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Nerdio for Azure – FAQs from MSPs

Vadim VladimirskiyFounder & CEO, Nerdio
Windows Virtual Desktop
March 03, 2019FAQs

Does Nerdio’s 2FA technology for desktop logins support authenticator apps, or only SMS-based passcodes?

Nerdio 2FA supports voice, text, email, authenticator apps (e.g. Microsoft Authenticator), and hardware devices. For more details on how to configure an authenticator app, check out this article.

Can I put my own brand on the Nerdio Admin Portal?

Yes! It’s called white labeling and is one of our most popular NAP features.

How do you manage SKUs from O365/M365 - especially packages?

You can assign O365 licenses to individual users. We’d be happy to schedule a demo!

Does Nerdio for Azure support Revit or AutoCAD?

Yes, through the use of assigning hosts of an N-series GPU enabled VM, which comes with nVidia graphics cards.

How accurate is the NFA Cost Estimator?

In one word: accurate. All pricing is real-time from the Azure Pricing API, and as long as the environment you provision matches what you’ve quoted, the NFA cost estimator is correct. If the environment is tweaked after go live, costs may vary, so it’s a good idea to run the setup through the NFA cost estimator again to be certain.

What is your cost model?

Check out our Nerdio for Azure plans page.

Does Nerdio help patch and secure my VMs?

Partners are required to patch VMs using their own RMM patching tool and bring their own anti-malware/anti-virus software. From the operating system and up, partners are expected to manage the OS apps using traditional methods.

What thinclients does Nerdio for Azure support?

Nerdio for Azure uses the standard RDP protocol (v10) with UDP streaming enabled. We also require the use of RD Gateway for encryption of data-in-motion. Any thinclient or software client that support RDP with RD Gateway should work. Some popular thinclients include Wyse, 10zig and IGEL.

The demo I have seen of Nerdio for Azure shows the ability to provision an Office 365 E3 license. Is that the only version of O365 you support or do you support others like E1 or E5?

Nerdio supports a wide range of Office 365 licenses, including E3, E5, EOP1, etc. The initially provisioned environment is a fully functional demo to be presented to your customer, and this is why it requires an E3 license to showcase the Outlook capability (along with a fully functional version of Office ProPlus). After the environment is provisioned, the E3 license can be removed if you’re not intending to showcase these capabilities.

What is the default backup schedule employed by Nerdio for Azure? How would one modify it?

The default backup schedule is 1am CST daily, and retention is 30 days. You can see more details about what’s being backed up in the NAP under In-Region Backup. The schedule and retention can be modified via the Azure Portal in Recovery Vaults configuration blade. Feel free to contact us if you need any help making backup retention or schedule changes.

How do you restore data from backup using Nerdio?

There are a few options to restore data from backup using Nerdio:

  1. Restore entire VM from Azure Backup using the Nerdio Admin Portal.
  2. Restore an individual file (or files) using Windows Volume Shadow Copies (aka Previous Versions). This is enabled by default on all Windows volumes created by the NAP. The default snapshots schedule is 7am and 12pm CST daily. You can right-click on a folder containing the file, go to Previous Versions and select the version you want to restore.
  3. Restore an individual file (or files) from Azure backup by using the Azure Portal.

What servers are installed by default as part of Nerdio’s automated provisioning? Can any servers be excluded either before or after provisioning takes place?

During provisioning of Nerdio, Enterprise 7 virtual machines are created by default:

  1. DC01 – Domain Controller
  2. FS01 – File Server
  3. RDGW01 – Remote Desktop Gateway
  4. RDSH01 – First Remote Desktop Session Host
  5. PRX01 – ADFS Proxy
  6. WS00 – VDI Golden desktop image (shut down, by default)
  7. WS001 – First Demo VDI desktop

You can see a full architecture diagram of what gets deployed here

After the environment is provisioned, some of these servers can be shut down to avoid paying for Azure compute charges if you’re not using the server. DC01 cannot be shut down as it is used for most Nerdio actions. FS01, RDGW01 and RDSH01 are used with RDS virtual desktops. PRX01 is used for ADFS – if you’re not planning to use domain federation with Office 365, this server can be shut down. WS001 is a demo VDI desktop and can be shut down or deleted. WS00 is just an image and is turned off by default.

