Microsoft snaps up FSLogix to paint go-faster stripes on virtualized Office

Cash splashed for clever Cache

Microsoft has joined the throngs of excited Black Friday shoppers to snap up desktop virtualization specialist FSLogix.

The software giant named FSLogix as one of its partners when it launched its Windows Virtual Desktop product back in September. Mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Citrix and CloudJumper, the Altanta-based company will now assist the gang at Redmond in their march toward a cloudier Windows world.

Launched in 2012, FSLogix is all about cutting down the time required to support virtual desktops while speeding performance. The company's flagship product allows a single Windows image to be created that can serve any number of users by only showing the apps, folders and so on to which they have access. That access is governed by policies that will be familiar to hard-pressed admins.

What will have raised an eyebrow at Microsoft is the FSLogix Office 365 Container, which eases the performance headaches of running the likes of Outlook, OneDrive and OneNote in a virtualized desktop, thanks in part to some clever caching technology. The company reckons its tools allow admins to deliver "near-native or better performance".

The Cloud Cache functionality allows user information to be stored in multiple locations on premises or in the cloud and, while originally announced back in May, made an appearance in FSLogix's Office 365 line-up in October.

In its announcement, Microsoft acknowledged the benefit its new acquisition will bring to the virtualized Office 365 world, and said "with FSLogix enabling faster load times for user profiles in Outlook and OneDrive, Office 365 ProPlus will become even more performant in multi-user virtual environments" before adding "including Windows Virtual Desktop" in case you were in any doubt where things are heading.

The terms of the acquisition have not been disclosed, although in his blog post trumpeting the deal, FSLogix founder and CTO Randy Cook was keen to reassure customers that "it's still business as usual" before adding ominously that "FSLogix will soon integrate with Microsoft and join the strength of its enterprise productivity solutions".

While we have contacted FSLogix to find out what the deal means for the non-Windows world, Citrix or VMware users need not panic immediately, since the company's wares run inside the Windows client OS (Windows 7 and Server 2008 R2 onwards). Thus the technology should continue to work seamlessly with Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) platforms.

Microsoft has not announced any plans to tie its new toy down to the Azure-based Windows Virtual Desktop (the preview of which is due before the end of year).

This is no bad thing. After all, Azure has had a few problems of its own. ®

Updated to add at 0941 on 20 November

A Microsoft spokesperson assured us that “The entire FSLogix team including development, product management, sales and support teams will become part of Microsoft and join the Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop team.”

As for the likes of Citrix, it is indeed business as usual. For the time being. The same Microsoft mouthpiece told The Register that FSLogix would carry on working under existing distribution and reseller arrangements before adding ominously "until additional direction is provided".

What Microsoft is going to actually to do with the technology is still "under discussion". Providing "the best experience possible for Windows Virtual Desktops and Office 365 inside of Virtual Desktops" is the ultimate goal.

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