VDI Application Layering

Unidesk is the easiest and most complete way to package applications once and deliver them everywhere in VDI.


"Our first attempt at VMware View stalled. Too many apps wouldn’t virtualize. With Unidesk, we’re layering printers, Office, QuickBooks, Adobe Creative Suite, Dymo LabelWriter, Odyssey court software, you name it. We’re now over 400 virtual desktops and counting on 1 gold image. Unidesk makes VDI stupid easy."

Chris Mertens, Director of IT, Hamilton County Government, IN

See Unidesk in Action

See Unidesk in Action. Request a Unidesk demo or trial.

How is Unidesk Application Layering Different?

Quick and Easy

Other application delivery solutions require hours, even days, of packaging, scripting, and pre/post-processing time and expertise. Unidesk layering is as easy as installing an app on your home PC. We give you a VM. You run setup, name the layer, and start assigning it to desktops. Your Tier 1 IT staff just became app packaging experts.


No App Left Behind

There’s no long list of apps that cannot be packaged with Unidesk. Our next-generation file system and registry virtualization technology starts running at the millisecond Windows boots, so it can package drivers, Boot 0 apps, apps with global DLL hooks, custom apps, apps that hard-code to C: drive, and anything else you can throw at us.


Native Install Interoperability

Every Unidesk layered app behaves as if it was locally installed. Windows and other apps aren’t even aware that the app is actually a read-only, shared VMDK, layered into a C: hard drive. All files, data, and registry settings are stored in the usual places, and can be seen by native Windows tools. Apps and plug-ins cross-communicate and share data, just like they’re supposed to.


Agentless and Failure-Proof

Unlike traditional desktop management solutions that use an agent to install an application 20 times to deploy it to 20 VMs, Unidesk requires only one install. Once an app is packaged as a Unidesk layer, the same shared VMDK is accessed by all 20 VMs. This “package once, deploy to any number of desktops” innovation leverages virtualization to eliminate the install failures and help desk escalations common with legacy agent-based tools.


"We can layer anything - Blackboard Transact, printer drivers, Adobe Reader, Peachtree accounting, SAS, SPSS, Visual C++. They all took minutes, and they all just work. That's the beauty of Unidesk, and where we see so much time savings."

Shane Milam, Executive Director
Technology Infrastructure Services, Mercer University


Modular App Delivery

You shouldn’t be forced to put apps into your Gold Image or combine them with other apps. Unidesk lets you package any app as its own layer and add layers to desktops in any combination to meet your users’ needs.

More Application Layering Features

  • Simple packaging. Access a prepped and ready VM, then simply install your app. Click "Finalize" and your layer is stored as a read-only VMDK. Give it a pretty icon and it's ready to be shared by any number of desktop VMs.
  • Prerequisite apps. Before layering any plug-in or app, choose the prerequisite apps that your new layer needs to run. Unidesk builds the VM with the prerequisites already installed, so all you have to do is install the plug-in or dependent app.
  • Wizard-based assignment. Assign any combination of app layers to any number of desktops with the Edit Desktop wizard. The wizard shows you what the desktop will look like as app layers are added or removed.
  • Layer filters. Filter desktops based on app layer assignments for licensing compliance, audits, and analytics.
  • Patch and version management. Track every change to your applications with layer versioning. Access a clean VM with just your current app layer on it. Install any patches and updates, add a descriptive label, and assign the new layer version to any number of desktops.
  • Rollback. Assign an earlier app layer version to desktops to “undo” patching problems.
  • Space efficiency. Store application layers once as a shared VMDK to reduce storage, instead of storing the app once for every VM.