Category: What’s new?

New RES product packaging, part 1 of 2

By Max Ranzau

 

packFrom the Packaging&Shipping dept. Today some major changes were announced on the product packaging side. While it doesn’t affect the technical operations of the products (sorry, the unified license server is not there yet), it does have conceptual impact, which we all would do well to wrap our collective gray goo around. This is the first part of a two-phase announcement, the second one is coming out on May 24th next week during Synergy. Let’s run through the most important bits of the first announcement to understand what’s going on here. The headlines are as follows:

  1. WM and AM are merging into one product. This means that the current stand-alone product Automation is going to be part of Workspace. Again the consoles aren’t merging, this is just a licensing and naming change:
  2. Free RES Core for Workspace. This is essentially just the consoles plus basic functionality, like we’ve seen in the earlier Express versions of Workspace Manager and PowerFuse. For example Core has UserSettings, however only at the global level. If you want the per-app user settings, you will need the new Composition module. See item 4 below.
  3. No more metal versions. The old Bronze, Silver and Gold names have gone the way of the Dodo. This is a good thing, because it means you can now mix and match the editions without having to start out with the mandatory Bronze (configuration and user settings).
  4. Workspace will now have 4 modules:
    • Composition – Same as always (application based user settings, console configuration, app/shortcut management). This is what used to be in the old Bronze more or less.
    • Security – This includes the well-known managed app security, dynamic privileges/process elevation , network security, etc. One thing I didn’t see on the list was Read-only blanketing, however we’ll have to see if it’s still in there.
    • Governance – New name for the module formerly known as Advanced Administration. Contains administrative roles, usage tracking, auditing performance components and license management of managed apps.
    • Automation – This is essentially Automation manager lobbed into the mix as a WM module, where desktop is licensing is inferred, however these are still licensed separately per desktop and I’ll have to presume that any needed servers in the mix are still being licensed differently than desktop. Acording to RES, Automation also comes with some (as of yet undefined) predefined building blocks.
  5. Pricing. The MSRP still holds at $€30 per named user for all modules, with the exception of the free Core. However, it still remains to be seen if RES will be offering a bundling discount if you purchase the whole Workspace product.

According to RES Marketing, these changes are scheduled to go into effect early July 2016. Finally as indicated above, this is the first of a two-part announcement, the second going official next week during Synergy in Las Vegas. However it goes without saying that Service Store was not mentioned above. I will also be investigating what the new Suite with everything will look like. Stay tuned!

 

Inside Workspace Manager 2014 SR2

res-wm2014-00From the Nuts&Bolts Dept. November 2014 saw the release of Workspace Manager 2014 Service Release 2. You may have read the initial post over at RES, but as always here at RESguru.com we like to kick the tires and take it for a spin around the block. There’s several items in this release that are important to know about and I’m going to highlight some and give you my view on them.

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article

Free RES Consultancy

Is your company a RES Software customer? Are you considering if you are getting enough out of your investment? Want to make sure you’re doing it right, and the products have been implemented as they should to suit your business needs? Have a great use-case but not sure how to best go about it?

Why not take advantage of the 15 years of RES experience through RCS and find out how you can extract even more value out of you RES software purchase. RESguru Consulting offers:

  • wbRES Environment health check
  • Tune-up / Optimizations sessions
  • Best practice audits and advisory
  • Design Q&A whiteboarding sessions
  • Technical Workshops

Reach out today to RESguru Consulting Services for a free 3-4 hour online consultation with no strings attached. Until December 31st 2014, RCS is running a global campaign for new and current RES customers. Only requirement is that you currently own RES licenses. No Software Assurance? Not a problem.

Call +1 610 462 2200 or contact m.ranzau@resguru.com to schedule your free consultation.

 

Welcome – A letter from the Founder

Max Ranzau (aka RESguru 1)My name is Max Ranzau. I founded RESguru.com as a technical blog at the end of of 2008, dedicating my time and efforts towards creating better IT solutions through use of RES Software products in the enterprise. This site is the home of RCS – RESguru Consulting Services and is one of the primary go-to places for independent information, brain-share and tools for the workspace and automation engineers across the planet. I intend to keep it just that way.

If you are a new visitor, allow me a moment to welcome you properly, by immediately dispensing with the glossy marketeering and cut to the chase:

I am here to change Enterprise IT.

I dare to guess that plenty suit & tie jobs have said similar to you over the years. Nothing more or less, it’s the best one-liner by which it can be expressed what RCS does. Fact: it is exceptionally hard to explain what exactly and completely RES Software does in one sentence, without either becoming too vague or a long winded tale. Trust me on this, the good folks at RES Software have been grappling with this conundrum over the last 15 years: Having a stellar product suite, but no quick and singular way of explaining what it does!

