Posts tagged: Integration

That’s the way RES rolls!

From the sideline comments dept. Just before xmas Brian shares his view on what’s important for vendors in relation to Desktop Virtualization. I’m not going to recap his article in total, you can read it here. What I wanted to comment on specifically, is that it’s really nice to have been working with a vendor for 11+ years now, who all along has been doing what the good Dr. Madden orders today! :-) While we originally back in the late ’90s started out being a product only for Terminal Services/Citrix environments, RES products were kept in tune with the times and trends to embrace all windows platforms: Workstations, Laptops and Server Based Computing – what I referred to as tri-platform support back in the day.

With the emergence of virtualization, first on hardware, then later on applications, it was  possible for RES to add 3 more innovative dimensions to that picture:

  1. Early VDI Workspace support: RES Software actually didn’t have to change much, if anything in the Workspace Manager (back in the day known as PowerFuse) to support VDI. As the Workspace Composer runs inside the user’s session, seen from a technical perspective of the product, it’s running on a workstation OS, which just happens to be accessed as a terminal server through RDP, HDX or whatever. In other words, all the goodness which Workspace Manager offered already for Laptops, Physical workstations and Terminal servers, was available for VDI from day one.
  2. First App-V integration: RES was TRUTHFULLY, THE VERY FIRST VENDOR who worked proactively with the Grand-Daddy of all application virtualization technologies, SoftGrid by Softricity – now known as App-V by Microsoft. Since then, we’ve adapted to support pretty much every major App Virtualization platform out there. Application virtualization is an important piece of VDI as it will allow you to have more apps to co-exist in the same image. Using the workspace manager to differentiate access to these apps, you can litterally cut down your VDI configuration to one golden image per operating system. Look out for an article on this topic later.
  3. First Reverse Seamless provider: Back in the day, RES had this little – relatively un-noticed – sidecar utility to the Workspace Manager, known as the RES Subscriber aka Workspace Extender. These were the first implementations of Reverse Seamless Windows. Few people saw the potential early on, but I’d like to highlight a specific video, made by my former colleague Rick Eilenberger, that demonstrates what it was able to do already then in 2007. It was known as the RES Subscriber. The technology later licensed by Citrix, evolved to a stand-alone product, known as VDX. For more information on VDX, go read here.

The only thing we’ve left alone in regards to virtualization, is so called ‘User Virtualization’. This is some sort of horn which the Usual Suspects likes to blow (and do I mean blow… ;-) To my experience, the concept of virtualizing the user makes no sense at all. The user is the only real “object” in the entire getup anyway. Sure, hardware is quite real too, however unlike the behavior of users, it’s behavior is way more predictable, hence virtualizing it is relatively easy in comparison. This is one of the reasons why I believe the idea of redirecting the profile to a database is a flawed concept to begin with. You want as fast and reliable access to your settings to your settings as well as your documents to cater for the user’s sometimes erratic behavior. This is why the RES Workspace Manager was built with purpose to store User Settings in the same manner as User Data is stored; in a location which is unique and readily accessible to the user.

With the ever-growing adaptation of Cloud Computing into the Enterprise space, the profile game is a-changing. Boatloads of other pundits have been describing in vivid detail how users will demand access to their settings virtually anywhere. One way of dealing with this is to provide ACCESS from anywhere to a centralized solution. Citrix have been doing this for well over 20 years. Thing can however quickly become harrowing if changes the user makes should follow them between different infrastructures (different server farms, operating systems or even different laptops). This is where an intelligent and granular approach to handling user settings is required. If you are contemplating storing your settings only in a standard SQL database – or on a fileserver for that matter you are asking for trouble, or at the very least unnecessary complexity. I’ve discussed this previously in this article.

Anyway, while the usual suspects are duking it out on the commentary section over on BM, RES Software is ready to take on the new year. Stay tuned to this blog for even more tidbits and useful info in 2012! Happy new year everybody.

Integrating VDX and Quest vWorkspace

From the RES Community Hero dept. A new blog, VDI Rants and Raves has seen the light of day. One of the first articles directly addresses how you can combine RES Software’s Virtual Desktop Extender (aka VDX) with Quest’s vWorkspace. For obvious reason I’d like to have seen an integration with RES Workspace Manager, but on the other hand where would the fun be in that? :-) There is no challenge in that as WM+VDX works nicely out of the box.

As I commented on the new article itself, it’s really cool to see folks out there tweaking our stuff in ways we’ve yet to imagine, even if it’s working in collaboration with competing products. I’m hoping we’ll see more articles from this yet unknown author related to our technology. In the meantime, I’ve added this blog to the Places We Like list on RESguru. Keep up the great work, good sir!

Go here to read the full article

Which feature is in what product?

