What the Citrix + Microsoft Cloud Alliance means to you.

2018-12-06T10:11:29+00:00December 6th, 2018|Announcements, Azure, blog, Citrix, Cloud, Microsoft, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, News|

Ray Jaksic, Coretek CTO, was interviewed for this Citrix blog post…

https://www.citrix.com/blogs/2018/11/19/what-the-citrix-microsoft-cloud-alliance-means-to-you-and-your-customers/ 

Want to help your customers solve key challenges and streamline their cloud journey?

That’s the bottom line on the Citrix and Microsoft Cloud Alliance, which we’ve built to help you close Citrix Workspace and Citrix Cloud deals with customer workloads in Azure. When you help meet the overwhelming customer demand for Citrix Cloud solutions in Azure, you can grow your business and your margins while solidifying your role as a trusted advisor in the era of cloud and digital transformation.

“For us, our strategy is cloud and moving customers to cloud. When you tie Citrix and Microsoft together, we’re able to solve some unique use cases within the marketplace that you can’t solve any other way. Cloud Alliance makes it incredibly attractive and profitable for us to transition customers to the cloud.” – Ray Jaksic, CTO, Coretek Services

Why Cloud Alliance is great for your customers

Everyone knows how valuable cloud is. You can increase business agility, respond more quickly and cost-effectively to new business needs and opportunities, reduce waste, shift capex to opex, increase workplace flexibility—we all know the script by now. One of the most obvious customer questions to consider is: why aren’t they already running Citrix Cloud services on Microsoft Azure? What’s making them hesitate about cloud adoption? They’re afraid, worried that it’s all or nothing, or that it will be complex and expensive. You can help them understand they can dip their toes in and move at a pace that works for them.

This is the “aha!” moment: there’s no need for them to take their entire Citrix infrastructure and put it in Azure on day one—or ever. We think Azure is the best place to put Citrix workloads, but not every customer can get there overnight. Customers might not choose to put all their workloads in Azure for many reasons, including regulatory compliance, pre-existing deployments in other clouds, or a desire to keep some things running in an on-prem datacenter. The Citrix Cloud management plane lets customers securely manage Citrix workloads in any combination of on-premises and public cloud infrastructure. This puts choice back into the hands of the customer, where it belongs. Particularly when used with Citrix Networking, the Citrix Workspace app allows your customers to seamlessly access all workloads, including virtual, SaaS, and mobile apps, whether the customer wants them in Azure, on-prem, or anywhere else.

How Cloud Alliance helps you close deals and make more money

Cloud Alliance is good for your bottom line in three ways. First, you’ll get training, tools, marketing support, and other enablements at no added cost, helping your whole organization become more effective. Second, you can earn financial incentives from both Microsoft and Citrix for performing value-added sales activities you’re likely going to do anyway. And third, by leveraging the Cloud Alliance framework, you’ll help customers move those Citrix workloads into Azure, leveraging great technologies from Citrix and Microsoft to drive a modern desktop for your customers. Happy customers buy more, which means more billable hours for you as you help them uncover additional opportunities to cloud-enable their business.

You know what slows down most POCs? Having to build the environment: installation, integration with required services, making sure everything works together, and not missing a critical step. Cloud Alliance partners gain access to a pre-built environment in the Citrix demo center; it’s already built for you, with everything working perfectly. You spend less time installing and configuring, and more time demonstrating value. Even better, when you use the demo center to deliver a personalized proof-of-concept to a qualifying customer, you’ll get a $5,000 incentive as well, even before the deal closes.

For one of our most successful partners, Coretek Services, Cloud Alliance further supports what they’re already offering to customers. Ray Jaksic, Coretek Services CTO explains, “Citrix and Microsoft working together is a dream come true. These are our two most strategic partners working together to offer a collaborative solution. Cloud Alliance comes at the perfect time. Our peoples’ time is money. This initiative is going to help support us and allow us to do more Citrix workloads on Azure. As an added benefit, our salespeople will go after pushing this because of the incentives they’ll personally receive.”

When you close the deal, we’ll further reward you with additional training vouchers for any certification course you choose so you can keep investing in your people and their skills and issue an Azure credit to reimburse you for a do-not-exceed amount of Azure consumed during the POC. That’s on top of the normal incentives you’ll get from both Citrix and Microsoft through programs you’re already familiar with. Remember what I said about getting paid twice on the same deal?

Is Cloud Alliance right for you?

