My virtual desktop profile is important

Mark Twain said “When angry count to four. When very angry, swear”.  Unfortunately, I’ve heard many users swear. It is amazing how one little action can cause so much anger towards the IT organization or bring a new project to its knees.   Take the following, real world scenario, as an example:

An organization had a profile strategy in place.  Users started working in the new system. One day, a user had a profile corruption issue. To solve the issue, the profile was deleted.  This meant the user had to recreate their entire personalized environment. After the profile was deleted, the user quickly noticed all of their documents were deleted.  Upon closer inspection, the user stored their documents in the “My Documents” folder. When the profile was deleted, the My Documents folder was also deleted.  Can you say Bye Bye data?  Bye Bye 3 weeks worth of work.

Not convinced that profiles are important, then let me give you another example (You can’t make this stuff up):

An organization was running a hosted VM-based VDI desktop solution for a few months and decided the profile solution required modifications.  Upon the updates, every user lost all of their personalization configurations.  NOOOOO

The user’s profile is one of the major ways the pooled virtual desktop becomes personalized. Forgot about virtual desktops for a moment. The user profile is important for traditional desktops. If users are going to accept a new desktop strategy, they must have the ability to personalize their desktop environment. Personalization enhances the computing experience and oftentimes makes users more efficient. When organizations do not properly plan the profile strategy, one or more of the following will likely happen (as can be seen in the previous examples):

  • Slow logon/logoff performance
  • Inconsistent results
  • Lost settings

These challenges will result in a negative perspective of the entire solution.

To overcome these potential challenges, a profile strategy must be put into place that includes items like:

  • Folder Redirection: Have portions of the profile stored on a network drive outside of the roaming profile. This allows the profile to load faster and protects these items from profile deletion.
  • Group Policies: Utilize group policies to configure the user’s virtual desktop profile. These policies should only be used when the user logs onto a virtual desktop.
  • Persistence: Utilize a profile solution that allows for the extraction and storage of the personalized components of a user’s environment outside of the profile. I’ve seen many organizations have great success with Citrix Profile Management as well as AppSense Environment Manager. I’m not going to go into details of these as you can simply click on the links to find out more.

The point is that it takes users a long time to get their environment configured in just the right way.  Loosing those settings is basically like telling the user they don’t matter.  If this happens to many times, you’ll end up with user riots. I’ve seen many users get really angry when talking about their profile and the issues they have.  I’m glad I wasn’t responsible for the mess.

What other profile strategies have you seen that works as well? Any specific settings you recommend? Any tools?

Don’t make this dreaded profile mistake or bandwidth mistake,which i spoke about previously.

Daniel – Lead Architect

9 thoughts on “My virtual desktop profile is important”

  1. […] #9 – Not considering the user profile It should go without saying that user profiles are important. But if it’s number 9 on the list of things people most often screw up, then apparently it doesn’t. In a nutshell: If you mess up the users’ profiles, the users won’t be happy – logon/logoff performance will suffer, settings (including personalization) will be lost. If the users aren’t happy, they will be extremely vocal about it, and your VDI deployment will fail for lack of user buy-in and support. There are some great tools available for managing user profiles, including the Citrix Profile Manager, and the AppSense Environment Manager. AppSense can even maintain a consistent user experience across platforms – making sure that the user profile is the same regardless of whether the user is logged onto a Windows XP system, a Windows 7 System, or a Windows Server 2008 R2-based XenApp server. […]


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