Brian & Gabe LIVE #25 - Part 1: Rodney Medina drops in to talk about Microsoft UE-V and Immidio

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Brian Madden: My name is –

Gabe Knuth: How you doing?

Brian Madden: Hey.  My name is Brian Madden and coming from San Francisco.  That was Gabe you heard, I notice wearing your Ohio State gear.

Gabe Knuth: My wife makes fun of me because she thinks it’s all I have.  And she may be right.

Brian Madden: Right.  She’s making fun of you because that’s all you have or because that’s –

Gabe Knuth: Well, she knows better than I do because she does the laundry, so I don’t really – I just reach in and grab a shirt.  So –

Brian Madden: Joining also from San Francisco is, is Jack Madden.

Jack Madden: Good morning, Brian.  Good morning, Paul.

Brian Madden: Oh, Paul.  And Paul.  So we got Paul.  So, so, so my childhood friend, Paul, is in the office.  He also, he’s got the week off work, so we’re getting lunch together today, so he came in early.

Paul: Hello, everyone.

Brian Madden: And he – Paul helped us out with those Brian vs.  Brian videos, if you remember those things we did for Citrix online.  So he’s in the sort of –

Jack Madden: He’s in the, he’s in the credits there as our, as our consultant.

Brian Madden: Yeah.  He’s sort of in the film-media-movie business.

Gabe Knuth: I’m looking – Because Paul is actually in that photo that we took in 1999 and Photoshopped us into that group of Microsoft –

Brian Madden: Oh.

Gabe Knuth: Do you remember this photo, the – The photo goes around as email.  It says “Microsoft in 1976” and the tagline is something like, “Would you have invested in these guys?”  And it shows all of these guys, you know, 35 years ago.  And so one day we got a hold of this in 1999 and somebody had a $1,000 digital camera, and Paul was the guy that knew Photoshop, and he was interning for us at the time.

So we all snickered and took photos of the four of us, and then Paul spent the rest of the afternoon getting paid to Photoshop us into the corners of this photo.  And I’m looking for that because we can post it to the Facebook page or something like that.  

Brian Madden: Is that on our Facebook page right now?  Yeah, I’m looking through that.  Yeah.  Oh my gosh.  That’s – Yeah, good call.

So also joining us from the Netherlands is Rodney Medina.  I guess to you, Rodney, good afternoon.

Rodney Medina: Good evening, even.  Yeah.

Brian Madden: Oh, yeah.  And where are you at this exact moment?

Rodney Medina: I am in Amsterdam in the media office.

Brian Madden: Oh, okay.  Cool.  And so Rodney, Rodney is the CTO of Immidio, and Immidio is the software company that spun off of Login Consultants.  Login Consultants many people know from creating – Well, they have the Login VSI benchmarking utilities.  Jeroen van de Kamp, one of our 10-time BriForum speakers, is at Login and created sort of flex profile kit back in the day.

And Login I know created lots of different tools, and Immidio spun off from Login.  What is it, Rodney, now?  Three, four years ago?

Rodney Medina: Yeah, we started Immidio in 2008.  First of all we started off as a branch of Login Consultants, but well, a year later we, we really split from Login.  And I actually worked at Login Consultants for six years when we started Immidio.  So I was responsible for the whole productizing of all those tools that Login still these days even provide to the community.

But I was actually one of the people that left Login to commercialize flex profiles.

Brian Madden: Yeah.  And you are also – You’re, you’re a Microsoft MVP –

Rodney Medina: Yeah.

Brian Madden: In App-V.

Rodney Medina: In App-V, yeah.  That is –

Brian Madden: And you’ve been to speak at BriForum also in the past, I know.

Rodney Medina: Yeah, I think I’ve visited twice already as a speaker.  And I will be there next month as well in London again.  So the last couple of years was quite busy, especially from Immidio stand, standpoint.  But it was time to, to submit some sessions again.  So it’s cool to be there next month.

Brian Madden: And what are your sessions, what are your sessions at BriForum?

Rodney Medina: Well, the contents will be changed because of course we can now publicly talk about App-V 5 and also UE-V.  We already knew for that quite a while, but we were not allowed to talk about that, as you know.  