I’m not going to pretend I’m driving around with the tomes of messaging wisdom* in my trunk. However, that is not going to prevent me from pitching in my two cents. As I see it, there are two main avenues of putting RES technology into context:

A) Presuming you’re technically oriented:  tbox

  • Get rid of complexity in  policy management, point-solution utilities and scripting. You know as well as I, that enough of this, or  by inheriting someone else’s hand-me-down environment, you’ll be up to your eyeballs figuring out what’s going on before you can make any changes.
  • Best profile+configuration management: Microsoft’s ways of handling configuration, both central (policies) and users (profiles) haven’t changed much in 20 years. The RES Suite will make profile management work smoothly for you.
  • Automation of complex script-less tasks across the entire IT estate, independently of domains. 150+ built in graphical tasks range from the simplest of deployment/configuration items to VDI, Mobile Device Management and Helpdesk, integrating with all the major vendors.
  • Workflows can be automated. The RES Suite will allow a company to define and execute workflows for almost anything that can be given to a user. It’s all about service. I usually tell my students that you can make workflows for giving employees their phones, forklifts or PhotoShop. It doesn’t matter as you model the business in the software, define who is qualified to automatically get or request what, assign any approvals to the workflow and then tie it all into the automation and configuration management where necessary. The real strength here is that all 3 products in the RES Suite talk together.
  • Documentation: As engineers, we just love cranking it out by the page, right? That was sarcasm! We love building great solutions but creating the associated paperwork afterwards is a hassle, even if it’s billable. For admins in terms of auditing, it’s the same challenge. The RES suite can do the documentation for you.

The RES Suite is like a well-organized Swiss Army knife, with 15.000+ blades. There are loads of other things the RES suite can do for you, and hopefully you’ll get a sense of this when you browse through the Tech Library of the RESguru site. There is over 100 and counting free practical how-to articles on how to solve common everyday problems with RES technology. Have a look at the intro page here for a proper introduction and tour around the site.

brfcaseB) Presuming you are financially oriented:

  • 60% savings on current support/helpdesk/administrative load is not unheard of.
  • 90% savings on external consultants camping in your data-center for months at a time as your own staff becomes able to do most things faster on their own. These kind of numbers been reported by some of my clients.
  • 20% more users typically on a central environment – just by virtue of efficient management.
  • No doctors with flashlights were involved in obtaining the numbers above! These are based on real RES projects that I have worked over the last 15 years. Having said that, obviously your mileage may vary in accordance with what you are trying to solve.
  • Business Processes – any organization has them. If your ever move people around, hiring or firing, the IT folks are usually the last to know, resulting in a long time before new employees can do what they’re paid to or exposing the company to unnecessary risk, by not closing down access properly when someone leaves. Sometimes I encounter customers who have custom-built and rather byzantine systems in place, some may be even manual of tossing around emails or even paper forms for approvals. As long as nothing changes you can maintain status-quo, however when the business requirements change, that’s where your costs become evident.
  • Appsense. Have you been struggling with their products for too long not being able to get things to work for you as promised? Spent countless hours having consultants in and out the door on break/fix missions? It’s time to stop and look at a Real Enterprise Solution.
  • Agility: What can be stood up in a few days by a engineer proficient in RES tech, can in most cases match and trump what would take a team of engineers using classic tools and methodology several months to implement.

The above should provide you with an decent idea of what is within the realm of the possible in the RES universe. RES technology is not rocket science, it’s just good product design and common sense for the modern enterprise. Covering the entire RES Suite, RCS offers the following on all VDI platforms, TS/Citrix, Laptops, Mobile devices, Windows and Linux environments:

  • Consulting, advisory and managed service agreements for new and existing RES installations
  • Scoping and technical presales assistance to integrators
  • Design and technical architecture documentation
  • Implementations, remote and on-site.
  • Technical competitive analysis. Here is a couple of examples.
  • Training, Education and Workshops in all RES products both online and on-site. See this for details.

For information on services, rates, schedules and anything else, reach out via the contact page , or call +1 610 462 2200. I look forward to talking with you.

With best regards,

Max Ranzau

 

RESguru Consulting goes live!

Hi everyone, it’s been a while. Plenty has been happening on Planet RES for the last few months, which why I’m here today to bring you a very exciting announcement. For me this year, the American independence day will have double meaning:

As of today July 1st 2014, I am launching RESguru Consulting as a  company. Specifically I am offering consulting, design, implementation and training/workshop options to anyone who is looking at RES Software automation, workspace or self-service solutions.

