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  • Solving Citrix Problems Before They Are Noticed

    Solving Citrix Problems Before They Are Noticed

    May 15th, 2019
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    It seems that VDI and DaaS keep growing every year! New solutions are put on the market, and long-term players keep adding new features to their products. But, if you ask me, Citrix is still the #1 player on the market with their virtual apps and desktops solution.

     

    Virtual apps and desktops provide security while working remotely, which is a necessity with the increase in work-from-home positions. While "work-from-home" is the trend, employees aren't always necessarily at home while working. In fact, some employees may prefer to work between meetings and utilize public Wi-Fi. This makes data protection more important than ever.

     

    But, what happens when employees cannot access their virtual desktop infrastructure? As IT admins, we know this situation all too well. The problem is usually easy to fix, but could it have been prevented?

     

    This is where Application Probing comes into play, which can be found in the latest release of Citrix Virtual Apps. With the release of b7.18, admins can now troubleshoot individual applications in addition to clients/hosts, sessions, and users all through Application Probing.

     

    Application Probing works with the Application Probe Agents. These agents are installed on an endpoint machine or VM and periodically test whether an application is available and can be started.

     

    The agent executes application probing as per the probe configuration it fetches from the director. The application probe tests the availability of the tested application on five levels:

     

    StoreFront Reachability – Is the configured StoreFront URL reachable?

    StoreFront Authentication – Are the configured StoreFront credentials valid?

    StoreFront Enumeration – Is the tested application available in Storefront?

    ICA download – Is the ICA file available and can it be downloaded?

    Application launch –  Can the application be launched?

     

    The installation of agent configuration is pretty straightforward. The only condition for installing the agent is the availability of Citrix Receiver version 4.8 or higher.

     

    This feature has auto email alerts support, which sends email notifications whenever there is an application launch failure. So, Citrix administrators do not need to log in every day and start being proactive in solving solutions.

    Interested in this feature? Take a look at this following Citrix page.

  • The Philadelphia Inquirer Names High Availability, Inc.  A Winner of The Delaware Valley Top Workplaces 2019 Award

    The Philadelphia Inquirer Names High Availability, Inc. A Winner of The Delaware Valley Top Workplaces 2019 Award

    April 23rd, 2019
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    The Philadelphia Inquirer Names High Availability, Inc.
    A Winner of The Delaware Valley Top Workplaces 2019 Award

     

    Audubon, PA, April 23rd, 2019 – High Availability, Inc. has been awarded a Top Workplaces 2019 honor by The Philadelphia Inquirer. High Availability, Inc. was ranked #29 in the “Small Companies” category, which recognizes organizations with less than 150 employees. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by research partner Energage, LLC, a leading provider of technology-based employee engagement tools. The anonymous survey measures several aspects of workplace culture, including alignment, execution, and connection, just to name a few. High

    To be eligible for this prestigious designation, all nominated organizations must participate in a company-wide survey facilitated by Energage, a leading research firm focused on company culture and workplace improvement.  With over 47,000 organizations surveyed since 2006, Energage is the most trusted solution for empowering organizations to work better together.

    The Energage survey consists of four main factors; alignment, effectiveness, connection, and management. Alignment focuses on the direction and ethics of the organization, effectiveness assesses overall corporate communication and project execution, connection evaluates employee appreciation and job potential, and, lastly, the manager section reviews the employee’s manager and corporate leadership.

    Top Workplaces is more than just recognition,” said Doug Claffey, CEO of Energage. “Our research shows organizations that earn the award attract better talent, experience lower turnover, and are better equipped to deliver bottom-line results. Their leaders prioritize and carefully craft a healthy workplace culture that supports employee engagement.”

    “The entire team at High Availability, Inc. is honored to be named as one of the top workplaces in Philadelphia for the second year in a row,” said Steve Eisenhart, Chief Executive Officer of High Availability, Inc.  "One of the most important parts of my job is to create and maintain a culture that inspires and motivates existing employees and attracts new talent as we grow and expand into new markets.  This award validates that we have built a positive and successful work environment! Moreover, it is especially rewarding knowing that the judges for this award are all H.A. employees!"

    Click Here for more information about working for High Availability, Inc. and to view open positions.

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

  • High Availability, Inc. Named One of 2019 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    High Availability, Inc. Named One of 2019 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    March 29th, 2019
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    High Availability, Inc. Named One of 2019 Tech Elite Solution Providers by CRN®

    Audubon, PA, March 29th, 2019 - High Availability, Inc. announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named High Availability, Inc. to its 2019 Tech Elite 250 list. This annual list honors a select group of North American IT solution providers that have earned the highest number of advanced technical certifications from leading technology suppliers, scaled to their company size. These companies have distinguished themselves with multiple, top-level IT certifications, specializations, and partner program designations from the industry’s most prestigious technology providers.

