I read a lot about SVS and Softgrid here... but nothing about the third virtualization solution out there.
i would be interested if anyone has already had experience working with Thinstall?
They have OEM'd by LANDesk recently and are already implemented in the 8.7 SP3 Version of it. I think it will be interesting to watch how it compares with he other 2 products...

Martin
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I like the product and think it is a valid contender in this market space. I am mostly tied up these days with SoftGrid engagements but I think those looking at virtualization and especially non-SA shops should give ThinStall a close look. I have not deployed Thinstall in production but my lab testing as limited as it has been was positive. I think their greatest challenge as a company with be to poke through the marketing cloud that is dominated by SoftGrid and SVS.
Answered 06/04/2007 by: kkaminsk
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LANDesk did a demo onsite for us last week and they mentioned the virtulization piece. After asking more questions, it's a very basic product and doesn't belong on the same page as SVS or SoftGrid. The Thinstall product is essentially a compressed self extracting file that is extracted each time the product is run. There is no management capability with the file either. Since it's just a compressed file, noting prevents the user from taking it home and running it or copying it and giving it to their friends. If you use the landesk suites, you can manage the distribution and get reporting capabilities but the isssues are still there.

That being said, I think there's still a place for it. I just don't see it as a replacement for SVS or Softgrid. For one, thinstall will virtualize IE7 or IE6. SG won't do that.

I just got my trial copy today and have a couple of applications in mind that i'll be trying it out on shortly.
Answered 06/04/2007 by: Chipster
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I have been using Thinstall for two months...
I found compare with other solutions Thinstall is much much easier to use and understand, but even though it's simple on the outside there is actually a lot of technology on the inside. Thinstall does not decompress package data to disk, instead it "streams" blocks in compressed format directly into memory so it's able to run the same compressed exe off of a network share or the local PC at the same speed with no startup overhead, pretty amazing to watch how fast it is considering it doesn't have a client that needs to install (no admin rights required either). This is different from SVS and softgrid which do decompress/cache data to disk the first time the application runs. Thinstall provides management capabilities in a few different ways. You can lock each application to specific AD groups so they can't be run by users outside of your domain or specific groups (even if they copy the file). Thinstall allows you to embed VB scripts in the EXE packages which run before the app starts, so we actually have our own script that checks to make sure the user is running on one of our university machine before it starts the app since not everyone is connected to our domain. I need to run 64bit systems which is supported by Thinstall but not SG & SVS, but the biggest problem I found with SG was that it doesn't support Vista or SxS - something they don't exactly advertise. SxS is required by most major apps today (.NET, Acrobat Reader 8, Office 2007, etc). Well, I'll stop now before I rant too long.... but definately check it out.
Answered 06/04/2007 by: jerrymarks
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Good info! Being that I just was introduced to Thinstall, I was going off what I picked up with a sales rep. :)

Softgrid 4.2 will support the SxS installs and that one is coming in the next few months.
Softgrid 5.0 will support 64 bit. I just discovered that one yesterday when asking about 64 bit support for our Citrix farm. Because of that, we will be moving to the Citrix streaming solution for the farm since it can support 64bit.

I like the idea if embedded scripts. Maybe this one will be better than I had thought afterall.

Thanks!
Answered 06/05/2007 by: Chipster
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heh. I heard something similar. I heard that SG 64bit wasn't going to be available until late 2008, in my book this means they haven't started or made this a priority so who knows when. We didn't look at Citrix's streaming solution because it was way too expensive to give to alll of our users and from what I've heard it doesn't work very well. We do use Thinstall on our Citrix servers to virtualize some IE plugins that people need but we don't want to install system-wide.

Something else we are exploring now is giving our students USB keys with Thinstalled applications on them. A lot of USB keys have unique ID capabilites so you can lock the applications to the keys even when they are not on our domain. Thinstall can run applications directly from the compressed state so you can fit a lot of applications on a cheap $15 device. One of my favorite things about Thinstall is that it does not have any device drivers or agents that you need to install ahead of time and it works in restricted user accounts. I can walk up to any PC and start using Office with no changes to the desktop. SG and SVS are filter driver based solution with agents. We already have several always-running agents we are maintaining and I didn't like the idea of adding another to my desktops and servers. It's always a pain to keep those things up to date, they chew up memory when they aren't doing anything, and I want fewer variables to blame when systems crashes.

