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Thin Clients
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Introduction to Sentral™ Software

Sentral™ Management Software Suite consists of software tools that enhance Virtualized Desktop Infrastructure (VMware VDI) and Centralized Desktop Infrastructure (PCoIP Blade PCs, zero and thin clients) environments by adding enhanced connection brokering and element management capabilities.

Two important components

  1. Sentral Connection Broker maps connection routes from end points such as zero clients and thin clients through network switches to host resources such as Win-dow’s and Linux-based physical Blade PCs or virtual sessions.
  2. Sentral Element Manager provides administrators with multiple layers of manage-met of zero clients, thin clients, Blade PCs, and VDI hosts through a unified con-sole single-pane-of-glass view.

Cloud Desktop OS is a secure operating system for thin clients and other devices requiring efficient operating systems. The operating system supports most hardware and vendors to enable seamless integration into any environment. Administrators can install Cloud Desktop OS on devices to:

  • Replace a Windows operating system.
  • Run on a Windows operating system.
  • Run on any current or legacy thin client operating system Cloud Desktop OS connects any endpoint or desktop hardware to any server-side technology. Supported products, protocols, and vendors include Citrix, VMware, RDP, browser-based connectivity, Dell/Quest vWorkspace, VNC, Parallels/2X, SSH/Secure Shell, and Telnet.

Sentral Connection Broker

Sentral™ Connection Broker is a valuable brokering tool for high-availability support for Windows & Linux-based physical & virtual sessions.

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Sentral Connection Broker allows zero client users to log in from anywhere and be directed to specific centralized Blade PCs. Users can roam from station to station, or to different locations, and always be reconnected to their existing sessions. This means roaming users can leave a zero client, and then reconnect to their sessions from another zero client without having to restart applications or endure lengthy login processes. This capability is a highly touted benefit of using Virtual Machines (VMs) in VDI deployments, but Sentral makes it available with non-virtualized machines (i.e. centralized Blade PCs) as well.

For locations that do a lot of employee adds, moves, and changes, Sentral’s capability can save a huge amount of money. Rather than move computer equipment from place to place as the employees change locations, users simply broker their connection to their centralized blade PC from wherever their new office is located.

For rapid restoration of service in mission critical environments, Sentral provides the network administrator with the ability to automatically route the user to a different secondary source in the event of a primary source failure. With hot spares allocated, Sentral can be configured to switch a failed user to an active spare. In mission critical environments, such as command and control and financial services, this rapid restoration of service capability yields huge returns in completing critical missions and completing critical transactions.

BENEFIT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Brokering support for Windows and Linux-based physical and virtual workstations
  • High availability Blade PC failover
  • Full USB redirection using thin clients for non-plug & play and plug & play devices.
  • Device based brokering (kiosks)

Sentral™ Connection Broker re-maps connection routes from PCoIP zero clients through network switches to physical blade PC host resources. Zero clients are stateless, with no processor, memory, or storage. When a user logs in, his zero client sends a request to his designated host computer to establish the connection over PCoIP. Sentral Connection Broker establishes the relationship between the end point and the desired host resource.

SOLID CONNECTIONS

One of the most widely used applications of Sentral Connection broker is to negotiate connections between ClearCube Cloud Desktop zero clients and ClearCube PCoIP-enabled Blade PCs. However, Sentral Connection Broker can broker connections from any PCoIP zero client to ClearCube PCoIP-enabled Blade PCs running Windows or Linux operating systems.

CREATING ENTERPRISE VALUE

Blade PC pooling for high availability

Sentral’s source routing capability delivers business continuity for mission critical operations that is not possible with distributed PCs and not offered by other connection brokering products. Sentral automatically switches routes to hot spare systems in the event the primary host systems are not accessible allowing operators to continue working. This is a highly valued feature in mission-critical environments such as command & control centers, e911 locations, and other emergency response locations.

