Desktop Repurposing

Late last year myself and a colleague Matt Evans at VMware did an assessment of some of the desktop repurposing options out there. The idea wasn’t to choose a winner, just to assess what’s out there and present the capabilities.

For those not aware, desktop repurposing is the process of turning traditional windows endpoints into easy to manage and more secure endpoints such as Linux for example. These can then all be centrally managed and can connect to virtualised desktops and applications products such as VMware Horizon.

Here is a video of the output from the project


How VMware and Dell are improving the Windows 10 on boarding experience

I’ve already written a blog post entitled ‘the end of imaging’ which explains how out of the box enrolment can now be used to simplify the rollout of Windows 10 devices.

In the world of traditional imaging though, machines are built ‘ on site’ with LAN connectivity and IT admins have little concerns about download speeds and data volumes. Even remote sites tend to have caching servers so content is more local to the users. When it comes to out of the box enrolment, this could be the same situation. However, what happens if a user tries to onboard over a slow, perhaps rural internet connection. Worse still, what if someone tries to enrol a new device whilst tethering to a mobile on a data plan? All these things are of course possible.

VMware and Dell have come up with a great way to address these concerns. It’s called the Dell factory provisioning service. When you order your new pcs from Dell, you also send them two files which you create in the Workspace ONE console. The first is an answer file which sets out your enrolment preferences such as do you want local or azure domain join. The second is a pkg file which is a collection of any apps you want Dell to preload in the factory. This is ideal for any large apps or perhaps apps that get deployed to all users.

With this service the device can not only get shipped directly to the end user but can have all or most of perhaps the large applications already installed on it, meaning enrolment is quicker and consumes a lot less time and data. All this means even quicker onboarding for users!

Another great feature of this service and Windows 10, is how the apps are persistent between windows 10 resets. What I mean by this is that customers can factory reset their windows 10 device as many times as they like and the apps will always be redeployed. I will write up a technical post on this soon.

Here is a link to a VMware blog post on the subject of factory provisioning

Horizon domain filtering

From time to time this seems to crop up so i thought i’d share with you some info about a lesser known feature of Horizon. That is the ability to apply filters to domain lists that Horizon shows at users login prompts. By default, Horizon will scan it’s own domain and all other trusted domains and return all of them. Many customers don’t want to confuse their users and just want them to see a single domain option.

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