Today, more and more businesses are outsourcing their virtual desktop environments to MSPs, gaining greater efficiency, enhanced security, mobility, device-independence and business continuity. Desktop as a Service (DaaS) has also recently gained popularity with IT companies in the VDI market today, removing the hassles and costs associated with virtual desktop management.

For example, Citrix recently announced that they passed the half-million seat milestone for Citrix service providers (CSPs). Additionally, VMware just launched their own Horizon cloud DaaS service that is supported by VMware Horizon DaaS powered service providers. These MSPs manage both traditionally hosted VDIs and DaaS cloud solutions. Typically, CSPs can have dozens of tenants and host an entire desktop infrastructure on their own sites, offering a fully managed service, with support and maintenance, for actual desktop software.

This article explains the challenges and benefits that ControlUp provides MSPs, answering the top five FAQs from Citrix and VMware partners.

MSP Challenges

Traditionally, MSPs interact directly with potential customers in order to sell infrastructure capacity (i.e. direct tenants). These days, medium sized MSPs find it much more scalable to sell their infrastructure by leveraging channel partners, such as large telcos, in different countries. These channel partners resell the MSPs’ hosted traditional VDIs and DaaS to their SMB customers.

The Management Challenge

As a result, MSPs face challenges both from a business as well as a management perspective. MSPs need to be able to support monitoring and management efforts for each of their direct tenant’s and channel partner’s environments.

Managing an environment includes monitoring its infrastructure usage which needs to be tagged in order to support billing for the infrastructure provider (i.e. the MSP), direct tenants, and channel partners (i.e. the resellers). The direct tenants and channel partners need to get usage and billing reports, which means that the MSP needs to be able to segment usage and billing accordingly.

One of our customers, ChannelCloud, is a great example of this. They sell most of their “VDI seats” through channel partners. As mentioned above, most of these generally happen to be big telcos that prefer to have ChannelCloud provide and manage their customers’ VDI environments.

Real-Time Visibility, Insights and Management Capabilities

As an MSP, you can greatly benefit from ControlUp’s rich real-time capabilities and visibility, specifically with Citrix XenDesktop and VMware Horizon View. This capability allows you to view an entire VDI stack for all of your direct tenants, as well as for your channel partners and their tenants—including VDI users, hosts, sessions, and processes.

ControlUp’s complete real-time visibility also includes triggers and email alerts for errors or specific issues that arise within individual tenants. If an issue does arise, the MSP’s sysadmin can quickly take remedial actions directly from the ControlUp console (e.g. terminate a process that causes performance issues). ControlUp includes a well-supplied set of built-in management actions that eases troubleshooting and day-to-day maintenance, making it much more efficient. In addition, MSPs can benefit from ControlUp’s analytics and reporting capabilities, including performance trend analysis, detecting major bottlenecks, as well as VDI historical performance and usage reports.

Check out the following session to learn more –

ControlUp for MSP FAQs

Since MSPs manage multiple tenants, they generally have specific requirements. We’ve consolidated all of the frequently asked questions regarding ControlUp’s support for MSPs below.

  1. Does ControlUp support a multi-tenant environment?
    The short answer is yes. Our permission delegation and multi Network/AD forest support enable multi-tenancy. ControlUp supports different types of MSP topologies:

    • In a simple scenario, MSPs have a single data center and network that is supported by a single AD forest. As a result, all of the tenants reside on the same infrastructure that is located in the same network and use the same AD forest. This scenario is simple because it acts just like any enterprise that ControlUp supports out-of-the-box.
    • In a more complex environment, MSPs can use a multi AD forest with different networks (subnets) that may or may not be connected. An MSP can have separate forests for each tenant and separate physical locations for each forest. Of course, each MSP works differently. One may have multiple tenants working on the same infrastructure and network while a few other tenants may need their own networks (due to specific security constraints, for example).
  2. Does ControlUp support multiple AD forests/networks?
    Again, the short answer is yes. For multi-AD support, where a single console supports multiple (untrusted) AD forests, the following prerequisites apply:

    • The computer running the console should have LDAP access to the relevant AD forests’ Domain Controllers.
    • DNS conditional forwarding should be configured so the computer running the console is able to resolve any relevant AD DNS entry in the external forest.
    • The console should have valid AD credentials in the external forest.

    In order to support multiple external networks, the following prerequisites apply:

    • The ControlUp agent needs to be pre-installed on the relevant target computers (the agent MSI package can be used to accomplish this).
    • A single incoming TCP port (40705 by default) must be opened on the external network to support console–agent communication.
    • For Hypervisor support, incoming HTTPS port (443) has to be opened on the external network to support console-Hypervisor communication.
    • From a bandwidth point of view, each console-agent channel will consume ~1 KB/s.
  3. Does ControlUp support permission delegation for each tenant?
    ControlUp’s security policy feature enables customers to create a separate role for each tenant. By using our folder structure, each tenant can be limited to solely view and manage his/her individual environment. Learn more
  4. How does ControlUp support billing and usage tracking?
    ControlUp’s analytics and reporting capabilities include performance trend analysis, detecting major bottlenecks and VDI historical performance and usage reports. With ControlUp’s user session activity reports, you can track each customer’s activity and see how they utilize your system, then charge them accordingly.
  5. Does ControlUp integrate with ticketing systems?
    If you have a ticketing system, like ServiceDesk or SysAid, you can use ControlUp’s URL feature to enable your help desk users to automatically launch the ControlUp console from a specific ticket screen, focus on a specific user’s performance in real time, and trigger a Remote Assistance session in order to quickly take other remedial actions.
    “We needed a performance monitoring and management product that would help us quickly expand and maintain our services in the face of growing partner and customer demand,” says Paul Scuba, ChannelCloud CTO. “Managing a complex environment of virtualized desktops and applications involves the challenge of constantly overlooking multiple user sessions, terminal servers and virtual workstations. With ControlUp, we can monitor our entire server farm and user population; it takes just a few seconds to locate performance bottlenecks, spot irregularities or focus on a current issue,” added Scuba.

ControlUp has already been adopted by quite a few successful Citrix service providers and VMware Horizon partners’ MSPs. Download ControlUp for free or contact us for more information.

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