In our day-to-day work life, we expect the Outlook profile data (emails, calendar items, etc.) to follow seamlessly as we roam from one machine to another, however, this may not be true all the time. In non-persistent environments, the index catalog doesn’t roam with user data and must be rebuilt every time the user signs into a new host, which could potentially occur at every sign-on and could create a significant delay in fetching the desired data. Windows Search Service also helps in indexing the .OST file and creates an index catalog to enable search functionality in Outlook, but this is usually gets limited or incomplete search functionality.

Office 365 adoption is sweeping through enterprise IT and in parallel Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop administrators are eager to optimize Office 365 integration, especially Outlook 365, within the virtual applications and desktops.

FSLogix’s Office 365 Container roams user’s Outlook data as well as their search index catalog, giving users access to their emails and other Outlook data while enabling users to search in Outlook – even when they roam between sessions on different hosts which is typical in a XenApp environment. It roams the search index on a per-user basis inside the user’s profile container; there is no need to re-index a user’s Outlook OST no matter which XenApp (RDS Session Host) server they end up on.

Typically, users might obtain less results from Outlook searches that use the Local Windows Search service (searches for All Outlook Items and Searches in Subfolders) while the index is being rebuilt. With FSLogix, the effects of one user’s search index does not affect the other users, as each user has their own search database file.

Tests were performed on both on-prem and Azure XenApp workloads for non-persistent sessions. The performance tests on Outlook in non-persistent environments using FSLogix’s Office 365 Container solution illustrate the seamless user experience of XenApp and XenDesktop workloads configured to use FSLogix Office 365 Containers relative to the typical user experience when using native RDS User Profile Disk technology. The primary focus was to measure how performance degrades when multiple users are simultaneously working with Outlook and how FSLogix Office 365 Containers helps in these scenarios. The tests were conducted in an on-premises environment and in Azure environment to see if there were any notable differences in a cloud based environment.

FSLogix has been working with Citrix to ensure its compatibility with Citrix products. It is verified as Citrix Ready and is listed on the Citrix Ready Marketplace. FSLogix Office 365 Container for Citrix enables true Cached Exchange Mode for all virtual workspaces using Office 365 and real time search for virtual desktops. FSLogix Office 365 Container for Citrix installs in minutes, and allows enterprises to virtualize and persist OST files for users with XenApp and non-persistent or ‘pooled’ virtual desktop infrastructure. In addition to addressing email and search performance, critical settings for Office 365 such as OneDrive cache, Skype for Business global address list (GAL), and Windows search database now persist between sessions.

FSLogix Office 365 Container for Citrix provides:

  • True Cached Exchange Mode – with patent-pending OST containerization, Outlook on XenApp and XenDesktop can now function and perform as if locally installed on a high-performance workstation. Users don’t need to compromise email and calendar performance to adopt strategic initiatives like virtual desktops.
  • Real-Time Search – enables inbox and personal folder search to work as designed on XenDesktop, with maximum performance, and no workarounds requiring end-user training or unique behavior between physical and virtual environments.
  • Plug–and-Play management – features a micro-application footprint with drop-in installation, GPO templates, simple rules based configuration, and the use of existing CIFS/SMB servers, improving the ROI of existing enterprise infrastructure.
  • Infrastructure compatibility – works on all major virtual desktop and hosted email solutions, complimenting profile management products traditionally used in virtual workspace environments.

To compliment FSLogix Office 365 Container, Haley Rowland from Microsoft stated

“RDS Gurus observed a significant improvement in user experience when searching in Outlook in non-persistent RDS environments using FSLogix”

And Tyler Miranda, Assistant VP-IT Administrator, Equity Bank says

“Office 365 is something we’re looking at. Without FSLogix, we probably wouldn’t have this option on the table, as Office 365 sees a significant performance degradation in a VDI environment. FSLogix caches it locally and resolves this issue.”

To summarize, here are the main features of FSLogix Office 365 Container:

  • Roam all of Office 365 on XenApp and XenDesktop including Skype for Business and OneDrive
  • Superfast, enterprise class email on all your virtual desktops
  • Cached Exchange Mode with large file support for OST, PST, PAB
  • Eliminate the constant deleting of corrupt OSTs
  • Works seamlessly with all your existing infrastructure
  • Drop-in, simple configuration, and GPO based management
  • Recover server and network capacity – and get rid of workarounds!