Automating Yourself Out of a Job


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Kaseya Virtual System Administrator (VSA) is a tremendously powerful framework. It’s time to make the investment in leveraging the powerful automation capabilities within to re-think the job description of the Kaseya Administrator. Is your time better spent caught in the weeds of copy settings, first check-in provisioning and running one-off reports? Or would you rather automate yourself out of that job and into one that allows you to trust the automation you’ve built, empower your engineers, customers and end users to do more self-service, and get ahead of the curve on future technologies? During this session, CWPS, a full-service IT company, will offer a holistic view of how to use the combined capabilities at your disposal within the Kaseya framework so you can increase your focus on delivering world-class service to your customers and end users.

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Automating Yourself Out of a Job

  1. 1. 3
  2. 2. We Connect You Customers First | Proven Performance | Lasting Relationships
  3. 3. 7 YOU MUST SPEND TIME TO MAKE TIME Section 1 of 6
  4. 4. 8 Titus Maccius Plautus 254 – 184 BC, Roman playwright (primarily comedies)
  5. 5. 9 You must spend time to make time > Putting in more resources up-front will pay dividends in the long-term – Return on Investment (ROI)
  6. 6. 10 You must spend time to make time > Kaseya is an investment! > Software in general is an investment! – If you’re going to spend the money, then make it work for you!
  7. 7. How often do you see slides like this? • Probably entirely too often • Are you putting your best foot forward? • Is this getting the most out of your investment?
  8. 8. 12 You must spend time to make time > Kaseya is so much more than Remote Control > Out-of-the-box experience can seem daunting at first > A good place to start: – Kaseya Learning Center
  9. 9. 13 You must spend time to make time > More good places to start: – Standard Solutions Package (more on this later) – Kaseya Certification Exam – The Help file • I know, right?! – Props to Kaseya’s Technical writing staff! – Kaseya Community
  11. 11. 15 Think of Kaseya As a Framework, Not a Solution > Before the Marketing folks chase me down… – What is a framework? – What is a solution?
  12. 12. 16 What’s a Framework? To use an analogy… A framework is a workshop: • Hand tools • Power tools • Raw materials • Welders
  13. 13. 17 Think of Kaseya As a Framework, Not a Solution> Depending on your skill level and experience, you can create whatever you’d like – The results will almost always reflect your time investment “Geoff” electric car | Top Gear UK | Series 14, Episode 2
  14. 14. 18 Think of Kaseya As a Framework, Not a Solution> Spending the time is worth it in the end
  15. 15. 19 Think of Kaseya As a Framework, Not a Solution> If you don’t know what you’re doing… …you can get into trouble > It’s in your best interests to know your tools: – What can it do? – What can’t it do? – What shouldn’t I do? > With great power there must also come great responsibility!
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  17. 17. 21 Think of Kaseya As a Framework, Not a Solution> So what’s a solutionthen? 俳句 (haiku) Quite inflexible Difficult troubleshooting Solutions just… aren’t Would you buy a car if the hood was welded shut? Are your Customers one-size-fits-all?
  18. 18. 22 Think of Kaseya As a Framework, Not a SolutionIf any vendor says they have a “solution” to all of your woes…
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  20. 20. 25 LET’S MAKE A PLAN! Section 3 of 6
  21. 21. 26 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 1: Stand up a test server – Doesn’t need to be beefy—only needs to support two (2) Agents – – Run this with VMWare Player on your laptop/desktop • Use the built-in MSDE option • Take a snapshot before attempting anything silly – Use your same license key that you use in Production • They draw from the same license pool
  22. 22. 27 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 2: Install the Standard Solution Package – Remember this popup on first login? Did you “Snooze” it? No problem! System > User Settings > Preferences Click on “Clear Snooze”: Click the green Install button:
  23. 23. 28 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 3: Read about the Standard Solution Package – Grab a coffee (or beer?) and read through the documentation: – What does the Standard Solution Pack get you? • Policies • Agent Procedures • Monitor Sets • Views • Patch Management Policies • Event Sets • Systems Management tab (really ties the room together)
  24. 24. 29 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 4: Visit the Systems Management tab – System > Orgs/Groups/Depts/Staff > Manage: – Create a new organization – Click on the Systems Management tab for that organization and click the Configure button: – Run through the wizard
  25. 25. 30 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 5: Understand what just happened – Added Automated Systems Monitoring • Applied Monitor Sets, Event Log Alerts to machines based on what each machine is doing (look at View > Label): – Defined Alert Destinations – Configured Workstation Maintenance – Deployed Patch Policies – Set Patch Schedules
  26. 26. 31 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 6: Assimilate knowledge – Study how Views, Policies, Monitor Sets, Event Log Alerts and Agent Procedures all work together to form cohesive monitoring
  27. 27. 32 Let’s make a plan! > STEP 7: Copy, paste, extend & improve, rinse, repeat – Use what you’ve learned as “best practices” – Copy what you like to your Production server – Make improvements where necessary • Further filter Event Log Alerts • Integrate your current methodology & improve upon it
  29. 29. 34 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > What is metadata? – Data about Data • Designed & built by Dr. Noonien Soong • Self-aware • Sentient • Second Officer & Chief Operations Officer on USS Enterprise-D & E
  30. 30. 35 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > What does this mean in Kaseya? – Audit collects data about endpoints: …but there’s nothing in here that “knows” how a machine should be monitored, patched & maintained.
  31. 31. 36 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > You know what each endpoint needs to do! When should this endpoint be patched, and what Patch Policy should it be part of? Should this endpoint be monitored like a server or a workstation? How should different severity alerts be handled for this individual Customer? Is there something that the Customer does not want monitored? Did I leave the oven on? How should this endpoint be rebooted after patching?
