MyCloudIT’s staff talks frequently with customers and prospective customers about the value of true Desktop as a Service and how it actually works within organizations.
From time to time, we’ll share some of the questions they’re asked, along with their answers, in a column we’ll call Ask MyCloudIT. We also welcome your questions for answer in future columns.
Today’s initial installment is excerpted from a series of questions posed by a managed IT services provider looking to leverage true DaaS on behalf of its clients:
On Special Management Applications
Question: Since we’re an MSP, we use a managed anti-virus product that is incorporated with our managed applications, which obviously update database definitions via the Internet. Would our management application work on the virtual workstations and virtual server? This application is really a very small agent allowing us to receive health updates, manage machines remotely without having to put users out of business for any period of time, and install, monitor and manage anti-virus/anti-malware/anti-spyware/anti-root kit software.
Answer: You can install any software on the session hosts as long as it is compatible with Windows Server 2012 R2. You also can assign special permissions to that application so that only specific users can make use of it, if that is what you need. Regarding the automatic definitions via Internet, you probably have to set up a firewall rule in order to make it work correctly, but your antivirus should work fine in our platforms.
On Anti-Virus Protection
Question: Since the virtual workstations do not come with anti-virus protection, I'm assuming that the server does not either. Is this correct?
Answer: Yes, that is correct. Currently, we do not install any special software in the servers since antivirus preferences and software licenses vary with every customer.
Question: Your product does come with the Azure backup solution already for the workstations and the server, so we will not need to install and configure any other onsite/offsite backup solutions, correct?
Answer: Your data is stored on secured Microsoft datacenters using Geo-redundant storage (GRS). This enables failover in case of a major failure in the primary location. Be aware though that we provide redundancy, not backup, meaning that your data is always going to be up, but the integrity of your data is your responsibility. If your data is corrupted and you want to go back to 1-2 days ago, then you will need to set up a backup system for the whole network. We can provide help setting this up, but it does not come by default with the platform.
On Making External Connections
Question: Will other RDP connectors function from the virtual workstation to another server in some other geographical location? I’m asking because we have some health care clients using cloud-based EHR (electronic health records) applications/databases, and the EHR applications are located on yet a different server for EHR purposes only.
Answer: Yes, you can perform an RDP connection from our virtual desktops to your EHR servers. You can use your virtual desktops as if they were a personal computer. The only difference is that it’s in the cloud.
On Remote Installations
Question: To install applications to the virtual server and/or virtual workstations, can we push across the Internet, i.e. using local CD/DVD's, or is it download-only?
Answer: You can download, obviously, but using the Remote Desktop Client you can also share a local folder with your virtual desktop. As an administrator, you can open and execute anything that you have in your local machine.
On 24/7 Support
Question: Where is your 24/7 support located? What kind of support do they provide?
Answer: Our support team is located in Dallas, Texas. The MyCloudIT team is staffed 24x7 by skilled technical support engineers and Windows 2012 R2 experts.
On Hardware and Software Upgrades
Question: Is hardware and software upgrade and updated as needed? i.e. presently the Server is 2012 R2 and the workstations are Windows 8.1. What happens when server 2015 is released, and Windows 9.5 (so to speak). Are the platforms upgraded on a Microsoft lifecycle basis?
Answer: Yes, hardware and software are maintain by Microsoft itself, so when newer machines are released, then we automatically upgrade your Virtual Machines, keeping the same pricing. Regarding software, when there is a new OS version you will see the updates on your desktop. You decide whether you want to install them or not. In the case of a major change, for example W2015, we could perform that upgrade manually if you want. However, keep in mind that compatibility issues and the bugs that come with every new OS release will not be our responsibility.
On MSP Discounts
Question: I believe I saw on your website that you offer MSPs a 15 percent discount. Is this correct?
Answer: Yes! Plus 3 best practices to save up to 30% in Azure consumption.