Citrix App Layering (Unidesk) – When it Works & When it May Not Work for You.

Citrix released Citrix App Layering last week. The Citrix solution layers applications, and optionally the OS, to Citrix desktops and XenApp servers. We’d encourage every Citrix customer that has access to the solution to try it, after all most features are included in the Citrix stack while some advanced features are reserved for Citrix Platinum customers. Ever since the recent introduction of Citrix AppDisk, Citrix customers seemed to have longed for something more capable so it’s good news to customers now that they have another method of layering in their stack to try in the form of Citrix App Layering. When layering works correctly the image management and application delivery benefits of layering can be tremendous.

We recently stood Citrix App Layering up in our labs and found that not a lot has changed since it was sold under the Unidesk name. Citrix App Layering offers two methods for layering applications, one that delivers applications with the OS (formerly known as Unidesk Core), another which sometimes offers the ability to deliver the application as a VHD layer to an existing image – known as an “Elastic Layer.”  Per the management console, not every application is ideal to be delivered as an Elastic layer and you may be warned that applications may not work as an Elastic layer – this was our experience with NotePad++ with Citrix App Layering. You must first go through a rather lengthy packaging process that is the same for both delivery types, only then will you be told whether or not the application is apt to work as an elastic layer (see first video link below).

Just like when VMware released App Volumes, we encourage every Citrix customer to try their new App Layering that may be included in your current license. We’d also like to kindly remind you that when you run into areas where Citrix App Layering does not work for you, we’d encourage you to compare Citrix App Layering to the Citrix Ready Verified solution from us – Liquidware Labs FlexApp. Here are some of the reasons you’ll want to compare the two. If….

  • You may need a faster packaging process. FlexApp is about 10 times faster to package applications. See first video link below.
  • You need a streamlined way to update packaged applications. FlexApp is also about 10 times faster to update applications.
  • You need a solution that works with PVS and MCS seamlessly without the complexities of layering the OS. FlexApp layers are truly flexible and independent, Liquidware was the first with “elastic-like” layering. There is no need to change the way you manage your base images with FlexApp.
  • You need a solution that allows you to go to the Cloud at your own pace, with a management console that can be on-premises or in the cloud. FlexApp has you covered.
  • You need a solution that allows you to truly package once, independent of the OS or Hypervisor version. FlexApp allows you to package once and then most apps will work across Windows 7, 10, Server 2012, and Server 2016.
  • You need a solution that is not tied to your desktop/broker licenses and will work across any connected Windows desktop. FlexApp has you covered.
  • You need a solution that keeps storage to a minimum. FlexApp layers are about 90% smaller (without compression).
  • You need to be able to entitle your layered applications to users quickly. FlexApp entitlement takes less than 2 minutes! Contrast that with a 22 minute process for the same app. See second video link below.
  • You need a solution that has integrated but optional User Environment Management (ProfileUnity) options including entitlement based on context aware groups beyond Microsoft AD.
  • You need a integrated Layering and UEM solution like ProfileUnity that has optional built in Application Rights Management and Privilege Elevation.
  • You don’t want to couple your app layering to OS layering for complex applications such as those with drivers and services. FlexApp is capable of delivering apps with drivers and services while remaining independent of specific OS and hypervisor based images/layers.

Options are Good!
Citrix customers benefit when there are clear options. Options in the market keep Liquidware Labs, Citrix, and VMware on their toes and customers benefit with continued improvement in features and design. That’s why the Citrix Ready program is so great. If you need alternative solutions like monitoring, UEM, application delivery, printer management, etc., there are many Citrix Ready partners to choose from that can meet your organization’s needs while remaining in the Citrix ecosystem.

FlexApp will continue to Push the Envelope
In addition to these advantages we have a new release with even more features for any well connected Windows desktop and we’ll also offer enhanced support for XenApp around the corner in FlexApp v6.7. Be on the lookout for that about the time of Citrix Synergy next month.

You might say that you don’t have time to compare the two? Don’t worry, we’ve done the hard work for you with the following two videos.
1) Watch this video of Citrix App Layering/Unidesk compared directly to Liquidware Labs FlexApp when packaging a simple app like Notepad++.

2) Watch this video comparing the process of entitling an application to a group of users.

These videos detail the differences that I have outlined above.

Summary
We encourage you to try Citrix App Layering but just like any of the included Citrix tools, keep your options open and know there are clear Citrix Ready alternatives in the market if it does not work for your organization’s needs. If you are not already a FlexApp customer, you can download and try the solution here. See you at Citrix Synergy in May!

Putting User Experience at the Center of the Workspace

In the past, I’ve covered topics such as Breaking Down Silos and Changing Your Point of View and Outside In versus Inside Out. In these and other posts, the theme has been about putting the user first. Regardless of where you might be in the user lifecycle: performing activities such as assessing, designing, migrating or methodologyvalidating a proof of concept or pilot; or operationally, looking at ongoing monitoring, diagnostics and troubleshooting; or perhaps you’re checking the health or optimizing your platform or infrastructure… In all cases the message and concept is simple: Put the user at the center of workspace delivery and management.