    To compile this annual list, The Channel Company’s research group and CRN editors work together to identify the most customer-beneficial technical certifications in the North American IT channel. Companies who have earned these elite designations— which enable solution providers to deliver premium products, services, and customer support—are then selected from a pool of online applicants.

    “We are honored to be once again included in the 2019 CRN Tech Elite 250,” said Chris Black, Chief Technology Officer of High Availability, Inc. “This award reflects the extremely talented group of engineers, operational staff, project managers, and system architects that makes High Availability, Inc. one of the nation’s leading Systems, Containers, Cloud and Managed Services integrators.  We are continuing to invest in our talent and partner ecosystem, and as such, their dedication and commitment to our clients and their craft is an honor to be a part of.   We look forward to continuing delivering outstanding solutions and support for our clients.”

    Coverage of the Tech Elite 250 will be featured in the April issue of CRN, and online at www.CRN.com/TechElite250

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions, while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

  • The End is Near (for SQL and Windows 2008). Are you prepared?

    The End is Near (for SQL and Windows 2008). Are you prepared?

    March 6th, 2019
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    We get it; change is scary. If you've been running the same operating system for many years, a large-scale overhaul is understandably intimidating.

    If you have been putting off the inevitable, it's time to start making some critical decisions. Microsoft is ending support for SQL Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on July 9 and Windows Server 2008 and 2008 R2 on January 14, 2020.

    The good news is that, if you are still relying on these systems, you are not alone. It is estimated that about half of enterprise server and database servers are running on the 2008 platforms.

    Typically, the end-of-support deadline for enterprise software triggers uncertainty, but it is also an opportunity to evaluate your datacenter strategy. Some of the questions to ask your team include:

    • Will our core line of business applications run on a newer operating system? And what version(s) are supported?
    • Do we still have a maintenance or support agreement with those software vendors to help with the migration/upgrade?
    • Were any key custom applications written by an employee who is no longer with the organization?
    • Is there money in the capital budget for the new hardware required for a server upgrade?
    • What are our long-term plans: are we planning on maintaining our datacenters or are we considering some cloud solutions?

    There is no right or wrong plan; the path for your organization depends on the risks/rewards that you are willing to accept.

    Do Nothing – This is certainly the least expensive option (in the short run). Yes, you can avoid spending on hardware and migration costs for now; however, many software vendors will only support the most recent versions of their applications. You run the risk of voiding any support agreements plus the ability to upgrade to the newest versions which provide those features and functionalities that your business needs to grow. This route also exposes your company to both security and compliance issues and potential fines.

    Purchase Extended Support – For some applications, you may be able to purchase an extended support contract for approximately 75% of the yearly licensing costs. Yes, your systems will stay patched, but you will still be unable to upgrade in order take advantage of the features and benefits that new versions offer.

    Upgrade your Datacenter – New hardware coupled with application migrations/upgrades avoid the security and compliance risks of the other two solutions, but they carry serious capital expenditures plus the costs associated with training your staff to manage and run these newer platforms. Additionally, this further entrenches your organization in the on-going hardware refresh cycles.

    Move to the cloud – There are multiple cloud solutions available. Perhaps your application’s vendor has a cloud-based version that would allow your team access without having to be in the office. Maybe you want to get out of the datacenter business entirely and move your systems to AWS, Google or Microsoft Azure. These cloud providers offer the platforms (PaaS) and infrastructure (IaaS) to run your servers on a monthly subscription basis while the vendor assumes the burden of maintaining the infrastructure and its availability.

    Hybrid cloud – If you are not ready to throw all of your systems into the cloud at once, a hybrid approach may be the ideal solution. This approach preserves your option to develop a cloud migration strategy to reduce your datacenter footprint, while still leveraging the benefits that an IaaS or PaaS solution offer. You might decide to transition systems due for a hardware refresh to the cloud immediately while keeping others on-premises, for compliance, governance or legacy issues. For these systems, an on-premises upgrade let you take advantage of the new security and feature capabilities in Windows Server 2019.

    Moving workloads to the cloud allows companies to shift IT costs from the capital to the operational budget. With the subscription model offered, organizations pay only for consumed resources and can scale up and down as needed. Compare this to the on-premises options where hardware is purchased upfront based on four to six-year usage predictions.

