It irritates me when a company's marketing people try to press a nonsensical catch phrase in their attempts to grab industry attention. Today's example is AppSense's catch phrase "User Virtualization."
What AppSense is really talking about is the ability to maintain and control application and operating system settings, user environment personalization and allow that environment to be moved from one place to another, to survive the loss of a system by being quickly rebuilt on another machine, or locking the environment down to meet company policies. This really is configuration management not "user virtualization." Users are not getting virtualized as seen in the movie "Tron."
What's new and different this time
This time, the folks at AppSense have modularized their environment to make additions and enhancements easier. A modular approach will also make it easier for them to offer products that support smart handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. They're calling this "AppSense User Virtualization Platform" or UVP. Here is a list of the changes and improvements AppSense presented during their announcement of UVP:
- New modular architecture: The underlying technology for the AppSense UVP features a new, optimized and highly modular architecture that increases the rate at which new features can be added while ensuring that the core technology platform retains the reliability and stability it is known for. It also yields a significant reduction in CPU and memory consumption for an even smaller footprint and improved performance and scalability. The new modular architecture is also crucial to future plans to extend user virtualization to tablet and smartphone devices.
- Expanded policy and personalization capabilities: The latest release brings a rich array of new automated actions and conditions including the ability to govern behavior based on existence of specific files, folders, registry key/values, OS versions, environment variables, and date/time. Also in response to customer requests, the latest release allows text files within the desktop to be both modified and queried as a policy condition.
- Enhanced management and control: The new release adds more granular controls over digital certificates and desktop session information, as well as a variety of new management and administration tools for database import/export/migration, Windows registry analysis, and system troubleshooting.
- End-user experience improvements: Even as a more sophisticated set of personalization options become available, users will experience faster log-on times than ever. In addition, AppSense functionality is more tightly integrated into the Windows log-on and log-off experience, making user virtualization activities more transparent to users.
AppSense, I like your technology, but your catch phrase makes no sense. Virtualization is using excess computing resources to create an artificial environment, an environment that offers some benefits over the physical environment. Repeat after me "I am not virtualizing users."
I believe it will take more than a cute catch phrase, such as "user virtualization," to beat competitors such as MokaFive, Virtual Computer, Unidesk and the like who offer similar capabilities without using a cutesy, technically inaccurate catch phrase.
Now that I've vented a bit, AppSense is offering some interesting capabilities that are worth examining. Before signing up, however, it would be worth checking out what the others are doing.