This is the 5th part of the blog series about User Environment Management within Azure RemoteApp. In the first 2 blogposts which you can find here and here I discussed the use of Microsoft User Experience Virtualization in combination with Azure RemoteApp. In the 3rd part I explained why you should disable the User Profile Disk when using another solution for User Environment Virtualization. In the 4th blogpost I showed how AppSense can be used in combination with Azure RemoteApp. This post will describe the use of RES ONE Workspace in combination with Azure RemoteApp. A couple of months ago RES contacted me about writing this last part of the series. They give me access to their Azure RemoteApp environment where they had implemented RES ONE Workspace.
Let’s start with explaining what RES ONE Workspace is and what ONE Workspace will add to Azure RemoteApp. RES ONE Workspace is a solution which gives users a more personal experience on Remote Desktop environments while giving the IT the control to centrally manage the environment. Some key functionalities of One Workplace are:
- Advanced User Profile Management; RES ONE Workspace provides a solution to virtualize the user profile from the operating system. With RES ONE Workspace user settings (OS + Application) will be virtualized and saved on a file share location.
- Context awareness; With context awareness the IT Admin can adapts the user’s workspace based on real-time conditions such as location, time, device, identity and networking. This helps the IT admin to deliver the ‘personal’ workspace.
- Adaptive Security; With Adaptive Security RES ONE Workspace can be used to better protect organizations from threats and vulnerabilities by configuring restrictions to apps, data, network, websites and removable storage. This can be done cased on granular context rules.
- Analysis and Compliance; With RES ONE Workspace you can track usage of applications and also keep track of license usages. You can also track attempts on accessing sensitive data and apps
- Reverse Seamless; With Reverse Seamless you can run local applications from your remote session through the RES Virtual Desktop Extender.
- Automation; With RES ONE workspace you can do some lightweight automation on the different types of desktops.
Now it’s clear what RES ONE workspace can provide in terms of functionality, let’s look into the integration between RES ONE Workspace and Azure RemoteApp. The Server Components of RES ONE Workspace can be installed on Azure and the database can be hosted on Azure SQL databases. The virtualized User Profile settings are saved on a user share. This fileserver can be hosted locally or hosted in Azure IaaS. This must be a fileserver hosted in Azure IaaS. At this moment it’s not possible to use the Azure File Storage solution for this. The reason behind this is that Azure File Storage does not support NTFS permissions at this moment. The infrastructure is different comparing to UE-V and AppSense. Looking to UE-V RES ONE Workspace do have much more capabilities that UE-V. When Comparing to AppSense the feature set of the most important functionalities is almost equal but there is a difference between the way the User settings are saved. AppSense uses a SQL database for saving the settings and RES ONE workspace uses file share for this.
Since the environment of RES ONE Workspace is provided by RES the installation and configuration of the RES ONE Workspace is not covered in this blogpost. In the earlier blogposts of UE-V and AppSense I primarily focused on user settings virtualization. So let’s first focus on this one.
- Start the RES ONE Workspace Console
Go to Composition -> User Settings and check of Track User Settings is enabled:
In the environment of RES we have Paint.Net as test application, in the application capturing settings is also configured.
So let’s start Paint.NET and let’s see the standard settings of this application:
- The next step is to personalize the application to my own needs and close the application.
Now let’s check if the settings are saved inside in RES ONE Workspace on my homedrive:
As you can see in the above screenshot my new settings are saved. When I start the application I get my personalized application.
With RES ONE Workspace the user can easily revert back to previous settings by opening the ROW Workspace Preferences.
In this tool the user can go to Other and Restore to restore his application settings:
For this application 5 restore points and the default configuration are available:
- When clicking on one of the configurations and then on restore will restore the settings to that configuration.
This short blogpost showed that RES ONE Workspace can virtualize the user settings. One important difference between RES and UE-V/AppSense is that with RES ONE Workspace you don’t have to disable the User Profile Disk concept. You can if you want but it’s not a requirement. RES ONE Workspace is aware of the User Profile Disk mechanism and this will not end in conflicts.
In the next blogpost I want to focus on the other functionalities of RES ONE Workspace in Azure RemoteApp.