But since it’s open, I will definitely discuss App-V 5 as well from a personalization perspective.  So the session will be mostly about App-V and how it handles the personalization of, of user settings.

Brian Madden: And so let’s talk about that because that’s actually kind of why we’ve got you on the show today.  So Microsoft announced App-V version 5, and – Which is not out yet, right?  It’s just been announced.  

Rodney Medina: Yeah, it’s just publicly made available a couple of weeks ago.  Two, three weeks ago.  And there’s no timeframe yet, but normally it’s not too long after a major milestone release of Windows comes out, so probably within a couple of months of Windows – After the Windows 8 release, App-V 5 will be publicly available, I guess.

Brian Madden: Yep.  And then also Microsoft announced that user environment virtualization, I think UE-V, which is – We spent some time talking about that last week, and I know you have some opinions on that.  But I wonder, can you give us like 30 seconds on App-V 5?  So I haven’t really been following App-V – I mean, 5, so it’s a major release.  So what is, what, what’s new about App-V?  Is there anything that you as an MVP are excited about?

Rodney Medina: Yeah, I am.  I think it’s a really big release because since Microsoft acquired the, the Softricity company and the SoftGrid product in 2006, not a lot of architectural changes have made, have been made to the product.  And the – Practically every piece of code has been changed now with, with the App-V 5 release.  So from a functional perspective, there’s quite a lot of new features that people will like.

But I think the real exciting thing is that it’s really been built up from scratch with all the knowledge and experience for, for the last 10 years of using the old architecture, if I might call it that now.

So I think the biggest change will be for people is that the integration of the applications with the local operating system have, have been much improved because App-V the way we know it now might be isolating it a little bit too much why – So the shell extensions people are used to when you virtualize like WinDrawer or WinZip and stuff like that, all the right-click options you have, those were all not available capabilities in, in App-V 4.6 and below.  

And with App-V 5 that will be a lot more open.  So I think the integration is, is the biggest change people will, will notice, actually.

Brian Madden: That’s, now that’s a double-edged sword, right?  Because if they open up more, doesn’t that mean that more applications could potentially conflict with each other?

Rodney Medina: Well, it’s still virtualized.  It’s just less isolated.  So the virtual applications with App-V 4.6 and lower are virtualized, but they’re also isolated a lot from the local operating system.  So you can now much more see the virtual application bits actually being on your local system, but they’re still not touching System 32 or your actual, actual registry location.  So it’s, it’s not an issue on a, on a conflict level, no.

Brian Madden: So let me ask you quickly.  Microsoft Office, the number-one question people ask is should they virtualize Office in App-V or add it to the base?

Rodney Medina: Yeah, so are you asking for my opinion or –

Brian Madden: Yeah.

Rodney Medina: Or if, or if it’s a bad – Yeah, so there, there’s always a very heavy discussion at – Well, customers mostly, and also with the product team within Microsoft.  Because it all depends.  I mean, the way  probably you and I use Office, for us it’s just a primary productivity tool.  We start Word, we start Outlook, and so on.  We use it really basically.

But in the enterprise services, a lot of applications integrate with Office.  So the most integration you will have with Microsoft Office, the, the – Well, the more issues you might run into if you’re starting to virtualize Office.  So it will be much better with the next release of App-V 5.

But my personal opinion still is make it a part of the base.  Because it’s Office.  It doesn’t have conflict, it’s really neatly installable, upgradable, maintainable.  So, and everyone will use it in the entire company, so why would you virtualize it anyway?

Brian Madden: Really, right.  Like, I mean when you look at sort of baseline platform, really where does Windows end and Office begin?  It’s just part of –

Jack Madden: Right.

Brian Madden: It’s just part of your base image.  I like that.

Rodney Medina: Yeah, yeah, I –

Gabe Knuth: We have a session.  Aaron Parker’s giving a – We’re having a discussion, I guess, as part of our lightning rounds about that, whether or not it should be –

Brian Madden: So –

Gabe Knuth: What’s that?

Rodney Medina: Yeah, no, yeah.

Brian Madden: So moving on also now, now, we talked two weeks ago about this Microsoft user environment virtualization.  Do I have that right?  It’s UE-V.

