This is certainly old news to most of you. Citrix purchased sepagoProfile back in May 2008 from sepago. sepagoProfile has been rebranded as Citrix User Profile Manager. sepago has produced a white paper about the User Profile Manager for the sake of Citrix.
From the press release:
Cologne/Houston 20 May 2008. At the Citrix Synergy exhibition in Houston (Texas/USA), Cologne-based sepago GmbH today announced that the sepagoPROFILE software it developed has been sold to Citrix Systems Inc. USA. The agreement includes the complete takeover of the product, which will form the future core technology for profile management within the Citrix Delivery Center (Citrix XenDesktop, Citrix XenApp and Citrix Provisioning Server). In addition, the development division of sepago will continue development of the product for the virtualization of application provisioning in cooperation with Citrix over the next 18 months.
It is important to note that sepago will still be working on the Citrix User Profile Manager for 18 months. This means that the handover will be gradual and that sepago and Citrix will work together on profile management until later next year (2009). It is also interesting that the profile product will be applied to so many different Citrix technologies. Going forward, it is easy to see the relevance of managing the user profiles better.
The whitepaper highlights a number of existing profile problems solved with Citrix User Profile Manager.
- Slow logon/logoff times
- User settings on different platforms
- Last writer problem
- Profile corruption (or inconsistency)
- Profile bloat
- Local versus roaming profiles
From a user point of view, solving the logon/logoff delays and “last writer” problems are perhaps the most important. Lengthy delays at startup and logoff are annoying, especially when they are repeated for each session. The last writer problem makes changes almost random. In other words, the user will never know if certain changes are going to stick.
The administrator is going to be most concerned with corrupt profiles and profile bloat. When profiles are no good, most likely the administrator will just reset it. If there is bloat, most likely the admin will go figure out how to delete non-essential user files. It’s a painful process either way. The user will most likely be affected and even after the cleanup there is no guarantee that it will not happen again.
Citrix User Profile Manager solves the problem by splitting the profile into smaller pieces. It has a core mandatory profile and it adds user changes on top of it. Only the differences to the profile over time are saved when the session goes away. UPM avoids the need for a specialized storage server and can either save the changes to the users home directory or some other specified network directory. UPM is automatic when it comes to change detection for registry and files. Group policies are used to control UPM on the machines where users logon from. UPM is driven by an efficient service which resides on the users workstation or on XenApp. There is no central control server.
UPM should make it easier to manage the user profiles. One of the web pages in the support forum mentioned that Citrix was shooting for shipment by the end of 2008. Until then, it is possible to try from the tech preview. Based on the vendors at BriForum in June 2008, it is clear that user profile management is a hot topic and that customers are very keen to solve some of their most difficult profile problems.
For more information about user profiles, please check out an earlier post about the user profile basics.