Desktop Virtualization is set to revolutionize the way in which desktops are managed and delivered to many of the worlds corporate knowledge and power workers. But, what happens when these particular users leave the office and go ‘offline’ as they work on their local laptop when out on the road?
Without an enterprise scalable offline VDI offering and client hypervisor, the first stumbling block can be seen in that the server hosted virtual machine session is unable to run on an offline physical device.. however that could all change as per Martin Ingrams predictions for 2010.
But, what if we don’t want to take our virtual machine offline, what if it was better suited to run a locally installed OS and application set, but have all your personalization and application settings available in the local installed offline session? This would mean the application settings changed and made in a corporate virtual desktop, are now available to the worker to use when out on the road, and, any further changes made offline will be re-sync’d into the virtual desktop session upon reconnection to the network. This may sound a little far-fetched, but is actually relatively simple and being used in earnest by thousands of users around the world – AppSense Environment Manager’s Offline Mode ensures mobile users have access to the latest version of their personalization settings when not inside or connected to the corporate network.
The process behind this is relatively simple and utilizes a ‘local virtualization cache’. When a user is logged on to a managed computer, their personalization data is stored locally in the virtual cache on the endpoint device. By default, when the user logs off or shuts down the device, the cache is deleted, and recreated when they next log on.
To enable offline availability of the settings stored within the local virtualization cache, the AppSense Environment Manager console provides an option for the administrator to specify, on a per-machine basis, that the user is working in offline mode and requires their cache to be permanently available on the device, thereby not deleting it at logoff or shut down.
The settings are now available to the user for the duration of their disconnected state, any further changes the user makes to their desktop or applications during this time are automatically captured, redirected from the local registry and file system, to the local virtualization cache. Upon reconnection to the network, these new settings (the delta’s) are automatically synchronized back to the SQL database and are now available to be streamed into any other concurrent session.
As you may be aware, personalization settings are only one half of the user personality, the other half being ‘Policy’. Policy remains active on the end point at all times, regardless of whether the managed computer has offline mode enabled or disabled. Policy remains as it is part of the AppSense Environment Manager Configuration, which resides on the end point device at all times to set up, maintain and self heal the environment.
If you have any questions or comments, as ever please do feel free to post them below.