Rodney Medina: No, it’s user experience virtualization.

Brian Madden: Oh, okay.  So oh, Microsoft would love to make the user experience completely separate from the device.

Rodney Medina: Well, yeah.  We’ll start virtualizing the users and everything will be okay, I guess.

Brian Madden: They don’t even know they’re not using an Apple.  And so you listened to the show two weeks ago, Rodney.  Did we – First of all, our characterization of UE-V was that it’s, it’s used to put user personalization settings, so it takes registry settings for the user but sort of injects them when they launch thin application, right?  

So you can have a generic copy of Windows with a generic instance of Word, and launch it, and it’ll sort of pop the user settings in right as Word as launching.

Rodney Medina: Yep.  That’s true.

Brian Madden: And then when the user closes out of Word, it pulls them back out again.  Is, is that – That is correct?  Like that’s what UE-V does?

Rodney Medina: No, not completely.  Depends on how you imagine pulling it out.  So what they do is they inject the personal settings into the application you’re starting, but they are actually injecting it into the real registry or your real profile.  And when they export it, they don’t clean it up.  They do leave it behind in your actual roaming or local profile.

Brian Madden: Okay.  So –

Rodney Medina: So they, they capture the changes you’ve made.  Or, well, they capture everything that you’ve configured it to export and import.  And they do it on the fly.  So it’s, it’s, it is like Gabe mentioned two weeks ago, it is much more sticking to the actual applications instead of loading all those settings at local [inaudible].  But they’re not redirecting it or really capturing it from the profile.  So the real, the, the, the registry tattooing is still happening.

Brian Madden: Okay, so I think –

Gabe Knuth: So is –

Brian Madden: Go on, Gabe.

Gabe Knuth: Well, so – Well, the way I pictured it was much like flex profiles where you could essentially get rid of roaming profiles, use a mandatory profile and then have those settings imported and saved off at the end of a session.  Is that – So are you saying that we still need regular read/write savable profiles, roaming profiles, to use UE-V?

Rodney Medina: Yeah.  Because it doesn’t cover the complete base.  You still have to – There’s no way in Windows to work without a base profile.  You, you need one of those three, right?  So even in Windows 8, the mandatory local enrolling profiles are still considerations.  And they’re even going to be changes made to Windows 8 to be able to configure the profile settings for users even easier.

And I’ll actually add that to my session for next month because there are some, some nice stuff coming in Windows 8 on the configuration level.

But yeah.  It’s, it’s still Windows.  It’s still a profile that needs to be loaded.  You can use it with, in conjunction with a mandatory profile, but then still –

Gabe Knuth: Okay.

Rodney Medina: You need to configure a lot of settings.  But what I’ve seen of UEV up until now is on the application level, it can cover pretty much everything you want.  But on a Windows OS level, it’s not capable of managing all the Windows settings.

Gabe Knuth: And that’s because it works only in H-key current user, right?

Rodney Medina: Well, that also has to do with –

Gabe Knuth: Or, or only within the profile, I guess.

Rodney Medina: No, it has to – Yeah.  That’s true.  But it also has to do with timing.  So when they log on, importing like for instance the milted language into face of Windows, it’s too late.  And with any media of flex, we actually have a specific feature making sure that we can cover all settings that are available in any type of profile.

Gabe Knuth: I see.

Brian Madden: And that sort of leads to my question which, which when we talked about UE-V two weeks ago, we sort of mentioned that okay, so this is sort of a more basic thing, probably companies like AppSense and RES Software are fine.  But maybe the little more point solutions, like Immidio Flex, maybe that’s a competition.

And it sounds like this is you’re addressing some of the differences.  And we’ll give you this shot right here.  So now, now, now’s your opportunity as a CTO of Immidio to be fully commercial.  Tell us why Immidio Flex – And this sounds like a, it sounds like a hard-ass challenge.

Gabe Knuth: Sounds like an easy answer.

Brian Madden: And I don’t, I don’t mean to sound that way.  But like, so you know, if people are, see UE-V and they’re like, “Oh, Microsoft is solving this.”  What’s missing there that Flex, that Immidio Flex evens, provides?

