Will Windows 8 require UEM?

Yesterday one of our sales guys came to me with a question he received by mail: “Will Windows 8 require User Environment Management (UEM)?”.

In my opinion UEM consists out of two technologies: Profile Virtualization and Workspace Management. Since I think that profile virtualization is key when your users are working cross platform (Win7/Win8/TS/RDS), but Workspace Management not so much, I had a problem with this question.

All UEM solutions have both Workspace Management and Profile Virtualization features… but not all Workspace Management solutions have Profile Virtualization features and vice versa. Although Workspace Management makes your life as an IT guy easier, it is not required for a Windows 8 implementation… cross platform or not.

A nice, cheap (compared to other solutions that offer the same functionality) and easy-to-use Profile Virtualization solution is Immidio’s Flex Profiles. This will allow Profile Virtualization, but has no Workspace Management. Because Workspace Management functionality is not required for a smooth migration to Windows 8 in a cross platform environment you could choose for a solution that offers only Profile Virtualization, such as Immidio.

But what if you see some added value in a solution that offers Workspace Management?
If you only want some basic functionality, such as providing drive mappings, printers and such, perhaps Group Policy Preferences can offer you what you desire.
If you want to be able to control which applications are allowed to start, take a look at Microsoft’s AppLocker,

Now where do UEM solutions like AppSense Management Suite and RES Workspace Manager come in?
In my opinion, only when you want a single solution/console that can offer all of the functionalities of Profile Virtualization and Workspace Management.
For a more detailed comparison of Profile Virtualization and Workspace Management solutions, take a look at the UEM Smackdown whitepaper.

So, to the question if Windows 8 will require an UEM solution my answer is a definite “No”.
But when we change the question a little bit like “Will Windows 8 require a Profile Virtualization solution?” my answer is a definite “Yes!”.


  1. Patrik Zander says:

    Jeff, I do not agree 😉

    A Workspace Management solution IS required for any smooth migration because of the simple fact that it is about more than the profile. How about login scripts, group policy and security configuration? You need that as well to minimize the amount of work that is put into such a project.

    With RES Workspace Manager 2011 Express you get a free solution for this except securing the user workspace.

    Built-in tools are comprehensive but also inflexible and requires deep technical knowledge. This will result in highly skilled people doing mundane work.

  2. Hi Jeff.
    I think your opening question ““Will Windows 8 require User Environment Management (UEM)?” is a valid question, and one that we are being asked, as no doubt other leading ‘UEM’ providers and solution resellers are two.  However, I 100% disagree with your answer to the question.
    You mention Profile Virtualization and Workspace Management; It is hard for me to comment on this as I do not know what you know or consider to be Profile Virtualization and Workspace Management to be.
    UEM, from a personalization point of view, is much more than Profile Virtualization.  And you compare Workspace Management to Group Policy Preferences.  I agree with Patrik in his comment below; Managing the user environment or workspace in an enterprise environment requires a lot more than GPP.  What about; Machine set-up, desktop configuration, user rights management, application access control, network access control, feature lockdown, self-healing, resource entitlement, etc… and that is just a few off the top of my head, there is  a lot more involved in managing the user which is why AppSense and RES Software have been so successful.
    Windows 8 is going to bring more complexity and diversity to our environments, and while there are basic in-built tools in GPP to do the very basic things such as map Drives and Printers like you say, that is just the very beginning.  All configurations must be context aware; the Windows 8 user of tomorrow will be roaming about, between sites, offices, customers, partners, home etc.  and they will not be on Windows 8 100% of the time.  They will also be on RDS, Virtual Win7 desktops, Mac’s, Tablets etc.. the ‘Workspace’ configurations must be dynamic and automatically configure the desktop based on the context of the user, the device, the location, the time & date etc.
    I agree, Immidio provide some 1st step profile management, but that is typically only relevant if you have a profile issue; say bloat, corruption,- slow log on times.. it is not a Personalization solution.  Personalization requires enterprise features such as synchronization, back up, cross platform, roll back etc..
    GPP and AppLocker are ok maybe for a simple environment, but where you require more control, over say – when can a user launch an app, what type of apps can you white list, can you allow user to run any app from a specified trusted vendor, what time of day can the user run the app, can the user run the app from anywhere or only on their corporate LAN and IP address, what Admin Rights can the user launch the app with etc… then you need the workspace management features of a specialist UEM solution.
    For AppSense and RES Software coming in you say; “only when you want a single solution/console”.  Please… really? Between AppSense and RES we have over $100m a year in revenue and probably 10million licensed users.. We didn’t get that big by just providing consoles … and will continue to grow as Windows 8 and other desktop OS, devices and delivery options continue to grow and add complexity.
    Hopefully I have gone someway to providing more information on why Windows 8 WILL require a UEM solution, and that User Personalization is more than Profile Management.
    Happy and Keen to hear your thought.
    Gaz,  AppSense.
     ( @GarethKitson )

  3. Jeff Wouters says:

    Hi Gareth and Patrick,

    Thanks for your replies. Combined with the reactions I’ve received on Twitter and LinkedIn your feedback has given me a bunch of thoughts that I will be typing out this evening (hopefully also posting it online by then).
    I will also be explaining in that post what I consider to be profile virtualization and workspace management… and as Ruben Spruijt stated it’s all about the context, I will also going into that.
    Again, thanks for your (extensive) feedback!


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