Happy New Year!
Firstly, I hope everyone had a fantastic 2014 and enjoyed some time with family over the holidays. I had a very short work week, but part of that time was spent deploying Unidesk into my home lab and give this Layering thing a spin.
What is Layering?
Layering is the seperation of the PC experience into individual OS, User, and Application portions.
Conventionally, a PC is monolithic- Windows, Microsoft Word and everything the user created or downloaded is stored on the same hard disk. As time goes on and more “stuff” happens to the machine, the performance and experience degrades.
With Unidesk layering, desktops boot off of a virtual C: drive made up of independently managed layers. Desktop/IT staff creates a golden image complete with user applications, and end users are free to make any customizations they want in their user layers. Unidesk dynamically composites these layers at boot time into unified storage.
Why use a layering solution?
Ease of management: In many situations, there’s a single gold image to patch and run Windows Update on. The application layer can include bundles of applications to get most of the use cases, or individual applications for some subset of users… so a lot of flexibility here. And User data (settings, shortcuts, etc) is persistent regardless of what happens to the other layers. Unidesk also has a built-it “Undo” feature – you can revert a layer back to a prior point in time: This is awesome if you find a Windows Update causes a critical application to behave unexpectedly, or to rid a user desktop of viruses, malware or DLL conflicts.
This will be the end of this blog post- I’ll kick the tires more over the weekend and come back with some findings on Monday. The Unidesk sales people that I’ve talked to are great guys, and they say that once a potential customer gets a Proof of Concept in the door it’s not long before they’re converted to full-fledged customers. I’ve spent a great deal of time looking at user environment management in 2014, and the Unidesk approach deserves some serious consideration.