Tips and Tricks on Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6

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by | January 2011 | .NET Microsoft Web Development

This article, in the tips and tricks format, takes a good look at the components in an App-V infrastructure and the role each of them plays and how the interconnection existing in those components builds the existing models available to deploy App-V in our organization.

The reader will benefit from the previous article on FAQ on Virtualization and Microsoft App-V.

 

Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6

Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6

Virtualize your application infrastructure efficiently using Microsoft App-V

  • Publish, deploy, and manage your virtual applications with App-V
  • Understand how Microsoft App-V can fit into your company.
  • Guidelines for planning and designing an App-V environment.
  • Step-by-step explanations to plan and implement the virtualization of your application infrastructure
        Read more about this book      

(For more resources on Microsoft, see here.)

Advantage of sequencing process

Sequencing represents the process where the App-V Sequencer monitors and captures the files and environment changes (like registry modifications) created by an application installation. Once the capturing process is complete, the sequencing process ends by building the App-V package ready to be delivered to clients by a streaming method or just using an MSI.

The sequencing process, to achieve this, creates a virtual environment which is isolated from the operating system avoiding most conflicts with other applications or components existing on the client's operating system.

Application Virtualization quick facts

Here are some facts about Application Virtualization:

  • The applications are not installed on clients, they are published.
  • With Application Virtualization we can achieve the co-existence of incompatible applications like Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office 2010.
  • Applications are installed only once on a reference computer, where the package is captured and prepared.
  • You can capture a set of interconnected applications into a single package.
  • The capturing process is in most cases a transparent process; which identifies the environment that the application requires to work, like files and registry keys.
  • Application Virtualization offers you the possibility of centralized management. There is one point where we handle virtualized applications and the distributing behavior in our environment.
  • Even though you can create a package of almost any software, not all applications can be virtualized. There are some examples that could be quite tricky to actually pack into one bundle. Applications that require high operating system integration can generate some known issues.

App-V Management Server Sizing

App-V Management Server can maintain 12,000 publishing refreshes per minute. If your requirements are higher, you need to set up different Management Servers where you can manually separate the applications to be distributed (remember, multiple App-V Management Servers can use the same database) or deploy your servers with load-balancing features (hardware or software load balancing).

Implementing Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC)

Dynamic Suite Composition gives us the possibility to use "one-to-many" scenarios, where you have one primary application with several secondaries. But Dynamic Suite Composition is not in charge of managing and controlling the interaction between all these applications. That's why you must be careful which applications you select as secondary, as not all are suited for this category.

When you discuss implementing DSC in your organization you must always remember that DSC is only in charge of sharing the virtual environment between the App-V packages.

Level of dependency supported in DSC

In Microsoft Application Virtualization an important thing to note while using Dynamic Suite Composition is that a primary application can have more than one secondary application but only one level of dependency is supported. You cannot define a secondary package as dependent on another secondary package.

Deploying 16-bit applications to 64-bit clients

Microsoft App-V 4.6 includes, among several others, improvements and changes that allow the possibility to use and virtualize 64-bit applications and 64-bit operating system clients. But there's one disclaimer—sequencing and deploying 16-bit applications to 64-bit clients is not supported. This is a restriction in 64-bit operating systems, and not only for virtual applications.

Sequencing and Deploying Application in Different Operating Systems

Even though Microsoft officially requires the same operating system for sequencing and deployment, you can find several examples of applications that can work normally across different operating systems.

SQL database size

The size of the App-V database depends principally on application launches and retained reporting information. Microsoft provides a small equation to calculate the approximate growth of the database: (560 bytes per launch and shutdown) X (number of launches per day) X (user population) = Daily database growth.

For example, 10,000 users who launch and shut down one application per hour every day, translates to 125 MB per day.

Streaming Servers and network bandwidth

RTSP/S does not include tools to limit the use of network bandwidth. This is why it is highly recommended that you only stream applications between networks with a high speed link. Even though for Streaming Servers the process of delivering applications does not translate to high processor or memory usage, using secure communications with RTSPS or HTTPS introduces a minimum overhead you should consider.

App-V Client Cache

The client cache is another option you can combine with the streaming strategy selected. Having a large cache on each client will translate to lower network usage. You should also evaluate this when you start sequencing applications—the App-V packages' size will let you estimate the proper amount of cache needed.

Software licenses

Application Virtualization is related to a significant matter in many organization—application licensing. Application Virtualization can also maintain a central point for software licenses, allowing you to keep track of the current licensing situation of all your applications.

Using named licenses on each App-V package, you can guarantee that only users who have the appropriate license can run the application. And if we are using concurrent licenses for the application, the App-V license management will only let the application run the number of times that is permitted.

But you must also be cautious with the acquired licenses - not all applications support virtualization. For example, there are some applications that depend on and are attached to some hardware components, like a MAC address.

Virtualization support by the application vendor

Not all applications are suitable for virtualization. Each App-V package generates their own virtual environment, but some applications require a high degree of integration with the operating system, making the virtualized application unstable or incapable of working. A good example is antivirus software.

Installing the App-V Management Console on a different machine

Installing the App-V Management Console on a different machine is possible but not simple. The App-V Team created a configuration guide to achieve this, which you can access at the official Microsoft App-V blog: http://blogs.technet.com/b/appv/archive/2009/04/21/app-v-4-5-remote-consoleconfiguration-guide.aspx.

An online assessment tool to achieve Dynamic IT

Once we run this wizard-like tool, we receive a complete report on how to optimize our infrastructure in areas like Identity and Access, Desktop, Device and Server Management, Security and Networking, Data Protection, and IT Process. Access the online tool at: http://www.microsoft.com/infrastructure/about/assessment-start.aspx.

IT Compliance Management Series

Guidelines oriented to IT governance, risk, and compliance requirements. Download the series from the Microsoft Download Center at http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/default.aspx.

Windows Optimized Desktop Scenarios Solution Accelerator

This is a guideline to achieving a proper plan and designing applications and operating systems in your organization. This accelerator will be useful when we start thinking in App-V. More information is available at http://www.microsoft.com/infrastructure/resources/desktop-accelerators.aspx.

Infrastructure Planning and Design Guides for Virtualization

Complete references for designing a virtualization strategy; you will find specialist guides for App-V, Remote Desktop Services (formerly known as Terminal Services), System Center Virtual Machine Manager, Windows Server Virtualization, Desktop Virtualization, and so on. More information is available at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/solutionaccelerators/ee395429.aspx.

Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6 Virtualize your application infrastructure efficiently using Microsoft App-V with this book and eBook
Published: January 2011
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Getting Started with Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6 by Augusto Alvarez

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