Jerry
Answered 06/05/2007 by: jerrymarks
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thanks for the answers so far :)
i also played around a bit with thinstall in the meantime and i gotta say i like it. Especially the customizing options within the script appeal to me as an old advocate of delta method packaging techniques.

Each of the three solutions Softgrid, SVS and Thinstall has a different approach to virtualization. It will be interesting to watch which of the benefits each solution hads will be most valuable for use in a large corporate environment...
Answered 06/06/2007 by: Martin.Appel
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Ruben compared a bunch of solutions at BriForum and here is his presentation. I agree with 90% of it but I think you could argue some of the finer points in here. I am not saying this is a bad comparison but I did see the odd item that would be up for discussion.

http://www.virtuall.nl/articles/ProductInformation/BriForum%202007%20USA%20-%20Streaming%20Smackdown!%20Thinstall%20vs.%20Altiris%20SVS%20vs.%20Citrix%20Tarpon%20vs.%20Softricity%20v1.0.pdf
Answered 06/06/2007 by: kkaminsk
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Sorry to bump the thread, but I have a thinstall question for those familiar with the product.

I have downloaded the FireFox thinstall demo and love it as a personal tool. My concern with the product is the user-friendliness of the sadbox. Within Firefox if I click a picture and "Save to Desktop" it does not actually appear on my desktop, but in the Sandbox %desktop% directory.

Can this behavior be changed? It seems like it would be terribly difficult for average enterprise users to get used to looking for their files within the Thinstall sandbox folder structure. How can an administrator make thinstalled packages more seamless?

Thanks!
Answered 07/12/2007 by: KenH
Yellow Belt

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ORIGINAL: KenH

Sorry to bump the thread, but I have a thinstall question for those familiar with the product.

I have downloaded the FireFox thinstall demo and love it as a personal tool. My concern with the product is the user-friendliness of the sadbox. Within Firefox if I click a picture and "Save to Desktop" it does not actually appear on my desktop, but in the Sandbox %desktop% directory.

Can this behavior be changed? It seems like it would be terribly difficult for average enterprise users to get used to looking for their files within the Thinstall sandbox folder structure. How can an administrator make thinstalled packages more seamless?

Thanks!


Yes, you can affect that operation (so that files are saved to real folders instead of being kept inside sandbox), but you have to decide it during "build" time what is the behavior for each folder.

I assume that for those Thinstalled apps available from vendor's site it's conscious decision to keep everything inside sandbox as to not mess anything with user's system.

/Kalle
Answered 07/16/2007 by: ksaunam
Orange Senior Belt

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Hi,

Maybe this information is usefull:

1. Application Virtualization / Isolation Solutions Feature Compare Matrix aka “The Matrix”
http://www.virtuall.nl/articles/ProductInformation/PQR%20-%20Application%20Virtualization_Isolation%20Feature%20Matrix.pdf

2.Application Virtualisation / Isolation Solutions Videos (Altiris SVS, Thinstall, Citrix Application Streaming, SoftGrid
http://www.virtuall.nl/videos/Application%20Virtualization%20Solutions/

3. Application Virtualisation / Isolation Solutions live demo script (Altiris SVS, Thinstall, Citrix Application Streaming, SoftGrid). Give a better understanding what these solutions can offer from user and administrator perspective.
http://www.virtuall.nl/videos/Application%20Virtualization%20Solutions/Live%20Demo%20Script%20-%20Application%20Virtualization%20Solutions.pdf

4. Streaming Smackdown presentation from BriForum 2007 Chicago
http://www.virtuall.nl/articles/ProductInformation/BriForum%202007%20USA%20-%20Streaming%20Smackdown!%20Thinstall%20vs.%20Altiris%20SVS%20vs.%20Citrix%20Tarpon%20vs.%20Softricity%20v1.0.pdf

With regards,
Ruben Spruijt
Answered 07/26/2007 by: rspruijt
Senior Yellow Belt

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