Virtualize our users

The last decade has been a decade in which we’ve seen IT come from providing a basic desktop and application to organizations to a cloud based dynamic adapting environment. Instead of being limited to an one stop solution for all users todays environments from Citrix and VMware offer so much flexibility to would almost dazzle you..

Where we at today?

Today we make sure our environment isn’t experiencing down time anymore, Citrix and VMware both have multi datacenter solutions that can handle your datacenter outage. Users are not experiencing issues with failing roaming profile anymore, with UEM solutions like RES Workspace Manager and Liquidware Labs Profile Unity their settings are save and will roam with them to their next session.

Any device that a user can think of will be useable to connect to their workspace, any connection as it always has been since Citrix started in the late 90s. With intelligent EMM solutions we can manage all devices and make sure our data is save and not being send to the press on a usb stick.

What are we missing?

1st of April 2008 Brian Madden joked about a company that had invented exactly what we are missing now. Then it was way too soon to be thinking about this and sure it was a good joke, sure many believed it.
Now 7 years ahead in time we live in a different era, we moved on and evolved… at least IT has evolved, not sure about humanity.
All the issues organizations experienced back then have been solved but one… we can’t save our users sessions when a server goes down. Sure it has been on your mind before, why can’t I save my users session in a disaster, everything is designed to be highly available but what’s the use if their sessions are schredded during a BSOD?

Session Virtualization

So let me explain what I think should be the next evolution and be on all both Citrix and VMware’s agenda.
In several sessions I’ve seen the term user virtualization on slides and I remember the first time I wondered if that meant they actually would virtualize a session… but no it was just a term to show they could save user settings.
Saving user settings are interesting but that was not so difficult to realize, what our users want is that they don’t lose their application that are open and can keep working on that one document even if the XenApp server goes down. Perhaps that’s a bit too much to ask but at least they would like to see their apps with the document back online within a shot period of time.
Of course now you say that ain’t possible for the application runs locally and with a BSOD locally is not there anymore.
With application virtualization we’ve been decoupling applications from the local system for a while. This has helped many with keeping the server less cluttered but the virtualized apps still are very dependent on the local system.
I was in a training last week from AppZero, we’ve become their first Benelux partner, and I was intriged by how they handle application virtualization and migration. What they do is they create a virtualized application (sort of) of the application they want to migrate and after that application is moved to the new server (like 2012R2 coming from 2003) they keep a lifeline to the original server to see what is changing. Those changes are then taken to the new server to make sure the migration will be succesful.
Of course this isn’t the same as virtualizing a user session but it got me thinking. If they can track application changes remotely why can’t we?
What if we would have a sort of repository of applications, a highly available set of appliances that have our applications running in some sort of bubble. What is our user sessions are also running in this kind of virtualized session (they are already but still to attached to the local server).
If Appzero can track changes, why wouldn’t Citrix be able to publish an application like a “migrated appzero application”? the central part of that application publishing, the repository would keep track of all user actions and once a server goes down tht user session and it’s applications are diverted to a server that is active.
Of course the user would notice this, perhaps even a message saying “Server going down, we’re moving you” But if the data is still available and the application is running in some kind of bubble why would you have to loose it?

Am I losing it?

Pretty daunting question I know, many of you might say yes to this.. go ahead and say so, I asked for it 🙂
I think somewhere in the future we will see something like this, With cloud solutions offered we’re getting closer but we’re not there yet. I hope I’ve described clearly why it would benefit and how I think it would work. I’m a lousy programmer so from my perspective everything is possible, sure it’s more harder then I think it is. I’m too much of a realist to think it can be done overnight but if we don’t set goals we don’t get anywhere.
So Vendors help our users and save our sessions.

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