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IndependenceIT Refreshes Cloud Workspace Suite

Version 5.1 of the company’s Workspace-as-a-Service automation platform features support for Windows Server 2016 and streamlined authentication models for Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

By Rich Freeman

Workspace-as-a-Service vendor IndependenceIT has shipped a new release of its Cloud Workspace Suite (CWS) with complete support for Microsoft’s Windows Server 2016 operating system and easier authentication options for Microsoft Azure and Office 365.

Formally unveiled today, version 5.1 of the Allentown, Pa.-based company’s flagship WaaS automation platform will enter general availability in mid-March.

The system’s Windows Server 2016 compatibility enables it to offer end users a full Windows 10 desktop experience, plus faster graphics rendering, according to IndependenceIT CTO Chip Buck.

“It brings GPU management into a whole new era and opens up use cases around graphics-intensive applications in the remote application delivery market space,” he says of Microsoft’s latest server OS.

Also new in CWS 5.1 are full stack support for Microsoft’s Azure Resource Manager technology, which lets technicians authenticate the many components of an Azure-based application as a single group, and a streamlined authentication model for Office 365 users. The standard authentication scheme for Microsoft’s online collaboration offering requires users to re-enter their credentials every time they come in contact with a new server.

“That was driving people a little crazy,” Buck observes. The new version of CWS captures a user’s authorization data the first time they access Office 365 resources and then delivers it automatically to Microsoft’s servers behind the scenes from that point forward.

“We really just made it a lot easier for the customer to continue on the lifecycle without having to continually re-authenticate through Office 365,” Buck observes.

New administrator-defined automation functionality in CWS 5.1 is also designed to simplify life for WaaS users. Using Microsoft PowerShell or another scripting engine, technicians can now define and trigger automated application installation processes.

A new hypervisor template management interface, meanwhile, helps users create and modify virtual server templates more easily. Aimed primarily at newcomers to hypervisor templates, the system makes template administration more intuitive for people familiar with the process as well.

“It’s a better administrative tool for even the most experienced tech,” says IndependenceIT CEO Seth Bostock.

That tool and the other new features in CWS 5.1, he continues, are in keeping with IndependenceIT’s strategic emphasis on accelerating WaaS administration.

“Our focus is to unify cloud, application, and data management for the admins and have our automation, our workflows, simplify their administrative tasks from the infrastructure all the way to end user support,” Bostock says.

A new 5.x version of CWS is already in the works, he adds, and will appear later this year. The company is also developing a new and more significantly revised 6.0 edition of the product at present. The last major release, version 5.0, appeared last September.

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