I used to be the “mobility” person at BrianMadden.com, but I’ve been covering Windows more and more, first with the advent of unified endpoint management, and now in my new role covering desktop virtualization.
I get excited about anything that modernizes Windows management, so when FSLogix reached out to talk about how they’re cloud-enabling their containers, I was game to learn about it. I talked to their product marketing manager, Gabe Knuth—you know, formerly of this site.
If you’re not familiar with FSLogix containers, the very short version is that they use FSLogix’s file system filter driver technology to redirect reads and writes to VHDs mounted over the network. This enables key use cases—especially for non-persistent VDI—such as using Outlook in Cached Exchange Mode with an OST file on the network, or avoiding folder redirection. We’ve covered this before, so if you’re not familiar, head back to our previous articles.
FSLogix containers previously assumed that you were using on-premises SMB file shares, but today they’re announcing Cloud Cache.
With Cloud Cache, containers will be able to store their data in object-based cloud storage repositories, connecting using cloud-native APIs, instead of SMB. (Building an SMB server in the cloud is complicated and expensive.) Cloud Cache will work with any type of desktop (physical, persistent VDI, non-persistent VDI, or RDSH) and will be able to store data in multiple locations at once, independent of desktop location. To go along with this, FSLogix is utilizing a temporary VHD as a local cache.
There are several benefits to storing FSLogix Containers in the cloud. First, the cloud brings all of its well-known inherent advantages. Second, the ability to store profiles in multiple locations at once helps with backup, disaster recovery, and migration.
The local cache has some benefits, too. It can serve as a buffer, which is good for apps that don’t tolerate disconnections very well. It can also be used to manage the reads and writes back to the storage. Cloud storage is often priced more on activity than on how much space you’re taking up, so FSLogix can do things like batch writes together, saving money. If you’re using on-premises storage, this also lightens traffic and the hit on the file server.
As of today, FSLogix is announcing a tech preview of the local cache portion of Cloud Cache with on-premises SMB storage; support for Azure Page Blobs is coming soon, followed by other cloud options.
Liquidware recently announced a similar-sounding offering utilizing object-based cloud storage and cloud APIs; I have a briefing scheduled with Jason Smith next week at Synergy, so stay tuned for more on how these two compare.
In the meantime, if you want to know more about FSLogix Cloud Cache, they’re hosting a webinar this afternoon.
For my part, I may not have the history dealing with profiles that my previous colleagues had, but I have seen the industry momentum around cloud-based management for Windows in general. As always, there are plenty of Windows challenges that call for extra help from the likes of FSLogix, and it makes sense for these efforts to be cloud-enabled as well.