Previously I covered an overview of User Profile Manager as well as how it addresses last write wins. Now I will cover profile bloat which is one of the more common user profile pain points. Profile bloat creates unwieldy growth in user profiles and resulting storage and management issues (and the performance impact as profiles continue to grow in size). So let’s take a closer look at how User Profile Manager gives you control over this challenge.
Typically when using Folder Redirection or a roaming profile, the user’s profile folders follow them as they move from system to system. In a perfect world all your applications would behave properly and there would be no profile bloat. We know this is not the case and thus certain folders lend themselves to becoming very bloated fairly quickly. Application Data is one of those folders, as applications may use it as a temporary folder (instead of the system’s temp folder) and do not clean up the folder after the application ends. This folder can become a graveyard of files no longer wanted or needed. Or become a repository of files not really needing to be kept from one session to the next – temp files or cached data. This folder can quickly become 100s of MB in size.
In a roaming profile scenario, this is a lot of data to be dragged around with a user. With folder redirection, this becomes a lot of data to have to store somewhere – particularly if it’s not really needed. This becomes a painful process since the data may be getting copied back and forth with every logon and logoff event (although some optimizations within the profile contain the copying back to only files that changed). In the case of XenApp servers where profile caches are almost always deleted upon logoff, all this profile data will have to be copied down again upon next logon. Situations like this compound the pain we experience with unwieldy profile sizes.
With User Profile Manager you configure to exclude this ‘extra baggage’ causing that data to be ignored. The payoff will be better management of the central storage resources (not storing extraneous files back to the user’s central store) and this can translate to improved logon times since this extra baggage is not processed with the user’s profile (which unless it is already cached on the machine the user is logon into, it will be copied down).
User Profile Manager provides the capability to fine tune the files and folders in a user’s profile. Now an administrator can explicitly include or exclude folders and files within a user’s profile (and the ability to combine these such as to include a specific folder and exclude a subfolder within that folder). For example, you might have an application called MyApp that creates and stores a multitude of supporting files in the \Application Data\MyApp directory (of which the subdirectory called ‘\MyAppStuff‘ is not needed). You could include the root MyApp_ directory but then define an exclusion of the _\Application Data\MyApp\Stuff folder and upon logoff these files are left behind and not transferred to the user’s central store. If you have configured local profiles to not be cached, this extraneous data is just deleted at logoff with the cached profile.
By fine tuning and adjusting over time what is kept and not kept in the profile enables the profile size to be managed more efficiently. For a start have a look at the INI files installed with User Profile Manager (in the target install directory) provided with UPM as they provide some good initial settings. And of course the profile size being reduced and less data being copied back at logoff can contribute to improved logon and logoff time.