White Paper – How To Implement User Profiles Using AppSense Environment Manager
The following white paper offers an example of how AppSense Environment Manager can be used to manage profiles effectively within a Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Terminal Services environment. In this example we will assume the organization has configured a Windows Server 2003 Active Directory domain.
On computers running Microsoft Windows Operating Systems, user profiles automatically create and maintain the desktop settings for each users’ work environment on the local computer.
Administrators can elect to make use of the local user profile that is created the first time a user logs on to a computer and is stored on the computer’s local hard disk. Any changes made to the local user profile other computer that user logs on to.
This personalization can be extended to the wider enterprise by making use of a roaming profile where the profile is stored centrally on a file server, and copied to the workstation at logon and then back out to the file server at logoff. The advantage of this is that user settings follow the user to any computer they have the ability to log on to and hence, the user always has a consistent desktop.
However, roaming profiles can easily grow in size to be 100s of MBs in size, which in itself presents several issues to the enterprise including huge performance degradation and heavy network utilization.
If an organization delivers application content via a Terminal Server environment then these issues can be compounded further due to differing servers delivering different types of applications. This can cause simultaneous attempts to write profile settings out to the file server leading to potential contention in file overwriting, with a worst case scenario being roaming profiles becoming corrupt.
Another type of profile available for administrators to deploy is a mandatory profile. A mandatory profile is a profile that is configured so that the user cannot save any changes made to the settings contained in the profile at logoff — in essence, a read-only roaming profile.
Mandatory profiles are fast to load, easy to manage and cannot be corrupted. However, the major disadvantage is that no personal user settings are retained at logoff and hence user specific changes to their desktop environment are not preserved between sessions.