Introducing ProfileDisk and its Wonder Twin Profile Portability!

ProfileUnity v6.5 with FlexApp application layering is now in Release Candidate 1 and we plan to have the GA ready in in just a few weeks. There are so many cool new features in ProfileUnity v6.5 but today I want to introduce ProfileDisk. ProfileDisk is a new option in ProfileUnity to deliver the entire profile as a layer from an attached user VHD or VMDK. Normal problems associated with profile redirection are avoided. In fact, the profile layer is so transparent that the OS does not realize that it is not on the local drive. It’s primary use case though is the ability to make a user profile “look” persistent even on a non-persistent desktop. Extended logon times from solutions that stream bits of a profile or replay an entire profile (because the machine is non-persistent) can be avoided because Windows sees that a profile is already on the machine. Before I go on and on about ProfileDisk, let’s mention the trusted profile management method that ProfileUnity has long used, Profile Portability. ProfileUnity’s Portability engine performs great and captures 85-100% of a user’s profile out of the box. The core user profile is captured and stored compressed (apx 50:1) on storage. It is played back to the system in native Windows locations and then subsequently only file differentials are moved across the network (physical and persistent environment). The reason why Portability sometimes does not capture all of the parts of a profile out of the box is that applications do not always write to a user’s profile. For those files the ProfileUnity Administrator can easily “Include” them in the user’s profile by applying a rule for a user or group of users to “pickup” other files and make them Portable.  For example, many non-conforming applications (Lotus Notes, Oracle, homegrown apps, etc.) write to Program Files, other newly created Root files, or to the System Root itself. While ProfileUnity can capture these files, basic profile “tools” cannot capture these areas at all, they only focus on the Windows profile itself. Enter ProfileDisk ProfileDisk is drop dead simple to setup and extremely fast.  The concept is this, during the first user logoff the entire profile is saved to a VHD or VMDK. When the user logs back on to any Windows desktop in the enterprise where ProfileUnity runs, the user’s ProfileDisk is loaded immediately when user credentials are entered for Windows. By the time Windows looks to see if a profile is available it sees the users ProfileDisk. This dramatically speeds up logon times and is compatible with our Profile Portability engine which can append customization to the “Windows” profile. Now a few other vendors (VMware Mirage and Microsoft User ProfileDisk for RDSH) have tried this concept alone to manage a profile but a layered profile alone has one major flaw, you can’t manage the contents of the profile. It’s all of the profile or nothing.  You cannot append to it, add, or delete/ignore individual files or folders. Therefore you cannot account for non-conforming apps (Lotus Notes, Oracle, homegrown apps, etc.) which write to Program Files, other newly created Root files, or to the System Root itself. There are other limitations to relying on a layered profile by itself for a user, those include:

  • Simultaneous logins – a user can only login to one Windows workspace/desktop at a time because the full profile is in use elsewhere.
  • Cross Windows OS compatibility – profile settings cannot be remediated or co-exist across various versions of Windows because the profile will be “broken” in its native version format to a different OS.

ProfileUnity’s ProfileDisk and Profile Portability – The Best of Both Worlds! The great thing about ProfileDisk being available in this release is that when it is coupled with the power of profile Portability, you can truly have the best of both worlds!  – a lightning fast profile with the ability to granularly manage the profile when needed, as well as options to roam across Windows OS versions. The typical enterprise use case will look like this: ProfileUnity’s ProfileDisk instantly layers in a profile at user logon then just a few very lightweight Portability actions augment the profile with non-conforming profile data.  It’s a win-win because the user is happy that their logon was so fast and they have all of the profile app data they need to be productive. ProfileDisk can also be run with ProfileUnity’s full Portability rules invoked to enable simultaneous logons and cross OS compatibility (with instant migrations). So please welcome the new ProfileDisk feature in ProfileUnity in v6.5!  One of the most amazing things about it is its Wonder Twin Profile Portability.  The two together are another ProfileUnity first and an exclusive! Interested in testing the BETA?  We’re in BETA phase two of v6.5 which include Profile Disk.  Fill out this quick form and you’ll soon be in! ProfileUnity v6.5 with updated FlexApp BETA Entry Form.

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