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Don’t Migrate to Windows 10 without Reading This…

After the release of Windows 10 Anniversary update last August, Windows is now solid and we fully recommend your organization giving it a serious look. If you are not already moving users, you should start planning your move right away. But are you ready?

Here are four key questions your organization needs to consider before migrating your users to Windows 10.

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Head in the Clouds? DaaS and User Experience with Stratusphere UX

The move to virtual desktops, whether full on-premises VDI or a managed desktop as a service (DaaS) in the cloud, can be wrought with hidden challenges. Some of these challenges are technical, and some political; however, the result is the same: disruption, not meeting user expectations and greater risk to user productivity. These challenges or head-in-the-cloudsvisibility gaps are amplified in larger environments as there are more fingers in the pie, often combined with distributed technical responsibilities.

Ultimately, the question you should be asking yourself is who owns accountability to the user experience. If delivered properly, the desktop or workspace should appear to be a consistent and familiar experience—regardless of whether it is delivered atop physical PCs, virtualized locally or delivered as a service in the cloud. But who gets the light shined on them when things go astray? Is it the desktop team? Perhaps the infrastructure folks who own the storage, servers and network are to blame? And in the case of DaaS, this demarcation becomes a lot more imprecise.

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FlexApp Layering = Enterprise Optimization Revolution

I was presenting to our sales teams at the Liquidware Sales kick off recently and was fascinated by the following response I received.

“Why wouldn’t you leverage FlexApp in your environment? At this point enterprises have virtualized infrastructure, desktops, networks, and storage but still continue to install applications natively.”

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Citrix Buys Unidesk – What Customers & Partners Need to Know…

Citrix announced today that they’ve acquired Unidesk for layering. Full disclosure: we’re a leading Citrix Ready partner and a former competitor of Unidesk, with our FlexApp layering solution. I’d like to share Liquidware Labs’ perspective. Citrix briefed Liquidware Labs last week and we thank them for the official confirmation of the rumor that has been around the last couple of months. I asked firsthand how it will be available and those details are below.

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Migration, Migration, Migration ……

To migrate, or not to migrate, that is the question?

migrate-3Will migrations ever end?  It wasn’t that long ago that we were all hurtling headlong towards April 8, 2014 – the date when Microsoft ended the extended support of the Windows XP operating system.

Some of us made it in time, while others didn’t, and the rest just took the decision to carry on anyway and accepted the risks involved. There were even a few that decided to pay out extortionate amounts of money required for Microsoft to continue supporting them until they had completed their migration.

Move the clock forward to today; here you are now having successfully completed your migration, and for those that moved to Windows 7, or were deploying new machines that came pre-built, you are happily running on Windows 7 with an end of extended support date until January 14, 2020, which is way off into the future. Migration is probably one of the last things on your project list, right? Well maybe not if you are looking to deploy the latest Intel-based client devices.

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10 FACTS -FlexApp Competitors Don’t Want You to Know!

10factsFlexApp is a leading Windows application layering solution for Citrix, VMware, Amazon WorkSpaces, and well-connected physical environments. Other competitors in this market include Unidesk and App Volumes from VMware. Citrix AppDisk is in this category as well, however Citrix has not treated partners that add value to their platform as competitors. Lately we have seen a printed competitive analysis battle card from one of our FlexApp competitors and it was riddled with falsehoods. To dispel the FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt), we thought we’d list 10 things that application layering vendors would rather you not know about FlexApp. Continue reading

Imprivata and Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity Deliver Efficient and Secure Sign on Solutions for Healthcare

Healthcare organizations have some of the most mobile workforces anywhere. As doctors, nurses, and technicians move from room to room, building to building, or campus to campus, they need fast, secure, and reliable workstations to log on to in order to do their jobs efficiently.

To accomplish this, many Imprivata and Liquidware Labs healthcare customers are delivering secure virtual and physical desktops with Single Sign On, robust User Environment Management, and Application Layering capabilities. I recently worked with the product management team at Imprivata to publish documentation in order to share with the world how dozens of healthcare organization are using our solutions together. Our combined solutions ensure a seamless sign-on and login experience for tens of thousands of users in production worldwide.

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What’s New in Stratusphere UX 5.8.6

What’s New in Stratusphere UX 5.8.6

On the heels of release 5.8.5, we are thrilled to share version 5.8.6 of Stratusphere UX. And while much of this release focuses on behind-the-scenes enhancements and routine virtual appliance patches, we have introduced a couple of key features I wanted to highlight. Whats-NewSpecifically, I wanted to share some detail on the newly organized and enhanced Advanced Mode Dashboards, as well as some goodness from our friends at NVIDIA.

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