Moves/Adds/Changes

Brokering allows the re-mapping of connection routes. This means that people can change their physical locations without having to physically move their PC host resources. They can log in to their Blade PC hosted desktops from zero clients in different offices or temporarily connect to their Blade PCs from a conference room location, for instance. In highly collaborative settings such as financial trading floors, this ability to connect to a specific host platform from anywhere on the trading floor saves $1000s per day by eliminating the need to relocate powerful physical machines to where the trader has moved. Instead, traders move wherever they want, and their systems stay put.

More end points than hosts

Brokering creates the opportunity to install more end point connection stations than hosts. In a hospital, for example, nurses’ stations can be set up with zero clients at multiple points in the building, allowing the nurses to roam from floor to floor and access the information located on their own Blade PCs. Rather than using dedicated PCs at every station, the zero clients are essentially shared access points producing cost-savings and work flexibility.

User based and device based brokering

Sentral allows both user-based and device-based brokering. This capability allows administrators to set up a combination of specific and shared resources, as needed. Specific routes for user based brokering may be mandated for security purposes; device based brokering may be desired for isolating shared resources to specific users.

  • With dedicated device based allocation a Zero client can be mapped to a physical or virtual machine. It always connects to that particular resource no matter who the user is.
  • With shared device based allocation a zero client is brokered to the best available machine.
  • With dedicated user based allocation a user is created within Sentral without the need of Active Directory and imported users from AD can also be allocated to a dedicated resource. With shared user based allocation, groups of users that are created within Sentral are allocated to groups of VMs/Blades. The best available machine is brokered to a user upon request.
  • You can also import user groups from Active Directory and broker them to groups of VMs/Blades

Shared Resources

Specialized application high end workstations are sometimes set up as shared resources. For example, in a CAD environment, a specific program may require very fast CPU/GPU processing for rendering graphics output. That machine may only be used occasionally, so rather than purchase one machine per designer, with Sentral’s connection brokering ability, a network administrator can give each designer his or her own zero client with access to his/her Blade PC and a drop down menu selection to broker a connection to the shared specialized high power resource. The benefit is that the administrator can set up a fewer number of shared resources to reduce costs.

Sentral™ Connection Broker re-maps connection routes from thin clients through network switches to physical blade PCs and virtual session host resources. When a user logs in, his thin client sends a request to his designated host computer or virtual session to establish the connection over Windows Remote Desktop Protocol or Windows Remote FX.

SOLID CONNECTIONS FOR RDP AND REMOTE FX

One of the most widely used applications of Sentral Connection broker is to negotiate connections between ClearCube Cloud Desktop thin clients and ClearCube Blade PCs or ClearCube SmartVDI-RDS systems. However, Sentral Connection Broker can broker connections from any thin client to any host resources running RDP or Windows Remote FX.

CREATING ENTERPRISE VALUE

Brokering for high availability failover

In testing and training classrooms, Sentral’s Connection Broker delivers continuity for mission critical operations. Using Sentral, thin clients can be mapped to a primary SmartVDI-RDS system running Windows Terminal Services that delivers up a number of host sessions to each test taker. A mirror-image secondary SmartVDI-RDS system exists on the same network in standby mode. Sentral provides the network administrator with the ability to automatically route users to a different secondary source in the event of a primary source failure. With the standby system allocated, Sentral can be configured to switch failed users to the active spare. Sentral allocates the spare system only in the instance where the primary resource is not available. Sentral agents are installed that are polling the server about their connection state. If the primary server stops polling, then Sentral determines it is no longer available for connections and thus allocates the spare group/pool. Sentral Connection broker will re-establish connections from the failed primary to the working secondary system, allowing work to a resume.

USB redirection

Sentral Connection Broker enables USB device redirection which virtually extends the ports of the desktop out to the user’s device. Any type of device (even a USB memory stick or an old retail receipt printer) that supports a USB interface can be redirected by Sentral Connection Broker to the Virtual Machine whose Operating System considers the device connected to that OS and which displays normally as it would on a local machine in the device manager. With Sentral Connection Broker, USB drivers that may be required to work with the device are on the VM OS and not on the thin client. This allows you to use less expensive

usb-redirection

Linux thin clients, instead of Windows thin clients, to redirect a device out to the desktop VM that only works in a Windows environment. Remote Desktop Protocol and Remote FX support the redirection of certain types of plug & play devices such as printers, clipboards, and disks but with limited data transfer rates. Their redirection support does not cover the wide gamut of unique devices that are in the field today such as legacy USB devices (non-plug and play).

