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How H&R Block Uses VDI to Meet the Tax Season Rush

I almost overlooked the news blurb regarding Emancipation Day, until I saw the word “taxes” in the title and did a double take. Emancipation Day is being celebrated on Friday, tax season vdi technology seasonal worker case studypushing the official tax-filing deadline to April 18. Effectively, this gives us three extra days to file our taxes this year. And if you’re like me, you’re probably letting out a whoop of delight as we gain some extra time to file our taxes this year.

According to Jackson Hewitt, over 60% of all Americans use a paid tax preparation service to file their taxes. That’s a great opportunity for providers such as H&R Block, the world’s largest tax service provider, whose headcount jumps exponentially every year between December 1 and April 15.

Due to the seasonal nature of the tax business, H&R Block scales from several thousand tax professionals to more than 100,000 mostly temporary associates every tax-filing season. The influx of temporary workers puts an enormous strain on the company’s business processes, including the deployment of streamlined and reliable technology infrastructure to cater to a seasonal spike in capacity. By deploying virtual desktops (VDI) with thin clients as endpoints, H&R block was able to scale and simultaneously realize significant capital savings.  Continue reading

Load Balancing VMware Identity Manager with F5 BIG-IP Local Traffic Manager

By Dean Flaming, EUC Architect, End-User-Computing Technical-Marketing Center of Excellence, VMware

In case you have not been paying attention to the press releases, VMware Identity Manager is the platform that extends your on-premises directory infrastructure to provide a seamless single-sign-on (SSO) experience to Web, mobile, SaaS, and legacy applications. Identity Manager is a service aggregator and identity provider for your IT resources.

A single login to Identity Manager gains your users access to View desktops in Horizon 7, Horizon hosted applications, Citrix desktops and applications, Web applications, SaaS applications, and ThinApp packaged applications, with AirWatch to help manage mobile applications and resources through the VMware Workspace ONE solution.


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VMware Horizon 7 True SSO: Setting Up In a Lab

In Part 1 of this blog series, we introduced a new feature of VMware Horizon 7 called True SSO (Single Sign-On).

In this blog post, we will cover the steps required to implement True SSO in a lab environment. This won’t cover subjects such as High Availability or complex domain trust scenarios (they will come in a future blog post), but should be enough to get you up and running so you familiarize yourself with the True SSO capabilities and system architecture.

Below is a diagram providing an overview of what we would like to have set up by the end of this blog post:

True SSO Diagram

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Spring into vForum Online—VMware’s Largest Online Conference—April 19


What better way to kick off the spring season than with a free digital conference full of opportunities to expand your knowledge of VMware End-User Computing (EUC) solutions?

Register now for vForum Online on April 19.

Get practical IT advice from tech experts and hands-on experience working with products that’ll equip you with the tools you need to jump-start your IT. And you won’t even have to leave your desk!

With up to 15 breakout sessions on topics such as the software-defined data center (SDDC), EUC and the hybrid cloud—plus eight expert-led labs where you’ll test drive VMware solutions—vForum Online is your one-stop shop for IT innovation.

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ANNOUNCING Our 2016 End-User Computing (EUC) Champions

VMware EUC Champions LogoCongratulations to newly added and returning VMware EUC Champions.

By Cyndie Zikmund, product marketing group manager, End-User Computing, VMware

End-User Computing (EUC) Champions is an “Outsiders-who-are-Insiders” Expert Program designed with the help of several EUC experts in the community. Since its inception, this program has provided a great platform for the EUC expert community and VMware EUC product groups to share feedback, roadmaps and new product information through in-person meetings, networking events, industry conferences and webinars. This interaction helps ensure that VMware EUC customers get the best possible products and, additionally, helps shape the direction of VMware products and innovations.

This year, we want to congratulate our 24 champions who will be with us as part of the program in 2016. Thanks to all those who kicked off the program with us in 2015.

Our Champions

Not everyone is cut out to be a champion, and we are exceptionally lucky to be working with a very talented set of individuals. To be part of this program, members need to not only have deep VMware product expertise, but they also need to be vocal about their knowledge. Our experts are prolific writers and speakers. They are up to date on the latest trends in the industry, have opinions about them, and love to tinker with new technology. They are respected by their peers and are respectful of others. And they are the people that everyone in the industry likes to go to for technical information about leading EUC products.

Hats off to all of our past and present champions: Continue reading

VMware Boxer: Consumer Simple, Enterprise Secure Mobile Productivity

VMware Boxer mobile email app

Last October, VMware announced its intention to acquire popular mobile email app Boxer. The mail, calendar and contacts app inspired mobile productivity for millions of users, making Boxer one of the most popular consumer email solutions in the app stores. Today, VMware announced that Boxer is now available for VMware Workspace ONE and AirWatch customers.

“The shared vision between VMware and Boxer is one of a consumer-simple experience existing within the confines of corporate-mandated security,” said Andrew Eye, co-founder and CEO of Boxer—and now VMware VP of productivity strategy for mobility—in today’s announcement.

