LATEST ARTICLES

Quadris awarded a place on the highly coveted Technology Products and Associated Services framework (TePAS).

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We are delighted to announce that Quadris has been named as a supplier on the Crown Commercial Service’s (CCS) new RM6068 Technology Products and Associated Services (TePAS) framework. 

This allows Quadris to be considered for call-off contracts to supply deliverables across 3 Lots: Lot 1 Hardware & Software, & Associated Services, Lot 2 Hardware & Associated Services, and Lot 3 Software & Associated Services. 

The TePAS framework is a highly prestigious contract from the Government’s official procurement arm and allows Quadris to supply Hardware, Software and Associated Services to the UK public sector, their associated bodies and agencies, together with the voluntary sector and charities. 

About the CCS TePAS framework. 

Crown Commercial Service supports the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services. In 2018/19, CCS helped the public sector to achieve commercial benefits worth £945m – supporting world-class public services that offer best value for taxpayers.

TePAS is the Crown Commercial Service’s latest cross governmental framework agreement and was created in order to supply commodity technology goods and associated services for use by the entire UK public sector. TePAS replaces the existing Technology Products 2 agreement and can be utilized by public sector bodies with immediate effect. 

An important step forward for Quadris.

Managing Director Gavin Young, underlined the importance of this accolade, “We are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded a place on the new TePAS framework; especially as Quadris is one of only 41 suppliers who met the stringent requirements necessary to be selected for this important role. It is also a confirmation of the hard work and commitment demonstrated by everyone at Quadris, and a fitting acknowledgement of the transformational solutions and services we are delivering to public sector organizations.” 

Commenting on the potential that the new framework offers, Gavin Young continued, “The awarding of this framework opens up countless new opportunities for us to deliver our future-focused solutions to an even wider audience. We are looking forward to working with new clients across the public and third sector; confident in the knowledge that we can deliver the efficiency and cost-savings that today’s organizations demand.”  

For more information about the TePAS framework and how Quadris’ future-focused IT solutions are set to help public and third sector organizations, contact Gavin Young on +44 (0) 161 537 4980 or gavin.young@quadris.co.uk

About Crown Commercial Service. 

Crown Commercial Service (CCS) is an Executive Agency of the Cabinet Office, supporting the public sector to achieve maximum commercial value when procuring common goods and services.

To find out more about CCS, visit: www.crowncommercial.gov.uk

Follow on Twitter: @gov_procurement

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/2827044

The not so brave new world of Windows 10 updates.

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I had been happily using my Windows 10 Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop for the last couple of years without any issues. However, my version of Win 10, Version 1803, was reaching its end of life, so I decided to update it.

To cut a long story short; I spent two days without my laptop as we attempted numerous upgrade attempts; culminating in a total rebuild and re-installation of all my apps.

Where did it all go wrong?

I had ensured that my current version was fully updated using Windows Update, in addition I had updated all my Dell XPS laptop drivers. 

I then used the Windows 10 Update Assistant tool to download and run the upgrade process. I left the office at 6 pm with the machine running at 94% install progress; feeling confident that it would be completed in time for my 8 am online meeting the following morning.

I arrived at 6:45 am to find the machine at 99% complete. That’s right, 13 hours to get from 94% to 99%, a fairly clear indicator that the upgrade process had stalled.

Googling “Windows 10 Upgrade Assistant Stuck at 99%” highlighted the following known issue and workaround from Microsoft (https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4027554/windows-windows-10-upgrade-assistant-is-stuck-at-99)

I followed the instructions, until I reached step 6 where rather unhelpfully the screen wasn’t referenced correctly – it isn’t entitled the “Get Important updates” screen. However, I spotted this and managed to complete the steps successfully, et voila! – my XPS finally loads with Win 10 1909 and I logged in.

A blue screen awaits.

I was thinking now that I had gone to all this effort, I might as well make sure all my Windows Updates are up to date. So, I let Windows Updates do its thing and then restarted in order to finish the installation of the updates it had downloaded. End result – blue screen on start up!

Several restarts later, same result each time – blue screen. I booted up in safe mode with networking, but no networking available. Attempted various other repair steps but ran into the same problem every time, as they all needed a local admin account and I stupidly hadn’t created one. In my defence, on setting up Windows 10, Microsoft encourages you not to! Do not heed this advice is my advice, and always set up a local admin account.