Cloud Alliance initiative is obviously a great fit for Citrix partners with experience selling Citrix Cloud on Azure, but that’s just the beginning. For Citrix partners who’ve been selling our traditional solutions but haven’t added Citrix Cloud services yet, this is a great way to stay relevant in a cloud-first world and add new Azure skills to your practice. Microsoft Azure partners who are new to Citrix are also a great fit. You already know everything there is to know about Azure—now you can extend the solutions you offer to address high-value use cases to help your customers.

Ready to make Cloud Alliance part of your business? We’d love to have you! But don’t wait—the Citrix and Microsoft Cloud Alliance is live right now, with resources and funding available to participating partners. Check out the on-demand recording of our Cloud Alliance kickoff webinar and access our Cloud Alliance page on Sales IQ to learn more. Become a Citrix partner and get in-depth training at Citrix Summit this January 7 – 9, 2019, in Orlando, Florida, to accelerate your success. Talk to your Citrix Partner Account Manager today, start delivering the Citrix on Azure solutions your customers need now, and then come celebrate successes with us at Citrix Summit in January!

Coretek and Microsoft have Paved Your Way to Digital Transformation

2018-11-05T16:26:56+00:00November 1st, 2018|Announcements, Azure, blog, Citrix, Cloud, End of Service, Microsoft, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, News, Office 365, Server Migration|

Wherever you are on your Digital Transformation journey, Coretek is here to help.
And with these FREE offers to get you started…what are you waiting for?

  • Data Center Migration:
    A Comprehensive Azure Migration Strategy
    Limited Time Offer: FREE Migration to Azure
    Migration  to Microsoft CSP Includes:
    • Assessment of applications and workloads for cloud readiness
    • Determine and plan viability, migration approach, and TCO of running in Azure
    • Design and deploy identity, network, security and sub-scription architecture
    • Migrate your applications and infrastructure to Azure

  •  Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops on Microsoft Azure: 
    Limited Time FREE OFFER: Test Drive Your Cloud VDI in One Week

    Test Drive Includes:
    • Configure One Site-to-Site VPN if necessary
    • Citrix Cloud Subscription Configuration
    • Deliver up to 10 Shared Virtual Desktops
    • Deliver up to 10 Win10 VDI Desktops
    • Office Pro Plus Integration

  • Extend Your Security for 2008 Windows and SQL Servers:
    Limited Time Offer FREE MIGRATION: Lift and Shift Your EOS Infrastructure
    • Free Migration of your End of Service infrastructure to Coretek’s Cloud Service Provider (CSP) instance.
    • Provide day-to-day support, patch and upgrade management.
    • Manage and monitor your consumption with Coretek’s Azure Management Suite (AMS) dashboards

  • Securing your Identity Workshop:
    Limited Time Offer: FREE Half-Day Securing Your Identity Workshop
    What to expect:
    • Discovery session to understand Identity and Security Landscape
    • Technical Deep Dive into relevant topics
    • Recap Session summarizing next steps
    • Recommended follow-up 1 week POC/Pilot 10K cost may be covered by Microsoft

Need help with an Azure project and want to work with the best?

Fill in this form and one of our Azure Experts will contact you.

Coretek CEO, Ron Lisch, shares his perspective for MSP success in the Motor City

2018-07-25T11:52:11+00:00July 19th, 2018|blog, Feature, Home Page, Microsoft, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, News|

July 19, 2018–Coretek CEO, Ron Lisch, shares his perspective for MSP success in the Motor City with ChannelNomics:

“The economic growth [in Southeast Michigan] is something being witnessed by local MSPs, such as Coretek Services.

In fact, interest in manufacturing and autonomous vehicles in the area is representing new opportunity for MSPs, Ron Lisch, Coretek’s CEO, tells Channelnomics, pointing to the vast majority of R&D in this space being conducted in Detroit and California.

“Becoming relevant in those markets is really strategic for us because the amount of data that’s generated in that market in the automobile itself is just massive, and then it all has to have a place to reside and people are looking for groups to help manage that,” Lisch says.”

Read More here:  https://www.channelnomics.com/channelnomics-us/analysis/3034238/msp-road-trip-detroit-michigan

Coretek Services recognized as Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider

2018-07-25T12:33:46+00:00July 12th, 2018|Azure, blog, Cloud, Microsoft, Microsoft Infrastructure, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, News|

New program gives clients confidence that they are selecting a highly qualified Microsoft Azure expert with proven results.

July 13, 2018–Farmington Hills, MI– Coretek Services (Coretek), an industry-leading IT professional services and consulting firm, announced today that the company has been named one of only thirty-three Microsoft Azure Expert MSPs.

