With Citrix Synergy just around the corner, and as much desktop virtualization industry activity happening as ever, I recently caught up with Jason Smith of Liquidware.
Last time we talked, FlexApp 6.8 and ProfileUnity 6.8 had just come out, featuring support for object-based storage, a new Cache Mode, and support for Amazon AppStream. Liquidware’s regular release cadence has continued, and now two more announcements are top of mind.
First off, Liquidware has entered an OEM agreement with Nutanix Xi Frame. Frame will use Liquidware ProfileDisk to help support Office 365. As it turns out, Liquidware quietly announced this back in January, but it’s coming to our attention now because of the latest Frame news at Nutanix .NEXT.
Next, Liquidware is planning to expand FlexApp to do app cloaking. This is the idea that you just install a bunch of apps in your base image, and then use a file system filter driver to hide apps, exposing them only as needed. (For those who might need a refresher on cloaking, also known as app masking, check out Brian’s great article from a few years back.)
Jason said that Liquidware is introducing app cloaking based on customer requests, and that actually it’s been on their roadmap for about a year and a half. I think it’s interesting to see this concept spreading into the mixture of app management techniques more. (Cloaking originated with FSLogix, and if I recall correctly, this is just the second product to offer it.)
Cloaking will come out in FlexApp 6.8.5, probably in the third quarter of this year. It will support apps in the base image, apps in Amazon AppStream, and Liquidware FlexApps.
Earlier this week, at the Inside Track webinar, we learned about several other features planned for FlexApp 6.8.5:
- Liquidware is going to enhance their support for attaching VHDs via object-based storage. For ProfileDisks and Profile Containers, they’ll support both reads and writes (instead of just reads as previously), as well as multiple sessions.
- They’ll do universal folder redirection and universal registry redirection, that’s session-aware.
- The ProfileUnity and FlexApp console will support SAML. (Yay!) Plus the console itself is going to be easier to deploy.
- And they’ll support non-domain-joined machines via Azure AD. (Also ‘yay!’ and good for the future of modern management and physical devices.)
- FlexApp will be able to pre-cache the blocks needed to immediately open an app.
- You’ll be able to merge two layers.
- There will be new triggers for adding layers into desktops.
There were a lot more details, as well as update for Stratusphere UX, so be sure to head to Liquidware if you want the full details.
One thing Jason mentioned that intrigued me was their support for physical devices. Of course this is not new, but over the years, much of the layering conversation has concentrated on virtual desktops. Things are going to get more interesting as companies transition into modern management for their Windows 10 PCs. The idea of MDM plus some form of app virtualization is something that we’ve thought about since the Windows 8.1 days; perhaps this could have a big role in the future.