February 22, 2023 - Andrew Mason
A little over 2 years ago we deployed the first GA release of Rimo3 Cloud, and to add a bit of interest both internally and externally we chose to name releases after US cities. Last year, just short of 2 years since that first GA release we deployed our last US city named release, and this year started back at “A” with the Arkansas release of Rimo3 Cloud, named after the mighty Arkansas river that rises in Colorado and passes through Canon City, where our you can find Rimo3’s esteemed Marketing team. For me rivers are the perfect allegory for a journey, and here at Rimo3 we have been on quite a journey over the past 2 years, and as we embark on the next phase of that journey I wanted to reflect on how far we have come with a look back on the 26 cities we “visited” over the past 2 years.
Our journey kicks off on the 16th of November 2020 in Atlanta, state capital of Georgia, when the Rimo3 Cloud platform was officially made available to customers, having previously be in preview for Partners. Just one month later we headed up the east coast the New England city of Boston, Mass. for our first major update to the platform, the Suitability Dashboard. This new dashboard was designed to give customer insight into how applications would behave in both their current format and as an MSIX on a multi-session OS.
The New Year saw us jetting off to the mid-west state of Illinois and the city of Chicago, home to our CTO Samit Halvadia, with a release that included several stability updates to the platform in readiness for the year ahead. We then headed southwest to Denver where we introduce v2 of the Rimo3 Public API and the ability to manually add packages that were not in an automatically importable format.
The end of February found us in El Paso, Texas with a number of minor updates across the platform including further enhancements to the updated API and support for older operating systems. By March 2021 we were back on the east coast, this time with CEO Mike Welling in Fort Lauderdale for improvements to notifications, the creation of test environments and the reconversion of MSIX packages. We also announced the preview of our multi-session smoke test.
We then headed north to Green Bay, Wisconsin with added support for modernizing non-packaged formats such as silently installable EXE’s and script files. Later that same month we were back in Texas with the Houston release which introduced the Migration Suitability Dashboard, friendlier sequence names and improvement to the resource administration screens that expose the current state and configuration of test environments.
Mid May found us back in the mid-west, Indianapolis to be exact, with a renamed Suitability dashboard – WVD Suitability – and a host of cosmetic updates to management and administration screens. As we headed towards the mid-point of the year via Jackson, Mississippi and Knoxville Tennessee we wrapped the user interface enhancements for administration and management screens.
In July 2021 we were in Lincoln, Nebraska where we announced that we were the only partner invited to participate in the Microsoft Azure Migration and Modernization Program (AMMP) and released a specialist report to compliment the AMMP activities. We were back in Wisconsin in August for the Madison release with custom logos in both customer and partner tenants as well as a number of other minor fixes and improvements.
New York City saw a shift on the Modernize dashboard moving the reported results from the current OS to the target OS to more closely align with the goal of the modernize workflow. My favourite part of this release was the typo in the release notes saying that we’d fixed several typos in the onboarding questionnaire.
We finally made it to the west coast for a very brief stop in Oakland for a small but much needed update to MSIX conversion, giving larger applications more time to complete the MSIX capture and creation process. October sees us heading east to Phoenix, Arizona and the release of the automated Jumpstart Report built to further enhance or AMMP engagements.
Our next stop is on the banks of the Mississippi in Quincy, IL for a big shake up in the deployment of Rimo3 Cloud resources…
One of the original tenants of the Rimo3 Cloud platform was to make it easier for customers to get up and running with testing their applications; as such Rimo3 took on the hosting of the Gateway and Task Runner devices as that meant we could automate the creation and management of these resources. However, this came at the expense of contextual relevance – the ability to test your apps in your environment. In the Quincy release we completely redeveloped how Task Runners were created, moving from hot swappable disks for pre-created devices to dynamically provisioning Task Runners on demand. This laid the groundwork for supporting custom images in the future and gave customers to option to deploy Rimo3 resources into their own Azure subscription.
