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Mar 08 2017

Windows 10 on Thin Clients: Deliver Best Results with Scout Agents (Part 2 of 2)

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In the previous post (Part 1), we gave an overview of the Windows 10 IoT Editions, their capabilities and their limitations. Part 2 explains how users can make the most of the platform with the help of the Scout Enterprise Management Suite by Unicon.

Microsoft is currently positioning Windows 10 IoT as a hardware-agnostic all-rounder that could run on any device in any usage scenario that has IoT and cloud computing at its core. This idea corresponds with the demands of most medium-sized and large enterprises that currently run Windows Embedded Standard will soon seek to replace it with the Windows IoT edition that best fits their workplace virtualization needs. In this context, the Scout Enterprise Management Suite® and Scout Agent for Windows, which are developed and maintained by our Karlsruhe-based subsidiary Unicon Software, serve as adequate companion packages for a hardware-independent operating system.

Scout Enterprise Management Suite ® for Windows
Scout Enterprise Management Suite® was originally designed for devices running eLux™, a Linux-based OS designed specifically for thin clients. Since then, Scout Enterprise has branched out into other areas becoming a reliable platform for administering client systems powered by Windows 7, Windows Embedded Standard 7, and Windows 10 IoT. Moreover, the suite is particularly well-known for its scalability, especially among key customers from the retail, logistics and finance sectors that operate tens or hundreds of thousands of client systems in branch offices spread across many geographies.

Scout Enterprise Management Suite® also provides an extensive set of software packages that allow administrators to always strike a perfect balance between flexibility and security. An indispensable component in this context is the Scout Agent for Windows that links Windows 10 IoT clients to the management platform. The software agent controls the communication between the Windows client and Scout Enterprise, thus helping administrators carry out critical tasks centrally and remotely so long as a device is set to managed mode. Key features include

  • Device and data protection: Windows 10 IoT is equipped with a file-based write filter (FBWF) that protects sensitive areas of storage from unwanted modifications while enabling select write-through processes where necessary. In this context, the Scout Agent serves as a management tool that determines whether end users are allowed to store local data on client systems or not. In addition, admins may set or modify Scout Agent passwords and assist users that run into problems by means of a remote mirror session.
  • Device configuration and system updates: Administrators can use Scout Agent for Windows to determine which desktop, screen and keyboard settings will be used on which specific device. Likewise, it will help them carry out system and firmware updates by transferring files to or removing them from a target system. Lastly, the package also enables IT staff to remotely perform diagnostics and correct malfunctions.
  • Installing and uninstalling applications: Scout Enterprise and Scout Agent for Windows let administrators decide which Microsoft- and non-Microsoft applications are supported on a Windows IoT client. Options include standard software like browsers, file managers and text editors as well as custom applications and popular third-party programs from virtualization market leaders Citrix and VMware. The list of supported software has grown considerably and Fujitsu is well poised with its flexible thin clients FUTRO S720, FUTRO S920 and FUTRO X923-T being certified for use with VMware Horizon 7 and matching clients. Certification for Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp is underway.
  • Fleet management capabilities: Scout Agent for Windows enables administrators to configure, monitor and repair single client systems during remote sessions. The list of applicable remote commands is comprehensive and includes options to start, stop and reboot a device, send messages, or trigger resets to factory settings as and when required by the IT department. Scout Agent also supports user-defined commands, and all remote commands not only work on single devices, but for entire client groups and organization units. This capability is very effective in enforcing security policies across thin client clusters in an organization. Likewise, the Scout Agent software also plays a key role in asset management because it connects to the Scout Enterprise server upon each system start and sends crucial hardware information about the device type, BIOS version, flash size, etc. over the wire, helping admins to stay in control at all times.
  • Lightweight helpdesk features: Administrators may occasionally find themselves in situations where they want to give a user remote assistance without first accessing the management server and console. The Scout Enterprise Mirror App helps in this context. It is integrated in the Scout console and can also be accessed via the Scout dashboard soon. The application inherits all access rights predefined in Scout Enterprise administrator management and offers an additional opportunity to solve user problems step by step in a remote mirror session, enabling both the end user and the admin to access the client screen to fix issues as and when they arise..

Conclusion
Scout Enterprise Management Suite®, Scout Enterprise Dashboard and Scout Agent software provide companies with a hardware-agnostic approach that prevents vendor lock-in for their fleet of thin clients. Companies that have existing PCs can opt for a license that can be migrated to a thin client once the system reaches its end-of-life. Customers can easily keep a track of all thin clients and active licenses, adding hardware remotely and assigning different access rights while keeping full control over their thin clients, saving IT department precious time, energy and effort.

Visit us to learn more about our FUTRO devices and what Scout Enterprise Management Suite® has to offer.

Wolfgang Schestak

 

About the Author:

Wolfgang Schestak

Senior Product Manager FUTRO Thin Client Solutions, Fujitsu EMEIA

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