Long story short, nothing could be done apart from wiping the device and reinstalling Windows from scratch.

While all this time my colleagues worked away happily on our thin client/Citrix platform that we can update in a matter of minutes for all our users.

The implications.

This personal experience got me thinking about the implications for our business as a Managed Service Provider (MSP) and for the customer networks that we look after.

1. My experience raises the following questions: What happens to customers who are thinking of ditching their virtual desktop environments for thick clients? I ask this as I recently came across an organization that is equipping nearly a thousand end users with laptops and I really don’t think they have thought through the implications. Their IT team has been ignored, and they have nothing like the resource to handle the flood of support calls and additional maintenance it is going to demand, let alone the health, safety and security issues that working on laptops brings with them.

2. Did I do something wrong? Had I made a simple task difficult?  My subsequent research and consultations with colleagues show that I didn’t. One thing is for sure, the dream of seamless OS upgrades with Windows is still not a reality.

3. Can we automate this process intelligently in our role as an MSP? Do the tools exist to handle large scale desktop Windows 10 feature upgrades without creating significant downtime risks and harming customer satisfaction? The answer I am told is no, or rather those that do exist but are very poor. So, when the upgrade process fails there is a need for manual intervention and potentially significant intervention, which for large scale fleets is a real challenge.

4. What is the impact on stretched IT service teams and MSPs? I think Microsoft have presented us all with a huge headache. The feature updates all refer to Windows 10 which our customers see as the same product, but under the covers we know these feature versions can be very different. The problem is our customers don’t see it. They understood the nature of the change when we talked about the move from XP to Windows 7, or Windows 7 to Windows 10, but now they are in danger of being sold a dream that isn’t a reality – the continuous and seamless delivery of a Windows OS. 

This is all costing MSPs and internal IT teams dearly. Previously, customers understood that upgrading to a new OS was a big deal that required resources and was therefore chargeable so required a budget to be allocated for the work required. On the face of it, Windows 10 feature upgrades appear less critical. As a result, it’s a lot more challenging to make clear their implications and the potential disruption, yet the effort required to install them is just the same.

Needless to say, I won’t be recommending large user bases ditch their VDI platforms anytime soon.

A software-defined future will save ForViva more than £300,000 over the next 5 years.

“I can think of countless organisations that could learn a thing or two from Quadris!” 

~ Danny Codling, Group Assistant IT Director at ForViva.  

About our client.  

ForViva is a forward-thinking social organization with the single-minded goal of improving lives by creating opportunities for people, families, homes, and communities. 

Each of the 3 members of the ForViva Group has its own unique mission yet work closely together in order to have a lasting, collective impact. 

  • ForHousing: a progressive landlord that owns and manage more than 24,000 homes and delivers housing management services for other landlords. 
  • Liberty: the go to people for property services, thinking ahead to deliver personal, smart and altogether better property services across gas, repairs, maintenance and construction.
  • ForLiving: offering high-quality homes for sale, shared ownership and private rent across the North West. 

The challenge.  

When you have an existing IT infrastructure that appears to be working adequately, how do you justify replacing it with an entirely new solution? 

At the end of the day, much of it comes down to finding an alternative that is more efficient and cost-effective. In the case of ForViva, a progressive organization that fully embraces the latest technology, they also wanted a solution that would deliver 24/7 availability with automated failover in case of a Disaster Recovery (DR) event. 

So, with no specific agenda in mind (Quadris is after all completely vendor agnostic) we were asked to take a long, hard look at ForViva’s legacy HCI platform, and this is what our deliberations revealed. 

Firstly, we noted that each node in the cluster required a controller VM with the sole responsibility for managing the storage in the system. The problem with this set up is that each controller VM has a number of CPU cores assigned to it. As a result, the VMs were using 15% – 20% of the overall CPU capacity in the cluster. 

This means that with a 10-node cluster, the controller VMs are using at least one full node of CPU resource. When you add an additional node all you are really doing is adding enough compute to run the controller VMs on the cluster; a significant detail that contributes considerably to the overall cost. 

