NHBC Manages Users Across Virtual and Physical Desktops with Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity

NHBC is the UK’s leading independent standard-setting body and provider of warranty and insurance for new homes. The organisation’s role is to work with the house-building industry to raise new-home standards and provide consumer protection for home buyers. NHBC, like many other organisations, employ staff with diverse work modes, including in-office, remote and field operations. These various work styles were a consideration when NHBC decided to upgrade its workspaces to standardise on Microsoft Windows 7.

NBHC’s infrastructure team supports 1,100 office and field workers whose desktops would need to be migrated to Windows 7 when Window XP support expired. The group considered various options, from writing scripts to migrating data from the local desktop storage to a centralised storage location, to leveraging a user virtualization solution to perform the migration. However, while investigating migration strategies, it became apparent that the project presented a good opportunity for more efficient desktop management by matching the desktop delivery platform to users’ work styles. NHBC’s principal infrastructure analyst knew that virtual desktops would not replace workstations, resulting in a hybrid VDI/Physical Windows 7 deployment that would be a mix of laptops, Dell Wyse terminals and VMware Horizon View desktops. The goal was to leverage one solution to support the mixed environment of physical and virtual desktops.

By carefully analysing use cases, NHBC ensured that staff had appropriate workspaces tailored to their needs. However, the hybrid environment created an additional challenge in terms of how to best manage user profiles efficiently across the various desktop delivery platforms. VMware Persona Manager was initially considered, but it became apparent that this solution did not offer the functionality required for NHBC’s mixed environment. The organisation not only required a migration solution to seamlessly migrate users’ profiles and data to the new Windows 7 environment and manage group policy re-direction, but the solution also needed to support ongoing profile and user environment management post-migration across both virtual and physical desktops. After a discussion with VMware consultants who recommended that NHBC look at Liquidware Labs ProfileUnity, the principal infrastructure analyst embarked on a proof of concept and quickly discovered that ProfileUnity was a total solution that provides the range of functionality needed for migration, user profile management and user environment management.

Because NHBC is running non-persistent desktops in its virtualized environment, the infrastructure team considers the speed of employing folder re-direction with ProfileUnity a key benefit for them while providing users with a persistent user experience. The principal infrastructure analyst lauded the portability that ProfileUnity enabled within NHBC as well as the solution’s comprehensive migration support and was considering adding Liquidware Labs FlexApp functionality within ProfileUnity.