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!”.