    End of support can be viewed as either a time of uncertainty or as one of opportunity. High Availability can help you evaluate your options and plan the most appropriate path forward; whether that is a datacenter upgrade, a cloud migration or a hybrid solution. Reach out to begin your path forward. You can also learn more about the End of Support for Windows 2008 and SQL 2008 here:

    https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/blog/announcing-new-options-for-sql-server-2008-and-windows-server-2008-end-of-support/

  • High Availability, Inc. Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

    High Availability, Inc. Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

    March 5th, 2019
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    High Availability, Inc. Recognized for Excellence in Managed IT Services

    Audubon, PA, March 5th, 2019 - High Availability, Inc. announced today that CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, has named High Availability, Inc. to its 2019 Managed Service Provider (MSP) 500 list in the Elite 150 category. This annual list recognizes North American solution providers with innovative approaches to managed services. These services help customers improve operational efficiencies, maximize return on IT investments, and continuously help them navigate the complexities of IT solutions.

    Managed service providers are integral to the success of businesses everywhere. They empower companies to implement and operate complex technologies while staying within their budgets and keep focus on their core business. CRN’s MSP 500 list identifies the most groundbreaking managed service organizations, with advanced solutions that have endless potential for growth.

    This annual list is divided into three categories: the MSP Pioneer 250, recognizing companies with business models weighted toward managed services and largely focused on the SMB market; the MSP Elite 150, recognizing large, data center-focused MSPs with a strong mix of on-premises and off-premises services; and the Managed Security 100, recognizing MSPs focused primarily on off-premises, cloud-based security services.

    “Capable MSPs enable companies to take their cloud computing to the next level, streamline spending, effectively allocate limited resources and navigate the vast field of available technologies,” said Bob Skelley, CEO of The Channel Company. “The companies on CRN’s 2019 MSP 500 list stand out for their innovative services, excellence in adapting to customers’ changing needs and demonstrated ability to help businesses get the most out of their IT investments.”

    The MSP500 list will be featured in the February 2019 issue of CRN and online at www.CRN.com/msp500

    High Availability, Inc. is a premier solution provider and integrator of data center products and cloud services. High Availability, Inc. solves complex business challenges by architecting and implementing forward-thinking technical solutions, while forming trusting, collaborative relationships. By taking a hands-on, consultative approach, the High Availability, Inc. team creates custom tailored systems and solutions to fit both current requirements and future IT and business needs.

    ###

    Media Contact:

    For more information about High Availability, Inc., please contact Liz Thompson, Marketing Manager, at (610) 254-5090 ext. 256 or lthompson@hainc.com

  • Veeam 9.5 Update 4 - The one we’ve been waiting for

    Veeam 9.5 Update 4 - The one we’ve been waiting for

    February 18th, 2019
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    A few weeks ago, Veeam released “Update 4” for version 9.5 of the Backup and Replication product.  There has been much discussion around this release, and it’s date has been anticipated for quite a while.  Last week I finally had a chance to dig into the details and kick it around in the lab.  Some of the features that were lacking in previous version are now part of the install, and I wanted to share some of the more important items from my viewpoint in the field.

     

    Native Object Storage Support (Veeam Cloud Tier)

     

    Veeam Cloud Tier is now an integral part of the scale-out backup repository, and is referred to in the GUI as the Capacity Tier.  It has the ability to use native object storage integration with Amazon S3, Azure Blob, IBM Cloud, and other S3-compatible technologies.  A policy can be created to tier backup files from a local repository (or Performance Tier) to cost effective long term object storage.  This has been one of the most asked about feature that I hear from customers.

     

    Restore to AWS and Azure Stack

     

    The direct restore to Azure process has been expanded to include the ability to restore backups to Microsoft Azure Stack as an IaaS VM.  More importantly, there is now a  Direct Restore to Amazon AWS EC2.  Both of these features are a great way to move or test VM recovery in the Cloud.

     

    Improved Security and Compliance (GDPR)

     

    Veeam Virtual Labs still exist in Update 4, but has been renamed to Data Labs.  Both Staged Restore and Secure Restore build on the proved success of Data Labs.  A staged restore can allow scripts or applications to be run agains a VM for GDPR compliance, while a Secure Restore enables a guest file system to be scanned for malware.

     

    Application Plug-Ins

     

    Veeam has been lacking a plugin for Oracle RMAN since the beginning. In Update 4 DBA’s can now use the RMAN manager to perform backup and restores to a Veeam repository.

     

    Tape

     

    Update 4 has several VERY important updates to tape.  First and foremost we now have the ability to do native NDMP backups.  This has far been the most requested feature that I have come across in the field over the past few years.  Customers who have had to maintain legacy backup solutions to handle larger NAS shares can now use Veeam for NDMP.  The other items worth mentioning are support for parallel processing of FGFS media pool, and the ability to schedule specific start times for GFS tape backup jobs.

