Microsoft today announced the release of a public beta of version 5 of it’s Application Virtualization product App-V. It also announced today the release of the public beta of a new user environment management product called User Experience Virtualization (UE-V). Both products will be part of a new version of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), available for Software Assurance users.
With this last product Microsoft decided to fill a gap which up till now was filled by Microsoft partners like Citrix, Appsense, Immidio, Liquidware Labs, Quest, Res Software and others. For these partners it will be harder to provide additional value now that Microsoft will provide this solution with MDOP.
Up intil now Microsoft’s solution for user environment management was called User Profile Virtualization, which was actually a combination of Roaming Profiles and Folder redirection. This solution isn’t very suitable though in environments where users access traditional desktops, terminal servers, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and other devices using the same account.
With UE-V Microsoft states:
Regardless if it is a rich desktop or a hosted VDI desktop, a traditional application or a virtual application, UE-V enables a personal, consistent Windows experience across devices, matching each person’s unique work style for increased productivity anytime, anywhere. UE-V integrates with our Microsoft Desktop Virtualization products and can be deployed with System Center Configuration Manager, as well as third party management tools.
While the roaming profiles with folder redirection solution the UE-V solution will apply settings when applications are opened, and save that settings when the applicaitons is closed, in contradiction to the User Profile Virtualization which loads settings at logon and saves them at logoff. For UE-V to work another agent needs to be deployed, (when will Microsoft release one mangement agent?). Settings location templates, which are XML based are used to tell the agent which applications should store their roaming information from thefile system and registry to a network location. Templates can be generated with the UE-V generator tool.
For more information about UE-V, see this post on the Microsoft Springboard series blog.
App-V 5.0. promises deeper platform integration, allowing App-V applications to work more like traditional installed applications. App-V 5.0 will will allow for local application store to be turned off, reducing disk requirements.
App-V 5.0 will also introduce a new web-based management interface based on Silverlight, and introduces support for both Windows 7 and Windows 8 which is now in public beta.
For more information about User Environment Management (UEM), we recommend reading the UEM Smackdown paper, written by Ruben Spruijt which can be downloaded via BrianMadden.com