Into the comfort zone - the 2021 R2 release
There's this saying that you have to leave your comfort zone to grow, learn and experience something new. Release 2021 R2 of the baramundi Management Suite (bMS) is taking the opposite approach: The release contains a series of large and small improvements and enhancements that make life easier for admins and more comfortable for end users. We present a few of the most important ones here, so take a look!
Anyone who regularly sets up new workstations is familiar with the drill: New laptops that arrive in the IT department have to be set up one by one before they can be handed to eagerly awaiting users. How much more pleasant would it be for everyone if new PCs arrived with most of that set-up work already done?
Platforms like Apple iOS have shown a better way: Turn it on, connect to Wifi, and log in to a user account. Then the associated apps, settings and network access privileges magically appear on a user-ready device that’s enrolled in the company endpoint management system. Similar convenience is now possible with Microsoft's Windows Autopilot. Users simply turn on their new Windows device and log in with their corporate account. The device is automatically added to the bMS for routine IT management. Even better, the device can be shipped directly to users from the manufacturer, eliminating the intermediate steps in IT and speeding up the process for admins and users alike. All that is required is an Azure Active Directory, a bMS that can be accessed from outside the company network via baramundi Gateway, and Windows 10 or 11 as the operating system.
Keeping Microsoft products up to date is an important but demanding job for IT admins. We’ve simplified the process in past bMS releases with inventories showing current endpoint update status and available updates, as well as adding update profiles to organize staggered rollouts. bMS 2021 R2 adds the ability to see at a glance whether selected groups of endpoints meet their associated update profile requirements. Admins can also quickly change from the endpoint-focused view to an update profile-focused view to see if all endpoints assigned to a profile meet its requirements and, if not, what action is needed. Universal Dynamic Groups (UDGs) give you added flexibility to define views showing the update status of individual departments, company locations, device types, and so forth.
The modified saying ,"Happy user, happy life," is particularly relevant to IT admins. Those who respond promptly to the needs and wishes of end users will be rewarded with productive , satisfied colleagues and fewer support tickets.
That’s not always possible, of course, especially when it comes to seemingly unavoidable conflicts related to updates. Users naturally want to work in peace and not be interrupted by update installations. Tensions can spike in various situations, like when a user giving an important presentation is disturbed by pop-ups demanding that they restart the computer to initiate an update.
On the other hand, admins have an obligation to install updates promptly, which is only possible when computers are on. To minimize these conflicts, we have introduced the "Do Not Disturb" mode in bMS 2021 R2. Users can activate it to prevent bMS popups for a specific time period defined by the admin and postpone updates to a more convenient time.
With Argus Trends, we have given admins the ability to compare the states of monitored bMS servers at different points in time via historization. This is very useful for troubleshooting errors reported from bMS jobs -- failed updates or patch deployments on specific systems, for example. bMS 2021 R2 now includes a “delta view,” which you can use to easily compare the differences in bMS states between two specific points in time.
This logged data can now be exported to Excel for reporting and analysis. A new reporting interface also makes the relevant data available in reporting applications such as MS Power BI. CISOs in particular will appreciate this feature for showing current and historical system status in easily understandable formats for security compliance audits or certifications.
A new e-mail notification function also helps IT teams prevent potential problems or take action quickly when issues arise. As soon as a defined threshold value of a given parameter is reached, Argus Cockpit automatically sends an e-mail to the responsible staff members. You can define thresholds that trigger different alerts or warnings based on system criticality or the potential severity of problems.
bMS 2021 R2 also has a number of enhancements that address a number of other IT challenges, including the need to improve network transparency in today’s remote and hybrid computing environments. Enhancements include a new ARP scanning method in baramundi Network Devices to detect devices that cannot be identified via SNMP.
baramundi Network Devices also lets you manually define undetected or unreachable network devices directly and assign highly customizable user-defined variables. For example, you can assign devices to specific costs centers, record purchase dates or the note their physical locations in the network.
There are more details on those and other enhancements in the release notes for bMS 2021 R2 available on the baramundi Forum here.