As the entire industry is shifting toward Cloud, SaaS becomes the new modern foundation for business applications. Microsoft Office 365 is one of the many popular SaaS applications. It has the convenience of accessing the business data in a flexible way; however, it also brings some challenges related the today’s end user’s workspace.
The challenge comes from the complexity of the modern workspace. There are always multiple business applications and tools. The way to minimize the management effort is to isolate computing and data, which requires provisioning technology. As a result, it’s necessary to seamlessly integrate user environment management.
In the Citrix Profile Management 7.18 release, we introduced a user-based search index container. This container solution is designed to optimize your Office 365 Outlook experience and it could easily be extended to broader use case scenarios.
The feature aims to solve two challenges:
- Outlook launch or logon delay: With Outlook 365 delivered from the cloud, Outlook cached exchange mode provides the best experience for the end user. However, the Outlook cache (OST file) will easily grow to a large file size. When the end user logs into a new session, restoring that data can cause a delay in the login or in opening Outlook.
- Poor initial search experience: Outlook emails work like a database. The index helps you find your emails quickly. Roaming the search index database with your profile is crucial in delivering a native Outlook search experience.
The approach we took is a profile container, a Microsoft VHDX virtual disk, which is mounted on the fly during a user login, with all the emails and search indexed objects. The container will roam with the user whichever virtual desktop or virtual application server the user logs in to.
The feature is part of Citrix Profile Management; there is no additional license requirement. It is available with all XenApp and XenDesktop editions. In the meantime, configuring the feature is extremely easy. There is only one setting to turn on, Enable search index roaming for Outlook, in your Citrix Profile Management policy. Once enabled, Citrix Profile Management will create and maintain the VHDX containers automatically, and mount them as you log into to your virtual apps and virtual desktops.
The setup requirement for the VHDX containers is the same as the requirement for Citrix Profile Management, and you can use your existing file share. If you want to setup a new file share, make sure you follow the Microsoft roaming profile setup guide for the permissions. Microsoft provides both shared permission and NTFS permission for shared folder access. Everyone is required to have shared permission to the user store.
Citrix provides you with more choices in configuring your end users’ workspaces. We provide search index roaming feature in Citrix Profile Management for the purpose of simplifying the configuration. You could also leverage Citrix App Layering to host Outlook email cache. Citrix App Layering provides you with even more powerful disk management capabilities.
Incorporating your valuable feedback, we are continuing to develop more capabilities to this container feature.
Citrix Profile Management 7.18 is available as a part of the 7.18 VDA, included in the XenApp and XenDesktop 7.18 installation media.
If you are considering the purchase of XenApp and XenDesktop, enjoy a free 90-day trial and get started today.