Microsoft UE-V was launched some months ago and we have many in the community asking how it differs from full user management with ProfileUnity.
Microsoft UE-V is a profile solution that is in many ways Microsoft’s successor to Roaming Profiles. The solution is similar in design to Citrix’s UPM (User Profile Management) solution. UE-V is limited to only making a profile portable, its “profile portability” architecture is very similar to that offered by Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity. Both have the advantage of managing the profile in Microsoft’s native format without a complex database arrangement. But that’s where the similarity ends. ProfileUnity provides much more robust “out of the box” portability for enterprises by efficiently including virtually everything in the profile that you’d like to make portable while Microsoft UE-V requires XML templates to be completed for anything but Microsoft’s own application set. Profiles are centrally stored and updated or restored at subsequent logons.
Microsoft UE-V may serve to fill the needs of some organizations, however, advanced and complex desktop deployments may require features found in a full user management solution like ProfileUnity.
ProfileUnity also goes far beyond “profile” management to actually deliver full user environment management capabilities with one console/one solution. ProfileUnity surpasses basic “profile management solutions” by giving administrators more compatibility, more management options, and more features from one central console than any other solution in the market for its cost. ProfileUnity allows for much greater flexibility in profile management. One example is the advantage ProfileUnity has in making any file, folder, or registry key on the system portable – beyond the normal profile storage areas. This feature is especially helpful in enterprises where many advanced and home-grown applications do not write to the common AppData locations and registry keys fall outside of the normal software hive.
And here is one big advantage you won’t find anywhere else — If you already use UE-V and it is working for your organization, you can still use ProfileUnity’s other user management feature sets and leave profile management to UE-V. ProfileUnity offers more than a dozen core User Management feature sets and profile portability is just one of them. If you later choose to leverage the advanced profile management features in ProfileUnity, on-boarding your existing UE-V managed profiles is an easy process.
Microsoft UE-V Is Not Free
Microsoft UE-V is part of the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack). It is only available with the payment for other significant Microsoft solutions and services. For example, customers on Microsoft’s Software Assurance can purchase MDOP. Some customers who are on volume licensing AND also subscribe to SA are also granted access to MDOP. Regardless, commitment to other Microsoft maintenance and/or management software services or products, in addition to a per user fee for certain organizations, are required to gain access to MDOP. Other tools in the MDOP suite include Advanced Group Policy Management, Application Virtualization (App-V), Desktop Error Monitoring and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V).
Microsoft UE-V is designed only for Windows 7 and later environments. It is not compatible with Windows XP, RDP or Citrix on Server 2003. This is significant because the majority of enterprises are still migrating from XP and Server 2003 to Windows 7/8 or Server 2008. The lack of this feature alone leaves a major market opportunity for ProfileUnity which provides seamless profile compatibility for co-existence or migration.
Keep in mind, compared to ProfileUnity’s full user management features, Microsoft UE-V is limited in that it only manages profiles. To try and replicate the same functionality in ProfileUnity you’d need to have the administrator use Group Policy Preferences, Microsoft App-V, Microsoft SCCM, advanced data synchronization tools, and so forth.
To summarize, Microsoft UE-V further validates the user virtualization management market with its release. It is similar in design to some of the other basic profile solutions on the market and has many of the same limitations. We’re proud to be a Microsoft ISV partner and can co-exist with UE-V or take your organization beyond profile management to full user management with ProfileUnity.
ProfileUnity continues to be a clear choice for enterprises that need full user management of physical and virtual desktop environments. ProfileUnity boasts more compatibility, more management options, and more features from one central console than any other solution in the market for its cost.