AppSense user virtualization solution helps desktop virtualization adoption

Q&A: AppSense VP Simon Rust explains what user virtualization brings to the physical and virtual world of IT

AppSense was recently named the Citrix Ready Solution Partner of the Year during Citrix Synergy San Francisco 2010 -- and for good reason. The AppSense solution provides a major benefit to Citrix XenDesktop and Citrix XenApp products, providing maximum user adoption and satisfaction.

The AppSense solution provides what is known as user virtualization, a technology that is still in its infancy; because of that, it doesn't get a lot of airplay in the media. User virtualization isn't discussed very often, so people may not have heard of the technology yet, let alone fully understand it or how it is used.

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While at the Citrix Synergy Conference, I was able to speak with folks from the AppSense team to gain a better understanding of user virtualization. I also got a demo of their solution and saw firsthand why they won the Citrix award.

The AppSense Virtualized User Infrastructure manages everything specific to a user. The user environment contains user-based corporate policies, personalization settings, user rights management, and user-introduced applications. The technology works across the physical and virtual world (and back) and crosses operating system versions, such as Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008.

To find out more about this user virtualization technology and what AppSense is doing in this market, I was able to catch up with AppSense vice president of engineering Simon Rust to get the full scoop.

InfoWorld: User virtualization seems to be a relatively new offering. Can you give us a bit of background or explain what exactly people mean when they say user virtualization?

AppSense: For the past three decades, the predominant method of delivering computing capability to an employee has been the desktop PC. In this distributed model of client computing, the desktop is one holistic asset consisting of an operating system, applications, and user information, all tied to one piece of hardware.

Recently, we have seen this change into a component model where operating system, applications, and user data are separated into three individual components, or layers, that can be managed independently. User virtualization is a way of managing the third layer of user-specific information separately from the operating system and applications so that it can be applied into any desktop delivery mechanism, on-demand.

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