Deploying FSLogix Profile Containers

This is an extension of my FSLogix Office 365 container guide. All of the steps in that guide should be followed before continuing onto this one.

Overview

FSLogix profile containers allow you to easily roam user files and settings across multiple machines. A VHDX file will be created and it will store all user settings. This is similar to roaming profiles, but you do not have to deal with any login delays while files copy. Instead, the VHDX file is attached to the RDS server and the user's profile loads immediately.

FSL profiles vs UPDs

Windows has a native solution called User Profile Disks, but it has some big limitations. With UPDs some applications will detect that data is being stored in a UNC path and malfunction. The best example of this is the inability to install Google Chrome extensions on UPDs. FSLogix drivers trick the OS into thinking that the VHDX data is local to the machine so applications never know that the data is in a network path.

If there is a brief network loss UPDs will disconnect and user profiles will crash out and going into limbo. FSL profiles will try to re-connect if there is a network loss. In my experience it is not perfect, but it does seem to keep most of the profile running.

Deployment

  1. Follow all the steps on the FSLogix Office 365 container guide
  2. Make sure that no other profile management solution (UPD, UPM, Roaming Profiles, etc.) is enabled.
  3. Delete any local profiles on the machine (not mandatory, but recommended)
  4. Create a group in AD called "APP_FSLogixProfiles_Exclude"
    1. You will use this to easily exclude users from AD
  5. Create the exclusions file (optional)
    1. Instructions below
  6. Create a new GPO just for FSLogix Profile settings (don't combine ODFC and profiles into one GPO)
    1. GPO settings are at the bottom of this article
  7. Apply the GPO to the server, run GPUpdate, and restart to confirm that everything has been closed out.
  8. Login as a test user and confirm that a profile and ODFC VHDX is created
  9. Confirm that you see a local_*user* folder under c:\users
  10. Create some files in one of your excluded folders.
  11. Log out of the RDS and log back in. Confirm that the excluded folders no longer have any files in them. Also confirm that the profile settings are persisting across logins.

Maintenance

FSL disk are dynamically allocated which means that they expand to whatever size is required, but they do not automatically shrink. This can lead to unnecessary disk usage on your file server.

Also, there are instances where some user profiles will get left behind in C:\Users.

To combat both of these issues see the sections titled "Delete bad folders under the Users Folder" and "Compact your UPDs" on the Best Practices for Deploying User Profile Disks article.

Exclusions

By default FSL will copy all of the user's data into the VHDX file. However, you also have the ability to exclude certain folders. Excluding temp and cache folders will allow you to keep your VHDX files as small as possible.

To configure this:
  1. Create a folder called FSLRedirections
    1. I create this in the same directory as the FSL files
    2. Make sure that all users have read only permission to this folder. Only admins should have write access.
  2. Create a Redirections.xml file in this location
    1. You can find the XML file I use here. I try to stick to only cache and temp data.

GPO Settings

Computer Configuration/Policies/Windows Settings/Restricted Groups
Group: FSLogix Profile Exclude List
Members: APP_FSLogixProfiles_Exclude (make sure to browse for the group, don't just type it in)

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Allow concurrent user sessions
Disabled (you might need this enabled depending on your config)

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Delete local profile when FSLogix Profile should apply
Enabled

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Dynamic VHD(X) allocation
Enabled

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Enabled
Enabled

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Profile type
Enabled
Normal direct-access profile

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Store search database in profile container
Disabled (it will be stored in the ODFC container)

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/VHD location
Enabled
Path to your FSLogix share (DFS prefered)

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Advanced/Provide RedirXML file to customize redirections
Enabled
Path to redirection folder (just the folder, not the actual file)

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Advanced/Remove Orphaned OST Files On Logoff
Enabled

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Container and Directory Naming/Swap directory name components
Enabled

Computer Configuration/Policies/Administrative Templates/FSLogix/Profile Containers/Container and Directory Naming/Virtual disk type
Enabled
VHDX

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Best Practices for Deploying User Profile Disks

Deploying FSLogix Office 365 Containers

Enabling Webcam on RDS