Having worked actively with RES products for the last 1½ decade, trained hundreds of consultants, admins and several instructors in the ways of the Force, I am now putting my services and experience at your direct disposal.

I am based in the San Francisco bay area, yet available internationally. For further information, call (+1) 610 462 2200, email m.ranzau@resguru.com or reach out via LinkedIn. See my profile page here, for a backgrounder and more information.

To everyone who’s been following and enjoying the site over the years, rest assured – all the content and goodies will stay up on RESguru.com and more are being added in the future.

I look forward to working with you.

Max Ranzau

 

Workspace Life on Windows 10

By Max Ranzau

 

Update April 28th 2015: SR3 now has experimental support for Windows 10 and probably works alot better now than described below. While they haven’t tested it fully, according to a partner seminar held today, RES will accept support tickets now on Windows 10 based systems running Service Release 3.

From the Somebody-had-to-try-it Dept. So, the other day I decided to check out Windows 10 and see how it works with RES WM SR2. You may recall I did a similar piece on Windows 8 back in the day, where we looked at alternative ways to bring back the start menu. Bringing back the start menu via the RES classic shell may not be that important anymore, as the Windows start menu is (almost) back in business. See further down. The obvious question I wanted an answer to is, how well does the RES products work at this point with the Win10 tech preview. I deployed the usual complement of endpoint items onto the Windows 10 client:

  • RES Workspace Manager 2014 SR2
  • RES Automation Manager 2014 SR2
  • RES IT Store Client

Logging in: I gave the stack a quick whirl to see what works and not. No, I did not test every nut & bolt. Allegedly there’s people at the mothership that get paid to do that.. ;) After installation I set the WM Composer to Automatic and logged in as a regular user. First thing I noticed; I got what looked like the dreaded black screen of death. Okay, unfazed this gave me an opportunity to test the Automation Manager agent. I scheduled an AM module to reboot the computer and it came up again nicely. I decided to switch the workspace composer back to manual and launch the Composer binary pwrstart.exe by hand, to see if/when anything went pear-shaped. It seemed to launch okay. Deciding it might have been a fluke (tech preview and all), I set the composer back to automatic and logged in again. WM’s Composer seemed to come up fine again and again after that. So far so good.

win8focusgroupStart Menu management: As most of us know by now, Microsoft finally opted to send the poo-flinging primates who occupied their Windows 8 focus group room back to the zoo. As mentioned above the start menu is back. Well… sort of – I guess they had to compromise somewhere, so instead of the horrible fullscreen Metro/Modern tablet experience that blotted out your Windows 8 desktop, now the Start menu has been expanded with a “mini-metro” to the right. I for one can live with that. Thanks for listening Microsoft!

win10 with res wm

nowin9By the way, if you’re wondering why they skipped the Windows 9 version, one possible explanation is to avoid potential issues with software checking for or against oldschool Windows 95 or Windows 98. Think about it; chances are if you’re a developer and wrote a line of code to make sure your software does not attempt to run on old Win9x, you might just use a wildcard like Windows 9* – Q.E.D.

schmockeandapancakeAs for RES Workspace Manager 2014 on the Win 10 Tech preview, it’s hardly surprising the WM start menu management doesn’t work 100% yet. Ischn’t tish weird? I’m shure tere’sh shomewone working on tish (that’s how you write with a Dutch accent, kids. Don’t try this at home :) Seriously though, it’s clearly evident the Startmenu has undergone a large overhaul, thus it’s likely working differently than the current release of Workspace Manager thinks. For example Replace Mode does not blow away the start menu, instead it looks like Merge Mode for now. Also there is obviously no way as of yet to handle the tiles. If the next FR/Major release of WM does not support native tile management then if someone figures out the proper HKCU/%userprofile% hacks to wrangle them, let me know. Placing desktop icons on the desktop seems to work as well too. Besides that, Process Intercept seems to work just fine too.

ITS Client: One thing I noted, when you install the RES IT Store Client, it doesn’t launch when you have switched shortcut management to replace mode. This is not entirely unexpected as Win7 does the same thing. WM removes the Startup folder when in replacemode, i.e. the ITS client doesn’t launch as a result. It’s just a little bit weird when WM seems to leave the startmenu alone on Win10. Anyway this is not a hard snafu to overcome, if you’re currently testing the tech preview, just add an Execute Command item to launch “%programfiles%\RES Software\IT Store\Client for Windows\resocw.exe” at session start. Alternatively you could create an AM job that launches said binary in HKLM\…\Windows\Run.

mr-potato-headOther small potatoes: Putting up a wallpaper logo from WM, I noticed that Windows 10 apparently doesn’t care for if you select placement in one of the upper corners. The wallpaper will be placed centered on the screen. Other than that, for obvious reasons, neither WM or AM is currently able to natively determine it’s Windows 10 as there aren’t zone/team/condition rules for it yet. Again, if you’re hacking around the tech preview, you could consider create a zone that checks for a registry key identifying the OS, like I’ve previously described here for Win8 back in the pre-release days. You would instead be looking for the value ‘Windows Technical Preview’ and perhaps the number in the CurrentBuildNumber REG_SZ value.

conclusionIn summary: the WM/Win10 combo looks very promising. Already now with a few limitations it’s actually quite usable, if not just for starting to become familiar with Windows 10 in a workspace manager context. According to the twitterati Windows 10 will be available “late 2015”, possibly in July.

