While IT organizations generally love the idea of centralizing desktop management, the fact remains that end users need to be convinced. From their perspective, technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) generally equate to a loss of control, which is one of the reasons that there is so much resistance to such efforts.
The real challenge facing IT organizations is how to convince end users that they can keep control of their desktop environment even when that desktop is running on a remote server. To one degree or another, we've already seen this begin to happen with the rise of tools that allow instances of virtual desktops to be personalized. Now Liquidware Labs wants to take this one step further with the addition of a Flexapp capability to its ProFinity software for managing non-persistent virtual desktops.
According to Liquidware Labs CTO Jason Mattox, Flexapp allows end users to install their own applications in virtual desktop infrastructure environments in a way that allows IT organizations to get the benefits of central control without taking away the end user's sense of control of their workspace.
Mattox says ProFinity 5.0 with Flexapp works by provisioning a virtual hard disk (VHD) to store applications separately from the operating system and local session. ProfileUnity with FlexApp then adds specialized "links" both into the local Windows operating system and into the user's managed ProfileUnity with FlexApp settings.
There are obviously still a lot of other challenges with VDI, namely the amount of infrastructure required to really run it properly. But if IT organizations can't get end-user support for such initiatives, it's going to be tough sledding no matter what they do. Liquidware is not the only company providing various levels of personalization capabilities for VDI environments. But one thing that is for certain is that without such capabilities, the IT organization that pursues VDI is going to almost always be seen by end users as trying to take something away versus somehow trying to make things fundamentally better for all concerned.