7 Key Channel Insights from the MSP Community

Nearly half of MSPs report recommending Dell servers to clients, followed by one quarter who recommend HPE. 44% of MSPs report utilizing VMware as their virtualization software, closely followed by 43% who report using Microsoft Hyper-V. By tapping into our vast partner base across the world, we obtained a wealth of statistics covering everything from the technology MSPs are using and business challenges theyre facing to where they get their news and how many industry events they attend annually.To share these unique insights and statistics, we published our findings in our third annual State of the MSP Report. This report provides us the opportunity to go beyond just a snapshot of todays MSPs and instead take a deeper dive into various aspects of their businesses and lives.

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Madison Technologies

Madison Technologies is a respected industry leader with a 25-year track record of delivering the very best products, services and solutions for the cabling, industrial networking, wireless, telco carrier networking, broadcast and audio visual disciplines.

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Virtual Desktop Tools, Virtual Desktop Strategies

VM Applications for Software Development and Secure Testing

Article | June 8, 2023

Contents 1. Introduction 2. Software Development and Secure Testing 3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing 4. Conclusion 1. Introduction “Testing is an infinite process of comparing the invisible to the ambiguous in order to avoid the unthinkable happening to the anonymous.” —James Bach. Testing software is crucial for identifying and fixing security vulnerabilities. However, meeting quality standards for functionality and performance does not guarantee security. Thus, software testing nowadays is a must to identify and address application security vulnerabilities to maintain the following: Security of data history, databases, information, and servers Customers’ integrity and trust Web application protection from future attacks VMs provide a flexible and isolated environment for software development and security testing. They offer easy replication of complex configurations and testing scenarios, allowing efficient issue resolution. VMs also provide secure testing by isolating applications from the host system and enabling a reset to a previous state. In addition, they facilitate DevOps practices and streamline the development workflow. 2. Software Development and Secure Testing Software Secure Testing: The Approach The following approaches must be considered while preparing and planning for security tests: Architecture Study and Analysis: Understand whether the software meets the necessary requirements. Threat Classification: List all potential threats and risk factors that must be tested. Test Planning: Run the tests based on the identified threats, vulnerabilities, and security risks. Testing Tool Identification: For software security testing tools for web applications, the developer must identify the relevant security tools to test the software for specific use cases. Test-Case Execution: After performing a security test, the developer should fix it using any suitable open-source code or manually. Reports: Prepare a detailed test report of the security tests performed, containing a list of the vulnerabilities, threats, and issues resolved and the ones that are still pending. Ensuring the security of an application that handles essential functions is paramount. This may involve safeguarding databases against malicious attacks or implementing fraud detection mechanisms for incoming leads before integrating them into the platform. Maintaining security is crucial throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC) and must be at the forefront of developers' minds while executing the software's requirements. With consistent effort, the SDLC pipeline addresses security issues before deployment, reducing the risk of discovering application vulnerabilities while minimizing the damage they could cause. A secure SDLC makes developers responsible for critical security. Developers need to be aware of potential security concerns at each step of the process. This requires integrating security into the SDLC in ways that were not needed before. As anyone can potentially access source code, coding with potential vulnerabilities in mind is essential. As such, having a robust and secure SDLC process is critical to ensuring applications are not subject to attacks by hackers. 3. Using VMs in Software Development and Secure Testing: Snapshotting: Snapshotting allows developers to capture a VM's state at a specific point in time and restore it later. This feature is helpful for debugging and enables developers to roll back to a previous state when an error occurs. A virtual machine provides several operations for creating and managing snapshots and snapshot chains. These operations let users create snapshots, revert to any snapshots in the chain, and remove snapshots. In addition, extensive snapshot trees can be created to streamline the flow. Virtual Networking: It allows virtual machines to be connected to virtual networks that simulate complex network topologies, allowing developers to test their applications in different network environments. This allows expanding data centers to cover multiple physical locations, gaining access to a plethora of more efficient options. This empowers them to effortlessly modify the network as per changing requirements without any additional hardware. Moreover, providing the network for specific applications and needs offers greater flexibility. Additionally, it enables workloads to be moved seamlessly across the network infrastructure without compromising on service, security, or availability. Resource Allocation: VMs can be configured with specific resource allocations such as CPU, RAM, and storage, allowing developers to test their applications under different resource constraints. Maintaining a 1:1 ratio between the virtual machine processor and its host or core is highly recommended. It's crucial to refrain from over-subscribing virtual machine processors to a single core, as this could lead to stalled or delayed events, causing significant frustration and dissatisfaction among users. However, it is essential to acknowledge that IT administrators sometimes overallocate virtual machine processors. In such cases, a practical approach is to start with a 2:1 ratio and gradually move towards 4:1, 8:1, 12:1, and so on while bringing virtual allocation into IT infrastructure. This approach ensures a safe and seamless transition towards optimized virtual resource allocation. Containerization within VMs: Containerization within VMs provides an additional layer of isolation and security for applications. Enterprises are finding new use cases for VMs to utilize their in-house and cloud infrastructure to support heavy-duty application and networking workloads. This will also have a positive impact on the environment. DevOps teams use containerization with virtualization to improve software development flexibility. Containers allow multiple apps to run in one container with the necessary components, such as code, system tools, and libraries. For complex applications, both virtual machines and containers are used together. However, while containers are used for the front-end and middleware, VMs are used for the back-end. VM Templates: VM templates are pre-configured virtual machines that can be used as a base for creating new virtual machines, making it easier to set up development and testing environments. A VM template is an image of a virtual machine that serves as a master copy. It includes VM disks, virtual devices, and settings. By using a VM template, cloning a virtual machine multiple times can be achieved. When you clone a VM from a template, the clones are independent and not linked to the template. VM templates are handy when a large number of similar VMs need to be deployed. They preserve VM consistency. To edit a template, convert it to a VM, make the necessary changes, and then convert the edited VM back into a new template. Remote Access: VMs can be accessed remotely, allowing developers and testers to collaborate more effectively from anywhere worldwide. To manage a virtual machine, follow these steps: enable remote access, connect to the virtual machine, and then access the VNC or serial console. Once connected, full permission to manage the virtual machine is granted with the user's approval. Remote access provides a secure way to access VMs, as connections can be encrypted and authenticated to prevent unauthorized access. Additionally, remote access allows for easier management of VMs, as administrators can monitor and control virtual machines from a central location. DevOps Integration: DevOps is a collection of practices, principles, and tools that allow a team to release software quickly and efficiently. Virtualization is vital in DevOps when developing intricate cloud, API, and SOA systems. Virtual machines enable teams to simulate environments for creating, testing, and launching code, ultimately preserving computing resources. While commencing a bug search at the API layer, teams find that virtual machines are suitable for test-driven development (TDD). Virtualization providers handle updates, freeing up DevOps teams, to focus on other areas and increasing productivity by 50 –60%. In addition, VMs allow for simultaneous testing of multiple release and patch levels, improving product compatibility and interoperability. 4. Conclusion The outlook for virtual machine applications is highly promising in the development and testing fields. With the increasing complexity of development and testing processes, VMs can significantly simplify and streamline these operations. In the future, VMs are expected to become even more versatile and potent, providing developers and testers with a broader range of tools and capabilities to facilitate the development process. One potential future development is integrating machine learning and artificial intelligence into VMs. This would enable VMs to automate various tasks, optimize the allocation of resources, and generate recommendations based on performance data. Moreover, VMs may become more agile and lightweight, allowing developers and testers to spin up and spin down instances with greater efficiency. The future of VM applications for software development and security testing looks bright, with continued innovation and development expected to provide developers and testers with even more powerful and flexible tools to improve the software development process.