Nerdio Professional provisioned fewer VMs (4), by default, but with similar roles. You can see the exact VMs provisioned here

Does Nerdio sign BAAs?

Yes, that covers the Nerdio Admin Portal.

Can you help with architecture or topology discussions about an app?

Yes! Let’s chat.

How do you see your Autoscale technology and Microsoft’s RI licensing scheme coming together?

There are two types of auto-scaling in Nerdio. Let’s look at each one individually. 

  1. The first is Autoscaling of RDS collections through the use of Azure VM Scale Sets. Nerdio leverages Azure VMSS to automatically scale out a collection of RDS session hosts. This happens as load increases by adding additional hosts and scale the collection back in after business hours once the CPU load has dropped below a preset threshold. Each scale set has a minimum and maximum number of members. We recommend purchasing a VM reservation (RI) for the minimum number of hosts in the collection and allowing the scale set to spin up additional VMs up and down, as needed.
  2. Autoscaling of individual server VMs, VDI desktops, and individual RDS Session Hosts (ones not part of a collection) is done via scale up/down, rather than out/in as with scale sets. Nerdio allows the administrator to configure “work hours” scheduled for individual VMs and define what happens to these VMs outside of those hours. For instance, a server that isn’t going to be used can be shut down and then automatically powered up right before “work hours” start. Alternatively, the server could be sized down (e.g. go from 8 CPU cores to 2 cores) outside of work hours and then sized back up during work hours. The use of RIs, in this case, depends on the relative difference between during and outside of “work hours”. For example, if a server is expected to be used 40 hours per week and can be shut down the rest of the time, it’s better to use AutoScale instead of purchasing a reservation because 40/168 (total hours in a week) is 24%; savings of 76% compared to running the VM 24/7. By contrast, if a server must be on Monday through Friday and can be shut down on the weekend, then the AutoScale savings is only 29% (48/168) and it would be more cost effective to purchase a reservation, which would provide great savings.

How does Nerdio handle edge cases? For example, I want to put four disks on one server—how do you configure that with Nerdio?

Nerdio supports multiple disks being attached to a single VM. We have built “guardrails” in Nerdio wherever possible to guide the user to make the correct selections. For example, if a particular VM instance doesn’t support more than X number of disks, the Nerdio Admin Portal will make executing that change impossible.

If I make a change in the Azure Portal, does it automatically make a change in the Nerdio Admin Portal?

Yes, changes made to VMs in Azure will be picked up by the Nerdio Admin Portal. Metadata from various underlying system (e.g. Azure, AAD, AD, O365, RDS, etc.) gets refreshed in the background in real time.

Does Nerdio have an open API for ticketing? Can someone write to that?

We do not have API at this time, but it is something we are working on. Stay tuned.

Do you anticipate that your Secure Score Rules will evolve over time and include new rules?

The list will evolve over time. In fact, in the future we will allow partners to add their own rules, too.

Is there any 3rd party software installed by Nerdio for Azure during the provisioning process?

The IT environment provisioned by Nerdio primarily deploys the Microsoft technology stack. Windows desktop multi-factor authentication is enabled via a third-party product. Additionally, web content filtering is provided via a DNS-based third-party solution. Both of these licenses are included in the price of Nerdio for Azure Enterprise.

Can I customize packages and create pricing plans to offer to my customers?

Yes, packaging and pricing are completely up to your discretion. We provide the tools to assist in developing pricing and packages.

Does Nerdio install the OS and RMM agent as well at the time the VM is defined?

Nerdio does provision VMs with OS installed and configured. There are no RMM agents that are currently installed by Nerdio.

Do you have any tiered discounts?

Please contact us for details on volume-based pricing.

How do we print from home with RDP/NFA?

Printing with Nerdio can be done via the network when there is a site-to-site VPN configured between Azure and the location of the printer. When working from a remote location without a site-to-site VPN, printing can be done via RDP printer redirection, which is enabled by default. This allows printing to any locally configured printer via the RDP connection.

Can partners back up Office 365 products such as Exchange or SharePoint to Nerdio for Azure Core?

Yes, Office 365 products such as Exchange and SharePoint can be backed up by third-party backup products without interfering with any Nerdio functionality.

What is the retention of the logs within Nerdio Admin Portal (NAP)?

Log retention is indefinite.

Still have questions? We have answers on a range of topics available on our full FAQs page.