Profile Management

Profiles are an integral part of your Desktop Delivery solution in whatever environment you choose to operate from, cloud-based solution, on premises or hybrid. Whether you are upgrading to the next version of the operating system or migrating from one cloud provider to another you will want to pay careful attention to profiles.

MK7 recommends additional tools for securing policy management that go beyond the standard capabilities within Microsoft Group Policies. These additional tools allow for the creation of a single, portable profile that will enable your organization to move to any other platform without any disruption. This will dramatically reduce your costs and errors with your future upgrades and migrations.

Your users will remain productive because they will experience their familiar desktop workspace on every computing platform. Your operations teams will spend less time and effort with change-management, and your administrators will have and automated control of the user environment. Last but not least, you will be happy to provide your entire organization with the flexibility to easily migrate from one environment to another as circumstances change and business requirements shift.

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Profile Management Supporting All Major Cloud Providers

Provides policy, profile and security management enabling portability for your organization across all Windows OS workspaces as well as physical, RDS, virtual and cloud.

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Application Rights Management

Go beyond Microsoft Group Policies and set context-aware standards for data management, desktop lockdown and more. Application Restrictions and Privilege Elevation features ensure granular security and management of your users.

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Profile Containers

Support for extremely large users' profiles on a VHD or VMDK, solving issues related to MS Office 365 Index /Search and Cache Mode. Improve your end users experience with lightning-fast startup.

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Application Management

Managing delivery of monolithic and microservices-based applications can be challenging. Only Citrix Application Delivery Management (ADM) provides one-click provisioning and gives you holistic visibility and operational consistency across your on-premises and cloud environments. All the insights you need—from a single pane of glass.

With ADM, you're able to monitor and manage your application delivery with ease. ADM allows you to simplify operations, accelerate troubleshooting, and gain invaluable application performance insights.

See your entire multi-cloud environment in one holistic view and drill down on specific details of your application delivery controller (ADC) infrastructure such as application performance, health, and security.

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App Layering

Whether you're planning to deploy virtual applications, virtual desktops (VDI), or you're still deploying to traditional desktops (physical PCs/laptops), application layering allows you to "install" the application into a layering technology, and then deliver on-demand when your end users click the application icon to launch the app.

This approach offers you the most flexibility in deployment methods and offers the lowest administrative effort to maintain your software portfolio.

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App Packaging

FlexApp FastPackaging from Liquidware is the fastest, most straight-forward app layering system in the industry, up to 10x faster than other app layering solutions. FlexApp's intuitive packaging and deployment enables:

  • FastPackaging – package applications in the same amount of time it takes to install them
  • PackageOnce – once an application is packaged, it can be deployed to any Windows OS version that supports that application, whether on physical desktops, virtual desktops, or cloud-hosted desktops
  • Cloud Apps – FlexApp features several pre-packaged cloud based applications. Cloud Apps require zero packaging and enable quick, easy cloning to your own cloud or on-premises environment for production
  • Deploy Applications Faster – applications can be deployed in seconds with Click-to-Layer on-demand capabilities and a quick configuration update process

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App Caching

Deliver built-in high-availability with exclusive FlexApp caching from cloud or SMB to local sessions. This feature supports Caching to stream only blocks of a layer to users' sessions for high-availability on less than dependable networks - an industry first!

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Universal Delivery

FlexApp layers applications and delivers them just-in-time, at user logon or on demand, enabling you to keep base images of Windows workspaces to a minimum. This approach saves your organization time and money by ending Windows desktop image sprawl.

Base image management is streamlined because it is decoupled from your organization's applications. Fewer images are required and can be easily handled with in-house management solutions.

FlexApp radically streamlines the way organizations manage and deliver applications on Windows workspaces. This solution effectively ends the days of modifying Windows OS base images through cumbersome application installation processes.

FlexApp is compatible with any Windows workspace -- physical, virtual or cloud. Supported platforms include Microsoft WVD, Amazon WorkSpaces, Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops and VMware Horizon View and Microsoft RDS (Citrix Virtual Apps and VMware RDS). Advanced features for Microsoft RDS and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops include the ability to layer applications to individual user sessions with session-based layers.

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App-V Convert to Layer

FlexApp offers two key features specifically for Microsoft WVD environments. The Convert MSXI to layer feature allows FlexApp to take over the delivery of MSIX format applications. The ConvertApp-V to Layer feature allows FlexApp to take over the delivery of App-V applications.

