May
06

Persona Bake-Off: View Persona 5.1 vs ProfileUnity

Disclaimer: One is included and one will cost you money. List your goals for Persona Management before even looking at a product.


Ease of Administration – Winner: VMware

I would give a slight edge to View Persona for Ease of Administration but this is because of lack of other settings and filters offered. Out of the box, View Persona was one GPO that needs to get configured and you are ready to go. ProfileUnity, you have go thru a web interference that generates a ini file and then place the new ini file where your desktops will pick up the settings upon logon. Both pieces of software offered ways to view the overall configuration.

Integration (Infrastructure required) – Winner: ProfileUnity

Both solutions require little infrastructure to use the product. View Persona installs the software via the VMware View agent and you need to configure a Group Policy for it to run.

ProfileUnity needs a file share to store the executable and configuration files and a small appliance to create the configuration files. Once the Group Policy is applied to the target desktops, a small program is copied to the machine and the program exe is added to the userint in the registry – HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon

I think where ProfileUnity wins is if you’re going to be migrating users from XP to Win7. The overall setup doesn’t require any additional work other than connecting the appropriate Group Polices to where the physical desktops are residing in Active Directory. View Persona can migrate profiles from XP to Win7 but you have to build your own scripts and install the appropriate standalone Persona software. To keep your migration in a consistent matter you also have to build your own XML based template. With no GUI this could be a real pain in the backside for a lot of customers. It also make the process very maintainable.

Granular control (choose what settings are included/exclude from profile) –
Winner:
ProfileUnity

Both can exclude files but only ProfieUnity can include\exclude registry keys. If you use ProfileUnity, lots of setting like Office Options, Printers (not the drivers), IE settings and ini files and so can be managed with filters. Some of the options with filters include:

– View Client Name

– IP address

– Computer Name

– User

– Logon server

Lots of the settings pervious mentioned could be managed with Group Policy preferences in windows without the use of filters.

ThinApp Management – Winner:ProfileUnity

ProfileUnity can deploy ThinApp packages and can also inventory the applications. View Persona offers no options. To deploy applications with a pure VMware View Solution you would have to use the Settings from the Admin Console on the View brokers. If the future state is to deploy packages with Horizon Application Manager then I would argue it doesn’t really matter and we should go with VMware View Persona.

Advanced Functionality – Winner:ProfileUnity

Migration of XP to Windows 7 was mentioned under Integration but I would like to add some additional points. The View solution is a onetime deal. You convert the profile and then you can start using it for Widnows 7. If the users decides to do work where their XP profile, any new files/changes will be lost unless we do the necessary scripting or make use of redirection. Redirection will only work for users in the same site at the datacentre, this is because if the network speeds are slow the whole desktop will grind to a halt.

ProfileUnity also offers throttling as the profiles are being converted/copied to the profile repository. Based on the desktop type XP or Win7 different files can be excluded with GUI Liquidware provides, with View Persona you have to build your own XML file.

ProfileUnity also offers FlexApp that helps to deal with user installed apps. The user does need admin rights for it to run and you also have to redirect the App Data folder. While the feature will help tackle some hard use cases it won’t represent the vast majority of apps that will be ThinApped.

Summary

ProfileUnity is great but you need someone to really understand the windows desktop to take advantage. The migration and saleability are proven as it’s been on the market for awhile for user migrations. Its compression and decompression for floating pools will help to speed up log on times, using a persistent disk offers no benefits. View Persona doesn’t have Admin policies or is context aware.

View Persona offers a Keep It Simple Stupid method. The View Persona is really roaming profile acceleration. With a Persistent disk model, View Persona has great value as it can cache the profile for fast login times. It also only downloads to the virtual desktop what it needs so floating pool logons times are also fast. I think View Persona will meet 70% of the uses cases out in the wild today.

If you don’t a lot of the features of ProfileUnity so I would argue that we should go with included free View Persona. Also I would bet some further Persona, Octopus, Horizon App Manager must be coming. Switching between them will be a painful event down the road but would argue it would be easier going from View Persona to ProfileUnity than the reverse.

Whatever you pick, train the helpdesk where they can search for files and address quick problems for your end users.

Comments

  1. Dwayne,

    This was a wonderful resource to wake up to this morning! You present a really good summary with fair reporting of findings. I’d like to chime in with a few other compelling reasons why other enterprises choose to upgrade to ProfileUnity.

    VMware ThinApp Entitlement and Inventory- Deployment of network side packages as well as caching of ThinApp packages as an option. This is great for offline use cases and keeping packages automatically up to date. We’re also fully compatible with Microsoft App-V and other software virtualization for portability of app settings.

    FlexApp Technology Feature Set- Users can install their own applications in non-persistent VDI environments with FlexApp. The solution virtualizes the location of the installation of applications, they are snapped back into the Windows session quickly at logon. This will ship this month (May 2012) and almost 100 enterprises have BETA tested the solution,

    And lastly I’d like to mention something that you also touch upon…the desire for an enterprise solution that accomplishes all of the above without vendor lock-in. Because both VMware Persona Management and ProfileUnity keep user profile data in native format, switching back and forth or even to another vendor’s persona management is easy. There are no SQL Servers nor IIS servers to scale to. Dwayne you know first-hand how we scale with ease for enterprise organizations like yours! Thanks again for such a thorough review.

    Jason E. Smith – Director of User Virtualization Worldwide at Liquidware Labs

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