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Introducing: Nerdio Manager for MSP

Exciting times here at Nerdio. Last week we officially released the public preview of Nerdio Manager for MSP, or NMM for short. In this blog series I would like to share with you the reason behind this solution and talk a bit more about the multi-tenant management capabilities it has to offer. Managing and optimizing Azure Virtual Desktop combined with Azure IaaS virtual machines, as well as various native Azure services, has never been easier.

Nerdio Manager for MSP is a brand new and one of a kind multi-tenant Azure Virtual Desktop and Azure IaaS management solution. Designed from the ground-up while leveraging some of the most powerful features and functionalities you have come to know from Nerdio for Azure (NFA) and Nerdio Manager for Enterprise (NME).

No Easy Task

Managing, fine tuning, and optimizing AVD deployments is no easy task – no matter how good your PowerShell and/or DevOps automation skills are, as I am sure many of you have found out by now. Never mind the risk it brings and the time it consumes. That’s one of the main reasons why Nerdio Manager for Enterprise has been a hit from day one.

Thousands of companies are running and managing tens of thousands of virtual machines, applications, images, and even more users on daily basis — with ease, I might add. The word spreads fast.

Given its split-tenant architecture – NME is deployed within the primary Azure AD tenant of the customer, meaning a dedicated NME installation per tenant – and it being deployed through the Azure marketplace make that NME is secure by design and offers a ton of flexibility.

Flexibility when it comes to standing up entire AVD environments within 60 minutes or less, for example, by onboarding existing AVD deployment within minutes after NME has been installed, but also from a development perspective – it’s no coincidence that we come out with new versions of our software on a monthly basis, sometimes even twice a month.

The Challenge

While the above approach is a perfect fit for Enterprise type companies; for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), this is a different story.

Personally, I have worked with multiple MSPs throughout 2020, implementing Nerdio Manager for Enterprise for their customers, organizing training sessions, building an Azure Cloud practice helping them to better support their end-customers, and so on.

However, installing and setting up multiple, sometimes dozens of NME environments (MSPs easily have dozens, if not hundreds of clients), again, one per tenant can be a handful. Not to mention managing the various accounts needed to log into the various customer environments and go about your daily business – enter Nerdio Manager for MSP.

Introducing Nerdio Manager for MSP

Nerdio Manager for MSP offers a unique mix of extreme power, unique AVD management and autoscale capabilities (for AVD as well as IaaS), combined with different forms of automation, auto deployment options, native Azure integrations, and a pallet of user, IaaS virtual machine, security, and Microsoft 365 management options.

The best thing is, NMM is multi-tenant.

Meaning, as an MSP, you can onboard as many customers as you want while still being able to get to all of them through a single mouse-click once logged in (you only need to log in once) to the main management console.

It brings together the best of both worlds.

Implementing NMM is easy and happens fully automated via the Azure marketplace, however, we offer multiple customer deployment scenario’s, here’s a high-level overview of what’s possible:

  • Greenfield – no Azure footprint whatsoever. Up and running in 60 minutes.
  • Landing zone only – existing AD or AADDS. Up and running in 30 minutes.
  • Existing IaaS – existing Azure environment. Up and running in 10 minutes.
  • Existing WVD – existing AVD deployment. Up and running in 10 minutes.
nerdio deployment scenarios

Because of its architecture (similar to Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, though multi-tenant, we’ll spend more time on that in part two of this series) it offers the same flexibility and extensibility as Nerdio Manager for Enterprise. Enabling us to innovate at a rapid pace and come out with new versions of NMM quickly adding even more features and functionalities.

Our roadmap for 2021 is ambitious, to say the least.  

Networking, backups, disk management, shadowing users, Azure Files, Role Based Access, MSIX App Attach, and more — it is all in there.

In short you will not find a more complete, efficient, and easier to use WVD and IaaS management platform out there.

In part two of this series, we will have a more detailed look the NMM architecture, the underlying resources, and deployment options. Stay tuned, there is much more to share!

Thank you for reading.

Bas van Kaam

Nerdio Field CTO, EMEA

AVD MANAGEMENT

Multi-Cloud and On-Premises Deployment with Azure Stack HCI (Coming Soon)

Deploy Azure Virtual Desktop in Azure and extend the session host VM placement to on-premises and other cloud using Azure Stack HCI. Nerdio Manager automates deployment of session hosts, AVD agent installation, and full integration into the AVD deployment in Azure.

Create a brand new Azure Virtual Desktop environment or allow Nerdio Manager to discover an existing deployment, connecting to existing resources, and manage them.