Because of these strategic features, FlexApp is an important complementary solution to Microsoft application delivery solutions, rounding out the spectrum of applications that can be made compatible to run on the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop environment and Azure cloud.

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Policy Management

Policy management is very easy to perform with ProfileUnity which includes a comprehensive set of advanced context-aware filters that go beyond Microsoft's Item Level Targeting. ProfileUnity provided well-documented reports and other features not available in Group Policies, which make it the preferred user profile and environment management tools for thousands of workspace users across virtual and physical Windows desktops.

While you can keep using Microsoft Group Policies (GPOs) and ProfileUnity together, you can also replace most GPOs with ProfileUnity policies which can provide granular control over users and the conditions by which they can access workspace resources. One clear benefit of ProfileUnity policies are much faster login times.

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User Experience Management

Given the rapid shift to work-from-home business models and remote computing solutions, User experience and workforce productivity are more important than ever. MK7 understands the complexities your IT leadership team is facing when implementing, operating and supporting these new computing environments. So while assisting you with designing and implementing your Citrix VDI and desktop solutions, MK7 will also introduce complimentary technologies to optimize all aspects of your systems, ensure User satisfaction and productivity, and simplify/enhance systems management.

MK7 is proud to partner with Liquidware and we are experienced with integrating their tools with your overall management platform. Liquidware is a pioneer in the development of desktop virtualization solutions that complement leading platforms including Citrix® Virtual Apps and Desktops, VMware® Horizon, Amazon® WorkSpaces, physical desktops and Microsoft® WVD and RDSH desktops as well as cloud-hosted desktops on Amazon, Google, and Azure. The following paragraphs describe many of the features and benefits MK7 will present to you.

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End-to-End Visibility

Your support personnel will have the visibility they need into all levels of the workspace infrastructure for rapid diagnosis of issues and remediation.

Diagnosing and troubleshooting issues is a daunting task without a purpose-built solution such as Stratusphere UX from Liquidware. This product is uniquely designed to support a process called a Health Check. A MK7 Health Check using Stratusphere UX gets to the heart of issues in a straightforward, timesaving, highly efficient process. When this tool is implemented your system administrators are able to:

  • Prioritize and focus on those areas having the greatest negative impact on user experience
  • Avoid needle-in-the-haystack troubleshooting exercises that don't provide the visibility necessary to examine your users, machines and applications
  • Drill into machine, user and application details; with the ability to easily expose more or less granularity, as needed
  • Avoid misdirected finger-pointing and determine where user-crippling challenges exist in your environment

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User Centric Focus

Administrators can perform many critical operations directly, without needing the assistance of specialists.

  • Workspace provisioning is optimized, ensuring that all workers receive appropriate compute resources adequate to their requirements.
  • Existing systems are fully leveraged, while new innovations can be incorporated seamlessly.
  • Automation speeds up execution of former manual processes and reduces errors.
  • Unplanned downtime is reduced while user productivity is protected.

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Platform Agnostic

Liquidware is the only independent, platform agnostic vendor in the market to deliver unprecedented innovation. Solutions from MK7 and Liquidware seamlessly support all leading desktop platforms, whether on-premises, physical or virtual, or in the cloud. This feature is a highly important consideration as it is widely anticipated that desktop environments will grow increasingly heterogeneous, encompassing numerous OS, virtual platforms, DaaS and other cloud approaches.

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Diagnostics and Drill Down

Traditional infrastructure-centric monitoring is limited to views of the platform and contributing hardware. Application performance monitoring (APM) tools examine platform components and their interdependence, as it relates to platform delivery. However, monitoring and diagnostics tools from Stratusphere UX, (a Liquidware product delivered by MK7) provides our customers a direct view of workspace performance—a view of the User that is the most authentic and relevant. This allows the IT team to:

  • Prioritize and focus on those areas having the greatest negative impact on user experience.
  • Avoid needle-in-the-haystack troubleshooting exercises that don't provide the visibility necessary to examine your users, machines and applications.
  • Drill into machine, user, and applications details; with the ability to easily expose more or less granularity as needed.
  • Avoid misdirected finger-pointing and determine where user-crippling challenges exist in your environment.

