Nerdio Training Camp – What to Expect and MSP Takeaways

In partnership with Microsoft and Intel, Nerdio Training Camp allows MSP technical staff to spend the day with us growing their Azure knowledge and learning the technical skills needed to be successful with Microsoft’s virtual desktop services. The one-day, in-person workshop provides hands-on learning where attendees can build a completed Azure Virtual Desktop or Windows 365 environment from scratch — learning everything from the basics to 300 level provisioning and administration skills.  

This is a completely FREE opportunity to provide MSP technical staff with valuable training to help them better understand Azure, Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and Windows 365, and how to easily manage them all in Nerdio Manager for MSP. In doing so, this helps MSPs to efficiently and easily extend the benefits of these services to their clients while keeping costs low, margins high, and employees satisfied and engaged.  

Take a look at the detailed workshop agenda for more insight into the Training Camp content and scroll below for real-life feedback from Camp attendees and photos from our first event in Philadelphia on April 6. And register for one of our upcoming events near you!

Attendee Feedback, Highlights + Photos  

Ongoing management of AVD environments involves understanding and using all of the Azure services AVD runs on as well as elements like image and storage management, host pool creation and maintenance, updating security permissions, and much more. It can often be intimidating and time-intensive to learn the ins and outs of the service and how to best optimize and manage it.  

We connected with attendees of the Philadelphia event and wanted to share a few of their self-reported educational benefits of Training Camp that speak how it can help MSP staff easily and better manage AVD.


“I came out of the Philly training camp with more confidence in AVD than ever before, as well as meeting other IT professionals who have shared similar hurdles as myself. Thanks for putting this together, I had a great time!” 

  • Tyler Reino, Systems Engineer, Overview Technology Solutions 

“I felt that the pacing was perfect, and it really helped to be in a room with people who are at so many different parts of their Nerdio/AVD journey. It helped remove some of the mystery and makes me feel like we aren’t behind the curve when asking questions or looking at different ways to grow our business. Though I didn’t have questions personally, the environment was comfortable where I felt as though I could have asked anything. 

The most helpful area of the training for me was reviewing the correct upgrade paths for images. Seeing the “best practices” really turned some lightbulbs on for us. Scripted actions are something we haven’t utilized previously but have already created a plan for going forward. The mini session during lunch where you explained the factors that matter when purchasing reserved instances was critical to helping me feel confident with future projects.” 

  • Chris Morozin, President, VMX Technologies

Register Now!

Register yourself (or your team) for an upcoming Camp in Tampa, Dallas, LA, Chicago or Toronto via this registration and landing page

Nerdio Welcomes Gavriella Schuster to Board of Directors 

It seems every other week we are welcoming a new team member as we continue to help more customers and partners from all over the world successfully optimize their virtual desktop environments in Microsoft Azure. We’ve welcomed new hires in Australia and the UK recently, in addition to expanding our MSP and enterprise sales teams based in the U.S.! 

And we are extremely proud and excited to share today that Gavriella Schuster has been appointed to Nerdio’s board of directors.  

As a leading diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) advocate and former Microsoft Corporate Vice President, Gavriella is a widely recognized business leader, particularly within the channel community given her tenure as Microsoft’s Global Channel Chief. She has been a friend and collaborator to Nerdio over the years and recently presented at NerdioCon 2022 to our MSP partners and attendees about growing their businesses through DEI. You can check out her ALLIES eBook for a framework anyone can use to become an ally through six simple actions. 

We are incredibly excited to continue our global expansion with the involvement and support of Gavriella and our other board members. She joins Bret Maxwell, MK Capital; Harry Zoberman, Zoberman Advisory Group; and Andy Lees, another former top Microsoft executive with extensive product and enterprise go-to-market (GTM) expertise. Additionally, our CEO and co-founder, Vadim Vladimirskiy is a member of the board.  

Our Chief Revenue Officer Joseph Landes had the opportunity to sit down with Gavriella for a conversation around her decision to join the company in this new capacity and what lies ahead for Nerdio.  

Read our press release and check out the video below for additional details.   

Guest Blog: MSPs – Stop Giving Away Free Consulting Services

By: Lane Smith, CEO, Digital Maturity Advisors

Do you find yourself offering free consulting services to your customers? I’m talking about actions such as scoping out the project, maybe even doing some technical design architecture, working with third party vendors, and really trying to understand the customer’s business needs well before you ever give them a proposal for the technology solution that they want to implement.

If so, you really are like most MSPs who are facing the challenge that technology has become increasingly complicated over the past few years, yet the relationship between the customer and the IT provider hasn’t really changed. During the sales cycle, customers expect you to provide these services for free to ‘earn’ their business. Quite honestly most MSPs don’t know how to ask to get paid for this and don’t have time to debate the “why”.

The problem really boils down to that by doing all of the design and scope work upfront, you are pulling a lot of your engineering resources and engineers’ time away from billable services. Additionally, in the back and forth of bringing on a new customer and progressively understanding their environment better, it’s common to end up with scope creep. Where, once again, you’ll find yourself delivering services for free because it’s hard to go back to the customer and tell them you missed something and need more time or money.

