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Understand and evaluate the user profile management system

Last updated:June 2018

Editor's note

A user profile weaves together a user's applications, data and configuration settings, as well as important user information like bookmarks, browser history, backgrounds, documents and apps. As a result, it is critical that admins can quickly restore user profiles after outages so their workers can get back up and running and maintain their productivity.

A user profile management system enables IT to perform this task by saving key profile info to a central location and delivering it to users when they need it. Before diving into user profile management system options, admins must understand the four traditional profile types that they will likely be working with.

  • Local profiles: stored directly on the user device.
  • Roaming profiles: stored on a network server rather than on individual devices. Profile changes are saved after the user logs off.
  • Mandatory profiles: a preconfigured roaming profile where changes are discarded after the user logs off.
  • Hybrid profiles: a preconfigured roaming profile where profile changes are saved when the user logs off.

A user profile management system can introduce invaluable benefits to the user environment, such as failure recovery, smooth roaming, profile corruption avoidance and KPI improvement, but it is critical that buyers determine if their organization is well-suited to utilize a profile management tool.

First and foremost, prospective buyers should fully understand how their environment functions. Organizations most suitable for user profile management software often rely on hot desking, use nonpersistent VDI, or have many users based in different locations and who use different types of devices. Buyers must also consider whether they expect to manage user policy and personalization in addition to user settings across different OSes and profile versions.

The user profile management system options on the market are diverse and multilayered, offering a wide variety of functionalities. Buyers must evaluate many features, but, first and foremost, they must determine whether they want to perform basic profile management or persist user settings across multiple OSes or profile types. This decision point alone will narrow down the options considerably.

Buyers should also examine what the product options offer in terms of rollback and recovery, logon times and KPIs, migration, cloud capabilities, application virtualization, and user environment management.

This guide will assist buyers with the potentially daunting task of selecting a user profile management system by breaking down the purpose of profile management tools in today's organizations, as well as the business scenarios in which they would be most beneficial. Later in the product guide, discover what features to assess, and, finally, dive even deeper to learn about each of the leading vendors who offer user profile management software.

1Profile management and its effect on the user environment

Learn about the different business use cases for which an organization would need to buy a user profile management system and how these products directly address those specific needs.

2Select the right user profile management system

Discover the notable functions and features that profile management tools offer and how the major products stack up against one another in how they offer these capabilities.

3Discover details on leading user profile management tools

There are many different types of vendors to choose from when looking for user profile management software. Read these in-depth overviews of the different profile management tools -- their features, capabilities, versions, and buying and licensing options.

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