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How do AppSense DesktopNow and RES ONE Suite compare?

AppSense and RES Software started out creating virtual desktop management products. Both vendors now offer well-rounded workspace management suites, but with slightly different areas of focus.

AppSense DesktopNow and the RES ONE Suite both include multiple products working together to help IT administrators manage user workspaces, but each platform takes a slightly different approach.

Both workspace deployment and management suites include a user environment management tool and a component for managing application access. AppSense's product is more focused on security, while the RES ONE Suite concentrates on application delivery and providing a quality end-user experience. To better understand the differences between these platforms, let's look at the tools included in each suite and what purpose they serve.

AppSense DesktopNow includes the following three products:

Environment Manager is a tool for controlling the user experience. It is designed to act as a policy engine that replaces roaming profiles and logon scripts. Environment Manager makes sure user settings carry over across physical, virtual and cloud-hosted desktop, and Remote Desktop Session Hosts. Providing a consistent environment is crucial to getting employees to buy into using virtual desktops, because today's users expect their settings, data and other customizations to carry over across every desktop.

Environment Manager streams users' personal data, settings and policy configurations based on context, providing only the specific data they need at a given time. Rather than loading up the entire user profile during logon and then saving it all during logoff, this process can significantly reduce latency. The tool also allows admins to take scheduled profile snapshots, so they can simply return user profiles to a recent state, rather than resetting them whenever profile damage occurs.

Application Manager is, as the name implies, a tool for controlling the applications that users can access. Unlike some of the competing products out there, this component is not an enterprise app store or a dedicated application distribution tool. It is rather a security and compliance tool that allows IT admins to restrict application access and provide granular control over users' app privileges.

Performance Manager improves the per-VM user density by making more efficient use of hardware resources. This component reallocates CPU, memory and disk resources based on user demand, which helps guarantee strong app performance in shared desktop environments. One advantage of the Performance Manager tool is that it includes integration with the Microsoft System Center management suite.

Now let's look at the RES ONE Suite, which breaks down into these four tools:

Service Store, formerly called IT Store, is an enterprise app store that integrates with an organization's existing technology. That means companies can use it alongside enterprise mobility management (EMM) products such as MobileIron and Citrix XenMobile. Service Store creates a single point of entry for users to access apps and other services, and a single pane of glass for admins to handle mobility management through their EMM software. Service Store also includes extensive Microsoft integration, supporting Active Directory for login management, Exchange Server, SQL Server, System Center Configuration Manager and Office 365.

Workspace is a tool for personalizing a user's environment based on factors such as the user's identity, device type and time of day. Admins create workspaces for individual users that provide access to their applications, data and settings upon login with the Workspace Composer, which is also responsible for building in context-aware security policies. Workspace also helps admins by taking samples of the users' desktop actions, which feeds into the Workspace Designer component to provide suggestions for which access rules to apply to each employee.

Automation is a lightweight engine that can automate the provisioning and deprovisioning of resources related to servers, storage, networking, software, and end-user devices and operating systems. The goal of the Automation tool is to reduce the time IT spends on tasks such as resetting passwords, authorizing databases and building virtual machines. Automation includes a console for creating and organizing automated processes, and it keeps a record of all tasks for auditing purposes.

Unified Console is a centralized console for using the various suite components. The other tools are all available as standalone products, but the Unified Console provides central management for a more holistic approach, and it is only included -- and necessary -- in the RES ONE Suite.

It is also worth noting that the RES ONE Suite is extensible through the use of third-party products, via a number of APIs and services that allow for integration. DesktopNow offers some degree of third-party extensibility through its support for Microsoft System Center, but just as DesktopNow wins out in terms of security, the RES ONE Suite holds the advantage in extensibility.

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