     

     

    Overall there are some great features and much needed functionality that comes out of the Update 4 release.  The list above is in no way a complete coverage of everything that has been included in the latest update, but what I consider the top items.  As Veeam continues to provide customers with a solid and scalable data availability solution, I'm certain there will be much more to come.    

  • How to update AnyConnect & Compliance Modules on Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

    How to update AnyConnect & Compliance Modules on Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

    January 11th, 2019
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    How to update AnyConnect & Compliance Modules on Cisco Identity Services Engine (ISE)

     

    I've recently had the pleasure of deploying Cisco's Identity Service Engine (ISE) as an integrated security solution for a customer.  Part of the ISE deployment involved configuring determining the security posture for VPN-connected clients, prior to allowing the client node access to the corporate network.

     

    In order for VPN posturing to work on the ASA firewall, there is an additional compliance module that must be installed on the ASA.  The Compliance Module (aka ISE Posture Module) is part of the AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client and offers the Cisco AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client the ability to assess an endpoint's compliance for things like antivirus, antispyware, and firewall software installed on the client endpoint. 

     

    In our lab environment, we deployed the windows version of the compliance module on our Cisco ASA firewall.  See diagram below:

     

     

     

    It is crucial that the Client Provisioning Policy within ISE references the appropriate version of both the AnyConnect and Compliance packages that are deployed on the ASA firewall.  I've seen instances where the VPN posture module does not work correctly due to the version mismatch between ISE and the ASA firewall and where the posture check does not kick off while the client endpoint is attempting to connect via VPN to the corporate network.

     

    Unfortunately, while the ISE administrator can edit the Compliance Module version under the AnyConnect Agent Configuration, the AnyConnect Package CANNOT be edited.  To align the AnyConnect Agent Configuration versioning name with the AnyConnect Package, I highly recommend on creating a new AnyConnect Agent Configuration.

     

    As far as compatibility between the AnyConnect and Compliance Module is concerned, a quick check of the compatibility matrix indicates that the AnyConnect Secure Mobility Client needs to be 4.x.  This support documentation also lists the supported versions of patch-management, anti-virus, anti-malware, etc.

     

    The following steps below details the step-by-step procedure on how to update both the AnyConnect and Compliance Module on the Cisco ISE Policy Administration Node (PAN).

     

    1. Update AnyConnect and Compliance Module Packages on Cisco ASA firewall
      1. AnyConnect and Compliance Module Packages are downloaded from Cisco Online
      2. Move the firmware to the ASA flash
    2. Download and install AnyConnect Package on Cisco ISE
      1. Policy > Policy Elements > Results > Client Provisioning > Results
      2. Click Add > Agent resources from local disk:

     

     

    1. Select "Cisco Provided Packages" and click on the "Browse" button to upload the package to ISE.  Click on the Submit button.  Another window will then prompt the ISE administrator  to confirm the MD5 hash, click on OK.

     

     

    1. Download and install the AnyConnect Compliance Module (.pkg) on ISE:
      1. Policy > Policy Elements > Results > Client Provisioning > Results
      2. Click Add > Agent resources from local disk:

     

     

    1. Select "Cisco Provided Packages" and click on the "Browse" button to upload the package to ISE.  Click on the Submit button.  Another window will then prompt the ISE administrator to confirm the MD5 hash, click on OK.

     

     

     

    Once the new AnyConnect and Compliance Modules have been uploaded, a new Posture Profile will need to be created.

     

    1. Create a new Posture Profile
    1. Policy > Policy Elements > Results > Client Provisioning > Resources
    2. Click Add > AnyConnect Configuration

     

     

    1. Select the new AnyConnect Package under the dropdown

     

     

    1. Enter the configuration name.   Include the version number in the name - ex "AnyConnect Configuration 4.5.4029.0"
    2. Select the new compliance module that was added to ISE in Step #3.
    3. Under Profile Selection, select "POSTURE_PROFILE"
    4. Leave everything else to default and click on the "Save" button.

     

     

     

    The final step is to modify the Client Provisioning Policy to include the new AnyConnect Agent Configuration in ISE.

     

    1. Modify the Client Provisioning Policies
      1. Policy > Client Provisioning
      2. Edit the Windows rule to include the new AnyConnect Agent Configuration

     

     

    1. Under Results, under Agent, select the new AnyConnect agent that was just created.

     

     

     

    1. Click on Save and we should be good to go.

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