VMware is releasing it’s User Environment Manager solution today. Well, it was officially released on Tuesday but Harry Labana is doing a webcast on the subject today and VMware is making the software available on my.vmware.com.
I’ve been experimenting with the product since the acquisition of Immidio and I have to say, I’m very impressed by the stability and robustness of the product. The User Interface for the management console is simple and efficient and everything works, and works well!
So, what is the product all about and how do you use it in your enterprise?
Bear with me, I’m talking about side info but I believe it is critical to cover this first to help understand why UEM is so important…
First, let’s give a brief description of the two other components in the equation, data and OS. In a user environment, you have Data, Applications (covered later in this post), an Operating System (that you might or might not see) and that’s pretty much it. Data is easily decoupled from the Operating System by managing it separately, this is done in multiple different ways, from the very simple with Windows Folder Redirection to the more advanced scenarios with external data synchronization like Dropbox, Box.NET or Air-Watch Secure Content Locker (part of VMware).
The Operating System is managed in virtual environments in multiple different ways. You can have a full virtual desktop running on VMware View or Citrix XenDesktop for example or you could be using a published applications from Citrix XenApp or Microsoft RDSH but still utilizing the underlying OS (Windows 2008r2 or Windows Server 2012 for example).
Now, let’s talk applications. That’s in the end what the user really wants. He has data but he will use that data with applications. Those applications, as mentioned before, can be ran locally inside a Virtual Desktops but can also be used through a publishing server. Building applications that fit everybody inside your organization is not an easy task. You can ask anyone who’s been doing this for a while, there is NEVER a one size fits all approach. Well, until now!
VMware User Environment Manager
VMware acquired a small company out of the Netherlands called Immidio. They saw potential in the software and a great fit with other products in the End-User Computing portfolio (App volumes, View, …).
The software does a lot of things, if I would have to summarize what it does, it manages the User Environment and makes sure that anything related to that user follows him/her across all his sessions, physical desktops, virtual, cloud or a mix of those.
UEM manages the profile of the user, basic components like his desktop wallpaper, regional settings, shortcuts, drive mapping, printer mapping and a lot more.
But on top of that, where I think relies the key strength of the product, it also manages the applications configuration. A user likes to personalize an application but what happens when that user is using a published application through Citrix XenApp or Microsoft RDSH, well that user can’t personalize the applications. When the applications closes, those changes are lost.
With UEM, you can setup configuration items for any applications in your environment (published apps or regular installed apps) and then be able to retain any personalization of the application that the user will do. This being done, totally separate from the apps, so even though the apps might be coming from XenApp, RDSH, App Volumes or local app, the settings are retained, for that specific user. The user can then go to a different session, open up the same application and see that those application configuration settings have followed him. This is all done on the fly, without the user noticing anything that’s going on in the background.
Another key strength to the product is that you can push predefined settings for users for specific applications. So, for instance, if a user needs to use a corporate application but should not be allowed to make any changes, the admin can enforce these remotely and the user will have to follow pushed down configuration.
UEM deployment is extremely easy and it doesn’t require any additional server infrastructure or back-end Database.
Anyone that has the VMware Horizon Enterprise suite will get UEM for free, starting today!
In a later post, I will talk about setup, deployment and best practices.
For more information, be on the look-out for my videos on the VMware EUC YouTube Channel.