“In this fast-moving technology environment, it is essential to find experienced partners in the disciplines you need,” said Ron Lisch, Coretek’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Microsoft Azure Expert MSP program lets clients and prospects know that Coretek has demonstrated to Microsoft the skills and capabilities to deliver upon our promises.”

Technology focus

As an IT consulting company, systems integrator and “born in the cloud” managed services provider, Coretek delivers high value, innovative solutions to solve our customers toughest challenges when their jobs are on the line.

Ray Jaksic, Coretek Chief Technology Officer, said, “Coretek has made the decision early on to invest in our cloud delivery capability. We assessed the different cloud platforms and made the decision to go all-in with Microsoft Azure. The ever-growing set of services allows us to identify new ways to solve our client’s challenges.”

Provider excellence

As customers move to the public cloud with increasing pace, they need partners with a deep level of cloud expertise and experience to guide them. Inclusion in the Microsoft Azure Expert MSP program is awarded to partners that meet a stringent set of requirements, including verified proof of excellence in customer delivery and technical expertise, and the successful completion of an independent audit of their managed services, people, processes, and technologies. Only the most high-fidelity cloud managed service providers are awarded the Azure Expert MSP badge, intended to give customers confidence when selecting a partner to help them meet their digital transformation goals.

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft

“We are excited to see companies like Coretek demonstrate a high level of expertise with Microsoft Azure,” said Gavriella Schuster, corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Corp. “The Azure Expert MSP program recognizes some of our top partners.”

Information technology adoption is only as good as it is perceived through the eyes and the hands of the end user. That is why in this mobile-first, cloud-first world, Coretek is obsessed with end users’ experience. The company has seen its clients achieve solid return on investment on their use cases in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, and financial services.

About Coretek Services

Coretek Services is an industry-leading Systems Integration and IT Consulting firm that delivers high value and innovative solutions.  Coretek works with clients to custom-design an IT architecture based on each clients’ unique requirements.  The solution encompasses server and desktop virtualization, optimization of a virtual desktop environment, cloud desktop, mobile device management, and infrastructure consulting and project management.  Coretek’s goal is to help clients achieve Project Success. No Exceptions! For more information, visit www.coretek.com.

Contact

Coretek Services
Paula Gwyn, 248-684-9400 X211
Chief Marketing Officer
paula.gwyn@coretek.com

Coretek Services recognized as Microsoft Azure Expert Managed Service Provider

Coretek Wins! – 2018 Citrix Innovation Award for Partners

2018-01-10T01:32:24+00:00January 10th, 2018|Azure, blog, Citrix, Cloud, Microsoft, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider|

We won the 2018 Citrix Innovation Award for Partners!!

Thank so much to Wolverine Worldwide, all the people that voted for us, and of course all the awesome Coretek teammates that made it happen.  Much more to come!

See the details here:

https://www.citrix.com/go/innovation-award/partner-innovation.html

Amazing Video for 2018 Citrix Innovation Award Nomination…

2018-01-07T15:17:04+00:00January 7th, 2018|Azure, blog, Citrix, Cloud, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider|

As nominees for the 2018 Citrix Innovation Award, Coretek recently had a video crew come through the main office.  The crew was there to interview, get scenery footage, and generally get the “vibe” of how we do what we do.

In the video, we get the overview of the amazing work we did with Wolverine Worldwide, helping them solve what is quite a common modern problem in an uncommon and innovative way.  And it is also really cool to see my fellow Coretekers “movie” extras!

Here is the completed video:

Please take a moment to watch the extremely cool video, and vote for Coretek for the 2018 Citrix Innovation Award Nomination at this link.  Then, if you like what you see, drop us a line and get Coretek and Citrix working to help you do what you do more efficiently!

Coretek and Citrix: Delivering Confidence in the Cloud

2017-12-14T19:08:19+00:00December 14th, 2017|Azure, blog, Citrix, Cloud, Home Page, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Mobility, News, Virtualization|

FARMINGTON HILLS, MI – December 14, 2017 – UPDATE on Citrix Innovation Award 2018.  You’ll have your chance to vote for Coretek and the Americas, January 2-9.  Details to follow soon.  Be a part of the excitement!

Click here for the latest info and pictures for the 2018 Citrix Innovation Award…get ready to vote for Coretek early January!

 

Office 365 Integration with SCCM…..

2017-11-20T02:02:27+00:00November 20th, 2017|Azure, blog, Configuration Manager, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Office 365, System Center|

Deploying Office or Office 365 has traditionally been a challenge in most corporate environments.  The file types have changed, components have been added/removed, content size isn’t the most manageable, and the amount of business processes that rely on the productivity suite of products requires close management of the deployment to ensure that work can continue once the newer version is deployed.

Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) — as of version 1602 — integrates with Office 365 to offer the ability to deploy the Office 365 productivity suite natively with SCCM.  The feature is called Office 365 Client Management and is found in the Software Library of the SCCM Console.  Here’s a snapshot of what it looks like:

On the left, you have your Office 365 Folder with Office 365 Updates included.  When in the folder view, you can see a summary of the number of O365 clients and their versions.  If you notice the scroll-bar indicates there’s more to see…

The different sections can be summarized as such:

  1. Number of O365 Clients in total
  2. The breakdown and summarization of the different versions in the environment
  3. A button which will initiate a wizard to create an O365 client deployment package
  4. A chart indicating the number of systems running different languages of O365
  5. A button to create an Automatic Deployment Rule
  6. Another option to create client settings (These are standard SCCM Client settings, nothing special pertaining to O365)
  7. The number of systems configured to the different update Channels for Office 365 client management
  8. If ADRs were created, they would show in this section

I’ve had some great experiences working with the Office 365 Client management integration with SCCM.  The ability to create a single package to support multiple different languages has taken my packaging time and reduced it to minutes.

In addition to providing a built-in package creation utility, SCCM also manages and services O365 packages moving forward.  The updates are all provided through SCCM’s native Software Update technology but are provided to you in a separate node in the console so that you can view only the updates pertaining to the 365 clients in your environment.  This makes it very easy to identify required and installed updates for your managed systems.

As for what’s needed to manage updates for O365 within SCCM:

Requirements for using Configuration Manager to manage Office 365 client updates

To enable Configuration Manager to manage Office 365 client updates, you need the following (summarized from link above):

  • System Center Configuration Manager, update 1602 or later
  • An Office 365 client – Office 365 ProPlus, Visio Pro for Office 365, Project Online Desktop Client, or Office 365 Business
  • Supported channel version for Office 365 client. For more details, see Version and build numbers of update channel releases for Office 365 clients
  • Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) 4.0  — You can’t use WSUS by itself to deploy these updates. You need to use WSUS in conjunction with Configuration Manager
  • On the computers that have the Office 365 client installed, the Office COM object is enabled

All in all, I have to say that I’m very impressed with the integration of Office 365 Client Management into SCCM.  SCCM has been a very powerful tool and to add the ability to manage the productivity suite natively in SCCM will ensure that admins in large environments can spend more time managing than packaging.

Good Job Microsoft!

Which Azure Plan is Right for You?

2017-07-27T00:47:04+00:00July 27th, 2017|Azure, blog, Cloud, Microsoft, Microsoft Infrastructure, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider, Office 365|

As you start to explore the world of Microsoft Azure Cloud Services, you will start to see there are many options.  Let’s discuss the three types of Microsoft programs for you to purchase.

#1 – Pay-As-You-Go Subscriptions

Pay-As-You-Go subscriptions are simple to use and simple to set up.  There are no minimum purchases or commitments.  You pay for your consumption by credit-card on a monthly basis and you can cancel anytime.  This use-case is primarily for infrastructure environments that are setup for a temporary purpose.  It’s important to understand that organizations using this model pay full list price for consumption and do not have direct support from Microsoft.

#2 – Microsoft Enterprise Agreement (EA)

Microsoft Enterprise Agreements are commitment based Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements with a contractual term of 3 years.  Enterprise Agreement customers can add Azure to their EA by making an upfront monetary commitment for Azure services.  That commitment is consumed throughout the year by using a combination of the wide variety of Microsoft cloud services including Azure and Office 365.  This is paid annually in advance with a true up on a quarterly basis for overages.  Any unused licenses are still charged based on the commitment.  If you are a very large enterprise, the greatest advantage of an EA is having a direct relationship with a Microsoft sales team.  Also, EAs offer discounts based on your financial commitment.  And while there are many pros to the EA approach, understanding and controlling the cost of consumption can be a challenge for customers within EAs.  Personally, I recently took over the management of our EA and can attest that this can be very complicated.

#3 – Cloud Solution Provider (CSP)

When using Microsoft Cloud Services through the Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) program, you work directly with a partner to design and implement a cloud solution that meets your unique needs.  Cloud Solution Providers, support all Microsoft Cloud Services (i.e., Azure, Office 365, Enterprise Mobility Suite and Dynamics CRM Online) through a single platform.  CSP is similar to the Pay-As-You-Go subscription in that there are no minimum purchases or commitments.  Your consumption is invoiced monthly based on actual consumption (either via invoiced PO or credit card, your choice), and you can cancel at anytime.  This will significantly simplify your Azure and Office 365 billing process!  CSP offers many advantages over Pay-As-You-Go Subscriptions and Enterprise Agreements, and in most cases can be a more cost effective solution.

