Using Liquidware Profile Portability as ProfileBridge to switch between different Windows 10 VDIs builds without the need to create new user profiles


Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone
Share Button

Windows 10 was first released almost three years ago and since that time Microsoft has said that it will be the last Windows OS in name with future updates/releases coming in an ongoing manner. Which we’ve now seen in the updates, presented as “new” version of Windows 10, sometimes with minor changes, other times with major changes within the Operating System.

Why Microsoft Announced Windows 10 as – The Last Version of Windows”

This decision has been made as part of the company’s effort to rebrand – Windows as a service. This change in release management changes the way how we upgrade our Virtual Desktop environments in the past. Using Windows updates can change the complete build, and asks for a whole different approach in upgrading our VDI’s.

One of those changes – although probably the most important one – is the Profile version of Windows 10. The profile version of Windows normally only changes per Operating System version, which you’ll can see in the table below. For instance, Windows 10 changed the Profile version 4 times already since its release…

Did you know that the build numbers in the Windows 10 version, such as 1709, includes the year and month of its release?

To avoid problems in profile version mismatches, avoiding errors like “The User Profile Service failed the sign-in”, or the creation of multiple different UPM/Roaming profile versions in your Citrix XenDesktop and/or VMware Horizon Virtual Desktop (VDI) static- pooled VDI environment, you’ll need a solution that will do this work for you. Just to create more flexibility for the end-users, without upgrading the OS of theVirtual Desktop environment.

ProfileUnity – Profile Portability performs Windows 10 Desktops migration with a Zero-Touch!”

With the ProfileUnity software solution from Liquidware, you can provide the “Roaming” of the different versions of Windows 10, without the need to create a new profile for example. Migrate automatically once with ProfileUnity and you have potentially ended this task forever for the Windows Desktop Operating system.

The picture below shows simply how ProfileUnity technically works.

ProfileUnity profiles are compatible across all desktop delivery platforms. Whether the new version OS is on physical desktops or Citrix or VMware virtual desktops, or Cloud, the profile will work seamlessly – with no downtime – for users who can simply log off older desktops and log on to upgraded desktops. It works in both directions, so no concerns anymore during that process. The profile data will be compressed in different .zip files and stored in a SMB/CIFs drive on-prem or in the cloud. The data will be un-packed during the logon process to a Windows 10 virtual desktop.

ProfileUnity also has its own ProfileDisk technology which makes it unique in the market. ProfileDisk can work hand in hand with profile Portability. ProfileDisk and VHD profile containers offer very fast logins, even with large profiles like Office 365 Outlook. This is because the entire profile can be read from at VHD or VMDK with block-level storage which is faster than restoring a profile file by file. The two technologies work well together because ProfileDisk brings in the profile fast while Portability can ensure that it is adapted to the right Windows version and custom areas outside of the user profile can be included.

In this article, I’ll focus on how you can configure the Liquidware ProfileUnityProfile Portability initial installation when using 2 or more versions of Windows 10, to provide persistency and roaming of the different Windows 10 profile versions. It’s very simple…

Table of Contents

Click on the title to get forwarded in the article:

Did you know this about ProfileUnity?

  • ProfileUnity automatically “harvests” user profiles, settings, user-authored data and application settings from existing profiles, enhancing efficiency and precision in the Windows migration process. ProfileUnity resolves multi-version user profile issues (from Windows XP, 7, 8.1) to maintain compatibility with Windows 10 and Server 2016. This essentially creates what Liquidware calls a ProfileBridge profile that works across all
  • Agent software does not translate the profile; rather the profile retains Windows’ own native formats.
  • The solution creates a “universal user profile” that supports co-existing (both backward and forward compatibility) over multiple Microsoft Windows OSs, allowing you to “migrate once and forever” to newer desktop or server OS versions.
  • Administrators can automatically “clean up” profiles before the migration is started, so only the desired parts of the profile and user-authored data and files are moved over. ProfileUnity further compresses the remaining user-profile transfer and network storage in a ratio that is as much as 50:1, for more efficient use of storage resources.
  • Profile and data migration with ProfileUnity features ZERO user downtime. Users can literally log off their legacy desktop and instantly log on to the new desktop with their updated user profile.
  • ProfileUnity seamlessly makes users’ custom application data settings available, even across disparate versions of virtually all applications.
  • User-authored data (e.g., My Documents, Videos, Pictures, etc.) syncs automatically in the background while Centralized Data Migration Reporting validates that groups of users are migrated successfully. These advanced features ensure user data is migrated and that administrators know exactly which migrations were successful and which were not.

Background insights – Profile Portability

The technology behind the ProfileUnity – Portability solution is very simple. The moment you logon to the Virtual Desktop, the profile is being captured. When you logoff the session, the local profile will be captured and copied to the ProfileUnity fileshare location. During this process, all the profile files and registry files needed for a robust user profile experience are converted into .ZIP files. This process makes the User Profile of Windows 10 useable for every build version of Windows 10. After this process, you’ll never have to think about profile conversion to other OS builds!