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Operations Support

When supporting helpdesk operations, there are many performance indicators that can be consulted to triage and operationalize an incident. Traditional desktop and workspaces approaches—regardless of whether they are physical PCs, virtual machines or cloud-delivered—tend to focus on the machine or infrastructure. And platform approaches, such as those from Citrix or VMWare, tend to be aimed at secondary indicators or are focused on resources that will not tell you the whole story. The MK7 solution using Stratusphere UX from Liquidware enables the IT team to focus on the user experience from the user's point of view, and will allow system administrators to:

  • Provide detailed analysis of a single user, single machine or single application view, suitable for entry-level desktop admins
  • Execute a cursory point-in-time analysis to help quickly route trouble calls to appropriate, more senior IT team members
  • Leverage a powerful application programming interface (API) to integrate in-guest and user experience metrics into other platforms and solutions
  • Create a shared and agnostic measure of user experience that transcends platform and Windows delivery approach (including physical, virtual, and cloud-based workspaces)

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Onboarding Users

User experience has traditionally been an elusive and subjective means to define user satisfaction and attainment of business goals. Defining success based on the helpdesk phone not ringing isn't a metric most would consider effective. An MK7 solution incorporating Stratusphere UX from Liquidware quantifies the user experience and allows IT leadership to define a measure of success in your user-centric IT products/services. This is key in managing users with a lifecycle approach that includes the ability to:

  • Define a measure of "normal" and set a baseline for user experience—for all users, applications, and machines
  • Support and quantify a migration or change in workspace (e.g., a transition from physical PCs to virtual)
  • Create a user-centric key performance indicator (KPI) to define service levels—when leveraging cloud services or when defining an internal SLA
  • Inventory and understand consumption metrics for applications: by user, by group, by geography, or however you need to understand the data

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Performance Validation

Platforms and infrastructure are a means to an end—the applications and hosted workspaces are what really matter. And when those architectures require a refresh, update, or optimization, it is the IT team's responsibility to ensure the changes provide a positive benefit for the end user. To demonstrate a strong return on your investment requires that you measure the impact of that change. The investment might be a completely new hardware platform, a GPU offload card, or a new tray of solid-state drives. Whatever that might entail, MK7 and Liquidware's Stratusphere UX, arm you with the ability to quantify and trend the user experience so you can:

  • Compare and provide a before-and-after view of user experience secondary to platform and infrastructure changes
  • Utilize a trending metric that can be used to define success, optimize, check the health, and validate performance
  • Validate workspaces with an eye to identify over- and under-provisioning; key to maximizing ROI and TCO
  • Ensure business goals are attained, risk is minimized, and ROI is achieved.

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The ability to meet user expectations and deliver the user experience in a shared infrastructure or cloud environment can be a complex and challenging task. The resources that support platforms, such as those offered by Citrix or VMware, are difficult to troubleshoot and optimize. Beyond on-premises approaches, cloud platforms from Amazon, Google and Microsoft can further complicate the delivery of end-user-experience.

To assist in these efforts, MK7 recommends a solution from Liquidware called SpotCheck that provides a point-in-time inspection methodology. This tool feature outlines a broad-to-narrow series of steps that enable a cursory health check of an existing platform or architecture. The SpotCheck inspection focuses on baselines, key user-experience metrics and leverages known levels of acceptable performance to identify infrastructure and platform constraints that can contribute to a poor user-experience. Some key aspects to the SpotCheck include:

  • Provide a 360° view of virtual desktop resource usage and overall performance.
  • Gain visibility of critical issues, both known and unknown.
  • Identify and provide analysis of bottlenecks and performance issues.
  • Establish real-world thresholds as a baseline to gauge normal/abnormal operations.
  • Document and report on findings to facilitate communications with internal and external. stakeholders and to provide evidence for remediation and resolution.

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Login Breakdown

Login Breakdown provides granular details of the login process including Authentication, Group Policy, Profile Service, License Status, and more.End user satisfaction is essential to a productive workforce and a key IT measurement. For desktop workloads, the End User Experience (UX) begins (and sometimes ends) during the machine boot and login process. Stratusphere UX, a Liquidware product delivered by MK7 provides you IT team very detailed visibility into the events and processes that run during this critically important time. This visibility includes granular detail about all major login steps, including Authentication, User Group Policy, User Profile Service, Per User System Parameters, Themes, Windows License Status Check and Restoring Network Connections, to name a few. The Machine Boot and Login Breakdown Advanced Mode Inspector provides the visibility to optimize and diagnose issues that can impede the boot process. This Inspector allows your IT team to easily see issues at a glance, spending less time troubleshooting and providing administrators with greater path to meeting user experience objectives.

