This is the first in a series of three blogs by the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) team, which will cover new advancements to the suite of products available in MDOP 2012. A.J. Smith, product marketing manager for Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) kicks-off the series.
As you may have seen on the Windows for your Business blog today, Karri Alexion-Tiernan announced the general availability of MDOP 2012. As part of this she highlighted a new addition to our desktop virtualization family, Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V). We’ve been talking a bit about UE-V for the past few months but as a reminder it is delivered as part of MDOP 2012 and helps you roam your app and operating system experience between devices. In talking with IT Pros, one of the biggest things I hear is that your users want to use multiple devices and have the same look and feel across them, no matter where they use them. Well, UE-V can help solve that problem.
Before I dive into how UE-V can help you I wanted to spend a minute talking about how you might have done this in the past with Roaming User Profiles (RUP). When I started my IT career right out of university, I worked at a company that was using RUP on Windows NT 4. RUP was a great way to enable free seating so when users moved from desktop to desktop they had access to the same settings/experience they were used to – the icons on their desktop, wallpaper picture of their dog, toolbar configuration – it all followed them. But technology has changed since then. Organizations are now deploying a combination of physically installed and virtually deployed apps to users and we’re seeing people switching between laptops running Windows 7, tablets running Windows 8, session based desktops on Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012 and a VDI desktop. With these scenarios in mind, RUP may not be the ideal solution and UE-V might be a better choice.
Consistent, Personal Experience
So why might you choose UE-V? UE-V provides a consistent and personal experience that matches your users unique work style. For example, UE-V doesn’t care if an app is physically installed or virtually deployed through App-V. It uses the file name and the version number information of the app to determine if settings should be applied. Additionally, you don’t have to logout to sync the app experience. UE-V will sync when the app is opened and closed so you can use multiple machines at the same time and not worry about having to log off and on to sync your settings changes. UE-V can also roam operating system settings between versions. If your users are using a Windows 7 laptop, a Windows Server 2008 R2 or Windows Server 2012 session based desktop, and have a tablet running Windows 8, UE-V can roam the settings easily between them. The triggers UE-V uses to sync the OS experience are login, logoff, lock, unlock, and connecting and disconnecting from an RDS session.
Choice in What Roams
Another reason why UE-V might be the right solution for you is that that you can choose which apps can roam their experience. Out of the box UE-V has app templates for Office 2010, Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10, and Windows accessories like Calculator and WordPad. There are also out of box templates for Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows Server 2012. But let’s say there is only a core set of apps you want to roam settings for and the rest (like settings for the games your users installed) you don’t want to store in your datacenter. UE-V gives you the choice through the use of settings location templates to tell UE-V what applications should roam their settings.
For your other desktop apps that you want to roam the experience for, you can create a settings location template using the UE-V Generator. The Generator is a wizard based tool that walks you through selecting the app you want to create the template for, opening and closing the app, and reviewing what locations in the registry and file system that the app reads/writes settings to. Once you have the template, you deploy it to the machines that need to roam the experience for that application and you can use System Center 2012 Configuration Manager or any software distribution tool to deploy and register the template. Another option for deploying your custom templates is using a settings location template catalog. The catalog is a file share that you can point the UE-V agent to and every 24 hours it will check that location to see if any templates have been added, removed or modified. If so, the agent brings down the new templates and registers/unregisters them.
UE-V in Your Environment
I have taken you through parts of the UE-V infrastructure already but let’s dive into this a bit more and how to set UE-V in your environment. One of the coolest things about UE-V is that there is not a lot to setup – to get it up and running you need to do two things:
And that’s basically it! At this point you can roam the experience for Windows 7, Windows 8, Office 2010, IE and the other apps that we support right out of the box. If you want to manage UE-V a bit more and roam the experience for other apps you can optionally also do these things:
For more details on how to set up UE-V check out this video and read the UE-V deployment white paper. <A href="http://technet.microsoft.com/windows/jj568979?ocid=wc-bl-sprblog&videoId=0181f176-0bbc-45c9-8b72-806561839286&from=shareembed-syndication&src=v5:embed:syndication:&from=mpl_en-us_en-us-office-" target="_new" title="UE-V Deployment and Setup">Video: UE-V Deployment and Setup</A>
Ready to learn more about UE-V? First, make sure to check out the check out the UE-V Zone on TechNet, which has other videos and content to help you get started. Also, if you want to use UE-V in a lab, you can download it from TechNet Plus and MSDN Plus if you’re a paid subscriber, and if you already own MDOP, then head over to the Volume Licensing Service Center to download the 2012 version.
As always please leave any questions in the comment section below and check back next week when Skand Mittal will share with you what is new with App-V 5.0.