Rodney Medina: Yeah, well within Immidio, we of course have overlapping functionality with dual EV.  But that goes the same for the other companies in the market space as well.  So UE-V probably in the market, there’s actually – It’s a good thing and it’s also a bad thing because vendors like us, we have to explain more to customers if, if they have seen flex profiles in the past, of course.  Because then their overlap is almost 100 percent.

The good thing is that Microsoft is actually really validating the market space itself, so people are starting to look at UE-V and then they probably in – Depending on the scenario, they want more functionality.

So if you look at the, the overlap that UE-V has with, with Immidio Flex, it’s the personalization part.  And Immidio in the past, like people have been using it in, in big Citrix environments, was all about personalization.  Like Gabe mentioned using mandatory profiles combined with roaming capabilities provided by Flex.  

But we really went beyond that as soon as we started the Immidio company.  So we had – That was actually the reason why we started Immidio.  I mean, people were really asking from the community for a lot of features and a lot of enhancements, but it was simply not – We were not capable to do that from a consulting point of view.  So that’s – We had a lot of ideas when we started Immidio from, from the start.

So from a, from a – It’s – We’re more moving towards the user environment management as a whole, and especially the release that will be available in two months.  You will see that it’s not only the, the importing and exporting of personal settings, but we will be able to, to set the application states.  

And that’s actually a feature that we have available right now.  We call it application state management, where we can – With Griffin, we can easily let the administrator configure an application the way he likes it for the user without even having to touch the registry or doing any advanced stuff.  And then easily push it out to any user, any environment, any type of profile they might be using.

And the nice thing of the application state management is that on an application level, you can actually put that application in a solid state, meaning that even if I have a roaming profile, each time I launch the application it will behave the way the IT department wants it.  And for some applications that’s actually a, a very nice feature to have.

But yeah, I, I think it’s really a – As soon as we started introducing a mechanism that we call Direct Flex, which is actually comparable with what UE-V does, managing the application setting when an application launches instead of the log-on and log-off moment, so that’s actually one of the capabilities that a lot of people are not aware of that Immidio has these days.  

So we built on top of that.  So we can actually now manage a printer when you start an application.  We can detach the printer when you close the application.  We can set your offo-to-VC connection when you start an application, and so on.

So we really start, started building on top of the base functionality we released in our first commercial release from Immidio Flex.  

Brian Madden: All right.  And Rodney and I have a date set later this week with the WebEx, and we’re gonna sorta dig into that.  Because I haven’t looked at Immidio Flex in some time, and I guess Rodney –

Rodney Medina: Yep.

Brian Madden: Is probably – I don’t know when I was last in Amsterdam and we had dinner together.  That was six months ago now, I guess.  It’s been a little while.

Rodney Medina: Yes.

Brian Madden: So I’ve got that, I’ve got that set and we will, we will take a look at Immidio in a, in a few days and I’ll sort of share, share the findings that, that you guys are working on.

Gabe Knuth: That’s not on my calendar.  Let me know when that is.

Brian Madden: Oh.

Rodney Medina: Yeah.

Brian Madden: Yeah.

Rodney Medina: I’ll shoot out an invite to you guys later.  There’s, there’s one thing that I, I – Really short that I wanted to mention.  That one of the unique things that we are capable of doing these days is that we can actually migrate application versions back and forth.  So we are actually capable of roaming your personal settings between, let’s say, Office 2007 on Windows XP and Office 2010 on Windows 7.  

So that’s not only, that’s not only capturing the personalization because from our perspective these days, that that’s easy to do.  But we’re actually, we introduced a mechanism where we can translate certain application settings.  And it’s completely open, so people can customize that for their own custom applications as well.

Brian Madden: Do you think you will be able to do that for Windows RT?

Rodney Medina: Well, that all depends on what applications can we install on Windows RT, I guess.

Brian Madden: Yeah.

Gabe Knuth: That’s a good point.

Rodney Medina: So we’ve had that question a lot.  We have had that question a lot and I am really also continuously digging in to the whole Windows RT and the, the store and what capabilities ISVs will have, actually, on that device.  Because my belief, it’s going to pretty limited.  So –


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