The legacy Disaster Recovery design of the cluster is based on an Active/Passive configuration, using Asynchronous replication. Consequently, ForViva could only use the computing power of one data centre. The other side simply sat there almost redundant; its sole purpose being to wait for a disaster to happen. 

For every node the system required, ForViva would actually have to buy two. And they didn’t even get to use all of that compute power, because as we already highlighted the controller VM was eating up a large proportion of those resources. All in all, a very inefficient means of achieving a clearly defined set of goals. 

Due to the continued growth of the ForViva Group, additional resources needed to be added to the primary data centre in order to cope with increased demand. In order to overcome the inefficiencies explained above, at least 4 nodes were required, two at the primary data centre and two at the DR data centre. 

Another important point that needed careful consideration with regard to the existing infrastructure was the fact that much of the equipment was fast approaching end of life. Simply adding extra nodes would merely be playing catch up and ultimately result in throwing good money after bad. 

The solution. 

After completing a thorough review of the existing system, we designed a future-focused solution that would deliver ForViva with a true Private Hybrid Cloud Software Defined Data Centre. 

In order to achieve this aim, we started by recommending moving to a software-defined storage system using VxRailAs VxRail doesn’t require controller VMs it would automatically require fewer nodes to achieve the same aims. In addition, it meant that ForViva could also go All-Flash and enjoy the many benefits of a smart storage system at greatly reduced cost. 

We also proposed greatly improving their DR capability by employing a stretched cluster configuration, combined with an ingenious GSLB software defined network solution. This would provide ForViva with a fully Synchronous DR as opposed to their previous Asynchronous setup; delivering automated Active/Active DR capabilities with zero RTO/RPO recovery times and supported by fully redundant point-to-point 10Gbps links. 

The advantage of this solution means that both data centres are live, so there is no longer a disaster recovery site. Workloads are now spread evenly and resiliently across both data centres and are free to move between them, as and when required. In the event that an entire data centre goes down for any reason, workloads simply restart in the second data centre automatically and within seconds. All external network services seamlessly failover using the software defined network design. This is a Disaster Avoidance solution! 

This new configuration also offers potentially huge savings; not only with regard to the operational benefits to the business, but also in the reduction in the administration of replication jobs and testing, as well as many associated risks. 

Furthermore, Quadris’ innovative new solution would provide ForViva with many additional advantages, such as broad vendor support for the hypervisor, together with the reduction in risk to future projects. 

The cost analysis and projected savings. 

Unsurprisingly, ForViva wanted to see what the predicted cost would be if they stayed with their existing infrastructure, or if they employed Public Cloud DRaaS, compared to upgrading to our new Private Hybrid Cloud Software Defined Data Centre solution. 

So Quadris’ senior technical team produced a comprehensive consultation piece that would clearly spell out the various alternatives and their respective costs. This involved the creation of a 5-year cost analysis showing all the milestone investments they would have to make, including ongoing hardware and software replacements etc.  

The findings were quite astonishing, with Quadris’ SDDC solution proving the clear winner. 

In addition to upgrading the entire IT infrastructure, the calculations showed it would deliver a staggering £300,000 saving over the alternatives. And not just in Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), but in actual money. If you add TCO savings from administration, DR testing, documentation, and all the complexities that come with updating the infrastructure, the eventual savings will probably be doubled. 

Based on Quadris’ in-depth knowledgeexpert advice, analysis, and the clear cost-saving advantages offered by this masterful future-focussed solution, Danny Codling Group Assistant Director of ICT at ForViva gave the project the green light. 

The implementation. 

The implementation of the complete solution was divided into two distinct phases: 

Phase 1. 

The first phase involved moving ForViva to a software-defined storage system.  

But while we were on schedule for the agreed timescale, the installation was brought forward owing to a major problem that occurred with the existing infrastructure. Fortunately, we already had the new system in Predeploy so with typical Quadris flexibility and speed of response we went into action. 

With less than 24 hours’ notice the first tranche of VxRail nodes were installed, commissioned, and workloads were being pushed live. To add to an already impressive feat, there was no impact to ForViva’s day-to-day operations; no downtime, no incidents and everything remained online while we undertook the migration.  

The performance benefits were immediate and impressive; with login times slashed by a staggering two thirds. 

“I’ve been logged in this morning, we’re flying. Desktop logged in within circa 10 seconds.” 

