How do you manage physical desktops & laptops? XenClient? Mirage? SCCM? App Virt? Are you happy?

We're talking to so many people about virtual desktops and DaaS that I almost forget that the vast majority of the world's client devices are still traditionally-installed desktop PCs and laptops. So I'm curious-how are you managing your traditional PCs?

I've had VDI and DaaS on the brain for the past few months as Gabe and I put the final touches on our upcoming book about DaaS. We're talking to so many people about virtual desktops and DaaS that I almost forget that the vast majority of the world's client devices are still traditionally-installed desktop PCs and laptops.

So I'm curious-how are you managing your traditional PCs? Are you considering any of the desktop virtualization-like platforms such as Citrix XenClient, VMware Horizon Mirage, or Moka5?

How are you managing apps? Are you virtualizing them with App-V or ThinApp? Are you installing them all in your base image and then showing / hiding only what you need via FSLogix? Are you repackaging them with Flexera' AdminStudio? Are you pushing them down with SCCM or Altiris?

Rather than posting a poll, I'm just curious to start the conversation? How are you handling desktop PCs and laptops? Do you like your system, or do you plan to change it?

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I'll kick this off by saying at TechTarget, almost all of our users have laptops running Windows 7. Most users don't have admin rights but they can get pretty much whatever they want installed by asking IT to install it or by getting temporary admin rights. We also use SCCM to push out the common apps. So it's pretty traditional in that sense.


Traditional provisioning and management we use MDT and RES Automation Manager (Workspace manager and the ITStore for the user layer)

Virtual VDI/RDSh we currently use vWorkspace for brokering/provisioning and Automation Manager for the management layer.

We're also due to be adopting Mirage (soon) for physical and some virtual (works well with vWorkspace too). Again RES Automation Manager will be key here for us.

We dropped ZENWorks when we moved to Win7. We considered SCCM but it was a backwards step. We needed something to take us to the next level and SCCM didn't suite our dynamic very well.


Thanks for sharing Daniel. When you said that SCCM was a backwards step, why? And the forward step is, what Mirage?

I'm not asking to be snarky.. just want to make sure I have the right understanding. :)


You might be surprised, but a lot of companies are managing them manually, sometime they have ghost-style images and even using Altiris to deploy them, but after that, an "IT guy" walk across the building to "deploy" software from USB stick or IT file server.

At the same time, i have seen large enterprises that engaged consulting for XP->W7 migration with SCCM but they abandoned the SCCM deployment after the migration due to lack of internal expertise.


Almost all of the customers I visit fall in the 'traditional' section:

- SCCM! The best!


- No ESD/PCLM at all

- Legacy systems like CA Unicenter still pop up here and there

- ScriptLogic DesktopAuthority (pretty much dead, I guess, after DELL bought it)

I hear a few stories from the sales guys about Mirage ..... but I still haven't seen any of my customers use it in the wild

App-V is use extremely sparsely.


We manage applications on our XenApp servers, desktops, laptops, and virtual desktops with SCCM 2012/App-V. Nearly all apps in XenApp are virtualized. On the desktop it's probably closer to 60%. We use AdminStudio to repackage what can't be virtualized. For the OS, we use PVS to deploy the XenApp Servers and SCCM task sequences for the desktops, laptops and virtual desktops. We are happy with the current system/process.


We use SCCM to manage our traditional PCs.  VDI and App Virtualization are only used in tactical use-cases.  The SCCM + "Pallet of Dells" strategy is amazingly simple and effective in today's world.  Most of our apps are hosted (Web, Saas, or XenApp) rather than executed on the the client.  The remaining End User Computing footprint is easy to manage.  No "DLL-hell" of years gone by.  This allows us the free time to focus on the client hardware experience and make improvements there.


We manage all our physical desktops with Moka5 Baremetal (locally executed VM). We started two years ago and as far as traditional Windows management goes, it’s been a game changer for us.

Much happier for several reasons:

- Image layering inside the VM: OS and app updates are installed once on a single image (system layer). That layer is pushed to all PCs without touching their app layer (contains apps installed manually or via scripts) or the user layer (user profiles and AD data).

- Virtually nil server and storage footprint because VM is executed locally.

- Drastic reduction in the time it takes to deploy fully app-loaded PCs (<10min from a usb flash drive with preloaded image).

- The feeling of knowing what’s on the PCs.

- The ability to refine a golden image over time and have all users benefit.

- The ability to instantly revert a PC to a pristine image without losing user profiles and data.

- Lower support cost overall and much better use of IT personnel as a result.

We also use Citrix Xenapp for software that need to run from the data center (network bandwidth or security requirements). So Moka5 is our “desktop virtualization” solution, while Xenapp remains our "application virtualization” platform of choice, and covers our mobile/tablet/home/remote needs.

In our case, SCCM 2012 would be gathering dust if not for Endpoint AV management and remote control functions.


Traditional PCs

LANDesk for image management, image creation automation (soon), software distribution, asset management.

Laptops are all full disk encrypted and so will desktops soon.  We are looking into XenClient as an alternative.

We also use AppV for one-off applications.  Currently our large VDI environment involves manual image updates.  One image supports 6000  VMs, while 2-3 others are only used for roughly 50 VMs each.  However, they all must be manually updated every time a mission critical app is also updated.

Moving from XP to Windows 7 allows us to rethink a lot of things.  Most importantly is image management.  Using LANDesk for image creation as well as deployment has a lot of upfront work when you are building software distribution tasks for 1000 applications.  But the payoff will be incredibly  modular and, well, fool proof.



Lets talk. We feel your pain and can help ;-)