partners, customers, employees, and stakeholders for placing their trust in us and growing with us.  

Nerdio By the Numbers  

  • Thousands of partners and customers, including: Global MSP partners around the world and strong distributor partnerships with leading companies like Pax8, TD Synnex, Sherweb, Ingram Micro, Intcomex, MicroWarehouse, rhipe and more. 
  • 50+ Enterprise EUC partners. 
  • We have customers and partners using Nerdio Manager in 37 countries.  
  • We have employees all over the world
  • We’ve supported over 3,500 virtual desktop deployments.  
  • We are 100% fully remote and loving it.
  • We’ve more than doubled our team this year.  
  • We routinely can save customers up to 75% off their Azure storage and compute costs.  
  • Our solutions are championing secure remote work across industries, including healthcaregovernmenteducationmanufacturingfinancial services, and legal.  

The Road Ahead  

Gartner predicts DaaS spending to reach $2.7B next year – more than doubling in total from 2020. Over the past year we’ve seen Microsoft’s Azure business grow by more than 50 percent as organizations of every size and vertical have leaned into cloud technologies to support flexible and remote work.  

We’re inspired by these numbers and industry traction, but also the opportunity they present as our momentum is reflective overall of the growing interest and adoption of Azure and VDI/DaaS solutions to support remote work. 

Again, to all our partners and customers who have allowed us to be part of your cloud, Azure and virtual desktop journeys and successes so far – thank you.  

In front of us exists an incredible opportunity to shape the future of desktop virtualization and IT management at a time unlike any other given the convergence of digital transformation and desktop virtualization efforts alongside ubiquitous connectivity. 

We’ve relished and enjoyed the road so far and are even more motivated by what lies ahead.