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Virtual Desktop Strategies

Virtualization Can Help Substantially Reduce Computing Costs

Article | July 26, 2022

Businesses use a lot of technology to keep themselves competitive and Businesses use a lot of technology to keep themselves competitive and operationally efficient. One way that organizations use to make their technology infrastructure more accessible is through the use of virtualization. Let’s discuss what virtualization is, how it benefits businesses, and some examples of how you might consider leveraging virtualization to your company’s benefit. Virtualization for Hardware and Software Virtualization in its most basic sense is taking something and making it virtual. In regards to hardware and software, it involves taking these parts of your technology infrastructure and making them available in a virtual environment. Virtual applications and hardware solutions can be deployed to the cloud so that they can be accessed by any online device. Some examples of virtualization might include creating virtual machines, like workstations and server units, that are hosted in a virtual environment for as-needed access

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Virtual Desktop Tools

Why Are Businesses Tilting Towards VDI for Remote Employees?

Article | August 12, 2022

Although remote working or working from home became popular during the COVID era, did you know that the technology that gives the best user experience (UX) for remote work was developed more than three decades ago? Citrix was founded in 1989 as one of the first software businesses to provide the ability to execute any program on any device over any connection. In 2006, VMware coined the term "virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)" to designate their virtualization products. Many organizations created remote work arrangements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the phenomenon will continue even in 2022. Organizations have used a variety of methods to facilitate remote work over the years. For businesses, VDI has been one of the most effective, allowing businesses to centralize their IT resources and give users remote access to a consolidated pool of computing capacity. Reasons Why Businesses Should Use VDI for their Remote Employees? Companies can find it difficult to scale their operations and grow while operating remotely. VDI, on the other hand, can assist in enhancing these efforts by eliminating some of the downsides of remote work. Device Agnostic As long as employees have sufficient internet connectivity, virtual desktops can accompany them across the world. They can use a tablet, phone, laptop, client side, or Mac to access the virtual desktop. Reduced Support Costs Since VDI setups can often be handled by a smaller IT workforce than traditional PC settings, support expenses automatically go down. Enhanced Security Data security is raised since data never leaves the datacenter. There's no need to be concerned about every hard disk in every computer containing sensitive data. Nothing is stored on the end machine while using the VDI workspace. It also safeguards intellectual property while dealing with contractors, partners, or a worldwide workforce. Comply with Regulations With virtual desktops, organizational data never leaves the data center. Remote employees that have regulatory duties to preserve client/patient data like function because there is no risk of data leaking out from a lost or stolen laptop or retired PC. Enhanced User Experience With a solid user experience (UX), employees can work from anywhere. They can connect to all of their business applications and tools from anywhere they want to call your workplace, exactly like sitting at their office desk, and even answer the phone if they really want to. Closing Lines One of COVID-19's lessons has been to be prepared for almost anything. IT leaders were probably not planning their investments with a pandemic in mind. Irrespective of how the pandemic plays out in the future, the rise of remote work is here to stay. If VDI at scale is to become a permanent feature of business IT strategies, now is the moment to assess where, when, and how your organization can implement the appropriate solutions. Moreover, businesses that use VDI could find that the added flexibility extends their computing refresh cycles.

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Virtual Desktop Strategies, Server Hypervisors