Moves/Adds/Changes

Brokering allows the re-mapping of connection routes. This means that people with thin clients at their desks can change their physical locations and still access their designated Blade PC. They can log in to their Blade PC hosted desktops from thin clients in different offices or temporarily connect to their Blade PCs from a conference room location, for instance.

More end points than hosts

Brokering creates the opportunity to install more end point connection stations than hosts. ClearCube thin clients have display, keyboard, mouse and USB 2.0 support for web cameras. In video conferencing environments, for example, conference rooms can be set up with thin clients at multiple points and in multiple locations, allowing users to access information located on a shared pool of Blade PCs or loaded as Terminal Server sessions. The ratio of end points can be much higher than the host resources if conference rooms are not all used simultaneously.

User based and device based brokering

Sentral allows both user-based and device-based brokering. This capability allows administrators to set up a combination of specific and shared resources, as needed. Specific routes for user based brokering may be mandated for security purposes; device based brokering may be desired for isolating shared resources to specific users.

  • With dedicated device based allocation a thin client can be mapped to a physical or virtual machine. It always connects to that particular resource no matter who the user is.
  • With shared device based allocation a thin client is brokered to the best available machine.
  • With dedicated user based allocation a user is created within

user-based-and-device-based-brokering

Sentral without the need of Active Directory and imported users from AD can also be allocated to a dedicated resource.

  • With shared user based allocation, groups of users that are created within Sentral are allocated to groups of VMs/Blades. The best available machine is brokered to a user upon request.
  • You can also import user groups from Active Directory and broker them to groups of VMs/Blades.

There are environments where the customer implementing Sentral Connection Broker requires a certain level of autonomy for that installation. Certain admins, especially in Linux environments, may not have access to Active Directory credentials. Sentral Connection Broker provides the ability to create users within the Sentral database itself.

Sentral Element Manager

Sentral™ Element Manager gives admins a single-pane-of-glass, end-to-end control over all disparate endpoint and host resource elements.

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Sentral Element Manager discovers, monitors, and manages elements such as zero clients, thin clients, Blade PCs and SmartVDI hosts.

Sentral Element Manager’s dashboard keeps IT administrators informed of the status of their host resource’s (Blade PCs and SmartVDI) temperature, power and operation.

PCoIP zero client connection status is one important aspect that is monitored by Sentral Element Manager. Lost PCoIP connections, if any, are reported to help troubleshoot possible network reliability issues.

Sentral Element Manager’s console dashboard provides custom alerts, detailed audit reports, and user session logs to give ad-vance health and usage information.

Element Manager also integrates monitoring and alerting features with third party applications. Administrators can customize alerting events and thresholds, choosing the notification method when an alerting event is triggered, and receive email notifications and/or standards-based messages to third party applications.

Sentral offers IT administrators a single management framework to monitor and control their entire centralized infrastructure of computing assets and user types, dramatically reducing complexity, and ensuring the security, manageability and availability of VDI and CDI deployments. Policy creation is flexible, powerful and easy to manage.

BENEFIT HIGHLIGHTS

  • Lost PCoIP connection alerting and reporting of ClearCube Blade PCs
  • Remote hard reset power management of ClearCube Blade PCs
  • Single console for PCoIP and non-PCoIP element management
  • Hardware asset discovery

Sentral™ Element Manager discovers ClearCube PCoIP zero clients and thin clients and Blade PCs and extracts property profiles (settings, configurations, adapter properties, available drive capacities, connections, etc.). This allows administrators to:

  • Check whether zero clients are on or plugged in
  • Do zero client firmware upgrades en masse
  • Perform power management operations such as remote hard reset on ClearCube Blade PCs
  • Receive health monitoring functions about chassis and blade PC conditions related to heat and power
  • Produce detailed reports of hardware assets to better manage remote devices
  • Generate historical operational logs for troubleshooting.

