A customer asked me what the main differences are between Immidio FlexProfiles 7 and RES Software Workspace Manager 2011 Express edition. Because I’m not familiar with the FlexProfiles product from Immidio, I only have seen the demo once. So I wanted to download both products and compare not only the products them self, but also how you can get it.
After the download and installation comparison (part 1), it’s now time to look how easy you can configure both products. Before we can start configuring we need to setup the environment so that we can use the options for applications.
Setting up the environment: FlexProfiles
The FlexProfiles has no need of a database. Instead Immido has chosen to use file shares and .ADM(X) files. So before we can start I need to import the ADM(X) files in to the Group Management Console (GPMC) and create the file share. Users need read only rights to the share.
The share is needed to store the general information. All Flex Profiles Management Consoles (FPMC) need to point to the same share. After starting the FPMC you need add the share.
All the additional features are not ticked by default. For the comparison I will enable all the settings.
All the settings will be stored in the general folder in the share configured share. The management interface is now ready to be used to configuring the environment.
The FlexEngine is the second part that needs to be configured. The FlexEngine is the agent that will save the user settings and configurations. The ADM(X) file needs to be imported in to the GPMC. The following settings are available after importing the ADM(X) file:
The following settings are needed to start using the FlexEngine:
· Flex Config files: \filserversharenamegeneral
· Profile archives: a share where the personal settings will be stored (usual the home drive)
· Run FlexEngine as a Group Policy Extension: used to run the FlexEngine as soon as possible during logon.
Additional settings for using the FlexEngine:
A logoff script with the following parameter; ‘FlexEngine.exe -s’. This is needed to save the user configuration at log off.
The following GPO needs to be enabled: Computer ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesSystemLogon Always wait for the network at computer startup and logon.
Both settings are needed when so that ‘Run FlexEngine as a Group Policy Extension’ is working correctly.
Setting up the environment: Workspace Manager Express
The Workspace Manager Express is a database driven management tool. You can use every type of SQL including the SQL 2008 Express edition. The wizard starts when you start the management console for the first time.
With the wizard you can easily create or connect to a data store. The data store is easily created with the wizard. After the creation you will see the full product capability. To see the correct feature set you need to change the following setting:
You will then only get the correct features. RES Software has chosen that every user settings needs to be enabled. To activate Workspace Manager Express on an a Windows client OS you only need to set the agent to automatic. This can be done under the Setup -> Agents -> right click on the agent -> Run Workspace Composer -> Automatic.
For Remote Desktop Services or XenApp environments you need to change the following policy: User ConfigurationAdministrative TemplatesSystem Custom user interface to C:Progra~1Ressof~1Worksp~1pfwsmgr.exe
The key diffrences of both products is the way the vendors have chosen to adress their back-end. RES Software has chosen to use a data store and Immidio has chosen to use Microsoft infrastructure component suchs as GPO’s, file shares and scripting.
In this case Workspace Manager is the winner, it has centralized management. To get FlexProfiles to work I have 3 places of management. Which takes much longer to set up de environment.