livin (UK)

Homes and Community Organisation Overcomes VDI Challenges with Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity

livin is a homes and community organisation that provides affordable housing and manages in excess of 8,500 residential and commercial properties in County Durham in the northeast of England. livin recently moved to a new, purpose-built office building, and wanted a modern PC environment. The information and communication technology (ICT) team saw tremendous benefits in migrating to a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) – especially because it planned to migrate users from Windows XP to Windows 7 and because the move to the new facility coincided with livin’s PC-refresh cycle – but it was also aware that virtual desktops would bring new management challenges.

The ICT staff initially experimented with desktop virtualisation using Citrix remote presentation sessions, however, this technology did not provide the level of performance and personalisation livin wanted. Having successfully virtualised its servers in the VMware environment, the team investigated the VMware View virtual desktop environment and found that it offered many powerful and several significant challenges, particularly with profile synchronisation and overall stability. The ICT team identified several requirements for its potential profile management solution:

  • the solution needed to seamlessly work with the VMware view environment
  • the solution’s installation, configuration and use must be accomplished simply
  • the solution must provide consistent experience for users, whose desktops and application stacks are highly individualised
  • the solution must preserve user desktop settings and prevent reversion to default at each login

With requirements established, livin evaluated several options and rejected many with additional hardware and desktop agent needs. The remainder were installed for trials, with Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity standing out from the competition. ProfileUnity works with VMware View and any other platform that supports Windows OS, including Citrix XenDesktop. ProfileUnity delivers a complete profile (with desktop customisations, applications and data) to users at logon in seconds. It also provides administrators with summary and complete views of virtual desktop settings as well many reporting options.

The organisation frequently updates and optimizes its PCs and has found the process much easier for virtual desktop users with ProfileUnity in place. It has also provided a reduction in support needs, because the team can revert to a good desktop image with just a few clicks.  They have been able to refocus their team's efforts to enhancing desktop performance and user satisfaction and productivity on their workspace.