It’s time to check in with Liquidware—their latest software releases, ProfileUnity 6.8 and FlexApp 6.8 are out, and they’re a partner on the biggest desktop virtualization news of the year, Windows Virtual Desktop. Last week, I had a call with Jason Smith, who many in the community know as Liquidware’s VP of product marketing.
ProfileUnity 6.8 and FlexApp 6.8
You might be familiar with some of these features if you’ve been following the previews over the summer, but if not, let’s take a look. The bits went out to customers last week, and the official announcement is due soon, as well.
First off, last week at AWS re:Invent, Liquidware announced that FlexApp and ProfileUnity now officially support Amazon AppStream. Most AppStream customers like to put multiple apps in their AppStream hosts, so putting apps in FlexApp layers will make these hosts more fungible. Jason said that they already have customers using all their products on Amazon WorkSpaces, so this additional support should be welcome.
Next up, with FlexApp 6.8, you can now save VHDs directly to object-based storage in Amazon, Azure, and Google GCP. This follows similar functionality for ProfileUnity that came out in April. I see this as another one of the many ways that Windows management is modernizing and heading to the cloud, so I like the sound of it.
FlexApp 6.8 also brings a new Cache Mode feature. Apps can now start almost immediately after just the initial blocks download, while the rest come down later in the background (i.e., this is using app streaming concepts), and it will help smooth out the bumps in unreliable networks. This can also be used in conjunction with FlexApp Click-to-Layer, which we covered when 6.7 came out last year.
Lastly, note that the ProfileUnity and FlexApp agent startup process has been refined and is faster; license tracking now happens in real time; and Liquidware is offering some pre-packaged apps (all free and/or open source) for use in pilots and POCs.
Windows Virtual Desktop
Like other WVD partners I’ve spoken with, Jason reported that their customers are very interested in the new platform.
With Microsoft acquiring FSLogix, some functionality that’s available from Liquidware will now end up coming with WVD, but this isn’t worrying them, and in fact may represent some new opportunities. We still don’t know how widely available or restricted Microsoft will make FSLogix functionality, and if it’s the latter, that means that for some deals, a competitor has been taken off the market. Also, as many have pointed out, there are plenty of places where customers will still need other user environment management functionality. (In a blog post, Jason especially emphasized their ProfileBridge use cases.)
At the end of the day, Windows Virtual Desktop will be a big opportunity for many different types of partners to embrace and extend, just as thousands of Microsoft partners have been doing for decades.