Persistent Personalization

You shouldn’t have to compromise the user experience to make virtual desktops easier to manage and more economical.

"Our users are architects and engineers who need one-off apps and plug-ins. Unidesk persistent desktops preserve customizations without adding IT overhead or consuming all our storage. Layering is amazing. It really brought everything together for us. With Unidesk as our management platform, our Tier 1 folks now handle VDI day-to-day and we’ve been able to scale VMware Horizon View as originally planned."

Matt Dierolf, Manager, Network Systems, STV, Inc.

See Unidesk in Action

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Our Personalization Philosophy Is Simple

Keep Everything

Unidesk retains all user customizations, including settings that live inside a profile, as well as documents, plug-ins, and applications that live in the Windows file system and registry. When you create a persistent desktop with Unidesk and assign it to a user, all changed settings are naturally captured in the user’s local profile. All data and user-installed applications are automatically written to the desktop’s Personalization layer, which is stored as a VMDK and associated with the VM. Change any of the underlying OS or Application layers, and the Personalization layer remains intact, merging seamlessly with the other layers through the magic of Unidesk Composite Virtualization.

Don’t Change the User Experience

End users will get confused if their desktops start acting funny. So don’t be fooled by “record and playback” approaches that try to keep user-installed apps and plug-ins by redirecting installs to a shared network drive. Many apps don’t take kindly to this approach and won’t work at all. For others, the post-boot playback process takes time, resulting in help desk calls from users wondering why nothing happens when they click the application icon. With Unidesk layering technology, your desktops will act as expected. The Personalization layer is merged with the underlying OS and Application layers before the desktop boots, so all customizations and user-installed applications are available as soon as Windows is finished booting – just like a normal desktop.

Minimize Storage

Most use cases require persistence. The only reason non-persistent desktops were ever recommended for knowledge workers and power users was that they used less storage. That’s so old news. With Unidesk, you can provision persistent and non-persistent desktops on the same tiny storage footprint. In both cases, OS and Application layers are stored once as VMDKs, and shared by many desktops. The only storage unique to each desktop is the Personalization layer, which can be as big or as small as you want.

Make Break/Fix and Recovery Easy

We all know what happens when you give users more control over their desktops. They mess things up. That’s why Unidesk offers Personalization layer snapshots. Set a backup policy, and Unidesk will automatically store a snapshot of the Personalization layer VMDK for every desktop. If an end user downloads malware, installs an application that corrupts the registry, or does anything else to break the desktop, just roll the Personalization layer back to an earlier snapshot. The desktop will be fixed without reimaging or loss of all customizations. It works great for desktop recovery, too. And it’s so easy, your tier 1 service desk staff can do it.

"We tried non-persistent desktops, but our users would lose their personalization every time we recomposed our VMware Horizon View pools. With Unidesk, I can give clinicians, staff, and in-house developers a truly persistent VM with only one Windows layer and one set of application layers to manage, and let Unidesk layering save all the space."

Richard Savage, Systems Administrator, USF Health

Personal or Easy to Fix? Yes.

Go ahead. Let your users customize their desktops. Dare them to do their worst. With Unidesk Personalization layer snapshots, your help desk can repair any damage with a rollback and reboot. Happy users. Happy IT.

More Persistent Personalization Features

  • Personalization layer. Provision a desktop as persistent, and all user customizations are stored in a writable VMDK attached to the desktop VM. All data, settings, and user-installed applications and plug-ins are captured.
  • Quota. Limit how much end users can store by assigning a maximum size to each desktop’s Personalization layer. The VMDK is thin-provisioned, so it won’t even use all the space you’ve assigned.
  • Backup policy. Specify when and how often Personalization layer snapshots are taken, and control how many snapshots are saved.
  • Repair and recovery. Assign an earlier Personalization layer snapshot to a desktop to “undo” user damage or recover lost information.
  • Profile management-compatible. Use VMware Horizon View Persona, RES, AppSense, and other profile management tools on top of Unidesk to make user settings and data available on non-VDI sessions, or to offer a more controlled, semi-persistent virtual desktop experience.
  • Space efficiency. Store OS and Application layers once as shared VMDKs to reduce storage for persistent desktops up to 80%.