Deploy Nerdio Manager from Azure Marketplace and configure a new AVD environment with an easy to follow, step-by-step configuration wizard. First group of users can access their AVD desktop in less than 2 hours.

Service providers, system integrators, and consultants can leverage Nerdio Manager’s scripted AVD deployment template. Create complete environments with desktop images, host pools, and auto-scaling in minutes.

Create and manage AVD environments that span Azure regions and subscriptions. Quickly link Vnets and resource groups and manage AVD deployments world-wide from unified portal.

Link multiple Azure tenants under the same Nerdio Manager instance and manage AVD deployments that span Azure AD tenants. User identities and session host VMs can run in separate tenants for maximum flexibilty and security.

Deploy and manage AVD environments that span across sovereign Azure Clouds. Cross-sovereign cloud support allows identity (e.g. users and groups) to be in one Azure Cloud, while session host VMs are in another Azure Cloud.

Management of workspaces, host pools, app groups, RemoteApps & custom RDP settings

Administer every aspect of AVD with Nerdio Manager including workspaces, host pools, application groups, RemoteApp publishing, RDP properties, session time limits, FSLogix, and much, much more. Every Azure service that AVD relies on can be managed with Nerdio Manager.

Deploy and manage AVD session host VMs. Hosts can be created manually or with auto-scaling, deleted on-demand or on a schedule, re-imaged to apply updates, run a scripted action, resized, put into or taken out of drain mode, and more.

Manage user sessions across the entire AVD environment, within a workspace, host pool or on a single host. Monitor session status, disconnect or log off the user, shadow or remote control to provide support, or send user an on-screen message.

End users have the ability to log into Nerdio Manager with their Azure AD credentials and manage their own session, restart their desktop VM, or start a session host if none are started in a host pool. (Ability to resize and re-image own desktop is coming soon.)

Create, link, and manage Azure Files shares including AD domain join. Synchronize Azure Files permissions with host pools, configure quotas, and enable SMB multi-channel. Manage file lock handles and configure Azure Files auto-scaling to increase quota as needed.

Create, link, and manage Azure NetApp Files accounts, capacity pools and volumes. Configure provisioned volume size, monitor usage, and use auto-scaling to automatically adjust volume and capacity pool size to accommodate the needed capacity and latency requirements.

FSLogix configuration can be complex and overwheling, but not with Nerdio Manager. Create one or more FSLogix profiles with all the needed options, point at one or more Azure Files, Azure NetApp Files, or server locations and select from VHDLocations, CloudCache and Azure Blob storage modes.

Multiple identity source profiles can be set up and used automatically on different host pools. Active Directory, Azure AD DS, and Native Azure AD are all supported. Choose the appropriate directory profile when adding a host pool and all VMs will automatically join this directory when being created.

Create a copy of a host pool with all of its settings: auto-scale config, app groups and RemoteApps, MSIX AppAttach, user/group assignments, VM deployment settings, etc. Save time by creating host pool “templates” that can be cloned to any Workspace, Azure region or subscription instead of starting from scratch.

Apply user session time limits at host pool level. Automatically log off disconnected sessions, limit the duration of idle sessions, control empty RemoteApp session behavior and more.

Assign Azure AD users to personal desktops to ensure the user will log into a pre-configured VM. Un-assign personal desktops from users who leave the organization and re-use these VMs for new users.

Pre-configure custom Azure tags for all Azure resources associated with each host pool. Tags can be used for charge-back and cost allocation by host pool.

When creating session hosts using NV-series VMs NVIDIA and AMD GPU drivers are automatically installed.

Move existing host pools from Fall 2019 (Classic) object model to Spring 2020 (ARM) object model. Choose to whether to move or copy user assignments. Existing session hosts are automatically migrated or new ones can be created in the ARM host pool.

Automatically enable and configure AVD integration with Azure monitor. Zero configuration required. Azure Monitor Insights for AVD can be used instead of or in conjunction with Sepago Monitor.

AVD personal desktops to Windows 365 Cloud PC migration (Coming Soon)

Migrate users from AVD personal desktops to Windows 365 Enterprise Cloud PCs using an existing image and user assignment. (Coming soon)

WINDOWS 365 ENTERPRISE MANAGEMENT

Cloud PC License Usage Optimization (Coming Soon)

Cloud PC device lifecycle management

Cloud PC user group assignment

Intune primary user management on Cloud PCs

Migrate AVD personal desktops to Cloud PCs (Coming Soon)

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