Mark Sullivan, Group ICT Director at ForViva 

“Great job by Lewis. 0 packet loss. No issues, no fuss and he communicated exactly as requested. I am very impressed with the solution and your engineers.” 

~ Danny Codling, Group Assistant ICT Director at ForViva 

Phase 2. 

The second phase is due to commence in just a few months. 

This will entail the adding of the additional VxRail nodes into the system and setting them up into stretched cluster; delivering the fully automated Active/Active DR capabilities.  

This will ensure that ForViva not only make maximum use of all their compute power, they will also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing that in the event of a disaster the automated failover will ensure that they will continue to deliver 24/7 availability. 

The key project benefits at a glance. 

  • Migrate from outdated legacy infrastructure to a future-focused SDDC solution 
  • More efficient use of all available compute power across both data centres 
  • Upgrade to All-Flash storage 
  • Fully automated Active/Active DR capabilities which delivers with zero RTO/RPO recovery times 
  • Automatic failover delivering Disaster Avoidance as opposed to Disaster Recovery. 
  • Second data centre site added with fully redundant point-to-point 10Gbps links 
  • 24/7 availability of all services 
  • Cost savings of more than £300,000 over the next 5 years 

To discover for yourself just how Quadris can deliver a future-focussed and cost-effective IT infrastructure that will meet the individual needs of your organization, contact Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk 

Prevensys gives you peace of mind, so that your colleagues don’t give you a piece of theirs.

Running an IT department is without doubt one of the most stressful and thankless roles in any organization. 

Not only are you tasked with overseeing an area that is changing by the day, it’s a role that rarely gets the attention of your colleagues – until there’s a problem.  

At which point those charged with overseeing the day-to-day running of IT operations attract a great deal of attention, most often negative. 

Which is where Prevensys comes to the rescue. 

A single pane of glass IT monitoring solution that delivers the complete picture. 

Prevensys is Quadris’ proprietary IT monitoring solution and the product of over 3 years of development.  

The result is a next generation solution that enables you to keep an eye on the health and performance of your IT infrastructure with greater ease and clarity than ever before. 

From the main dashboard, Prevensys provides you with a complete overview of all the elements that comprise your IT operation.  

The main dashboard delivers a detailed overview of the entire infrastructure; and not just the overall raw capacity and raw free space, but the actual usable capacity and the free usable capacity all plotted over a period of time. 

And because Prevensys was designed to be time-orientated, it continually monitors and logs the overall health of your system and then allows you to review the incidence of warnings that have been presented during any specified time period. 

To add to its formidable capabilities, it also displays the disk usage of individual virtual machines in order to see exactly which have eaten up all the space. Prevensys also reports the ping response times between sites, packet loss, network band width usage, latency, IOPS, CPU usage, memory usage, and a great deal more. 

All in all, a comprehensive and high-level dashboard that presents a truly holistic overview of your entire estate.  

Yet, while this overview can help alleviate many potential problems, you are always going to have issues to deal with and frustrated colleagues demanding to know when you are going to address their particular problem. 

The next time a colleague comes to you with a problem, all you need is their username. 

No matter if you are working with Citrix, Remote Desktop Services or Windows desktop, you simply need a username, and in a matter of seconds you will have all the information needed for a swift resolution of any issue at your fingertips. 

With the user located, the dashboard clearly displays general health indicators such as number of logins, failed machines, and detailed statistics on login duration and type; enabling server-side issues to be quickly identified. 

As anti-virus software can often be the cause of slowdowns, the dashboard offers information on how much memory and CPU time the AV software is taking, and importantly if there is an attack in progress. You can also view the resource utilization of the user and see what other users are doing simply by checking the CPU usage, IOPS, and memory utilization of all users on a per application basis. 

The ability of this single pane of glass monitoring solution to cut out the noise and leaves only what matters, means that you and your service desk team can immediately drill down to determine where the fault lies. 

As a direct result, Prevensys reduces mean time resolution by up to 95%. 

Prevensys in action – locating the cause of a slow Citrix session in less than five minutes. 

The attention to detail and impressive capabilities are unprecedented in its field. 

Other monitoring systems are cumbersome and require you to navigate through multiple screens in order to finally locate the issue in question. But the modern look and feel of Prevensys combined with its intuitive dashboards and time-orientated functionality puts the competition in the shade. 

