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Notes from Nerdio’s EMEA Field (CTO): A Day in the (Dynamic) Life

My role at Nerdio is very diverse, to say the least. Daily, I am involved with product marketing, sales, presenting at events, demos, product and business development, a little bit of support here and there, various community initiatives, partner management, and more – I wear many hats, as they say. And I can honestly tell you, it is a lot of fun, educational, and fulfilling at the same time.  

When I meet with potential clients or partners, we always do a short introduction to start out with and people often ask “what does your day or week look like?”  So, what are some of the activities that come with all of this? Let me share what an average day of a Nerdio Field CTO looks like.  

Flexibility makes for a solid mix 

First, my role is very flexible, in the sense that I control my own agenda, plan my own meetings, spare time, and more. This gives me the opportunity to balance my private and work life in a way that fits me as an individual, for which I’m thankful. My company, Nerdio, is very openminded, they always take the time differences into consideration since a lot of my colleagues are based in the U.S.  

Usually, my day starts around 07:00 AM CEST, though there are definite exceptions to that depending on my schedule for the day. If I am meeting with someone from Australia, for example, it might be a bit earlier. Or, if I have been working till let’s say 09:00 or 10:00 PM the day before, I might start an hour later, it all depends. Of course, my personal situation/life which differs per day/week as well also plays an important role in all this.  

My focus is on the EMEA region, though I try to help out in other parts of the globe if it makes sense and fits everyone’s time schedules. Something we coordinate internally.  

Cold and dark makes for productive mornings

At Nerdio, we like to move fast and there is always room for ideas, initiatives regardless of shape or form, something I truly love about what I do. It often happens that when I wake up in the early morning, even before my wife and (2-year-old) son is up, I’m so pumped to get started I can’t sleep anymore. Before I know it, I am out of bed (trying to keep the noise to a minimum), grab myself some coffee and start cramming away with whatever it is that I might be working on.  

I don’t know about you, but I love it when it’s cold and still dark outside when I’m behind my desk looking over the water from my home office – another thing I am grateful for. It’s one of the few things I like about fall and wintertime.  

I also make sure to get enough breaks in between. Days are often 12 hours+ so to stay healthy and sharp I step out for a 10-15 minute walk occasionally to get in some fresh air before getting back into the office. Of course, I always stay near, and I have my phone with me, so if something is up, I’m back behind my desk in minutes, which, to be honest does not happen that often.  

I do not make lists anymore, something which I did do in the past. I learned to organize my agenda and inbox in such a way that it is one of the few things I need to stay on top of everything (is it OK if I say I really like Outlook and Teams?). I’ll make sure to put in reminders where it makes sense and use our CRM system to keep track of everything we are working on as a team as well as individually, it is well organized and automated, something that really helps me in my day-to-day business.  

A day in the life of… 

OK, so let’s have a look at an average day and see what comes up… 

07:00 I wake up a grab myself some coffee, start up my PC, get some music going, check my socials, my agenda / inbox (yes, I do this when I wake up and am still in bed as well) and make a plan for the day. By the way, it’s not something I write down or anything like that, it sort of happens in my head if that makes sense. Days and weeks at Nerdio are, or can be, very dynamic, so being able to embrace and accept change is something you must deal with. PS, when I do write something down, and that happens daily, I use pen and paper!  

07:30 One of my colleagues, Neil Mcloughlin, is based in the UK and also works as a Nerdio Field CTO – though, his approach and day might differ from mine, of course. We often start the day by having a quick chat; what’s going on, need some help with anything, how’s life, what did you think about xyz,(he always keeps a sharp eye on what’s happening within our line of business); that sort of thing – which is always fun, refreshing and it keeps you close to the people you are working with daily even though we do not see each other in real-life (or not yet, anyway).  

The same things happen with my colleagues based outside of Europe, by the way, but usually later in the day.  

In between, I work on two social media posts, one on a new partnership announcement, and another one regarding a new version of NME coming out shorty, as part of our monthly release cycle.  

08:00 I have a meeting planned with a potential customer who would like to learn a bit more about we do, who we are as a company, our portfolio, added value and some general questions on the Azure Virtual Desktop market and business. This takes about an hour, they walk away satisfied, we agreed on next steps, and I’ll speak to them early next week. 

09:00 Some more coffee and a couple of emails that need my attention. A current partner working on two AVD deployments involving Nerdio Manager for Enterprise, is asking about some specific Autoscale configuration settings involving Ephemeral OS Disks. Since this is one of my favourite topics, I take my time and walk him through the process. I suggested a quick call, if necessary, but it turned out this was not needed – happy partner and on they go.  

