Doug Lane, director of product marketing at AppSense (, says:

IT managers are continuing to look for solutions that enable them to be more efficient, decrease company costs and ensure their end users are satisfied. User virtualization technology delivers these benefits and more. It provides a consistent and seamless working environment across a range of desktop delivery mechanisms (PCs, virtual desktops, cloud), making the working environment predictable and responsive.

User virtualization refers to decoupling the user component of the desktop (user personality) from the operating system and applications and managing that data independently. By decoupling the user information, it allows the user personality to be applied on-demand into any desktop as needed, without scripting, group policies or use of cumbersome user profiles which are huge pain points for IT managers. This ability to manage the user on any device also provides IT managers with inherent scalability and increased security. Not only does user virtualization ensure a satisfied user experience but it also dramatically saves IT time and money.

User virtualization is an essential component of any desktop environment, ensuring that the same benefits achieved on a physical desktop can be achieved on a virtual one as well. It has been proved that a happy worker makes for a productive worker; therefore, providing a seamless desktop experience to the user is important in terms of productivity and overall end-user satisfaction.

User virtualization also has the potential to unlock technology projects that have stalled due to various obstacles. With the help of user virtualization, IT managers can revive – or begin—major projects that move the business forward and deliver added productivity and technological benefits: application virtualization, cloud delivery, virtual desktop deployments, a Windows 7 installation or refresh, and more.

We think the biggest challenge to user virtualization is that IT managers often are unsure of what the technology actually entails. Many times enterprises adopt user virtualization technology and only use a small portion of the features it has to offer, merely thinking it can be applied to profile management. However, user virtualization encompasses much more than that, and it is important for IT managers to fully educate themselves on the technology in order to achieve the maximum benefits.

They can overcome these challenges by educating themselves as much as possible on user virtualization and how they can implement it in their specific desktop environment. Selecting a vendor that has on-site training also is extremely important.

There are a lot of virtualization products on the market, yet almost none of them offer true user virtualization. As with other purchases, IT and data center managers should make sure to explore all of their options before choosing, weigh the pros and cons of each, and investigate the real use-cases of each solution. With the shift towards cloud computing and mobile applications, they also should look for technologies and solutions that are device-independent, cloud-ready, and deliver a real return on investment.

The adoption of user virtualization technology is still in its early stage, considering the market is expected to reach $2 billion within the next few years. Desktop virtualization and cloud computing are hot topics right now, and user virtualization is quickly on the rise, as real use-cases for the technology are being made public and enterprises are seeing the benefits it delivers.

Overall, user virtualization has taken on greater significance because the world is moving towards a model where technology is defined by the requirements of people rather than by the locations and limitations of their devices. In essence, the user is the technology, and his personality exists in all the devices, data and applications he uses.

AppSense is driving that change to consistently and completely deliver those applications and data to the user regardless of where, when or how he wants to access them, and to help IT managers and organizations unlock the business and technological possibilities inherent in virtualization projects. AppSense delivers the only complete user virtualization solution.