Furthermore, by delivering 24/7 monitoring and real-time alerting to service ticket requests, combined with trend performance over time, Prevensys will ensure that your system performs at the very peak of health, both today and for years to come. 

More than just a monitoring system, it provides IT managers with vision and peace of mind. 

Prevensys not only presents me with a detailed overview of the day-to-day health of our IT infrastructure, it also enables me to drill down in order to quickly identify and resolve issues at the click of my mouse.”  

 ~ Kim Nielsen, IT Group Manager, Dept. of Oncology, Medical Physics, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. 

High praise indeed. To find out more about how one of the world’s foremost hospitals relies on Prevensys to monitor the health of its life-critical IT infrastructure click here

To discover for yourself how you can dramatically reduce mean time to resolution, end user frustration, empower your service desk, and see your service delivery KPIs improve overnight, contact Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk 

Quadris deploys the biggest VxRail project in Danish history.

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While there are many IT integrators who claim to be able to deploy the necessary infrastructure, the critical nature of the project demanded the very highest degree of technical knowledge, supported by the very highest levels of ongoing service and monitoring. This landmark project called for an IT integrator that could not only bring the project to life, but also ensure the system is designed for maximum fault tolerance, and in the event of the loss of the primary production facility the fastest possible disaster recovery time. With a proven track record in configuring, deploying and supporting critical IT infrastructure, they turned to Quadris to undertake the largest VxRail deployment in Danish history. To read the full case study behind this impressive achievement click here Alternatively, if you want to hear direct from one of the team that delivered this impressive project, contact Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk

We’ve seen the future of Wide Area Networking and it’s software defined.

Traditionally, Wide Area Networking (WAN) has connected multiple users based in disparate locations to applications hosted on servers situated at the main data centre, while employing dedicated MPLS circuits to ensure the reliability and security of the connection between sites.  

Today, with an increasingly cloud-centric environment, this setup is no longer fit for purpose.  

The old-style WAN networks are unable to cope with the huge increase in WAN traffic that comes with the adoption of cloud-based services; resulting in complex and unwieldy management, unpredictable app performance, exposure of data to greater vulnerability, and deteriorating user experience. 

Furthermore, exposing an organization to the Internet and the cloud can easily result in a variety of external threats and a myriad of compliance issues, especially as increasing numbers of applications such as SaaS and IaaS are being accessed by everyone from the CEO to external partners. 

Many organizations have resorted to enabling broadband in the WAN, but as a direct consequence have created mounting challenges for IT departments, as they seek to balance user experience with maintaining high levels of security. 

While all the time IT departments have had to contend with finding new ways to connect different types of users, using different devices, on different cloud environments. 

As a result of all the above, the cost of running the traditional WAN has been steadily rising.  

Why forward-thinking organizations are now turning to the SD-WAN. 

The software-defined WAN is the future-focused approach to solving the problems of network connectivity – real, efficient, fast, user- friendly, and above all more economical. 

Not only does it empower network administrators to use available bandwidth with greater efficiency, it also ensures the very highest performance levels for the most critical of applications – all without compromising network security and the privacy of that all-important data. 

The SD-WAN is the answer to the challenges posed by the new cloud-driven business model. Not only does it lead to more efficient use of available resources across multiple sites, it has also been proven to reduce operational costs. 

The future of WAN is software defined. 

Some of the many advantages of the SD-WAN. 

  1. Lower operational costs. Aside from the financial loss caused by a less connected, efficient workforce and the time spent maintaining traditional WAN networks, with the SD-WAN you can also reduce operating expenses by replacing expensive MPLS services with more economical broadband services. 
  2. A better user experienceDeliver optimal application performance from multiple clouds, to every user across your organization, regardless of geographical location. Should a link fail or even suffer degradation, then application-aware routing will dynamically re-route traffic in order to maintain the continuous delivery of your business-critical applications. 
  3. Improved security. One of the key features of the SD-WAN architecture is that it provides distributed security at the branch level. As a result, data doesn’t have to travel to the data centre in order to benefit from advanced security protection such as a firewall, DNS enforcement or hacker prevention. 
  4. Easier management. Through centralized, cloud delivered architecture, it is far easier to scale applications right across hundreds or even thousands of endpoints – no matter where they are located. With a SD-WAN you can employ zero-touch deployment right across the globe, via a single, unified management interface. 