What is even worse, of course, is if you don’t win the deal at all. In this instance not only have you wasted all this engineering time, which results in less billable hours, but you have also spent valuable sales time which takes away from closing other opportunities.

So, the harsh reality is that by giving away services for free, your MSP now has less resources to support new sales efforts, you are not getting the proper billable utilization out of your technical teams, and across the board you are lacking the time and resources you need to grow your business.

Let’s look at six steps to take in solving this problem:

1. Make It Clear You Don’t Give Away Services for Free

Yes, I know, easier said than done, so let me give you an example of how to approach this. Next time a customer or prospect asks you for a technology proposal here is an example of what you can tell them.

“Great, we are excited to help you with this project and I know in the past that we, and our competitors for that matter, have always just presented you with a proposal on request. However, as technology has gotten more complex, we need to step back and really understand the business drivers that are encouraging you to make this move. This involves speaking with your employees, understanding their challenges, uncovering what tasks they are doing that will leverage this technology.  Ultimately, we want to gain a clear understanding of your goals for this project so that we can ensure we deliver you the proper ROI and outcomes.

2. Focus On the Business First, Then the Technology

I am sure you have heard the phrase people, process and technology. MSPs tend to focus their time on the technology phase from a billable perspective and give away for free any work they do for the customer regarding the people and process phases of an implementation. By focusing first on the business (the people and process phases) you immediately elevate yourself above your competitors and more importantly can help your customers make the right technology decisions.

3. Always Kickoff the Project with the Key Stakeholders

You want the person that pays the bills in your first meeting and you want all their influencers in that meeting as well. This is when you’ll uncover the outcomes that they desire, what they really want to get out of this project, and any perceived roadblocks or things to watch out for. Take your time. Make it a 60-minute meeting, or even make it two or three 60-minute meetings if needed. Many times, you are going find that when you get in there, they don’t really know exactly why they want to implement the solution they just know they want to do something new and something different as they are trying to grow their business.

4. Have Another Discovery Meeting with as Many End Users as Possible.

For example, if you are going to be implementing Azure Virtual Desktop, try and meet with at least 5-6 people that will be using the solution. Someone from accounting, HR, sales, operations, marketing, etc. Meet with as many people as you can so that you can truly understand the expectations of everyone involved. You want to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. You will find that these employees will give you insights into their challenges that the executive team doesn’t even know exists.

5. Deliver a Discovery Document

This document will include a clear vision, timeline, list of required resources, goals, ROI expectations and ultimately a detailed scope of work and proposal for the technology implementation project.

6. Charge Them for The Services You’ve Provided

We refer to the above five steps as a Dx Discovery Workshop (Dx – Digital Transformation). Based on the size and scope of the project our Certified Advisors are charging from $2,500 to $7,500 for this effort. Remember this is money normally left on the table. 

By following these six tips you are no longer giving away free consulting services. This results in higher bill rates and billable utilization, more time for your sales team to focus on the right customers. Not to mention, you have shown your customer you actually care about their business and are not just looking to make quick money from their technology needs. Additionally, you have a clear plan so when you do implement the technology project there is less opportunity for scope creep and ultimately, you’re going to deliver higher value, and higher ROI to that customer.

What I have covered here today is just one component of implementing Digital Transformation services for your customers. At Digital Maturity Advisors, we offer the framework and blueprints, provide the applications needed and have a complete training and certification program designed to help MSPs learn, implement, deliver on these services. Connect with me on LinkedIn or download our eBook 5 Disciplines of a Future-Proof MSP for MSP business advice.

Azure Virtual Desktop Management

After you have deployed Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD) and migrated your users onto the platform, the next steps are to manage the AVD estate.  

Managing AVD can be problematic due insufficient training or technical skills, especially if IT staff lack skills in Azure. Managing desktops, images and users in an AVD environment requires a different skillset that many end user computing (EUC) teams do not currently have because the service is still relatively new, with new features and functionality being added often.  

AVD management is normally carried out via Business-as-Usual (BAU) teams. The purpose of these teams is to handle the day-to-day running of the Azure Virtual Desktop service and handle any changes or requests which come into the service. AVD management is just one component of the things that these teams manage. They also have many other additional responsibilities within the company like managing and maintaining physical desktops, endpoint devices, physical infrastructure like networking, as well as back-end infrastructure like proxy servers or Active Directory. 

BAU teams are normally comprised of several teams. Those who handle configuration management, service management, and the first, second- and third-line teams. This is not an exhaustive list and there may potentially be others depending on the size of the environment.  

Here are some of the daily responsibilities of BAU teams as they relate to AVD: 

  • Provisioning, assigning and deleting AVD desktops for new and existing staff  
  • Support for desktops, including the desktop OS (Operating Systems) and applications  
  • Desktop image management (Creating new images, monthly patching, application updates, etc.) 
  • Reporting and service management 
  • Security reporting and incident response  

Let’s take a look at some of the features in Nerdio Manager that can help IT teams of any technical level tackle the above responsibilities and better manage AVD.  

