Review of AppSense Environment Manager 8 by vExpert Tom Howarth

July 8, 2009

Tom Howarth (a VCP/vExpert specializing in Thin Client & Virtualization solutions) and author of www.PlanetVM.net has published a comprehensive review of AppSense Environment Manager Version 8.0

Tom is well known and highly respected within the VMware and Citrix communities and as such, this positive review comes with high regards.  In Tom’s concluding words he describes AppSense Environment Manager as, “It is a Ronseal product – it does what it says on the tin.”

The article can be viewed at http://planetvm.net/blog/?p=122


Citrix & VMware VDI webinar by AppSense & Virtera

July 8, 2009

Leading Citrix & VMware partner and AppSense Gold Level CSP Virtera hosted a joint webinar with AppSense covering main considerations when looking at introducing Desktop Virtualization (VDI) into an enterprise.

Andy Cohen, Solutions Architect for Virtera covers the high level requirements for VDI adoption, including OS and Application delivery, storage and optimization.  Followed by Dan Palmer, Senior Systems Engineer for AppSense who details how user environment management enables a componentized desktop model, while also showing how to avoid many of the user centric and IT focused headaches which are typical in VDI.

View this recorded webinar to learn how to avoid the pitfalls and obstacles organizations are not aware of at the outside, but inevitably run into during VDI proof of concepts, pilots, and roll-outs.

Other AppSense media, including a AppSense Management Suite tutorial by Brian Madden, and many other demonstrations and webinars by Doug Brown (of DABCC) can be found at the AppSense Media Center


The cost of long user logon times to Citrix and VDI

July 3, 2009

Most of us at some point have experienced a long logon time when waiting to connect to a Windows Terminal Server or Citrix XenApp session.  And for most part, we just put up with it.  But on further inspection and if we scale this from just us, one user, to out across an enterprise, say, 10,000 users.. Then what is the cost there? 

10,000 users, all waiting 2 minutes to log on and start their shift work.. That’s 20,000 minutes per day!  Over 300 hours of lost productivity and paid for salary, everyday!!  At just 2 minutes per day, a typical user can expect to lose 30 hours worth of work over 3 years.

So what can be done about this?  First, let’s understand what causes the lengthy logon process…

One of the major causes of long logon times is unnecessarily large user profiles being loaded wholesale into the user session at logon. User profiles can grow to 100’s of megabytes in size, and if not managed correctly, can continue to grow further.  It is this large amount of information which causes the long wait as the system drags all your files, folders and personal settings across a network to load into your session.  But again, this is not just for you, it is also happening for everyone else logging onto the system too.  The solution therefore, reduce the amount of network traffic at logon, and reduce user logon times..

AppSense technology prevents the need for the whole profile to be loaded at logon, thus significantly speeding up user logon times. So what are the options?

AppSense Environment Manager streams in user settings on demand as they interact with their desktop session and applies user personalization to applications as they are launched. By selectively loading in settings required to set up and personalize the initial desktop, no application settings need be transferred across the network and into the user session as part of the logon procedure.

In most cases, this will reduce your logon time to just a few seconds.. As Conexus Credit Union found out..Conexus


Implementing Virtual Desktops (VDI): Desktop Migration – Phsyical To Virtual.

July 3, 2009

Introducing users to new virtual desktops (VDI – Citrix XenDesktop, VMware View) in a green-field scenario is a relatively pain-free process since there are no previous configuration or usage expectations from the user. However, migrating users from an existing physical desktop to a new virtual desktop or to a new operating system or application set can often lead to a user’s personal desktop settings being lost or corrupt in the process.  From the user’s perspective, they have been ‘made to move’ from a familiar, productive, personal environment to a new, sterile, non-personal environment.

 When moving to a new VDI environment, the user transition from desktop to desktop must occur seamlessly – as , moving users to standardized virtual desktops results in a new, sterile and impersonal experience for the user – a far cry from their fully personalized and familiar local desktop.  This tends to lead to a lack of user adoption, increased support costs and reduced productivity.  So how can IT realize the benefit of migrating users to a standardized environment while ensuring high user adoption?

With user environment management, user settings within the existing desktop are automatically identified, decoupled and moved to a central store. The user can then be moved to a standardized virtual desktop.  When the user accesses this desktop, these stored user settings are dynamically applied to the virtual desktop session, recreating their ‘PC environment’.  Subsequent personalization settings are persisted between virtual desktop sessions – even if those sessions themselves are not persisted (such as the componentized layered model from Citrix XenDesktop ) – ensuring the user has a familiar, personal experience at all times.

Since all aspects of the user are decoupled and stored independent of the desktop, organizations can now be more flexible in how desktops and applications are delivered to their users.  User settings can now be dynamically applied into any desktop and application regardless of how those components are delivered to the user.  This “Follow Me Personality” therefore enables IT to use the optimum method of desktop delivery, while ensuring the user always has a consistent, predictable and controlled working experience….even when off-line!