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As desktop and application virtualization continue to play critical roles in both business continuity and secure application delivery, the need for providing exceptional user experience with those technologies is paramount. Delivering a quality user experience drives adoption and utilization as well as user satisfaction -- all of which benefit both users and their supporting IT departments.

What is profile management?

An essential part of this user experience is the persona or profile. This is the collection of settings and data which provides a personalized experience, such as desktop wallpaper, bookmarks, application configurations, etc. These customizations make the environment more comfortable as well as often enhancing productivity. 

When a user accesses the same computer every day, these settings are always available to them -- however, in many VDI use cases that user may use a different virtual desktop (vDesktop) each time they log in. In these instances, users need to have their persona/profile be able to follow them from vDesktop to vDesktop to ensure a consistent experience.

For VMware Horizon customers deploying Windows 10 vDesktops, the combination of FSLogix from Microsoft and Dynamic Environment Manager (DEM) from VMware provides a powerful persona/profile management solution. FSLogix is Microsoft's preferred (and fully supported) tool for abstracting the user's Windows profile information and storing it outside of the vDesktop. Changes made during a given session are written out to the Profile Container, a data abstract of all the profile components. When the user then logs in to a different vDesktop, the abstracted data is read into the new session and the user has a consistent experience -- the new session on vDesktop A looks the same as their session on vDesktop B. FSLogix was designed to help abstract O365 product data which is challenging for many profile management technologies such as Outlook OST files, search indexes, and OneDrive file caching.

VMware's DEM product provides the ability to dynamically modify a user's desktop experience and resource access based on conditional variables and triggers. This includes the ability to preconfigure application settings, manage drive and printer mappings, adjust Horizon display protocol configurations, enable/disable copy and paste functionality, and much more. The contextual basis of DEM allows for such use cases as allowing access to certain mapped drives from the corporate LAN but not when connecting over the Internet, as well as managing resource access when a user's role or group changes within the company.

Using FSLogix and DEM together provides a best-of-breed model for managing Windows user personas/profiles. Microsoft's acquisition of FSLogix and their integrated development model with the Windows and O365 product lines ensures that it will provide the best functionality and support for abstracting the core Windows profile and Office components as Win10 and O365 continue to evolve. DEM brings powerful contextual management and application preconfiguration abilities to dynamically shape the user experience and modify functionality as needed to enhance user productivity as well as improve security.

Together, FSLogix and DEM provide a dynamic, high quality Windows user experience while bringing significant benefits for IT as well. Best of all -- they're already available to VMware Horizon customers today! Some advanced DEM features are only available to Horizon Enterprise users, but the core capabilities are available to all Horizon license levels. WWT can help you improve your persona/profile management and drive better user experience -- leave a comment below and we'll be happy to help!

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