As a CSP, Coretek helps customers optimize their consumption cost by working with our customers to ensure they have the right Azure server types assigned to their workloads.  We also work with customers to shut down services when they are minimally used after business hours.  As part of Coretek’s Managed Support, our team provides proactive maintenance to ensure your infrastructure is running in an optimal manor including monitoring and patching of your servers.  Coretek’s Azure Management Suite (AMS) Portal enables business users to understand where the cost of their consumption is being utilized.  The AMS portal can display real time consumption cost based on department and projects.  It also enables business users to understand what Microsoft licenses are being utilized and who they are assigned to in a simple graphical format.

Coretek Services – Improving End User Experience and IT Efficiency.

Microsoft Azure – Global. Trusted. Hybrid.  This is cloud on your terms.

Why use Cloud App Security when my firewall already does this?

2017-07-27T00:00:58+00:00April 12th, 2017|blog, Cloud, Microsoft, Micrsoft Cloud Solution Provider|

Microsoft’s new Cloud App Security (CAS) is a new product feature that comes with Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security E5 line of products.  The solution is a cloud-based application model built on Azure Active Directory but can also be used independently, although the dataset will not be as rich.

The idea is for customers to be able to gain deep insight into what apps their end-users are consuming, identify data drift and leakage, be able to “sanction” or “unsanctioned” applications, and even generate a block script to block those unsanctioned apps at the firewall level.  There are two paths to gathering this data:  Firewall Logs and Connected apps.

DISCOVER

You can discover information by manually importing firewall logs or even setup a connector VM which will gather the logs and upload them to the CAS for you.  This is not much different than technologies offered by the firewall providers themselves and, in many cases, will not provide as quick of a reaction as you’d receive from those vendor provided solutions.  The connector, by default, uploads logs from the firewall every 20 minutes and imports those into the CAS.

What I believe separates Cloud App Security different from the firewall provider solutions is that it integrates with Connected apps.  A Connected app is an application where CAS leverages APIs provided by the cloud provider.  Each provider has its own framework and limitations, so the functionality for each may depend on how much the provider has extended the API.

There are currently few Connected Apps that CAS supports but I’ve found that the biggest bang for your buck will be the Office 365 suite of applications.  This allows the CAS to see usage of the standard suite of Office apps and your Azure AD connected users.

INVESTIGATE

With the data gathered from the Connected apps, you can see information on File usage, owner information, app name, Collaborators, and more.  You will be able to tell who is accessing what files and who those files have been shared with.  You can drill down on particular user activity and see all of the apps and traffic volumes for their particular usage.

The Cloud Discovery Dashboard provides a rich view of information from a graphical perspective including dashboard items like App Categories which highlight usage based on categories such as CRM, Collaboration, Accounting, Storage apps, and more.  Other items on the dashboard show top discovered apps, top users, and even a geographical map of usage based on where the apps are being used.

CONTROL

Through alerts you may be made aware of Risky IP addresses, Mass downloads, New Cloud app usage, and more.  If a particular user is a concern, you even have the ability to suspend usage of a particular connected app for a particular user.  This adds a layer of security that a standard firewall report may not provide – especially if the user roams to another location off-premise where your firewall is not present.

Using the policies feature, I can set an alert, notify the user and CC their manager, or even suspend the user based on the several configuration policies that are available to me via the console.  This allows me to mitigate threats as they happen instead of waiting for a review of alerts or logs, possibly days or even weeks after the events occurred.

To summarize on Microsoft’s Cloud App Security, I would have to say that they are opening the door to rich integration with cloud based apps and providing another avenue to secure your corporate data.  With the deep integration of Office 365, those that have the E5 licensing should definitely take advantage of this product.  Even those interested, but not licensed can subscribe for a trial version and use the firewall discovery solution to get an immediate view of what’s being used internally.  This will allow your organization to have that much-needed discussion on BYOD and the security risks that ultimately partner with an open door policy.

If setup properly, adding Cloud App Security to your environment can greatly increase the level of security your organization has regarding the mobility of your data and users!

For More information, review the following useful links:

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-platform/cloud-app-security

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/cloud-app-security/enable-instant-visibility-protection-and-governance-actions-for-your-apps

https://github.com/Microsoft/CloudAppSecurityDocs/blob/master/CloudAppSecurityDocs/what-is-cloud-app-security.md

 

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