“IT departments shouldn’t have to choose between great user experience or enterprise-grade security and management. Boxer eliminates that decision by providing both: an intuitive experience with a host of advanced mail, calendar and contacts features inside of one app that gives the IT admin the ability to configure and manage security policies at a granular level.”

To dive into the powerful Boxer features and its groundbreaking integration into Workspace ONE, please:

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VMware App Volumes Backup Utility Fling: Instructions

By: Stéphane Asselin, Senior Architect, End-User-Computing Technical-Marketing Center of Excellence, VMware


Chris Halstead, End-User-Computing Architect, End-User-Computing Technical-Marketing Center of Excellence, VMware

VMware App Volumes is a great technology that facilitates application delivery to virtual desktops. It simplifies application management and updates. IT personnel truly understand how important it is to make certain applications always available to users.

After users are set up with a virtual desktop, IT needs to make sure that they can recover from hardware or software problems. And, along those lines, IT must also consider how to back up AppStacks and writable volumes, the application containers in App Volumes.

AppStacks and writable volumes are virtual machine disk files (VMDKs) that you attach to virtual machines. AppStacks are shareable, one-to-many, read-only volumes. Writable volumes are user-specific and read-write all of the time, that is, as soon as they are attached after the user logs in.

But those VMDK files cannot be backed up by most backup solutions. Most virtual-machine backup solutions on the market allow backups only of the virtual machine and any VMDK files attached to that virtual machine. A major benefit of AppStacks is that they can be attached to many virtual machines.

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VMware App Volumes Backup Utility Fling: Introduction

By Dale Carter, Senior Solutions Architect and Member of the CTO Ambassadors, VMware;

Chris Halstead, End-User-Computing Architect, End-User-Computing Technical-Marketing Center of Excellence, VMware;


Stéphane Asselin, Senior Architect, End-User-Computing Technical-Marketing Center of Excellence, VMware

In December 2014, VMware released VMware App Volumes, and since then, lots of new features have been added, and people love using App Volumes. Organizations use App Volumes not only in VMware environments, but also in many Citrix environments.

However, there has been one big request from our App Volumes users: Every time I talk to people about App Volumes, they ask about how to back up their AppStacks and writable volumes. Normal virtual-machine backup tools cannot back up App Volumes AppStacks and writable volumes because the AppStacks and writable volumes are not part of the vCenter inventory unless they are connected to a user’s virtual machine (VM). As I talked to other people within VMware, I found this question coming up more and more, so I started to think of how we could help.

Last summer during an internal conference, Travis Wood, Senior Solutions Architect at VMware, and I were throwing around a few ideas of how to address this request, and we came up with the idea of an App Volumes backup tool.

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Bank IT Leaders Reveal 4 Reasons Why They Are Driving Change

Alan Kay, one of the earliest pioneers of personal computing said, “Technology is anything that wasn’t around when you were born.” And with due respect to Mr. Kay, I will take it a bit further financial services banking technology trendsand say that technology is anything that wasn’t around when you celebrated your last birthday. Given the rate at which end-user computing (EUC) technology is evolving, banks that thrive over the next decade will look very different than the success stories of 10 years ago.

It is true that most banks are not technology companies (yet), however during a recent discussion with IT leaders from the banking industry, we gathered key insights from them as they explore new ways to approach their business, serve their customers, empower their employees and secure data with the implementation of disruptive technologies.

During this discussion, Enterprise IT leaders revealed 4 key reasons why they’re exploring technology change within their financial institution:

1. It’s All About Apps

Given that some of the world’s largest financial institutions rely on thousands of internal apps to run their businesses, the way they handle application lifecycle management has become very complex and difficult to manage. Moreover, the proliferation of new and legacy applications makes managing, updating, delivering and consume applications on the multitude of devices more difficult.

Watch the video below to understand how financial institutions can simplify and streamline application lifecycle management. Continue reading

The Perks of Working from Home

How Telework & the Digital Workspace Support Continuity of Operations in Government

Employees at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) are no longer disconnected from the office on a snow day. When this year’s whopper of a winter storm, Jonas, closed government VMware government solutions for telework operation continuityoffices across Washington D.C., nearly 95% of the agency’s 3,800 employees successfully worked remotely for two days.

Thanks to digital innovations that enable anywhere, anytime connectivity, GSA employees can now keep the government running from anywhere. Hours once lost because of a government shutdown are now transformed into productive workdays, as employees respond to email, host teleconferences, run reports and generally maintain daily operations from home.

[Related: Making Telework a Reality in the Federal Government with VMware Horizon View]

Besides the obvious productivity drain of a government shutdown, taxpayer money is lost following a government office closure of any kind. In 2010, the Office of Personnel Management estimated that a five-day closure of the federal government amounted to $71 million in lost productivity for each day of the shutdown. Mission-critical departments within local, state and federal government agencies cannot, under any circumstance, close or cease operations. Regardless of a blizzard, storm or cyber attack, citizens depend on government for medical treatment, protection, aid and national security. Continue reading