  32. 32. 37 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > You also know what each Customer wants! I want all of my servers patched on Sundays, and an e-mail sent when they reboot. I want all of my workstations patched on Wednesdays. The Hyper-V server needs patched manually… don’t patch it through Kaseya. You can remotely control any machine without user permission… except for my machine. Don’t defragment SSD laptops.
  33. 33. 38 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Create your custom fields here:
  34. 34. 39 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Tips & Tricks: – Don’t use spaces in the name of your Machine Custom Fields – Reference through Agent Procedure variables in this format: #vSystemInfoManual.Your_Field_Name# (this is why you can’t have spaces in the Machine Custom Field name) – Always assume the variable doesn’t exist or is blank before trying to use its value – Machine Custom Fields (“MCFs”) can be up to 100 characters – Field names are global… so name them carefully! (User_Is_A_Pain_In_The_Butt probably not advised)
  35. 35. 40 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Remember this setting?
  36. 36. 41 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Incorporate the Customer’s requirements : – “You can remotely control any machine without user permission… except for my machine.” – The Boss • Create a Machine Custom Field called: Remote_Control_Policy • Define acceptable values for this MCF: – Allow – Allow “silent” remote control of this machine at any time – Notify – If a user is logged in, notify the user that RC is starting – Prompt – If a user is logged in, prompt the user to allow it – Strict – Even if a user isn’t logged in, you’re still not getting in • Define a “default value” for the Customer: – In this case, it could be “Allow” (or “Notify” if you’re nice)… except for the Boss’ machine (more on this exception in a moment)
  37. 37. 42 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Build the accompanying Views: – Name the Views to match the MCF name – Use some way to denote that this View is used in a Policy • [P] Remote_Control_Policy – Allow • Remote_Control_Policy – Allow* – In the View, use Advanced Agent Data Filter: – Match your “acceptable value” for each view: – Create Views for each “acceptable value” in the MCF
  38. 38. 43 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Build the accompanying Policies: – Name the Policies to match the MCF name – Match the required settings for each Policy, and Apply the Policies to their companion Views:
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  40. 40. 45 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Here’s where it gets nifty: – Define things once for a Customer by using an Agent Procedure – Use the updateSystemInfo step to populate the MCFs • Remote_Control_Policy = Allow • For workstations: – Patching_Schedule = Wednesday – Reboot_Schedule = Immediate • For servers: – Patching_Schedule = Sunday – Reboot_Schedule = Notify – Reboot_Notification_E-Mail =
  41. 41. 46 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Here’s where it gets nifty (continued): – Create a Policy that will be applied to the Customer’s Machine Group that runs the script you just created • Run once • Past-scheduled • Do not skip if offline! – Now what happens? • Machine checks in, picks up policy to run Client-specific script that has their monitoring, patching & alerting parameters in MCFs • Policies are automatically applied based on MCFs’ values • Each new machine that checks into that group will have a set of “default settings” applied—what the Customer had specified!
  42. 42. 47 First check- in script populates MCFs Machine falls into Policy- associated Views Policy Management applies Agent settings
  43. 43. 48 Machine Custom Fields are your friends > Account for the unique snowflakes: – Remember, we can’t remotely control The Boss’ machine without his/her knowledge! • Update the MCF on that machine only to have a Remote_Control_Policy of “Strict” – Also remember we can’t patch the Hyper-V server: • Update the Patching_Schedule MCF to “Disabled” – And finally, remember not to defragment SSD laptops: • Update the Scheduled_Defrag MCF on SSD-based computers to “Disabled” – Make everything flexible! Automatic, but override-able & customizable where needed
  45. 45. 50 Stop Using Copy Settings (except for this one thing) > There is one use-case for copy settings – Okay, possibly more… tell me later  – Use Copy Settings for past-scheduled Agent Procedures which must run immediately upon Agent installation – Branding scripts (rename the Agent service, remove Start Menu entries (and Add/Remove entry if you’re super-evil)) – Pre-populate the Machine Custom Fields per earlier > Note: Ensure your template is blank settings-wise! > Past-scheduled Agent Procedures done through Policy Management will wait 24 hours (as far as I know) – This may change, and is a Feature Request
  46. 46. 51 Stop Using Copy Settings (except for this one thing) > Quantify your results! – Do you have to tell each and every machine what to do the first time it checks in? No! – Do you have to each and every server what it should monitor about itself based on its roles? No! – Do you now have the ability to account for “unique snowflakes?” Yes! – How much time were you spending before using “Copy Settings?” Too Much!
  47. 47. 52 Stop Using Copy Settings (except for this one thing) > Quantify your results (continued)! – How many times have you “dropped the ball” because you weren’t monitoring a role/service that the Customer added to the server recently? Zero Times! > What else can you do now that this framework is in place? – Your Service Desk can change monitoring, patching & other policies on-the-fly without having to involve you! – You can report to clients detailing how each & every machine is being monitored & patched… in one place! (Report on MCF values) – Update a MCF when an Agent Procedure runs for an at-a-glance look at whether your script succeeded!
  48. 48. 53 WRAP-UP, Q&A Section 6 of 6
  49. 49. 54 Wrap-Up, Q&A > Want more in-depth looks at other tips & tricks for VSA admins? – Title: Advanced Administration: Kaseya Virtual Administrator – Presenter: Ben Lavalley - Senior Manager, OEM and Strategic Initiatives – Co-Host: Me! – Time: 1:15 PM until 2 PM – Location: Palm B
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  51. 51. Next up in this room (Palm A) Kaseya Technology Alliance Partner Landscape Presented By: Ben Lavalley Begins @ 4:45 PM