Much like in Terminal Server environments, profiles are also very much something to think about in a VDI environment. In this article, Wilco van Bragt talks about the alternative for mandatory profiles, a popular choice in TS /RDSH environments but typically less suited for VDI.
Within Server Based Computing environments using Roaming Profiles are a real challenge (see for more information about these challenges in this previous article written by me). However we would like to store/save the user settings for our end users to get a good user experience. For many years the solution was to create a mandatory profile combined with a hybrid/flex solution product like Flex Profiles, AppSense Management Suite, RES PowerFuse Workspace Management, Citrix Profile Management and several others.
During all these implementations nobody doubted on the flex/hybrid profile solutions, but using the mandatory profile has some disadvantages founded out during those years. Think of security issues, using certificates and creating the perfect mandatory profile. Helge Klein wrote several good articles and presentations about this topic like this article about the security risk and this article describing the downsides of mandatory profiles. Personally I also struggled with mandatory profiles in some implementations, so I searched for another solution without falling back to a Roaming Default.
The starting point of the search for alternatives was that user settings should be retained and that a profile management product will be used for that and that the profile should not be copied from/to a central location to/from a local and that the solution should be applied to RDS Session Host, VDI solutions and local workstations. It turned out that there is still no perfect solution, but there are some alternative available for replacing the mandatory profile.