Special Guest Blog
Author: Symon Perriman
(Symon@SymonPerriman.com, Twitter @SymonPerriman)
Desktop virtualization (or “VDI”) has become commonplace for organizations which need to offload processing from their end user devices to managed desktops due to performance or security needs. Over the past decade, millions of these temporary virtual machines (VMs) have been created and destroyed by enterprises for their remote site workers, task workers, power users, or those operating in regulated industries with strict compliance needs.
FlexApp has a lot going for it. Architecturally it’s very different than other layering technologies. This difference gives FlexApp a much better application compatibility percentage when compared to being able to dynamically deliver layers to Windows.
(2 minute read) – Microsoft WVD (Windows Virtual Desktop) is coming and Liquidware is hearing from many customers that they plan to deploy a proof-of-concept or pilot to test the waters as soon as possible. Microsoft has a public preview program in the works and you can now register here to apply for access to the program. If you’ve been following Microsoft WVD you’ve seen that Liquidware has been named by Microsoft to the short list of focused partners that Microsoft is working closely with, as mentioned in this Microsoft blog.
One of the things I love about FlexApp is that it has taken the layering paradigm and essentially turned it on its head. We’ve all “grown up” thinking of layering as done in a particular way but FlexApp shows there are other ways of accomplishing the task of delivering applications dynamically. One of the critical designs of layering is figuring out what happens when files, folders or registry entries conflict. FlexApp uses a technology called Micro-Isolation to handle these types of conflicts. The technology was developed because of how FlexApp builds the view of the operating system file system and registry. It is a very different way of looking at how layers are laid down on the image and how conflicts are handled.
The release of ProfileUnity and FlexApp v6.8 today is our best release ever! This release has several enhancements and new industry-first features that raise the bar.
With the widespread adoption of Microsoft Office 365, OneDrive, Google Drive, Dropbox Enterprise, etc., Windows user profiles are now more bloated than ever before. In virtual workspace environments this can be a big challenge because if your users don’t have very fast access to their large user profile, user experience suffers greatly. Some type of profile containers/disks are now available from most desktop virtualization vendors. Profile disks, offloading the user’s profile to a virtual disk hosted on an SMB or in the cloud, is the very baseline type of profile that you must have to have a profile persist in virtual non-persistent desktop environments.
I want to start by discussing monitoring in general. Monitoring products are in a funny place in the IT world. Many companies consider them a luxury and not necessarily a requirement. When they do start going down the monitoring road they almost always start by looking for a product that can do it all. This will typically lead to the conclusion (correctly) that there is no singular product that can do it all. One thing I learned while growing up with grandparents and my dad being produce farmers, you always pick the right tool for the job. As they say, and I believe this applies to monitoring software as well, if all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.
ProfileUnity has been around for a number of years in the Liquidware portfolio. It delivers user environment management, including user profiles, secure policies, and access to user authored data. Sounds simple right? After all, there are other one-off tools in the market that handle these individual things. What sets ProfileUnity apart? Why use it when you may already have “free” single use case tools or a solution provided by another vendor? Read on my friends…
First off, the Liquidware portfolio (ProfileUnity, FlexApp, and Stratusphere UX) is completely agnostic by not favoring a particular desktop delivery platform. Really, what we are managing is Windows. That’s it. We have no requirements for a particular broker, hypervisor, cloud, anything. In fact, with all three products, you can manage Windows across physical, virtual and cloud. Are your desktops completely physical today and you are looking at moving some or all of them to virtual or full cloud. Or are you even going back to physical desktops? Liquidware has you covered the entire way.
Brief Overview: Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD) was announced a few days ago at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. We at Liquidware think it’s a really big deal. You may have seen that Liquidware is mentioned in Microsoft’s announcement blog as already having incorporated support for WVD.
What is Windows Virtual Desktop and Why It’s a Really Big Deal!
With Microsoft’s announcement they are evolving their modern desktop technologies (formerly RDmi) to deliver, for the first time ever, a turnkey Windows Virtual Desktop hosted exclusively on Microsoft Azure Cloud. More specifically, WVD is a multi-user version of Microsoft Windows 10 that is only available on Microsoft Azure – workloads and storage will be hosted on Azure. This is significant because previously customers had to procure everything they needed on prem or in the cloud of their choice and then assemble the parts. The solution is touted to be cost-effective because, as of now, any customer with a Windows 10/Microsoft 365 and E3/E5 or F1 subscription is eligible for WVD at no additional charge except for Azure compute and storage costs (which you’d have to pay in any cloud scenario).
Microsoft is marketing WVD as truly turnkey saying you can, “Quickly virtualize and deploy modern and legacy desktop app experiences with unified management—without needing to host, install, configure and manage components…”
This blog is really about what I thought I knew about layering products and how much I simply didn’t know. I’ve been working with layering for about as long as anyone and I made the mistake of thinking that all layering products were essentially the same. Sure they each did things a little differently but in the end the concepts were the same and their abilities were, for all intents and purposes, the same. Boy was I wrong.