Managing Microsoft Office 365 in Non-Persistent VDI
Customers moving towards a model of non-persistent virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) realize the benefits of this approach over persistent VDI. For one, non-persistent VDI allows IT to easily set up pools of desktops that can revert back to an original state after being used, instead of having to manage each individual persistent desktop throughout its lifecycle.
Another benefit with a non-persistent model is the reduction in required storage. This is because unnecessary space is not allocated upfront for user-installed apps, for example.
What Is the Issue?
Why do you need a solution like App Volumes and User Environment Manager? More users are migrating to Microsoft Office 365 as it becomes more popular, but there are two big challenges.
Cached Exchange Mode
For enterprise-class performance expected by your end users, Cached Exchange Mode must be enabled in Outlook because the latency to the Microsoft Exchange Server is too high to work in Online Mode. Once you enable Cached Exchange Mode, very large files (.OSTs) will need to persist between virtual desktop sessions.
When you try to do this with traditional profile management solutions, like Roaming User Profiles or Folder Redirection, your users will experience extensive logon times and severe network and performance issues. On top of that, many of these workarounds are only supported by Microsoft in limited scenarios.
See this previous blogpost for how to solve this: “VMware App Volumes & User Environment Manager: The Perfect Combination for Managing OST Files.”
The second biggest challenge in this scenario is Windows Search and the search functionality within Outlook. Since the search index is stored per-computer, this does not follow the user, effectively disabling the real-time search option in Outlook.
Searching for emails is a daily activity that should be fast and in real time. This can be solved by using Writable Volumes and redirecting the search index.
Managing Microsoft Office 365 on VMware Horizon
To summarize, these are the two steps that solve the challenges of managing Microsoft Office 365 in a non-persistent VDI environment with App Volumes & User Environment Manager.
- Cached Exchange Mode: Microsoft Outlook on VMware Horizon VDI can now function and perform as if locally installed on a high performance virtual workspace session. Users can use native email and calendar performance and adopt strategic initiatives like virtual desktops.
- Outlook Search: This enables inbox and personal folder search to work as designed on Horizon VDI, with maximum performance and the same behavior between physical and virtual environments.