09:30 I have a meetup planned to talk about a potential partnership, again on Nerdio Manager for Enterprise. We talk about the initial first steps, how we can help to get them moving, support options, marketing, we have a look at some roadmap items, including our release notes, etc. We slightly run over time, but since I do not have a back-to-back meeting scheduled there is no need to rush.  

10:15 I have a few blogposts and a Nerdio specific KB article pending which I started working on a few weeks ago but have not come around to finish them. I put my music back on, have a glass of water and off we go. Again, I was not able to finish them all but made some solid progress.  

11:00 Out for a walk, back in 15!  

11:15 In contact with a few of my Microsoft contacts. We have been actively working on a few deals and it’s all looking good so far.  

11:30 I have a meeting planned with one of our distribution partners on Nerdio Manager for MSP. We are planning a webinar series for the coming months where we will educate their MSP community on Azure Virtual Desktop, Windows 365 / Cloud PC, and of course how Nerdio helps with all this. Excellent session, done early, last coffee of the day coming up.  

12:00 Lunch, while I check out some our latest “demo of the day” videos. Things move so quickly from a development perspective (on both of our solutions) that it can be hard to keep up. This way, I know what’s going on, how it all works, and I can think about how to explain these new features to future and current partners and customers.  

13:00 Neil and I have a quick Teams chat on some upcoming events where we will co-present. What’s the audience like, what should we primarily focus on, which slides to include, which demoes to prepare–that type of thing.  

13:30 We have some emails going back and forth, including some shared documents that we are working on as a team. We recently released our Customer Success Packages, which have been a hit from day one. However, the thinking never stops, and we are always looking for ways to improve on what we already have, making it more efficient etc. Always fun to chat with colleagues on the other side of the ocean, who, like myself, are also up bright and early.  

14:00 A deep-dive / training session on both Nerdio Manager for Enterprise as well as MSP with one of my current partners. For 1.5 hours we talk about (and I show) the various options we have available, from a technical perspective mostly, we go over some of our cost savings strategies, how to implement and finally some general Q and A, with a minute to spare, all done and next steps planned.  

15:30 Another walk outside while answering an email or two and have a quick chat via Teams.  

15:45 I spend some time to go through CRM, update deals I have been working on and planning some next steps.  

16:00 We have a Nerdio team meeting planned. We welcome a new colleague to our team, do a round of introductions, talk about the day-to-day business, progress on some exciting bigger projects that we are working on internally (more soon), including NerdioCon, etc. Again, fast paced, to the point, a bit of fun as well, and done in 30 minutes.  

16:30 I meet with one of my colleagues to go over some outstanding deals, we talk strategy, potential roadblocks for the customer, how to help them move forward, which is in the best interest of both parties. Again, 30 minutes done and dusted.  

17:00 Working on a document for one of my (soon to be) customers to help them convince management AVD/Nerdio is the way to go, including a (financial) business-case, a comparison overview, and a few general questions they had pending – well received.  

17:30 Good news, one of my bigger MSP partners have onboarded two new clients onto Nerdio Manager for MSP and another deal closed on the Enterprise side on things – A quick note to the customer in question as well as the MSP, updated CRM, job done, another 500-user deployment in the books.  

18:00 Almost diner time here in NL, but I still have some time to answer a few emails. Specifically, an internal thread that has been going for a few days where we discuss an upcoming community initiative that we have been working on and thinking about. I wish I could say more already, but I can’t, unfortunately. Also checked in with a few clients to see how they are progressing with their PoC’s.  

18:15 Dinner, some play time, get my son to bed, you know the drill!

19:30 Wrapping up my day, some final emails, another quick chat via Teams, and since the U.S. is now in full swing, I’m getting some questions from a couple of colleagues, which I’m always happy to answer while having a beer and watching Netflix.  

20:00 I send out some final notes (while in my living room) to our product development team regarding some feedback/ideas/requests I collected over the last couple of days. Who knows, it might end up on our roadmap, as it often does.  

Of course, during the day there’s a lot more going on in between as well, WhatsApp, Twitter, LinkedIn, direct messages, etc. We talk about various community initiatives, not always with Nerdio colleagues per se, there’s email coming in from various sources that also needs attention, but that would all be too detailed to mention, as you can probably imagine.  

Every day is different, every day is busy, every day is fun – that would be my summary on working for Nerdio throughout the past year and a half (almost)! The team spirit is high, the ambition level even higher, we are fast-paced and the whole team is there to help each other out, no questions asked. 

Thank you, Nerdio.  

Let’s see where the next 18 months takes us! 

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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