Efficient Management of Virtual Machines using Orchestration

Article | April 27, 2023

Contents 1. Introduction 2. What is Orchestration? 3. How Orchestrating Help Optimize VMs Efficiency? 3.1. Resource Optimization 3.2 Dynamic Scaling 3.3 Faster Deployment 3.4 Improved Security 3.5 Multi-Cloud Management 3.6 Improved Collaboration 4. Considerations while Orchestrating VMs 4.1. Together Hosting of Containers and VMs 4.2 Automated Backup and Restore for VMs 4.3 Ensure Replication for VMs 4.4 Setup Data Synchronization for VMs 5. Conclusion 1. Introduction Orchestration is a superset of automation. Cloud orchestration goes beyond automation, providing coordination between multiple automated activities. Cloud orchestration is increasingly essential due to the growth of containerization, which facilitates scaling applications across clouds, both public and private. The demand for both public cloud orchestration and hybrid cloud orchestration has increased as businesses increasingly adopt a hybrid cloud architecture. The quick adoption of containerized, micro-services-based apps that communicate over APIs has fueled the desire for automation in deploying and managing applications across the cloud. This increase in complexity has created a need for VM orchestration that can manage numerous dependencies across various clouds with policy-driven security and management capabilities. 2. What is Orchestration? Orchestration refers to the process of automating, coordinating, and managing complex systems, workflows, or processes. It typically entails the use of automation tools and platforms to streamline and coordinate the deployment, configuration, management of applications and services across different environments. This includes development, testing, staging, and production. Orchestration tools in cloud computing can be used to automate the deployment and administration of containerized applications across multiple servers or clusters. These tools can help automate tasks such as container provisioning, scaling, load balancing, and health monitoring, making it easier to manage complex application environments. Orchestration ensures organizations automate and streamline their workflows, reduce errors and downtime, and improve the efficacy and scalability of their operations. 3. How Orchestrating Help Optimize VMs Efficiency? Orchestration offers enhanced visibility into the resources and processes in use, which helps prevent VM sprawl and helps organizations trace resource usage by department, business unit, or individual user. Fig. Global Market for VNFO by Virtualization Methodology 2022-27($ million) (Source: Insight Research) The above figure shows, VMs have established a solid legacy that will continue to be relevant in the near to mid-term future. These are 6 ways, in which Orchestration helps vin efficient management of VMs: 3.1. Resource Optimization Orchestrating helps optimize resource utilization by automating the provisioning and de-provisioning of VMs, which allows for efficient use of computing resources. By using orchestration tools, IT teams can set up rules and policies for automatically scaling VMs based on criteria such as CPU utilization, memory usage, network traffic, and application performance metrics. Orchestration also enables advanced techniques such as predictive analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence to optimize resource utilization. These technologies can analyze historical data and identify patterns in workload demand, allowing the orchestration system to predict future resource needs and automatically provision or de-provision resources accordingly 3.2. Dynamic Scaling Orchestrating helps automate scaling of VMs, enabling organizations to quickly and easily adjust their computing resources based on demand. It enables IT teams to configure scaling policies and regulations for virtual machines based on resource utilization and network traffic along with performance metrics. When the workload demand exceeds a certain threshold, the orchestration system can autonomously provision additional virtual machines to accommodate the increased load. When workload demand decreases, the orchestration system can deprovision VMs to free up resources and reduce costs. 3.3. Faster Deployment Orchestrating can help automate VM deployment of VMs, reducing the time and effort required to provision new resources. By leveraging advanced technologies such as automation, scripting, and APIs, orchestration can further streamline the VM deployment process. It allows IT teams to define workflows and processes that can be automated using scripts, reducing the time and effort required to deploy new resources. In addition, orchestration can integrate with other IT management tools and platforms, such as cloud management platforms, configuration management tools, and monitoring systems. This enables IT teams to leverage various capabilities and services to streamline the VM deployment and improve efficiency. 