See below how the files look in a before and after scenario:

Requirements for the Management Console

The ProfileUnity Management Console requires the following for installation:

Virtual Desktop client requirements

The ProfileUnity Client requires the following for installation:

Prepare the UNC file share – storage path rights

First create an existing or separate (recommended) Management/Fileserver to install and configure the ProfileUnity software on. I use a Standard D2s v3 (2 vcpus, 8 GB memory) with Premium SSD storage – server in Microsoft Azure.

Note: I’ve added a separate disk to my Virtual Machine in Azure. When u do the same, please make sure to use Premium disks (SSD) to accelerate the performance!

I’ve create a separate drive called ProfileUnity Store

Create a ProfileUnityfolder on the separate disk. To store the ProfileUnity container files in a safe and secure way, you’ll need to configure the following NTFS and share rights for that location.

We’ll use this file share location later on in the ProfileUnity configuration screen as Container location.

 

Install the ProfileUnity Management Software

Download Liquidware ProfileUnity at http://www.liquidware.com/download

Note: Not a Liquidware customer yet? No problem, you can use the software as trial. Please activate the trial here – and start directly with the installation process!

Open the ProfileUnity setup

The setup will first start with some checkups

Click on Next

Select (default) all the options, click on next

The prerequisites installation is started…

Now we can start with the installation of the ProfileUnity software

Click on next

Enter an own password for the database user.

Select the VDI Broker Mode / type

Click on Next

Start the installation

The installation is started, it will take about 2-5 minutes to complete…

Open the ProfileUnity Management Web Application– by clicking on Finish

Or just open it manually through https://SERVERNAME:80000

Log in with user admin – password blank

Change the password

Note: Before we proceed to the next step, please create an Active Directory Group and make all the Windows 10 users member, which’ll use the Profile Migration feature.

Open the ProfileUnity web console and add the AD group

 

Enter in the UNC File Share path and click on Next

Select the ProfileDisk template, click on next

Enter in the users homefolder location, click on next

Confirm all the settings, click on next

Click on Finished to start the deployment

Done…

Loading the License File

The ProfileUnity software downloaded from the Liquidware web site comes with an evaluation license for up to five users. The license file, named profileunity.lic, can be found in the ProfileUnity Installation Folder you specified for the ProfileUnity Management Console during the Installation process. The default installation location is C:\Program Files (x86)\Liquidware Labs\ProfileUnity.

Install the ProfileUnity Client Software

Click on the Administrator -> Administration

Deploy the Client Tools software

Extract the folder at the DOMAIN\NETLOGON\ProfileUnity location. Also make sure to place the licence file in that same folder

Logon to your Windows 10 desktop (master) image and perform the client.exe setup

Create the ProfileUnity GPO – user logon – logoff

Upload the ProfileUnity ADMX keys to the PolicyDefinitions folder

Create a new GPO and attach it to the Windows 10 VDI Organization Unit (OU).

Open the Computer Configuration -> Windows Settings -> Scripts

Add the following .exe file to the startup location

\\DOMAIN\netlogon\ProfileUnity\LwL.ProfileUnity.Client.Startup.exe

Perform the same steps for the Logoff ProfileUnity.exe – in the User Configuration – Windows Settings Logoff policy entry

 

Now we’ll need to setup the ProfileUnity GPO / Configuration settings. Please activate the following settings:

Enter in the \\DOMAIN\NETLOGON\ProfileUnity location

Enable / activate ProfileUnity by enabling this GPO

Activate the Licence path GPO, enter in the \\DOMAIN\NETLOGON\ProfileUnity location

Note: Enabling this option suppresses the ProfileUnity splash screen.

Background insights

The start-up script performs several tasks to the desktop….

Continue the installation guide steps of ProfileUnity here: http://www.liquidware.com/content/pdf/documents/support/Liquidware-ProfileUnity-Installation-Guide.pdf

See it yourself – WebEx on ProfileUnity

SOLVING THE PROFILE CHALLENGES OF WINDOWS 10

If you have questions or run into issues while installing and configuring ProfileUnity, please contact Liquidware support, or just leave a comment at the end of this blog article.

That’s it for now. I’ll hope this helps.

Cheers,

Christiaan Brinkhoff

Share Button
Christiaan Brinkhoff

Christiaan Brinkhoff

Christiaan Brinkhoff works as a Cloud Architect and Evangelist, and own his own consulting firm, Brinkhoff ICT Consulting. Where he focuses mainly on Public Cloud infrastructures and End-User Computing environments for the larger multinational enterprise customers. He designs and provide complex migrations, helps customers with the Digital Transformation, advises on Cloud strategies, writes business continuity plans, strategies, and realizes on-premises and cloud-based environments. When he wants to get something done, he keeps going until he reaches his goal. He is very resourceful in finding solutions for challenges that seem impossible at first.

In addition to his work, he also shares his knowledge by speaking at large international conferences, such as Citrix Synergy, E2E - PubForum, local user groups (Dutch, Irish, Swedish and Denmark User Group), and provides webinars and writes articles for IT vendors, as well as his website, christiaanbrinkhoff.com - to share his passion for Cloud innovation. This community-related work got him the privilege to achieve the following three vendor awards, such as Microsoft Valuable Professional (MVP) for Microsoft Azure, Citrix Technology Professional (CTP), and VMware vExpert.
Christiaan Brinkhoff