Note: This article is obsolete per Febuary 14th 2011, with the release of Workspace Manager 2011, where the product flavors have changed. Please refer to a newer article (which hasn’t been written yet, or look at the corp. website)

One of the most often asked questions we still get asked in the field after 2 years of PowerFuse 2008 is this one: “So is feature X in product Y?” Nothing wrong with that. RES decided for the 2008 series to break up the PowerFuse product in different flavors, where the main differentiators are: max. number of supported concurrent users, featureset and of course the cost. Since we’re mostly into the technical stuff here on the ‘Guru, let’s stick to the features, shall we? :-) PowerFuse 2008 comes in 4 flavors at the moment. There is currently no indication that this mix will change for 2010, although it’s not known yet how the new features in 2010 will be divided among the variants.

  • PowerFuse Express. This is a free version of the software, limited at 100 CCU’s and about 20% of the featureset (hey, you get what you pay for :-) This version will essentially help you get started with getting rid of your existing login scripts.
  • PowerFuse MyWorkSpace edition. MWS was developed to address certain needs in overseas markets. MWS edition does not have the Security (appguard etc), Reliability (cpushield and so on), Integration (Citrix, Wisdom, etc) subsystems available, but the pricing is very affordable.
  • PowerFuse Standard edition. Standard is very similar to MWS, except that we throw in a few more features. AppGuard and Removable Disk security within the security subsystem. Second it contains CPUshield and Instant Logoff in reliability. Filters and instant reports are also enabled. Finally it includes all integration options except Citrix integration.
  • PowerFuse Enterprise edition. This is the Grand Enchilada with everything including the kitchensink, blender and matching steak knives :) Enterprise gives you the full range of User Workspace Management power at your fingertips in one easy to manage console.
  • Platinum Edition. Yeah, so Citrix invented the idea of lobbing everything into one license and we are graciously following suit :) Platinum is not really a product, but it’s a bundeling offer which is currently includes both PowerFuse Enterprise edition and RES Wisdom. For more information about this and pricing informatiom, contact your local RES folks.

In order to help you get a better overview of what feature is in which PowerFuse edition, I’ve dug out a comparison chart out of the corp website. It shows a breakdown of what features are in there, what the benefits are and a checbox field for all 4 editions:

Click here to download the chart:

If you are new to the RES multiverse, perhaps comming from the SCCM side of things, it can sometimes be a bit confusing to figure out if a certain desired functionality is to be found in Wisdom or in PowerFuse. To help you find your way quicker, here’s a set of rule-of-thumbs for you:

  • If the functionality you want has to do with the computer itself, it’s Wisdom you want.  Examples of this is rebooting, installing software, printerdrivers, modifying the contens of the system drives, setting HKLM registry settings
  • If it has to do with anything within the users session, such as exposing shortcuts to installed software, mapping to printerqueues, modifying the contens of the profile or homedirectory, or setting HKCU registrysettings – then it’s PowerFuse you want to be looking at.

Where things may become a bit iffy for some, is when they discover Wisdom’s ability to provision users, and most go; “Hey, but that’s something to do with the user, why is it in Wisdom then? There is actually a perfectly good explanation for this. Creating a user is something which needs to be done on a Domain Controller, i.e. it’s not something happening within the user’s session. Basically adding a user to AD is essentially just adding a record to some database, a task which RES Wisdom is also perfectly capable of.

Second, PowerFuse has the capability to fire off a Wisdom job, based on user actions or simply event driven (logon, application launch, etc). This is actually an extremely cool feature which enables you to realize install-on-demand scenarios, as the logged in user does not have to be a local admin! Bear in mind however, that PowerFuse is not about application virtualization like App-V. The concept of PowerFuse+Wisdom integration may seem to somewhat blur the line in terms of which RES product does what. It is however quite simple when you look at it top-down: PowerFuse sits with the user in the session “layer”. PowerFuse knows how to talk to Wisdom below, which on-demand then executes machine tasks on behalf of the user in the “os” layer beneath.

To sum things up, the key difference is that Wisdom doesn’t care if the user is logged on or not, even if the target computer is turned on – as we support WOL. PowerFuse on the other hand, springs to life the moment the user initiates a session and stays with him and manages the environment until session end.

Integrating InstallFree with PowerFuse

Animated, Gears, boxHere’s something really useful. Sylvester de Koster over at CDG,  did some crunch time together with the nice folks over at RES to find a way to integrate PowerFuse with InstallFree, which is an application virtualzation technology vendor. Until now it’s been somewhat difficult to get stuff to run inside the virtual bubble of this platform. Together these  awesome guys managed to figure out how to integrate Installfree’s Full Bridge with PowerFuse! What follows is the no-frills how-to.  Later we will perhaps make a nice article with screenshots and everything. For now her is just  the raw info – Just as you like it! :)

Click here to read the full article

Creating a Streamed Citrix Application in PowerFuse

Animated, Gears, boxHere’s a fine article submitted to by a nice fellow at Intercept IT in the UK. The technote describes in detail how to integrate applications from a Citrix Streaming Server into the RES PowerFuse environment, using the Generic Isolation Integration feature of the product. Great work dude – The RES Community salutes you!

Click here to download the technote: Icon, PDF file