To discover for yourself just how Quadris can deliver a future-focused and cost-effective SD-WAN that will improve the efficiency of your organization, contact Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk 

How we cut user logon times at a major NHS hospital from 3 minutes to just 20 seconds.

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Founded in 2009 and hailed as the first NHS hospital in the country to offer every patient their own room, it opened its doors to great acclaim. In addition to 96 en-suite rooms, it is also home to 11 adult mental health beds, 15 outpatient consulting rooms, a radiology department, and a GP out-of-hours unit. 

Today, the hospital employs more than 13,000 staff; comprising 250 consultants, 1,000 hospital and general practice doctors, and over 6,000 nurses, midwives, allied professionals and community workers. 

The challenge. 

Users were becoming increasingly frustrated by logon times that could keep them waiting for long as three minutes before they could access the system and get to work. Yet a state-of-the-art infrastructure had only just been commissioned and installed, adding to the overall sense of frustration.  

Having deployed an almost identical infrastructure to another client, we hadn’t encountered such slow logon times and as a result felt confident that we could help. 

The assessment and key deliverables. 

In order to determine why such a newly installed system wasn’t performing as promised, our first step was to define the scope of work that would be required; namely to review and assess the underlying infrastructure and the logon process of all the Citrix Windows 10 VDI machines in use. 

This full assessment covered the following items: Nutanix Hypervisor AHV, Storage, Windows environmental setup, Windows group policies, Citrix Infrastructure, Citrix Policies, Citrix Windows Environment Manager (WEM) and Windows 10 VDA. 

As a result of our analysis we were be able to present the following deliverables: a review and report of each technology item in relation to slow logons, highlight best practice recommendations, identify the cause(s), and finally recommend solutions that would rectify slow logons across the environment. 

The test methodology. 

Once we were granted remote access to the relevant systems for assessment, we were able to work collaboratively with the in-house team and commence our evaluation. 

We were pleased to report that overall the AHV Nutanix cluster was found to be in good working order. There was no evidence of any issues with the cluster, its configuration, or the underlying storage, that would result in increased logon times 

After giving the cluster a clean bill of health, we turned our attention to uncovering the cause of the slow logons using iterative testing. This ‘rinse and repeat’ methodology involves making singular changes to the user account, policies, and the virtual machines; while repeatedly testing logons. 

The test logons were performed against the standard HCI desktop and a persistent copy of the same desktop from which changes could be made. They were conducted on both Citrix and Direct Console sessions then re-iterated after each policy, system or service change, with verbose logging configured to capture details for later review. 

This thorough and methodical approach of making slight changes and then identifying any issues took place over a 2-week period; during which we were able to examine the system in fine detail and report back with a comprehensive set of findings and recommendations. 

Summary of the recommended actions.  

As you can imagine the testing procedures and outcomes are extremely detailed, which is why we are presenting a brief summary of the key recommendations (if you would like a more in-depth report, then please don’t hesitate to contact us.) 

  • Group Policy. Reviewed Group Policy Objects thoroughly, as GPO applied to physical machines often aren’t suitable for VDI environments. Better use of WorkSpace Environment Manager (WEM) could be made in order to control user-based Group Policy Objects.  
  • Profile Management. Create a Group Policy Object to control Citrix User Profile Management and remove the configuration from WEM as defined by Citrix best practice. If GPO control is not possible for the desktop team, this policy should be controlled via Citrix native policy.  
  • Anti-Virus. Disable Asynchronous Scanning, review exclusions. 
  • Citrix User Profile Manager. Tune the UPM to set exclusions appropriate to the environment, implement Profile Streaming, or redirect “AppData” to a suitable shared location. Applications such as Chrome should be controlled with separate GPO to prevent profile bloat.  
  • Group Membership. Conduct a full review into standard user account group membership and policies applied because of those groups. 

The outcome. 

By implementing the recommendations highlighted above, logon times have been reduced dramatically; a 90% reduction in time or approximately 6 times faster than before Quadris applied its expertise. 

