Article by Tony Main

Managing Windows access to VDI through Praim Agile 2.0

An often-overlooked aspect of migrating to a remote desktop computing infrastructure is the existing desktops. Some installations plan and develop a hardened Windows build with restricted capabilities and the bare minimum of functionality. Other implementations look to repurposing software, like Praim’s ThinOX4PC to convert PCs into thin clients, either as an interim solution prior to migration to dedicated thin client hardware devices or as part of a strategy relating to asset longevity. Unfortunately, there are as many implementations where this final step is not considered at all and involves little more than an icon created on the PCs desktop. Praim have recently released Agile 2.0 to help with connections from the Windows desktop and to assist in several other permutations.

Praim released Agile 1.0 in 2016, as part of their Windows Embedded Operating system on Praim thin clients. The option has existed where a thin client can be configured to provide a simplified interface that points only to the remote services. Since this release, many requests for additional functions have been received from our Praim partners, but the most asked for was the ability to have the utility as a standalone program to use on other Windows devices.

In Spring 2017, Praim released Agile 2.0. This standalone application now can be installed on any version of Windows, including other manufacturers Windows Embedded platforms, fully integrating with Praim ThinMan management. Additional functionality has also been added to now include: local application launching, certificate management, branding and customisation, all managed from Praim ThinMan.

Agile 2.0 at its most fundamental level, provides a management agent for all Windows devices. This provides a connection to help manage the local devices. With this installed, the management benefits enjoyed by thin client deployments can now be extended to standard Windows devices.  Configuration, inventory, remote support, certificate installation, software deployment and remote script execution are now possible. This from a management interface that is comprehensive, intuitive and easy to learn. Similar functionality is normally the preserve of complex, disjointed and expensive framework management platforms.

Agile 2.0 can also provide a customised locked down desktop and control of the write filter, also if present on “regular” Windows 8 or 10 for PC. With ThinMan Platinum edition it also is possible to provide Domain authentication to those operating system versions that might not support it, for example Windows 10 Home Edition, or in reverse, to remove devices from the Domain yet still provide a Domain like pass-through connection as an initial layer of security. This might be of use where Domain based licensing is present and post-VDI implementation endpoints would no longer require this.

When using Agile 2.0 with ThinMan’s profiling capability, it is possible to harness these additional functions and deploy singular or multiple configurations to all devices on the network. For example, once Agile 2.0 is installed and connected to ThinMan, the initial computer can then be configured. Connection to the remote desktop service(s), adding local or network standalone programs, the installation of certificates, installation and enabling of the Write Filter (depending on Windows version) and any corporate tailoring of the Agile desktop can be made. Once tested and approved, this device can now be profiled and incorporated into the ThinMan policy deployment service. From this point forwards, all Windows devices that are now installed with Agile 2.0 and that are associated to the policy will automatically receive these configurations. With a single management console, it is now possible to configure and manage a variety of different devices, from any vendor, running all versions of Windows.

Agile 2.0 can now resolve the headline issue which is often overlooked or ignored, and in combination with ThinMan can provide a vital support tool to endpoints which are typically support intensive. With Agile 2.0 and ThinMan, upgrading VDI client applications, installing security updates and remote execution of scripts which can be deployed and run on devices quickly, easily and to a defined schedule.

Praim provide both ThinMan and Agile 2.0 as freely downloadable applications for all to evaluate.

Go to https://www.praim.com/software-demo to register and download these programs and the repurposing application ThinOX4PC.

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