Live from VMworld 2009 – A press release shows that VMware are to OEM the RTO Virtual Profiles Product into VMware View.
On the recent announcement at VMworld 2009, VMware are planning to OEM the RTO Virtual Profiles™ technology into VMware View – this is great news, and yet another proof point of the importance of user personalization in the virtual desktop space. It looks as though VMware have made a similar move Citrix did some months back when they acquired SepagoPROFILES for inclusion into their Xen line, and it makes total sense.
Let’s take a minute to appreciate the basic premise of how to reduce desktop TCO through virtualization. The only way to deliver cost-effective virtual desktops is to standardize the corporate image. However, if you standardize, then you also have to provide personalization capabilities in order to get the user adoption needed to make the transition to virtual desktops a success. In this respect, providing some level of personalization baked into platform solutions such as View is necessary.
By adding RTO technology, VMware will leverage the Windows User Roaming Profile – which has been successfully used in Terminal Services environments for many years. This will certainly ease some of the pains typically associated with Roaming Profiles, such as profile corruption and slow logon times. However, in more complex, enterprise environments, something more than profile management is required to provide a local PC equivalent experience from a virtualized, standard corporate desktop (as Sumit Dhawan has explained here). Personalizing a virtual desktop requires the ability to automatically set-up and configure the desktop based on the user’s role and context (e.g. what printers they can use, what drives they can access, use of peripheral devices), support for the installation and persistence of user-installed applications, as well as the application of all user-customized settings across all applications. All these in combination are known as the ‘user environment’, and the most important characteristic of the user environment is that it is client OS and delivery mechanism agnostic – effectively providing a ‘follow me’ user personality anywhere, using any delivery method and to any device. This is simply not possible using profile management alone, and why a User Environment Management Solution is required.
The thing is, most companies don’t have homogeneous desktop estates. This is true in physical PCs today and will also be the case in their virtualized equivalents. Companies typically use combinations of delivery technologies, applications (corporate and non-corporate), client OS and devices to deliver an optimum, productive working experience to their employees. Based on extensive experience with many customers rolling out desktop virtualization projects, we know that successful (i.e. low-cost, high adoption) virtual desktops require the ability to automatically deliver non-persisted, leveraged corporate OS and apps on-demand from a centralized source. To this fresh, clean desktop session must then be added the independently-managed user environment as described above – note this must be added selectively in response to user actions. We are well beyond profile management now!
Adding RTO Virtual Profiles into the View offering will certainly enable VMware’s customer base to start to roll-out Windows XP based virtual desktops (Windows Vista & Windows 7 will be supported in future releases) in a controlled way, while providing some personalization capabilities. As these implementations start to grow, the need for a more comprehensive treatment of the user environment will become essential.
User personalization is an exciting and rapidly-growing space! We’re working closely with VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and our joint customers to ensure successful and viable virtual desktop roll-outs …..we look forward to seeing this vital part of the new desktop paradigm grow in importance over the coming months and years!
VP WW Marketing, AppSense
Live from VMworld 2009 – A press release shows that VMware are to OEM the RTO Virtual Profiles Product into VMware View. Press Release can be found here