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Can I use LabStats to track BYOD connections to University VM’s?

Many universities allow students to connect their personal devices, such as laptops and smartphones, to virtual desktops and other services provided by the university. These Virtual Machines (VM’s) are a great way for students to access university software and permissions from a remote location. This becomes a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) situation.

The struggle universities often discover, however, is finding the usage statistics about the VM’s. When students access the university’s resources off campus, it becomes difficult to find out how much of the resources are actually being used.

LabStats can help track usage on VM’s, however, some precautions are necessary to prevent the ballooning of license counts. If not set up properly, BYOD connections can cause LabStats to create hundreds of one-time-use stations. This clutters the station manager and often locks out customers because of exceeded license counts.

There are two main options for LabStats customers wanting to track their VM stats:

  1. Tracking Zero/Thin client (University Owned) connections separately from BYOD connections.
  2. Track all VM usage together

Note: LabStats supports both VMware View and Citrix VDI environments. LabStats also supports tracking physical thin clients and can report on them as if they were a normal desktop. Thin clients can also be added to LabMaps. LabStats also supports tracking virtual desktops.

Option 1: Tracking Zero/Thin client connections separately from BYOD connections.

Because of LabStats machine identification rules, BYOD connections should not share the same VM pool as the physical thin/zero clients in your environment. In a shared pool, with VM’s configured with VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) parameter, every BYOD connection would create a new station within LabStats. This is problematic because the number of stations within LabStats would increase exponentially and likely cause a lockout due to license count.

In order to track both the use of physical thin/zero clients as well as BYOD’s, two separate pools of VM’s are required.

  1. The first pool would only allow connections from physical thin/zero clients within your on-campus labs. This pool would be set up with the VDI parameter. Stations will be created for each zero/thin client and will report on their usage as if they were a normal desktop (even if they are not connecting to the same VM every time).
  2. The second pool of VM’s will be used for BYOD connections. These VM’s should be installed with the LabStats client normally (without the VDI parameter). To prevent station counts from ballooning it is highly recommended that this pool be created with a static range of possible Mac Addresses. For example, if your range allows for 100 different possible virtual Mac addresses then you can expect 100 stations to be created within LabStats. This will allow you to control the number of used licences.

Option 2: Track all VM usage together

Tracking all VM usage together will still require setting a static range of possible Mac Addresses. This will allow you to get usage statistics from your VMs. However, no data for the physical location of those connections will be possible.

This option is not recommended for those who want to track usage of their Thin/Zero clients.

Updated on April 5, 2019

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