As we approached the end of the year we travelled to Reno where we built on the new Task Runner provisioning and deprovisioning capability with the addition of support for custom images from an Azure image gallery. We also introduced support for domain joining the Rimo3 Task Runners and import from Config Manager for customers who had linked their Rimo3 tenant to an Azure subscription, thus completing the contextual relevance trifecta – your apps, on your build, in your environment.
There was time for one more stop in 2021 and we properly made it to the west coast for the release of the much-anticipated multi-session smoke test to all customers in San Diego. The multi-session smoke test built on the existing patented Rimo3 Intelligent Smoke Test by concurrently launching and testing applications in different user sessions on a multi-session capable version of Windows.
As we started 2022, with 19 deployments in 14 months behind us, we took the conscious decision to decrease the release cadence as we set out to undertake some significant improvements to the platform in the year ahead. The Utica release saw task runner logs moved to a more accessible location in the customer hosted storage account, cosmetic improvements to the performance metrics and package details screens, and updates to the console giving more details around install and uninstall commands and additional logging for Config Manager imports.
Ventura made it easier to manually add and amend the access key for the customer hosted storage account, where uploaded and modernized packages were stored. We also introduced the ability to manually provision a Task Runner for troubleshooting purposes, and made further improvements to domain join.
As we touched down in the US capital of Washington we released the first major improvement of the year, the Onboarding dashboard. This new dashboard gave customers better insights into the status of applications that had been uploaded, manually added, or imported into the platform, and meant that applications with onboarding issues didn’t appear on the AVD Suitability, Migration Suitability, Modernization or Manage dashboards, which themselves also had a cosmetic refresh in this release. We also introduce a much improved experienced for adding new packages to the platform as well as defaulting the Modernization Task Runner to Windows 11 to take advantage of the recent improvements to the Microsoft MSIX package tool.
By the middle of 2022 we were ready to release two major improvements to the Rimo3 Cloud platform with export to Intune and export to Nerdio Manager in the Xanadu release. Coupled with import from Config Manager, export to Intune paved the way for a legacy to modern journey that enables customers to not only convert their application to a modern package format (MSIX) but to then also deploy them via a modern management plane (Intune) to modern workspace environments such as AVD and Windows 365. Export to Nerdio Manager made it quick and easy for customers to bulk export their modernized MSIX packages directly into Nerdio Manager as App Attach images. A new Integrations hub page was introduced to bring the configuration of existing and these new integration together in one place.
The Yuma release saw yet another major improvement to the platform with support for a new package format, VMware App Volumes. This was the first phase of an ongoing journey with VMware and introduced the ability to upload App Volumes 4 packages for testing and laid the groundwork for yet another shake up to the platform.
The final release of the year, and the last of our city named releases finds us in Zion, IL a little over 600 miles from where we started nearly two years previously. Building on the support for App Volumes in the previous release, this release introduced the ability to capture applications in the App Volumes package format as well. Not only was this an addition to the existing modernization capability of the platform but it kicked off the ongoing effort to give customers the ability to manage the automated workflows themselves by starting to break up the pipeline.
With the introduction of a new package format for modernization customers now had the choice of which package format they wanted to use so we took modernization out of the automated pipeline and made it a standalone, wizard driven workflow. The final release of the year also introduced improvements to the export to Intune to allow any package to be exported as an intunewin file, and added support for both Windows 10 and Windows 11 22H2.
So, 2 years and nearly 29,000 miles later this part of the Rimo3 journey has come to an end, but it by no means the end of the journey! Just like the Arkansas ends in the Mississippi the water’s journey continues to bigger and greater things.
The more eagle-eyed of you may have spotted that there were only 25 releases named after US cities. We had planned on visiting Tucson at the beginning of 2022 and whilst there was a very minor maintenance release at the being of the year it was not announced as a named release and so we deviated slightly from the theme of US cities and found ourselves just over the board from San Diego, on a beach in Tijuana instead.
Andrew has over 20 years’ experience in the applications space covering all aspects of the application lifecycle, from application discovery and packaging to QA/UAT and deployment, working with customer in the UK, US and across Europe in all sectors. Today he works closely with both the Rimo3 Customer Success and Product teams to support the pre and post sales processes and bring his applications experience to the ongoing development of the Rimo3 platform.