If you have worked with digital workspaces for any length of time, the issue of image and application management has come up. Unidesk is well-known for simplifying application packaging and image management for digital workspaces delivered by Citrix XenApp/XenDesktop, VMware Horizon, Microsoft VDI, Azure IaaS/RDS, etc. We’re winning awards for our ability to capture any Windows desktop app as a virtual disk “layer” and deliver it to users without installation, giving them just the apps they need, when they need them.
But one thing we haven’t talked a lot about - until now - is that these app layers are now portable. That’s right: package an app once as a Unidesk layer, and the same layer can be delivered to any hypervisor on-premises or even to the Azure cloud without re-packaging. Think about it – you can now manage once across multiple platforms. Or migrate your Windows workspaces from one hypervisor to another in minutes. Or, if your own datacenter goes down, have users back up and running with all of their apps and personalization delivered from the cloud with a few clicks.
Business agility. Platform flexibility. Application mobility. Cost-effective Disaster Recovery that you only pay for when you really need it. All are now possible with Unidesk’s open application management solution.
And helping make all of this possible is Unidesk’s new Platform Layer. That’s what I’m going to talk about here and what you’ll see demonstrated in the video clip below.
Unidesk Layering Basics
To understand the new Unidesk Platform Layer and why it’s so powerful, you first need to understand how our industry-leading application layering technology works. Unidesk separates applications from the OS and infrastructure as independent virtual disks to greatly simplify application lifecycle and image management. Create a single OS layer, and then create a catalog of applications in their own layers, just by installing your apps as you would on a regular desktop.
Once you’ve done this, you no longer have to painstakingly create images by hand. You select the App Layers you want your users to access and Unidesk will automatically assemble a Layered Image™ complete with operating system. This is a standard disk image with all the applications already installed and configured. To update and patch, you only have to update a single OS layer or a single application layer and then let Unidesk automatically update the images.
You can also deliver apps at login using our new Elastic Layering™ technology, which attaches app layers stored on an ordinary file share based on Active Directory assignments, using the standard virtual disk mount feature in Windows.
This addresses application and image management for any given platform. But what about efficiently managing apps and images across platforms? Especially when many enterprises are in a constant state of evaluation when deciding which hypervisor or cloud to deploy?
"Most companies making a move into cloud computing start out wanting to use multiple cloud providers, but end up deciding to go with one" according to Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services (Darrow)
Today, if you want to evaluate multiple clouds or hypervisors on-premises, you need to package apps and create images for every platform, adding cost and complexity to the pilot.
And once you select a platform vendor, you have to plan how to efficiently manage the lifecycle of your apps and images, while keeping open the option to migrate to another hypervisor, or migrate to the cloud. How can you ensure when selecting a platform, you haven’t locked yourself into a vendor?
"Companies are pitching technology that runs across multiple clouds and inside corporate data centers. That ability, if it works as advertised, may assure would-be cloud customers that they really aren’t locked into any one provider."
-Barb Darrow, Amazon Cloud Chief Says New Customers Weigh Many Clouds, but End Up with One, Fortune
This is where the new Unidesk Platform Layer completely changes the game when it comes to managing apps and images across multiple clouds and corporate data centers. The Platform Layer abstracts out the device drivers and components (e.g. Citrix VDA, VMware Tools) specific to any one platform. This lets you publish the same Layered Image and deliver the same Elastic Layers to any hypervisor or cloud with any VDI or RDSH platform. To enable the same images and applications to work on a new platform, just switch the platform layer. No additional work needs to be done.
Watch Unidesk Chief Solution Architect Ron Oglesby demonstrate how easily the OS and apps can be managed one time across hypervisors and cloud environments:
Unidesk gives you manage-once efficiency across any cloud or hypervisor, including Azure, Hyper-V, and vSphere; any workspace delivery solution including Horizon, RDS, XenApp, XenDesktop, or Workspot; or any provisioning solution, including Citrix Provisioning Services, Machine Creation Services, and VMware View Composer. This gives you the agility to adopt or switch between best-of-breed infrastructure without disrupting your application and user experiences. You can easily switch hypervisors to reduce cost, adopt cloud to eliminate expensive server refresh and operational overhead, and deploy a hybrid environment including cloud and on-premises hosting for cost-effective DR.
Acquisitions and mergers become more straightforward than ever, because all existing infrastructures can be supported without rip-and-replace or having to add yet another application management solution to the mix.
It's all about choice and agility. You want to solve for the "last mile" and have the option to select any computing environment to put apps in the hands of your end users. The Unidesk Platform Layer helps solve this last mile problem, giving you the flexibility to select what’s best for your enterprise.