As a result, whereas previously a user might experience a logon time of 2½ – 3 minutes, thanks to Quadris it has been cut to just 20 seconds. 

Not only does this go a long way to reducing the frustration encountered by individuals, multiply this figure by the many hundreds of users who access the system on a daily basis throughout the year, and it adds up to huge time savings and increased efficiency for one of our already overburdened hospitals.  

To discover for yourself just how Quadris can draw upon its vast expertise in order to solve the most pressing of IT problems, contact Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk  

The secret to fully Synchronous automatic disaster recovery for the price of a typical Asynchronous solution.

Quadris has unlocked the secret to achieving fully Synchronous automatic Disaster Recovery for the price of a typical Asynchronous solution. 

While the advantages of fully Synchronous Disaster Recovery (DR) are extremely attractive, the associated price tag has kept it beyond the reach of most small to medium-sized businesses. As a result, they have had to make do with the less expensive and far less functional Asynchronous DR. 

Until now. 

Because Quadris has unveiled an ingenious solution that enables any SME with under 100 users to enjoy the benefits of fully Synchronous DR for the price of a typical Asynchronous setup. 

First, let’s take a look at the difference. 

Asychronous v Synchronous – the pros and cons. 

In essence, Synchronous replication (aka Active/Active) involves the simultaneous writing of data to both the Primary and Secondary locations, ensuring that the data is always current and therefore always identical. The speed of this solution ensures that there is minimal margin for error and as a result the preferred choice for organizations that demand zero data loss. 

With Asynchronous replication (aka Active/Passive), the data is first written to the Primary location and then copied to the Secondary location at predetermined intervals known as a Recovery Point Objective (RPO). This ‘store and forward’ approach results in a delay while the data is waiting to be copied, which means that in the event of a failover this data can be lost.  

Perhaps the crucial difference is the time each solution takes to recover from a major disaster. With a Synchronous solution the Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is around five minutes. But with Asynchronous the RTO can run into hours, causing enormous damage to an organization’s functionality, not to mention its reputation

Of course, there are many other factors that can determine your choice, but all too often it comes down to cost, which is where Quadris comes to the rescue. 

Until now, a Synchronous solution’ extremely advantageous functionality has been by far the most expensive option, but thanks to Quadris there is a way to reap all the benefits, minus the hefty price tag. 

Enter Quadris. 

If you have less than 100 users, Quadris can help you achieve fully Synchronous automatic Disaster Recovery for the cost of a typical Asynchronous solution. 

It’s an ingenious solution that offers all the benefits of a fully Synchronous solution at a fraction of the cost by reducing the amount of expensive enterprise-level hardware normally required. 

Quadris’ fully Synchronous automatic DR solution delivers the following key benefits: 

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) of zero. 
Recovery Time Objective < 5 minutes. 
Zero intervention required to activate DR. 
Automatic Reprotection and Recovery. 

Fully Synchronous automatic DR for the price of a typical Asynchronous solution – what’s not to like? 

As far as we know, no-one else knows how to implement this setup in the way that Quadris has identified. 

We would love to share this ingenious solution with you, but not on these pages as our competitors might be watching. But you can discover the secret for yourself, simply by contacting Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk 

One of the world’s foremost hospitals relies on Prevensys to monitor the health of its life-critical IT infrastructure.

“Prevensys not only presents me with a detailed overview of the day-to-day health of our IT infrastructure, it also enables me to drill down in order to quickly identify and resolve issues at the click of my mouse.”

 ~ Kim Nielsen, IT Group Manager, Dept. of Oncology, Medical Physics, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark.

If you were handed responsibility for the biggest VxRail deployment, not just in your organization’s history but in the entire history of your country, not surprisingly you would want to keep a very close eye on its performance.

So, when Kim Nielsen was charged with overseeing the new, life-critical IT operations for the Dept. of Oncology, Medical Physics at Aarhus University Hospitalhe needed to ensure that he could monitor its health as efficiently and effectively as the hospital monitors the vital signs of its patients.

No mean task when you are managing a massive core compute and server infrastructure, supported by a Citrix virtual desktop infrastructure running industry leading oncology software, across a team of no less than 300 clinicians.

Enter Prevensys: A single pane of glass monitoring solution that delivers the complete picture.

