But SVS isnt without

By Cameron Sturdevant  |  Posted 2006-04-02 Print this article Print

its faults"> There are two problems with the current approach. The first is that the "delete layer" selection is right underneath the "reset layer," which could lead to all sorts of issues. The most obvious issue is that resetting is intended as an extremely low-cost, self-help solution for road warriors who have mucked up their systems. With a slip of the mouse, the user could easily hit "delete," and then the situation becomes another high-cost help desk ticket. Altiris officials told us that a future release of the product would allow the SVS administrator to make available whatever SVS options he or she wished.

The second problem is that the current configuration of SVS encourages IT managers to set up users as local administrators, an action we do not recommend.

Virtualized applications almost always create data that is needed after the virtualized session ends. To accommodate this, SVS uses the aforementioned data layers, a special form of VSP for capturing files such as documents and spreadsheets.

We created data layers using either file extensions, such as .doc or .xls, or by directory. Even existing files on the system, once modified in any way, will be included in a hidden SVS area. This area can be reset, with the result that all data is lost. It is therefore imperative to explain to users who have the power to reset their systems that they should pretty much never reset the data layer.

Changes to programs, such as when we changed the settings in our Firefox browser by adding bookmarks and customizing the home page, are stored in a writable layer in the VSP of the application. We didnt have to do anything special to set up this writable data layer; it comes as a default with any application VSP. However, the dreaded VSP reset warning applies to the customizations made in applications, as it does to data stored in an SVS layer. Once reset, all customizations made to an application are gone.

To help with the ins and outs of using SVS, and to provide online support, sample applications, best-practice guidelines and access to the no-cost, personal-use version of SVS, Altiris has created a site called Juice.

Next page: Evaluation Shortlist: Related Products.

Cameron Sturdevant Cameron Sturdevant has been with the Labs since 1997, and before that paid his IT management dues at a software publishing firm working with several Fortune 100 companies. Cameron also spent two years with a database development firm, integrating applications with mainframe legacy programs. Cameron's areas of expertise include virtual and physical IT infrastructure, cloud computing, enterprise networking and mobility, with a focus on Android in the enterprise. In addition to reviews, Cameron has covered monolithic enterprise management systems throughout their lifecycles, providing the eWEEK reader with all-important history and context. Cameron takes special care in cultivating his IT manager contacts, to ensure that his reviews and analysis are grounded in real-world concern. Cameron is a regular speaker at Ziff-Davis Enterprise online and face-to-face events. Follow Cameron on Twitter at csturdevant, or reach him by email at csturdevant@eweek.com.

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