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Open Virtualization Blog


Management of user profiles in VDI environments

Posted by UDS Enterprise Team |

A few weeks ago we talked about Hace unas semanas tratamos en nuestro blog la issues in the management of user profiles in VDI environments. Today we are going to discuss the most appropiate solutions.

One solution is the use of mobile profiles. These profiles are defined through the Active Directory group policy, storing the user data in a shared resource. The mobile profile will allow the user data to become available from any Windows device: a physical desktop, virtual desktop or a Terminal Services user session. This data is loaded at the start of a session and the changes made to the profile during the session are saved upon closing it. In the case of non-persistent desktops, the use of mobile profiles is clear, since the user is assigned a new desktop in the infrastructure with each session start-up, loading the mobile profile stored in a network resource during the start-up process.

The main problem with using mobile profiles arises when a large amount of data is stored in the profile. When a session is started in Windows, the complete user profile is downloaded during the process. The more information stored in said profile, the longer the start-up process will take in a proportional amount of time. The same thing happens during the shut down process, as the data has to be restored in the mobile profile.

In addition to the assignment of mobile profiles, another alternative practice for managing user profiles is to assign each non-persistent virtual desktop with a persistent hard drive that stores the user data. This hard drive is connected to the virtual desktop when the system assigns the desktop to the user. In this case, the difficulty arises when you have to back up the data stored on these hard drives, since many of the current backup solutions are not compatible with these types of hard drives.

Lastly, current VDI solutions propose different types of management and administration of user profiles. These types of VDI solutions result in the drawback that they have a very close integration with Windows’ Active Directory, making it impossible to operate with other authentication systems. The most ideal and simple solution for implementation is one that makes use of the advantages from Windows’ mobile profiles, storing application data and desktop configuration there and at the same time storing the documents and user data in shared resources.

This solution has practically become a standard, since it uses the Windows user profiles management system, improved in the 2012 version, and uses shared resources to store the user data and documents. With the use of virtual desktops based on templates, the storage of user data in shared network resources and the isolation of the virtual desktop user profiles, administration and management of the user station platform and the establishment and application of user station backup policies are greatly simplified.


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