Until then, keep doing things you’re not supposed to do! ;)

 

Workspace Manager 2012 SR4 Highlights

By Max Ranzau

 

From the Look-Somebody-Had-To-Write-About-This Dept. It’s been a couple of weeks and fairly unannounced the Service Release 4 was released on Nov 11th. I’ve been up to my eyeballs in training so blogging’s been kinda put on the backburner a while. Anyway, here is an overview of selected items I found interesting in the this SR. You can download the full releasenotes at the end of this article and have a closer look yourself.

  • Several performance enhancements in both the console and the agent. Pretty much all the Composition items have received a noticeable performance overhaul and things load faster into the console in general. License processing, Drivemapping and many other things have received a tune-up. Of special notice is the Context | Directory Services, where there now is a new option to “Get group membership using tokens (faster)”. You’ll want to look into this option for multi-domain environments, especially if there’s cross-domain resolving going on.
  • The App-V integration has also seen several overhauls. When you do a Execute Command configuration|action on an App-V managed app, you now have a checkbox to run outside the virtual bubble. In application UserSettings, it’s now also possible to edit what’s being picked up in the Targeted items to capture. Previously WM would grab everything but the kitchen sink for a virtual app. User Restore of App-V items have also been improved however there’s no details as to the specific improvement.
  • A new Lockdown and Behavior option to hide log off in startmenu has been added. Let’s hope this feature isn’t on per default as hide shutdown on workstations is in SR3 (for further details, see Things WM does per default)
  • Registry modification under Composition now has the ability to ignore registry redirection on x64 platforms. This is quite useful if you want to make sure a given registry key goes where it’s supposed to without interference from the OS.
  • Special registry types like OutputReport, ReportStyle, REG_NONE are now supported. I have no idea what these do just yet, but I guess we’ll find out along the way.
  • User Settings now support a direct path for specifying the location of the Personal Settings folder. Check the releasenotes for further info. This is important.
  • Application Icons either pinned or in the startmenu have received yet another overhaul. Hopefully the old blocky icons are now a thing of the past.
  • New registry setting to control if the User Settings caching process is launched (if you’re not using laptops, use this reghack to turn it off). See the updated WM registry guide here. Note, there are several other registry items in this release under the fixes section. I’ll update the registry guide with these asap.
  • There is however one particular new setting which stands out. Look for InterceptManagedApps in the releasenotes. From SR3 Update 8, an interesting new feature has been added to preserve the original command line of managed applications. This is one to watch as it effectively will no more PwrGate.exe shortcuts. Expect a future article about this particular item once I’ve tested it.

In summary this service release is mostly performance enhancements, and the obligatory bugfixes – yet there are several interesting thing to dig into. For more information, go have a look at the releasenotes.

Click here to download:

 

 

Workspace Manager SR3 Highlights

By Max Ranzau

 

Update: Since the June 12th, the SR3 9.7.3.0 release has been updated. If you already read this article, cut to the chase below.

From the Yay-New-Toys! Dept. Yesterday we got the long awaited Workspace Manager Service Release 3. Due to yours truly being 6-9 hours behind the rest of the RESverse here in the Bay Area, you won’t hear it first on RESguru, but at least I get dibs on diving into the deep end of the feature pool and perhaps fill in a few blanks that you weren’t aware of. This time we’re in for a treat as there are several new SR3 features to look at. [RANT=ON] It took a little while extra tonight, as the retarded WordPress editor decided to hose my article – twice! And autosave had gone fishin’ as well..#@%&! [RANT=OFF] Anyway, you will find the release notes for download at the end of this article. Here is some of the new enhancements and features in no particular order: Read more »

What’s new in RES Hyperdrive 2.1

Animated, Gears, boxA  new technote has been posted to the Technote Library. This time Rob Aarts is going into the details of the latest release of RES Hyperdrive 2.1 so you can familiarize yourself with the new features. The article describes the new “non-caching” mode, integration and management from Workspace Manager, The new admin dashboard and much more.

doc-icon2<<< Click here to read the article