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All About The User Personality

A couple of weeks ago I broached the topic of user personality and how critical the ability to maintain the look and feel of a worker's computer would be to the success of a company's desktop virtualization initiatives. I'm picking up that topic here, with a look at another approach.

AppSense has been beating the user personality drum for years, coming out of the terminal server world and now calling its approach "user environment management." In a recent research note, Rachel Chalmers, an analyst with The 451 Group, calls the company a pioneer for its work in separating user settings and preferences from the underlying operating system and applications.

With virtual desktops, a company has to be able to deliver the corporate operating system and applications on-demand from a centralized source. AppSense throws in user environment management as a third layer -- the one that allows the other two to be managed more efficiently. This means IT can deliver not only the standard corporate desktop but also the user's personalized working environment.

What's more, the AppSense products are client-agnostic. "We lift off the user environment, manage it and deliver it back to wherever the next sessions happens to be," describes Martin Ingram, vice president of strategy for AppSense. "This is completely transparent across all platforms."

The user environment includes all the little setting tweaks and application downloads a worker might do in the course of a day. If a user changes the font size in a template and downloads Adobe Reader during one session, for example, that change and software will be part of the desktop image received thereafter -- or at least until another font change or an uninstall.

"The critical point," Ingram says, "is that users need to be able to install the applications they need and have them be maintained" from one session to the next.

AppSense and Tranxition, which I covered in the earlier blog, are among nearly a dozen pure-play user experience providers Chalmers makes note of in her briefing. Others include Atlantis Computing, SlickAccess and UniDesk. As desktop virtualization moves from paper to practice, it'll be interesting to see how these and others make their marks.

Posted by Beth Schultz on 09/29/2009 at 12:49 PM


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