3.4. Improved Security Orchestrating can help enhance the security of VMs by automating the deployment of security patches and updates. It also helps ensure VMs are deployed with the appropriate security configurations and settings, reducing the risk of misconfiguration and vulnerability. It enables IT teams to define standard security templates and configurations for VMs, which can be automatically applied during deployment. Furthermore, orchestration can integrate with other security tools and platforms, such as intrusion detection systems and firewalls, to provide a comprehensive security solution. It allows IT teams to automate the deployment of security policies and rules, ensuring that workloads remain protected against various security threats. 3.5. Multi-Cloud Management Orchestration helps provide a single pane of glass for VM management, enabling IT teams to monitor and manage VMs across multiple cloud environments from a single platform. This simplifies management and reduces complexity, enabling IT teams to respond more quickly and effectively to changing business requirements. In addition, orchestration also helps to ensure consistency and compliance across multiple cloud environments. Moreover, orchestration can also integrate with other multi-cloud management tools and platforms, such as cloud brokers and cloud management platforms, to provide a comprehensive solution for managing VMs across multiple clouds. 3.6. Improved Collaboration Orchestration helps streamline collaboration by providing a centralized repository for storing and sharing information related to VMs. Moreover, it also automates many of the routine tasks associated with VM management, reducing the workload for IT teams and freeing up time for more complex tasks. This can improve collaboration by enabling IT teams to focus on more strategic initiatives. In addition, orchestration provides advanced analytics and reporting capabilities, enabling IT teams to track performance, identify bottlenecks, and optimize resource utilization. This improves performance by providing a data-driven approach to VM management and allowing IT teams to work collaboratively to identify and address performance issues. 4. Considerations while Orchestrating VMs 4.1. Together Hosting of Containers and VMs Containers and virtual machines exist together within a single infrastructure and are managed by the same platform. This allows for hosting various projects using a unified management point and the ability to adapt gradually based on current needs and opportunities. This provides greater flexibility for teams to host and administer applications using cutting-edge technologies and established standards and methods. Moreover, as there is no need to invest in distinct physical servers for virtual machines (VMs) and containers, this approach can be a great way to maximize infrastructure utilization, resulting in lower TCO and higher ROI. In addition, unified management drastically simplifies processes, requiring fewer human resources and less time. 4.2. Automated Backup and Restore for VMs --Minimize downtime and reduce risk of data loss Organizations should set up automated backup and restore processes for virtual machines, ensuring critical data and applications are protected during a disaster. This involves scheduling regular backups of virtual machines to a secondary location or cloud storage and setting up automated restore processes to recover virtual machines during an outage or disaster quickly. 4.3. Ensure Replication for VMs --Ensure data and applications are available and accessible in the event of a disaster Organizations should set up replication processes for their VMs, allowing them to be automatically copied to a secondary location or cloud infrastructure. This ensures that critical applications and data are available even during a catastrophic failure at the primary site. 4.4. Setup Data Synchronization for VMs --Improve overall resilience and availability of the system VM orchestration tools should be used to set up data synchronization processes between virtual machines, ensuring that data is consistent and up-to-date across multiple locations. This is particularly important in scenarios where data needs to be accessed quickly from various locations, such as in distributed environments. 5. Conclusion Orchestration provides disaster recovery and business continuity, automatic scalability of distributed systems, and inter-service configuration. Cloud orchestration is becoming significant due to the advent of containerization, which permits scaling applications across clouds, both public and private. We expect continued growth and innovation in the field of VM orchestration, with new technologies and tools emerging to support more efficient and effective management of virtual machines in distributed environments. In addition, as organizations increasingly rely on cloud-based infrastructures and distributed systems, VM orchestration will continue to play a vital role in enabling businesses to operate smoothly and recover quickly from disruptions. VM orchestration will remain a critical component of disaster recovery and high availability strategies for years as organizations continue relying on virtualization technologies to power their operations and drive innovation.

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Spotlight

Madison Technologies

Madison Technologies is a respected industry leader with a 25-year track record of delivering the very best products, services and solutions for the cabling, industrial networking, wireless, telco carrier networking, broadcast and audio visual disciplines.

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