We’ve been at the forefront of VMware’s Mirage product, since we were one of the first organisations in the UK to deploy this at Virgin Trains having supported them on a desktop migration project. Since then, Mirage has come a long way and with each new release the value the product can bring to distributed computing environments is impressive. Feature rich, there is much which is sometimes forgotten or over looked, simply because the product is so extensive. Consequently, we thought it would be helpful to pick up on three of the more recent features we believe, are pretty kick ass and have significant potential to simplify and streamline the management of the average client estate. If you’re completely new to VMware Mirage, a quick look at one of our earlier articles will be helpful before reading on.
1. Manage point of sale/service devices
The latest version of Mirage includes enhancements that help IT administrators manage Windows-based point of sale/point of service (POS) machines. The beauty of this is that Mirage can now be used to help migrate systems between POS-ready operating systems, including Windows POSReady 2009 to POSReady 7. This is particularly important with legacy operating systems due to go end of support in the near future as well as other driving factors like PCI compliance in retail.
The real value is in what Mirage delivers for POS environments, however. The same virtual layering on PC’s has essentially been extended to POS terminals to enable:
- Mass device migration – migrate OS for literally 100’s of devices in a day.
- Full image management support – for Windows Embedded POSReady 2009 and POSReady 7. With this comes disaster recovery, revert to snapshot, file recovery, restoration of devices and provisioning of layers.
Retailers, banking and finance, healthcare and other organisations managing mixed distributed computing environments.
2. Even better remote user experience with Edge Server
Now remote end users can connect to Mirage without the necessity to tunnel through a VPN, which they will not always be connected to. Saving on this step makes for a less disruptive experience for these users. Importantly, this is not achieved at the expense of security, as a Mirage gateway is created as a hardened Windows service, deployed inside a DMZ (Demilitarised Zone) and made available over the Internet. This allows the Mirage client to securely connect (SSL is a requirement) to the internal Mirage infrastructure, through the Mirage gateway, if the machine is successfully authenticated.
A Mirage Edge Server supports up to 1000 end points per server and multiple gateways can be deployed in tandem. However, it does not support all Mirage features (again in the interests of security). Operations that require communication with Active Directory, for example are not supported, instead the gateway only tunnels Mirage specific traffic such as file restore, layer management and centralisation.
Organisations with a large remote workforce where local compute resources are still necessary but connecting back to corporate resources needs to be as fast and easy as possible.
3. Faster provisioning with bare metal support
Mirage now enables adminstrators to bypass a full Windows install when they provision a new machine. Instead, a Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) is used so alternative methods for set up can be utilised including USB or bootable CD. The result is faster provisioning of machines and less downtime for new users, or those awaiting replacement or repaired devices. With Windows 10 now available, it is also likely this feature will be hugely valuable for organisations looking to adopt the OS across many devices.
Quite literally anyone. Of course, the larger your client estate the more time this feature could potentially save you when deploying or recommissioning devices!
To learn more about VMware Mirage and its other kick ass features contact us now to speak with one of our experts.