Prevensys empowers Kim Nielsen to monitor the entire system from top to bottom: the stretched cluster VxRail solution, Citrix desktop virtualization, the network switches, the backup solution, and every Windows machine employed across the operation.

In fact, Prevensys is deemed so crucial to the smooth running of the operation that he has even installed a 42-inch monitor on the wall of his office. So that now, from the comfort of his office chair he can oversee the health of the entire estate with ease and with perfect clarity.

The view from the very top.

Prevensys is Quadris’ proprietary monitoring solution and the product of 3 years of development. The result is a leading-edge solution that provides organizations with the ability to monitor the health and performance of their IT infrastructure with greater ease and clarity than ever before.

From the main dashboard, it provides Kim Nielsen with a complete overview of all the elements that comprise their IT operation. 

To start with, the main dashboard provides him with a detailed overview of the VxRail stretched cluster. Not only does it show the overall raw capacity and raw free space, with Prevensys it also displays the actual usable capacity and the free usable capacity plotted over a period of time.

And because Prevensys was designed to be time-orientated, it also monitors and logs the overall health of the system over time and then allows him to review the incidence of warnings that have been presented during any specified time period.

To add to its capabilities, Prevensys displays the disk usage of the individual virtual machines to see exactly which have eaten up all the space. Furthermore, it reports the ping response times between sites, packet loss, network band width usage, latency, IOPS, CPU usage, memory usage, and a great deal more.

All in all, a comprehensive and high-level dashboard that presents a truly holistic overview of the entire estate.

Drilling down to get the heart of an issue with the diagnostics dashboard.

In addition to keeping a close eye on the system’s overall vital signs, with just a few clicks of a mouse Prevensys enables Kim Nielsen to quickly and easily drill down into individual elements for more detailed diagnostics.

 If for any reason a machine isn’t working at full capacity, causing issues, or is in a warning or error state; he simply switches to VM performance. Prevensys automatically presents him with a series of highly detailed information covering: how much CPU it is using, disk latency, network traffic, how long it has been operating, any heartbeat, the energy it is using, how much active memory there is, read IOPS, the network data transmitted, and how much disk usage is being used in VSAN.

This ability to view the functionality of any machine in clear, precise, time-orientated detail is one of the key reasons why Prevensys was chosen for the task.

Diagnostics can also end user frustration by reducing mean time resolution by 95%

With 300 clinicians on the system, being able to respond quickly to user issues such as slow performance is of paramount importance, which is where the Citrix XenApp diagnostics dashboard plays a crucial role.

All Kim Nielsen requires is the user’s name and he can immediately see every machine they have been logged onto, together with the dates and times of every interaction.

This provides him with a complete picture of network performance as it relates to the user in question, including the historical data held, trend performance over time; while external login simulators record both login time and actual up time.

As a result, Prevensys leaves no stone unturned in order to deliver all the information he needs in order to resolves user issues in the quickest possible time.

Prevensys: the next generation of IT monitoring systems.

Prevensys is more than just a monitoring system, it provides IT managers such as Kim Nielsen with clarity and peace of mind.

The attention to detail and impressive capabilities offered by Prevensys is unprecedented in its field. Other monitoring systems are cumbersome and require you to navigate through multiple screens in order to finally locate the issue in question, but the modern look and feel of Prevensys combined with its intuitive dashboards and time-orientated functionality puts the competition in the shade.

By delivering 24/7 monitoring and real-time alerting to service ticket requests, combined with trend performance over time, Prevensys will ensure that your system performs at the very peak of health, both today and in the years to come.

The Dept. of Oncology, Medical Physics at Aarhus University Hospital is just one of many healthcare teams that rely on Prevensys on a daily basis. But to really experience this state-of-the-art monitoring system for yourself and see how it can help maintain the health of your IT system, contact Peter Grayson on 0345 163 1080 or email peter.grayson@quadris.co.uk

We are delighted to announce that we have achieved Cisco Premier Partner status.

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After an unprecedented year of internal staff training and enablement at Quadris we are proud to be able to display our new status.

As well as showcasing our growing capabilities, it also it demonstrates our commitment to building an even bigger, better Cisco networking capability within our clients’ businesses.

Big shout out to Richard Elstob and Lewis Di Ciacca and everyone involved for all their hard work.