Product Documentation

Profile Management use cases

Mar 28, 2017

Citrix Profile Management can be implemented to manage users' profiles in different scenarios regardless of how applications are delivered to users or where they are housed. The following are examples of these scenarios:

  • Citrix XenApp with published applications

  • Citrix XenApp with published desktops

  • Citrix XenApp with applications streamed into an isolation environment

  • Applications streamed to XenDesktop virtual desktops

  • Applications installed on XenDesktop virtual desktops

  • Applications streamed to physical desktops

  • Applications installed locally on physical desktops

Of these, Citrix sees the following as the most common use cases:

  • Multiple sessions - The user accesses multiple XenApp server silos and therefore has multiple sessions open. Note however that application isolation and streaming on the server are alternatives to server silos. This scenario is described in more detail in this topic.
  • "Last write wins" and roaming profile consistency issues - Because the last write to the roaming profile causes all settings to be saved, roaming profiles may not retain the right data if multiple sessions are open and interim changes are made. In addition, settings may not be written correctly to the profile as a result of network, storage issues, or other problems. This scenario is described in more detail in this topic.
  • Large profiles and logon speed - Profile bloat can make user profiles unwieldy resulting in storage and management issues. Typically, during logon Windows copies the user's entire profile over the network to the local user device. For bloated profiles, this can prolong the user's logon time.

Multiple sessions

Especially in large environments, it may be necessary for users to open multiple sessions to access different applications that are housed on different XenApp servers, whether in the same farm or multiple farms. Where possible, Citrix administrators should consider application isolation or streaming in order to house applications on the same XenApp server to allow users to access all applications from a single server and thus a single session. However, this may not be possible if a business unit controls specific servers or applications cannot be streamed.

Once it has been determined that it is indeed necessary for users to access applications from various XenApp servers, the impact on profiles should be ascertained.

This diagram illustrates the example below, where application settings may be lost when multiple sessions exist.

For example, Mary has the need to access AppA, AppB, and AppC and she is routed to Server 1, Server 8, and Server 12 respectively. Upon logon to each application, her Terminal Services roaming profile is loaded onto each server and folders are redirected for each session. When she is logged onto AppA on Server1, Mary changes Setting1 and logs off that session. She then completes her work in the other two applications and logs off.

At logoff, the change that Mary made within her session on Server 1 is overwritten because the settings within the last closed session are retained, not the interim change. When Mary logs onto AppA the next day, she is frustrated because the change she made is not visible.

Profile Management can generally prevent this situation from occurring. Profile Management only writes back the specific settings that were changed during a session; all other unchanged settings remain untouched. So the only potential conflict that would arise is if Mary changed Setting1 within another session. However, the user would likely expect that the most recent change was retained, which is the case, if Profile Management is used in this scenario.

"Last write wins" and roaming profile consistency issues

This scenario is similar to the first one in this topic. "Last write wins" issues can present themselves in a variety of ways, and user frustration can mount as the number of devices accessed increases.

Because the roaming profile retains all profile data, with the exception of folders that have been redirected, the user profile can grow quite large. Not only does this add to the logon time because the profile must be downloaded, the potential for inconsistency grows during the write phase of the logoff, especially where network issues exist.

Profile Management enables specific data to be excluded from the user profile, enabling the user profile to be kept to a minimal size. Because only differences are written to the profile, the write phase of the logoff involves less data and is faster. Profile Management can be beneficial for applications that use profiles for temporary data but do not clean them up when the applications terminate.