SOLID MANAGEMENT & CONTROL

One of the most widely used applications of Sentral Element Manager is to manage ClearCube Cloud Desktop zero clients and ClearCube PCoIP-enabled Blade PCs. Sentral Element Manager works out of band on R Series blades/chassis. IPMI support is available on both A and M Series. IPMI messages regarding system temperatures, voltages, power supplies, etc. are sent to Sentral’s management console. The on-board baseboard management controller can be accessed to remotely cycle power.

CREATING ENTERPRISE VALUE

Single pane of glass view of disparate elements

Sentral Element Manager takes away the unpleasant surprises caused by unmanaged, unattended decentralized machines. Without Sentral Element Manager, all of the management functions must be done manually which takes time and manpower. You lose all the proactive and active management functions, and your administrator functions all become reactive.

Proactive Management

Sentral Element Manager can be set up to monitor end points and host resources, looking to identify potential problems before they affect productivity. Also, many ClearCube customers have gone through multiple generations of ClearCube Blade PCs (many with over a decade of continuous tech refreshes). Sentral’s ability to discover and identify different generations of assets helps administrators keep track of device revision levels to simplify support overhead.

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Active Management

Sentral Element Manager provides administrators with controlled firmware updates from a centralized location that support in excess of 2000 zero clients.

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Reactive Management

Configurable alerts can be constructed to notify administrators of any worrisome conditions or failures; and data can be collected about a variety of conditions for performance and life cycle analysis. In the event of an exceeded threshold or failure, Sentral Element Manager sends notification to the network administrator via email or SNMP traps. Historical logs are kept for events. Sometimes PCoIP traffic can be adversely affected by heavy periods of network traffic. Sentral Element Manager is the only management program that keeps track of and reports lost PCoIP sessions between Blade PCs and zero clients to the administrator. This function can help the administrator troubleshoot and isolate network problems affecting specific users and adjust bandwidth to reduce or eliminate session loss.

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Sentral™ Element Manager is used to enhance VMware VDI environments by providing management capabilities beyond those found in the Teradici Management Console and in VMware’s management software.

Sentral Element Manager discovers zero clients and extracts property profiles (settings, configurations, etc.). This allows administrators to:

  • Do zero client firmware upgrades en masse
  • Perform power management operations such as remote hard reset
  • Produce detailed reports of hardware assets to better manage remote devices

CREATING ENTERPRISE & VALUE

One of the most widely used applications of Sentral Element Manager is to manage hundreds or thousands of ClearCube Cloud Desktop zero clients connected to ClearCube SmartVDI systems or 3rd party VDI hardware.

CREATING ENTERPRISE VALUE

Sentral Element Manager reduces the management software count from four programs ( vCenter, Teradici management console, vm or desktop management software and hardware management software) to two programs (vCenter and Sentral Element Manager), which simplifies administration. Without Sentral Element Manager, all of the management functions must be done manually which takes time and manpower. You lose all the proactive and active management functions, and your administrator functions all become reactive.

Single pane of glass view of zero clients and virtual machines

From an administrator’s perspective, Sentral Element Manager unifies a lot of disparate information into a single pane of glass view. And if there are multiple administrators, Sentral Element Manager can be configured for customized views for different help desk levels to limit responsibilities for different skill sets.

Proactive Management

Sentral Element Manager can be set up to monitor end points, host and virtual resources, looking to identify potential problems before they affect productivity. Sentral’s ability to discover and identify different types of assets (zero clients from different manufacturers) helps administrators keep track of devices to simplify support overhead.

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Active Management

Sentral Element Manager provides administrators with controlled firmware updates from a centralized location that support in excess of 2000 zero clients. It also allows you to manage physical and virtual hosts in your VMware view environment.

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Reactive Management

Configurable alerts can be constructed to notify administrators of any worrisome conditions or failures; and data can be collected about a variety of conditions for performance and life cycle analysis (at the VM level). In the event of an exceeded threshold or failure, Sentral Element Manager sends notification to the network administrator via email or SNMP traps.

reactive-1