User Session Management 

Using Nerdio it is easy to see all sessions which are currently active and inactive across your AVD environment. This is quite difficult to do natively in Azure. Using Nerdio Manager we can perform the following functions: 

  • View all sessions across your workspaces (across multiple host pools) 
  • Send messages to users  
  • Disconnect and log off users 
  • Shadow sessions for remote control  

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Role-Based Access Controls  

Delegating permissions within Azure Virtual Desktop can be quite troublesome and you will not always get the result you want. Nerdio has its own Role-Based Access Controls (RBAC). We also give admins the ability to create custom RBAC roles so IT teams can really fine-tune permissions to give the least privilege access required and maintain a good security posture for the organization at large. 

For each function within the Nerdio console, we can assign a specific permission. So, for example, we can assign permissions associated with the following roles: 

  • AVD Admin – Gives access to everything within the Nerdio console  
  • Help Desk – Full access to user session management only  
  • Reviewer – Read-only access to everything 
  • Desktop Image Management – Only able to manage desktop images within the Nerdio console  

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Image Management  

Image management is a huge piece of day-to-day AVD management. Multiple teams are involved to ensure images are secure and have the appropriate applications and configuration settings required. 

Images can be difficult to deploy, update and manage natively in Azure without the use of optimization or automation technologies. There will likely be multiple PowerShell scripts involved, routine testing to complete, and a consistent need to roll out the images to existing session hosts.  

Nerdio can help make this process drastically easier as we have all the automation scripts in place to do it for you. We offer the following automation capabilities within Nerdio to help with image management: 

  • Creation and management of the Azure Compute Gallery for copying images to multiple regions 
  • Application installation and deployment using Nerdio Scripted Actions  
  • Backing up of images before update  
  • Automated & scheduled image update procedures 
  • Desktop image staging 
  • Scheduled image updates of existing Azure Virtual Desktop hosts 

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FSLogix Profile Management  

Most AVD environments we come across use FSLogix as their choice of profile management tool.  Mainly this is common because it works so well and it is fully supported to use alongside Azure Files.  

Nerdio helps you to manage FSLogix profiles much more easily. Our features listed below allow IT to create, manage and optimize FSLogix profiles on a day-to-day basis.  

  • Create the Azure Files storage accounts and performs the domain join  
  • Automatically configure Azure Share & NTFS permissions  
  • Close file handles for locked FSLogix profiles 
  • Auto-scaling for FSLogix storage for performance and capacity  
  • Schedule automatic shrinking of the FSLogix profiles to reduce capacity and cost 

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As you can see from the above, Nerdio really does help with the day-to-day management of Azure Virtual Desktop environments. Everything we do at Nerdio is built with the IT admin (and your end-users) in mind to make your job easier. If you have any questions or queries about AVD management and how Nerdio can help streamline and simplify, contact us and we would love to chat with you about your environment or needs.  

Introducing Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Premium Edition  

Business and IT are progressively intertwined as enterprise organizations tackle remote and hybrid work initiatives and execute digital transformation at scale. IT needs to have a strong strategy and investments to support the growth of the business, its customers, and employees in the future. But it also must support all of these components today without downtime or operational disruption.  

Since its launch in 2020, enterprises across verticals have turned to Nerdio Manager for Enterprise to tackle both in tandem with a move to Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). Today we are excited to introduce Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Premium edition that accommodates and addresses the needs of enterprise organizations with large or complex deployments of AVD.  

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Premium Features 

Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Premium edition includes support for multiple deployment architectures such as cross-sovereign Azure cloud AVD deployments (i.e., Azure Government Cloud) and split Azure AD tenant AVD deployments. Other features include advanced auto-scaling and storage optimizations, automated Windows 365 license management, disaster recovery options, custom RBAC (Role Based Access Control) roles, per-user and per-group Azure cost attribution, REST API, Azure DevOps support, and so much more. 

Choosing Between the Premium and Standard Editions  

Please visit our Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Plans & Pricing page for a side-by-side comparison of features available in the Premium and Standard editions. You have the ability to “show Premium features only” by selecting the button as shown below.  

Since the product’s launch, we have added a TON of complex, advanced features that bring a lot of value in reducing the complexity of AVD deployments and migrations. However, not all companies’ AVD journeys will be complex. Customers who do not have a need for the above features should consider using the Standard edition.  

If you need assistance determining which edition best fits your organization’s needs, contact our team today for a free consultation.  

Test Drive Nerdio Manager for Enterprise Premium FREE for 30 Days  

You can trial Nerdio Manager for Enterprise free for 30 days by heading to our Azure Marketplace listing. Once you’re on the page, click “Get It Now” to get started with your trial. Are you a current NME customer? Leave a review on our page by clicking the ‘Ratings + Reviews’ tab!  

All new trials of Nerdio Manager for Enterprise will be the Premium edition. This allows you to experience all the powerful, advanced features available in the product. Admins can downgrade to the Standard edition at any time during the trial, or even after, in the Nerdio Manager portal.