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Process Optimization

Managing the performance of Windows-based workloads can be a challenge. Whether physical PCs or virtual desktops, the effort and administration overhead required to optimize and tune the user environments to minimize the risk of poor user experience is a never-ending mission. To assist you with this challenge MK7 recommends Stratusphere UX from Liquidware because it includes an intelligent set-it-and-forget-it feature that increases user experience. Beyond the optimization of individual physical, virtual and cloud-delivered workspaces, the Stratusphere UX Process Optimization feature will also yield greater user and workload density on shared platforms, such as VDI, RDSH, terminal services, including those from VMware and Citrix.

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Cloud Adoption

Cloud computing is a very hot topic, but what is it? Should you move your computing infrastructure to the cloud?

There are many facets to what cloud adoption means. What will you shift from on-premises to a cloud platform? Here are some things to consider.

Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) is probably the most used cloud service as a category. Microsoft Office365 (now called M365),, Dropbox, Google G-Suite, Adobe Creative Suite, Zoom, and Slack are all examples of this style of cloud computing. As you consider adopting an "as-a-service" application, you'll need to determine how to extend your corporate security policies to them to prevent unauthorized access, data exfiltration, single sign-on, and malware detection and prevention.

Will you use a public cloud platform for data back-up and retention? If you are required to maintain data for a set number of years for compliance reasons, a cloud back-up solution could offer cost benefits versus adding physical storage on premises to basically hold stale data files. If you decide to investigate cloud back-up solutions, be sure to understand what fees exist (if any) if you need to download files off of the cloud service. Many cloud platforms do have fees when you upload and/or download data. Some do not.

Another option for cloud computing is to shift your IT labs into a public cloud. Rather than investing in extra infrastructure like physical servers, storage, and switches, you can quickly and easily provision virtual servers in the cloud to perform lab testing on new applications. When the testing is completed, deprovision the virtual servers to stop the billing machine. This approach to cloud computing can be very cost effective.

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Cloud Connectivity Options

As you formulate your cloud adoption strategy, don't forget about the network! Every major public cloud service offers their version of dedicated cloud connectivity; however, you might be better served by 3rd party solutions that can get you there.

In most cases that we have seen, Enterprise clients that choose to implement the cloud providers dedicated connectivity option end up with a hub-and-spoke or modified hub-and-spoke topology. By that we mean that remote offices are connected to datacenter hubs, and the datacenter hub is connected to the cloud service. While this certainly works, we believe there are better options.

Utilizing an SDWAN solution to connect to these public clouds offers several potential benefits.

  1. An SDWAN based cloud connection is typically a meshed topology, meaning that each remote office location can connect directly to the cloud service without the need to traverse the corporate WAN to the datacenter hub, then connect. This can dramatically improve overall throughput and performance at the edge, while reducing congestion on the corporate WAN infrastructure.
  2. An SDWAN connection to Azure, AWS, Google, and IBM clouds is typically more cost effective than the cloud provider's dedicated connectivity option. To confirm this premise, a network design and cost analysis for your use case can easily be done.
  3. An SDWAN cloud connection architecture can offer user experience improvements for remote workers (work from home users) and mobile workers. The existence of remote and/or mobile workers should be identified as we go through the network design process with you.

In short, your choice of cloud connectivity type and topology will have a huge effect on your overall application performance, monthly operating costs, and your end user's experience.

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Microsoft 365

Take your enterprise to the next level with Microsoft 365, the leader in cloud-based productivity. Discover the benefits of an integrated cloud platform that delivers industry-leading productivity apps like Microsoft Teams, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, along with intelligent cloud services and world-class security.

Enable teamwork and simplify workflow, collaborate, meet, call, and connect business applications. Work anywhere on any device all with a centralized, secure end-to-end management.

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Full or Hybrid Infrastructure Migrations

Wherever your organization is on the path to the cloud, either a full cloud migration or a hybrid cloud/on premises solution, we can work as an extension of your team to provide the guidance and practical experience to make the right choices in your cloud strategy. MK7's trusted team of experts will not only provide your team the right answers but the reasoning for them so that your team will have the comfort level to manage your solution themselves or have MK7 manage it for you.

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Cloud Storage

Whether you are migrating your data center resources to the cloud or only a portion of your capabilities we can guide your organization in architecting a cloud-based storage design to fit your specific environment. You can mix and match hot or cold storage for backup/disaster recovery or providing storage to your cloud-based servers and applications MK7 has the expertise to provide a perfect solution for your company's needs.

