Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sepa-go-go gadget profiles!

Profiles have long been the high maintenance girlfriend of Terminal Server / Citrix deployments. There's no way around it. If you run Citrix, you have at some point included user profiles as a bullet point on a suicide note.

Citrix has finally decided to listen to the million or so odd people that have been bitching for years on all manner of lists and forums about user profile management. To date, I think Citrix has turned a deaf ear to the whiners because technically that falls into the terminal server realm, and stepping on Microsoft's toes has generally not been regarded as a strategic business direction. And if Microsoft can't come up with a better way to do it then why should it be Citrix's problem? Can't argue with that, besides who the hell would want to take on profile management and all its baggage as a supported product? Fuck that noise.

So what has happened is the same thing that happened with the "Wow, printing really sucks in Citrix" movement. A bunch of third-party solutions popped up to fill the void. One of these is Sepago. Admittedly, I haven't played with it much, but Sepago has a pretty cool product for managing profiles. And surprise surprise, Citrix recently bought them.

So now Citrix has a native profile solution, or at least one that their sales people can pimp out. But why Sepago? I have a speculation. The disclaimer is that this is just me talking. This is probably going to be a half-truth at best - but here goes.


You see, thin computing is on the brink of a singularity. In the coming years you're going to see application and OS virtualization merge with VDI, workstations, and mobile devices. It's all going to be a huge blob that facilitates access to all the virtualized resources across platforms from a single technology or (as some have speculated) an appliance (although I doubt that). Here's where Sepago fits in. You see, it's not limited to just terminal server. It will manage profiles across the board - including your desktops and VDI instances. And... And.. it is largely managed through native GPO's! How's that for elegant scalability? Bam! What we're we're seeing is Citrix positioning itself for the coming homogeneous landscape.


One thing for sure, I can poke and jab at the company and have a good time doing it, but that Marky T is a sharp guy. Forward thinking and all. You tell Mark Templeton to think outside the box and he would answer that the box isn't really there to begin with. "It's running on a server somewhere else, but I get all the functionality of the box and I'm able to seamlessly think outside of it from wherever I am using any number of hardware and software platforms. We call it XenBox"

Again, that's not an actual quote. I'm just making all that up to make a point. It will certainly be interesting to watch and see what happens.