Unidesk Raises Layering Bar with New Release of VDI Management Platform
At VMworld 2013 today, Unidesk announced the latest release of its virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) management software, used increasingly by Citrix XenDesktop® and VMware Horizon View™ customers to achieve deployment success. Organizations that try to implement virtual desktops with application virtualization, profile management, and image sharing tools often find that VDI is too hard to manage, or doesn’t work. Desktop layering is the new, customer-proven approach. Unidesk 2.5, which is being demonstrated this week at VMworld booth 341, proves again why Unidesk is the standard-setter in desktop layering innovation.
“We initially looked at implementing non-persistent desktops and virtualizing our applications, but it just wasn’t feasible,” said Matthew Kramer, Director of IT at Bernstein Shur, a large New England law firm that is using VMware Horizon View for VDI connectivity and Unidesk for VDI management. “We have 10-15 different plug-ins for Microsoft Outlook alone, and each one has different release cycles. It would have been far too complicated getting them to interoperate, and to juggle the different versions and one-offs that are needed by different groups. With Unidesk 2.5, we are giving all of our users persistent desktops, and layering in any application or plug-in that’s needed.”
The Industry’s Leading Desktop Layering Technology Gets Better
Unidesk is unique in its ability to layer the entire desktop – operating system, applications, and user — with one holistic solution and one simple, elegant management interface. Unidesk 2.5 provides many enhancements that further distance the industry’s only complete VDI provisioning and management platform from competitive products that only manage a single layer, or products designed for physical PC environments that are being retrofitted to VDI. All of the following new features are fully integrated with both VMware Horizon View and Citrix XenDesktop:
— Driver flexibility. Microsoft and third party drivers can now be delivered from multiple layers. VDI administrators are no longer required to maintain drivers in the OS layer, or lock them into a single layer. This further simplifies application layer creation for complicated apps that contain their own drivers. It also allows for more flexibility to push layers to groups of desktops or individual desktops.
Commented Kramer: “This added flexibility is critical. We have some apps that install low-level drivers into the OS, such as printer drivers for Adobe PDF. These drivers are now layered into the desktop and we don’t have to worry about where they are installed."
— Deeper layering granularity and conflict resolution. Layering conflicts that can result from having printer drivers, Microsoft .NET applications, and Microsoft Office add-ins in multiple layers can now be resolved with new technology that allows for merging of fusion keys and other deep Registry settings.
— User layer conflict resolution and desktop repair. New repair functions enable administrators to automatically resolve conflicts between the User layer and IT-created Application layers without wiping out any user data. The Clear option in the desktop repair wizard enables Level 1 support staff to repair desktops by resetting user Data or Configuration to its initial cleared state. Resetting Configuration only will keep all Data intact.
— More efficient power and resource management of layered desktops for computer labs and shift workers. Administrators can now manage the number of spare desktops in a floating pool or group that are kept powered on and available for use. This is especially useful in a lab or kiosk where every user doesn’t have a dedicated desktop, and administrators want to be prepared for a minimum number of simultaneous logons. Now, when pools of non-persistent desktops are created, a minimum number of desktops can be kept powered on and ready for login, and the number of spare desktops available can be tracked.
— Higher performance layer replication for distributed environments. The speed with which layers are replicated between the Unidesk central layer repository and the Unidesk virtual appliances that create and manage desktops has been greatly increased, making Unidesk even better suited for Remote Office/Branch Office VDI.
— Easier deployment of layered desktops in clusters. Unidesk now automatically load balances desktops across hosts and Unidesk virtual appliances within a cluster. Load balancing takes into account both space available on the Unidesk datastore and current desktop load on the Unidesk virtual appliances.
Customers in Many Industries Attribute Their VDI Success to Unidesk
“With Unidesk, we have one gold Windows 7 layer that is standard for all desktops, and we can very quickly choose from any of our 45 application layers. It has cut down tremendously on the labor and time required for both desktop staging and rollout. The integration between Unidesk and Citrix XenDesktop really completes the VDI picture for us, giving us best-in-class management and connectivity.”
- Dru Lesnick, Assistant Vice President of Information Systems, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance Company of Iowa
“We use Unidesk 2.5 with VMware Horizon View 5.1. The small storage footprint of each Unidesk desktop, the simplicity of application layering, and one image to manage has changed our lives. Our Unidesk Windows 7 layer is literally just Windows 7. We don’t have to create different gold images with different apps built-in, so patching and updating our Unidesk virtual desktops is a lot easier than our PCs – we just do it once.”
- Marc Pruett, Director of Information Systems, Vigo County Government, Indiana
“The problem with VDI is the number of images we would need to manage. Every department has different apps they need; we don’t have more than three instances where our departments would share an image, and there are about 12 departments. When you consider all the Windows updates we’d have to apply, and the 70 applications we have to update, we would be updating base images and rolling them out constantly. Now with Unidesk, we can have one base image and layers for all the apps and settings. Our users have the same experience — they just access their Unidesk desktop through Citrix XenDesktop like they would a regular VM.”
- Paul Kramer, Information Systems Manager, Kawasaki Motors Manufacturing USA
“It’s Patch Tuesday, and I have to deploy 17 critical Windows updates to my desktops. With Unidesk, I only have one copy of Windows to update, even with 10 different departmental desktop configurations. The whole thing takes me about 10 minutes. My users come in the next day, and all 300 desktops are patched and ready to be accessed through VMware View. Unidesk layering is the only way we could do this so easily.”
- Greg Duescher, Systems Administrator, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Pricing and Availability
Unidesk 2.5 is available immediately through a growing network of Unidesk Certified Solution Partners. Free trials can be downloaded at http://www.unidesk.com. Pricing starts at $99 per managed desktop, before volume and educational discounts.
Tweet This: Unidesk 2.5 launches at #vmworld. See the leading desktop layering solution for @vmwareview and @XenDesktop and meet #VDI customers at booth 341
About Unidesk Corporation
Unidesk provides the management platform that makes Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) work. Unidesk’s patented desktop layering software is the only effortless way for IT organizations to deliver applications, manage images, sustain user customizations, and optimize storage for Microsoft Windows® desktops virtualized with VMware vSphere®. Hundreds of Citrix XenDesktop® and VMware Horizon View™ customers use Unidesk to make VDI provisioning and management elegantly simple. Unidesk is a privately held company headquartered in Marlborough, Mass., with authorized solution partners around the world. For more information, visithttp://www.unidesk.com.