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Backups/Disaster Recovery

Ensure that your data is protected and that your operation will work continually, before, during and after a disaster. Backups are part of your day-to-day operation to protect critical corporate resources and are a part of an overall disaster recovery plan. A well-designed cloud-based disaster recovery plan will allow your organization to have complete resiliency and you will only be billed for actual usage; a much better approach than having to invest is duplicate data center resources.

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Cloud Hosted Virtual Apps/Desktops

A very promising, yet largely untapped, cloud service is the deployment of VDI services in public clouds. A prime example is the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) solution running in Azure. Amazon Workspaces is another example.

Citrix offers several options via Citrix Cloud Services but with an interesting twist in that Citrix manages the back end of the environment while giving end-users options on where to run the actual VDI images. The Citrix Cloud approach offers superior flexibility, but all options are a potential fit depending on your specific use case.

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Cloud Hosted VoIP / UCaaS

Run your complete telephony system from the cloud, no hardware required. A complete system with support for Auto-Attendants, call center agents and "find me, follow me" capabilities your organization can operate with peace of mind that your communications is being managed and monitored by our world class support organization.

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Lifecycle Management

The IT asset lifecycle is the sequence of stages that an organization's information technology asset goes through during the time span of its ownership. The stages of an IT asset's lifecycle are planning/technology reviews, procurement, deployment, scheduled usage, upgrades & refreshes, decommission, disposition and salvage. MK7 provides services to assist you in managing each step of this cycle.

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Real-time Monitoring

Real-time monitoring is the delivery of continuously updated information streaming at zero or low latency. IT monitoring involves collecting data periodically throughout an organization's IT environment from on-premises hardware and virtualized environments, to networking and security levels, into the application stack -- including those in the cloud -- and out to software user interfaces. MK7 provides integrated point solutions to assist internal administrators, or an all-inclusive managed services program for proactive monitoring and resolution.

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Assessment and Planning

An IT assessment can help you determine how your systems, infrastructure, staffing, and processes & procedures, can be optimized to better meet the present and future needs of your organization. Our primary focus is on virtualized computing environments and optimized user experience (UX), and our assessment services are structured specifically to address these areas. An assessment from MK7 will provide you recommendations for making immediate improvements to your environment, as well as actionable information for longer-term planning and budgeting.

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Implementation/Integration Services

MK7 works predominately with large companies that have enterprise-level IT organizations and sophisticated service management capabilities. We are experts at integrating our services into your internal project management processes to add expertise where you get the most value. From technology selection to installation and integration of new systems with legacy, to admin and user training and go-live transition, MK7 is experienced in helping our customers with every step in your technology integration process, or only with those steps where you need us most.

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Operations Management

IT operations management is the process of managing the provisioning, capacity, cost, performance, security, and availability of infrastructure and services including on-premises data centers, private cloud deployments and public cloud resources. MK7 is experienced in professional hand-off to Operations after completion of any technology integration project. We plug your new systems into your current operational processes to ensure fail-over service, user, and data protection. MK7 includes maps and full documentation as a standard deliverable, together with optional User and Admin training.

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Performance Monitoring, Tuning, and Optimization

Performance tuning is the improvement of system performance. With complex IT systems the typical motivation for such activity is called a performance problem, which will ideally be discovered with your proactive monitoring tools before there is an uptick in help desk calls or an actual outage. MK7 is expert in assessing your virtual computing environment and recommending enhancements to optimize the performance and streamline administration.

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Continuous Improvement

A continuous improvement process is an ongoing effort to critically measure the current state, with an objective to continually optimize processes to improve products and services. These efforts can seek either incremental improvements over time or breakthrough improvements all at once. MK7 can help you implement an internal continuous improvement process for your virtual computing environment or deliver a turn-key solution with our managed services programs.

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Windows Migrations

An upgrade moves (or migrates) your PC's from a previous version of Windows—such as Windows 7 or Windows 8.1—to Windows 10. An upgrade can take place on your existing device, though Microsoft recommends using Windows 10 on a current model PC to take advantage of the latest features and security improvements.

Migrations can be disruptive due to changes in profiles from one version of Windows to another. As you move from one version of Windows to another, or from a physical PC environment to a virtual desktop environment, or from an on-premises computing environment to a Cloud or hybrid environment, profiles can become troublesome. If you're planning for a migration of any kind, we recommend that you look at a profile tool such as Liquidware's ProfileUnity to easily navigate from one environment to the next.

MK7 are experts integrating Microsoft and Citrix environments, and experienced advising our clients how to take advantage of the latest cloud offerings and licensing options to fully maximize your investments.

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