FSLogix Profile Containers and PolicyPak - Better Together!

Posted by Christiaan Brinkhoff on Aug 21, 2018 10:49:33 AM

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The two most critical components of a successful implementation, are control and user experience. Whether considering Remote Desktop Services, Citrix XenApp (Multi-User) and XenDesktop (Single-User) or VMware Horizon, when you combine a native user experience with Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) profile technology and a broad set of configuration settings, you create limitless configuration possibilities for your IT administrators and settings for your end-users.

Are you ready to put your Digital Workspace on steroids?

FSLogix Profile Containers and PolicyPak can tremendously improve the User Experience and increase the User Environment configuration possibilities – beyond expectations. With this powerful new combination, we are replacing the need for expensive UEM tools! Curious about how we accomplish this experience together? Read on...

See below for an example of how our FSLogix policies come together in PolicyPak’s Administrative Templates Manager.

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Defining the problem

PolicyPak and FSLogix are two solutions that both have significant capabilities to optimize your Digital Workspace environment. Think about a world without FSLogix Profile Containers, where every end-user session needs to synchronize the profile files and folder back and forth during log-on and log-off – forcing a 60-90 second  log-on duration per session! This process is also very time consuming and intensive for your storage and network utilization. The average log-on duration of Roaming Profile solutions, such as Citrix UPM, Windows Roaming Profile or likely others offers a subpar user experience and demands a higher management effort - by excluding files and folders to make the performance acceptable for your end-users.

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The extra features within FSLogix, such as OneDrive, Windows Search roaming and Office 365 Native Outlook are beneficial as well. For instance, when Outlook starts in Online Modus instead of Outlook OST Caching with the Search Database not supported, it isn’t bringing the native experience to your end-users, resulting in endless startup screens of Outlook and eventually corrupted Outlook profiles as well. This is a very frustrating for your end-users and support desk. These are just some of the examples of not using FSLogix, see all of the further below…

All the settings within the Virtual Desktop environment that are personal to the end-user are stored within the profile. Placing the Windows Profile in a Virtual Hard Drive – FSLogix Profile Container – and letting the Operating System think that the profile is stored locally, creates many possibilities within a non-persistent Virtual Desktop environment. FSLogix Profile Containers encapsulates the entire profile --including the registry-- in an in-guest VHD or VHDX container. Your profile isn’t roaming, as happens with other Profile solutions, but rather you have eliminated the need for file copying when the user logs on to their desktop.

  • Provides Real Time access to User Profiles with no Roaming Profiles or Folder Redirection
  • Streams the profile instead of roaming, resulting in FAST log-ons of 5 – 10 seconds
  • Eliminates Server and Network Bottlenecks from Log-on Storms
  • Works great for single and multi-user environments
  • Provides a native Operating System Experience, including all the Microsoft Office 365 Applications, such as Microsoft Teams, OneDrive (and On-Demand, Personal), SharePoint and Outlook cache mode
  • Reduces IOPs and network traffic compared to Roaming Profile technologies

FSLogix Product add-on: Cloud Cache Driver

Our FSLogix Container solutions are receiving a new major feature upgrade soon,  called Cloud Cache Driver. This new functionality adds the ability to add multiple storage repositories to our existing products to provide High Availability to on-premises and Cloud environments.

Think, for example, about a Digital Workspace scenario where you are running entirely in Microsoft Azure with your VDI environment. Typically, you store your profile data on a Windows File Share in Azure Infrastructure-As-a-Service. Our Cloud Cache Driver makes it possible to provide the store of the Containers directly into the Storage Blog – Azure Storage Account. This is just one of the significant use-cases that we are solving with this tremendous new Cloud technology.

So why add PolicyPak products into the mix?

Because they do things that other settings management products simply can not do. PolicyPak products offer unique levels of control over and insight in your application and desktop settings.

Without PolicyPak you are  unable to define all the advanced configuration settings from one single management console. You are limited to only the default Group Policy Object settings and Preferences of Microsoft Active Directory.

A normal Windows Group Policy Console looks like this, which is very limited in configuration capabilities on the end-user and application configuration level.

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PolicyPak performs total settings management for Applications, Desktop, Browsers, Java, and Security Settings, and ensures your IT settings on your desktops, laptops and VDI sessions. PolicyPak works alongside your on-premises systems like Group Policy and SCCM or alongside your MDM service like Intune or Airwatch and FSLogix Profile Containers as Native Profile solution.

PolicyPak manages applications like Firefox, Chrome and IE, removing Local Admin Rights, mapping websites to specific Browsers and versions of Java, and managing the Windows 10 Start Screen settings.

The top 10 most enhanced features of PolicyPak allow you to:

  1. Manage nearly any application with PolicyPak Design Studio
  2. Manage application settings
  3. Keep Crypto/Ransomware viruses out with easily
  4. Manage every internet browser completely
  5. Deliver settings dynamically to all systems
  6. Deliver settings to real and virtualized applications
  7. Ensure settings get delivered or removed correctly
  8. Change settings based upon advanced conditions
  9. Perform UI lockdown to most applications
  10. Set up default browsers and open websites in the right browser

We previously released some cool videos on how FSLogix AppMasking works with PolicyPak as well – you can use them as addon for this article

Learn How to implement PolicyPak and FSLogix Profile Containers in our technical FAQ section

Topics: XenDesktop, VHD, Citrix XenApp, FSLogix Profile Container, PolicyPak

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