Yesterday at VMworld Europe, in conjunction with VMware’s announcement of ThinApp 5.0, AppSense announced simplified adoption of VMware ThinApp 5.0 with AppSense Environment Manager.
Let’s cover two topics:
- Details of the VMware ThinApp 5.0 + AppSense Environment Manager integration
- What this means for cross-application delivery personalization in hybrid environments
The announcement details
“VMware’s ThinApp 5.0, brings the latest technology in application virtualization to the market – it can eliminate application conflicts, deliver reliable and flexible application access to all users and reduce the need for additional server hardware or software investments.
By offering this compatibility with AppSense, we continue to deliver the best virtualization experience with the fastest time to value for our customers.”
Mason Uyeda, Senior Director, Technical Marketing, End-User Computing at VMware.
While AppSense already had support for managing the user personalization of ThinApp delivered applications, this enhancement is important as to date, AppSense did not have full out-of-the-box support to share personalization settings made within a ThinApp application with other application delivery technologies or vice versa. AppSense could personalize ThinApp applications, but could not share these settings with other instances of the application delivered by Citrix, Microsoft App-V or when physically installed on the endpoint. This has now been resolved and can been seen as the final piece in the puzzle for organizations wishing to embrace multiple application delivery technologies for different business or technical needs.
No changes have been made to Environment Manager for this integration, customers using version 8.4 can take immediate advantage of this latest enhancement. I personally think this shows validation of AppSense as a leading solution provider within the enterprise, and based on customer feedback to VMware and their commitment to make such changes, enables organizations to have greater choice in adopting best in class solutions.
The enhanced integration can bring benefits such as faster, seamless adoption of ThinApp with high user adoption rates for different types of AppSense and VMware prospects and customers:
- Existing AppSense customers already using or interested in adopting ThinApp
- Existing VMware customers who do not use AppSense but are already using or interested in adopting ThinApp
- Organizations who would like to add ThinApp in addition to their other application delivery technologies.
The timing of this fits perfectly as part of Windows 7 & 8 migration projects as many organizations are considering application virtualization as part of their application delivery strategies on Windows 7 or 8. AppSense is proven to help with the migration of user settings and data during a Windows XP decommission, however organizations are making more changes than just the OS upgrade which AppSense can help with during this time of desktop transformation:
- Migration of user settings and data from Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7 or 8
- Migration of user settings from locally installed applications on Windows XP to ThinApp delivered (or any other application virtualization technology) applications on
Windows 7 or 8
- Migration of user settings for application version upgrades, e.g. Microsoft Office 2003 to Office 2013
- Or any combination of the above, e.g. migration of user settings for locally installed Microsoft Office 2003 on Windows XP to ThinApp delivered Office 2013 on Windows 7 or 8
What this means for cross application delivery personalization in hybrid environments
It is important to understand the capabilities of profile management solutions when user personalization settings must also be shared across multiple application delivery technologies and client architectures.
Personalization and Application Delivery
Separation of the user and the management of their environment, User Environment Management (UEM), enables new application delivery models to be seamlessly adopted at lower cost and for multiple application delivery methods to co-exist in hybrid environments as it separates the user and all of their settings from the underlying desktop architecture and provides a seamless user experience across all platforms, no matter how the application is delivered.
Unfortunately, not all profile management solution providers are able to meet enterprise requirements and sometimes this is not realized until the solution is actively deployed in a customer environment. Here I will now detail why the unique capabilities AppSense provide make our UEM solution the most complete and comprehensive cross-platform personalization solution.
Application Delivery and in a User Centric manner
When we consider the multiple ways in which we can deliver applications to our users over multiple accessing devices, it is imperative that we provide our IT Services around the context of the user, and not at the device level with separate configurations or packages for each and every different computer, laptop, virtual desktop, tablet or smartphone the user is utilizing.
Only by putting the user at the center of our focus and configuring our applications with corporate policy (a separate topic) and managing user personalization across all of our delivery options can we meet these two requirements:
- Delivery of user settings across all application delivery options – ensure a consistent user experience no matter how an application is delivered or accessed. This in turn can increase adoption rate and reduce support calls & operational costs.
- Manage the user once, across all of these possible delivery mechanisms – A single all-encompassing configuration for the same user as they move between delivery models. The user is managed once from a central location and so operational overheads are significantly reduced, and you’re future proofing your application delivery strategy as new delivery options are adopted.
Requirement #1 – Personalization Migration to New Application Delivery Mechanisms
For many organizations, the inability to ensure user acceptance is preventing them from embracing new application delivery methods. Users have spent years personalizing their existing applications, making changes to enable them to work more effectively such as; custom dictionaries, templates, add-ons, menu layout, look & feel etc. These personalization settings must be considered and migrated to any new application delivery method as organizations change application delivery services such as moving from locally installed applications to streamed applications.
AppSense unlocks a managed user personalization setting away from the desktop operating system, application version and application delivery mechanism allowing you to migrate seamlessly and enable seamless adoption of whichever application virtualization technology that you choose. In the video demo below you will see user settings move seamlessly between 4 application delivery technologies:
- Locally installed
- VMware ThinApp 5.0
- Microsoft App-V 5.0
- Citrix XenDesktop 7
Across 3 different desktop environments:
- Windows XP
- Windows 7
- Windows Server 2012 via Citrix XenDesktop 7
All without the user ever having to logoff, and then send the settings all the way back again.
Requirement #2 – Personalization across Multiple Application Delivery Mechanisms
As application delivery becomes more diverse with organizations adopting multiple ways in which to deliver an application dependent on the location of the user or the device they’re using, there becomes increasing importance on the ability for user personalization settings to seamlessly follow the user as they move between locally installed, published, virtualized or streamed applications.
Some Profile Management based solutions are unable to roam settings between different delivery platforms, e.g. share personalization settings between physically installed apps, virtualized or streamed applications and vice versa. They may be able to personalize a Microsoft App-V or VMware ThinApp delivered application, but many enterprise customers require the settings to persist in all directions between an application delivered by any means, especially during the adoption stages of a new application delivery strategy.
Further to this, AppSense is also able to seamlessly apply user personalization settings to any application regardless of the underlying operating system, such as Windows XP, Vista, Win7, Server 2003, Server 2008, Server 2012 etc. and also across and between 32-bit and 64-bit architectures.
When testing a personalization solution, be sure to test true cross-platform personalization capabilities if you have a mixed environment as solutions based on utilizing the existing user profile (roaming, local etc..) are often limited by the profile itself. i.e. – unable to work across V1 and V2 profiles, 32-bit to 64-bit or local to virtualized applications.
If you are considering or already employ a hybrid application delivery model, when testing application personalization, be sure to test across multiple delivery mechanisms:
- Cross-Application Delivery Mechanisms
- Cross-Operating System Platforms
- Cross-32-bit and 64-bit Architectures
- Cross-Online / Offline usage
Below is a diagram showing how AppSense Environment Manager enables personalization settings to automatically and seamlessly flow between the following application delivery mechanisms – while the user remains separate from the underlying architecture, enabling IT to provide context-aware IT as a Service:
Thanks to everyone who has helped make this happen; the joint AppSense and VMware customers for driving the requirement, VMware for making the changes in ThinApp 5.0, and the customers who are actively embracing user environment management.
Keen to hear your thoughts and happy to answer questions,