In my last blog, (please read this first as it goes into the actual architecture of FlexApp and how it’s different) I said I’d talk about a specific example of why you cannot simply say ‘all layering is the same’. In that write up, I pointed out a number of differences architecturally, but I really want to bring this home and show how these differences matter. My example is with Citrix Provisioning and how Citrix App Layering and FlexApp interact with it. Continue reading
I was chatting with a customer the other day about FlexApp and they told me that “it’s a different kind of layering and I like it” – it’s not the first time I’ve heard that. This got me thinking ‘why are FlexApp customers having an all-around better experience when compared to other layering technologies. When I look at public forums like Twitter, user groups, forums, etc the overwhelming opinion appears to be that all layering products are essentially the same and if an application won’t work in one, it won’t work in any others. I feel your pain and I just want you to know “Not all layering products are the same.” While Citrix App Layering (CAL), VMware App Volumes and FlexApp share the “layering” moniker, FlexApp couldn’t be more different from the competition (see 9 things that FlexApp does that no one else can or does). It’s these differences that allow us to package applications that others cannot, deliver those FlexApps to the appropriate end point or user and do this in an extremely efficient manner very, very quickly. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
For those that don’t know me, I’ve been in the EUC space for 20+ years. I cut my teeth on WinFrame in what feels like a lifetime ago (in technology time it actually was). In that time, I was a founding member of the CTP program and a Microsoft MVP for a number of years in Terminal Services/RDSH. I’ve worked with small companies and Multi-national corporations on their Citrix environments but six and a half years ago I took a job at a company called Unidesk. They had this technology called layering and it offered a way of delivering applications that was unique. Over those years layering companies have come and gone (including Unidesk) but layering has grown in popularity and has, in my opinion, really started to take off in enterprise application deployments. Why has it taken so long? Simple answer is every technology takes time to grow and when it reaches a certain point it either stays and grows or dies on the vine. Basically, smaller companies work out the “new technology” kinks and enterprises pick it up from there.