Door Vincent van Zeijl
27 November 2020
Recently I had the opportunity to play around with FSLogix. The client I work for has a Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (CVAD) environment powered by PVS nonpersistent VDI’s and Ivanti Workspace Control. We had to prepare the environment for the implementation of Office 365. As many of you know, working with O 365 on non-persistent machines has some challenges as Microsoft chose to store Outlook and Teams data in the user profile.
To provide the users with a good user experience based on this cloud based office suite it’s possible to implement FSLogix Containers. Our environment however contains lots of users so the FSLogix containers could consume a lot of diskspace. Let’s take a look at our options.
FSLogix offers 4 different tools. In this blog we will discuss the Profile container and the Office365 container. App masking and Java versioning will not be discussed here, even though these two are very useful tools as well.
With a profile container the FSLogix agent will create a profile disk and redirect different user settings to this user attached profile disk. This way the users profile will act like a local profile in a non-persistent VDI-session. The Office365 container feature will do the same, but it will only redirect office user settings to the container. It is a small subset of the profile container feature.
The first decision we had to make was: ‘do we still need redirected folders?’. After all, it is possible to store all documents in the FSLogix profile container. However, you can only use these documents from within the container inside the VDI-session. The same documents will not be available on a physical workstation. Another drawback is losing the ability to work with versioning on the file share. This means that a profile reset could delete all documents of the user and that could make that user very unhappy.
If OneDrive is used as the only file location then it would be perfectly okay to store the OneDrive cloud cache in de profile container. Versioning is done in the cloud and a profile reset will only clear the cache. Nothing will be lost. In our environment both physical workstations and VDI’s are used so we do still need the redirected folders. Not a problem as folder redirection always worked fine for us.
As said before we have a lot of users in our environment. If each user would create a profile container we would need a lot of storage. We wanted the FSLogix container to be as small as possible and we would like to use it only for the benefit of a better user experience. So we still use redirected folders to keep the container as small as possible. We ended up by only using the Office365 container feature to improve the O365 user experience. This is done by caching the cloud cache in the container attached to our non-persistent VDI’s. With a GPO it is possible to enable or disable the usage of the Office365 container per Office application. We decided to start with enabling Outlook only, knowing we could enable Onedrive or Teams later if we wanted to. As this could expand the containers and storage needs by quite a lot we chose to be carefull and not enable too much at once.
We also started with only one app as adding more apps to the container is easier then removing them. FSLogix has no auto shrink option built-in yet (however there are scripts available developed by the community).
We found that creating, attaching and filling the FSLogix profile container for a new user takes about 20 seconds of the logon. And even if the profile container already exists, still a 15 second is added to the users logon duration. This was established using Citrix Director. I know that the FSLogix profile container can speed up user logons for users with large roaming profiles, but in our case we use Ivanti Workspace Control with Zero profiling. Nothing seems better than Zero profiling and who is still using roaming profiles these days?
We also found out that the FSLogix Office365 container acts a little bit different compated with the FSLogix Profile container. It is not really part of the logon process, although it is attached at the logon of the user. Using only the Office365 container did not delay our logon process, but it did improve the Office 365 user experience.
FSLogix vs Ivanti Workspace Control
We ended up using best of both worlds. Ivanti Workspace Control makes the user log-on really fast with zero profiling. We keep the ability to manage user settings per application and have a lot of flexibility. On the other hand Ivanti has no tooling available to boost the user experience of Office 365 as FSLogix can do. The combination of using this two tools gives us the best of both worlds. The same could be said of other well-known tools like Citrix WEM, Profile Unity or VMware UEM. We are very happy the FSLogix Office container feature proved to work perfectly together within our existing environment and zero profiling solution.
If you start using FSLogix for your Office 365 applications disable the capturing of Office settings in your other UEM tool. FSLogix will redirect the office settings to the Office container to make them available when a user logs in to his non-persistent VDI-session.
Within the newest release of Ivanti Workspace Control you can manage all FSLogix settings from the Ivanti console. You do not need to configure the FSLogix settings with a GPO. This means it is very easy to manage your environment from just one console.
If you need more information about implementing Office 365, FSLogix or more, please contact us via firstname.lastname@example.org