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Blog Posts tagged with App-V

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MMS2012: Introducing Microsoft Application Virtualization 5.0

I regret I missed the name of the presenter for this session who did an excellent job speaking and demonstrating App-V. Someone please share via comments if you know.

 

App-V 5.0 Pillars:

1)   Integrated Platform (Virtual applications work like installed applications, use windows standards and do not require a dedicated drive letter).

2)   Flexible Virtualization (Multiple App-V applications can share the same environment, designed to support highly integrated applications and preserve existing investments in App-V.).

3)   Powerful Management (web based- management interface, optimized for VDI and rich PowerShell scripting automation capabilities)

 

Virtual files use NTFS now (not proprietary) which is good for virus scan scenarios. To support migration it is possible to run a 4.6 and a 5.0 client on the same machine at the same time.


What's New 

  • While App-V 4.6 required a dedicated Q drive, 5.0 does not
  • While App-V 4.6 had a 4gb package limit, 5.0 does not
  • While App-V 4.6 isolated applications from the OS entirely, you can now bend these rules with the Virtual Application Extension feature in 5.0
  • While App-V 4.6 allowed you to share middleware with Dynamic Suite composition. You can now share peer applications with Virtual Application Connection
  • While the App-V 4.6 shared cache was read only, in 5.0 it can now be easily updated
  • While App-V 4.6 offered limited command line scripting, 5.0 now supports PowerShell (in fact, the entire server experience may now be scripted)
  • While App-V 4.6 had an installed management console, 5.0 offers a web based management console based on Silverlight


Session and demo notes

UI looks nice, home page has a metro feel and the management pages are reminiscent of the InTune interface.

Publishing servers sync from the management server and pull data down to clients. Default is every 10 minutes. When testing you’ll want to decrease this time (documented).

Client may be configured using Group Policy

Packages are “.appv” files now (no more “.sft” file).  This is an open format you can open and look at and this moved allowed them to address the 4gb limit. There is a PowerShell based conversion tool to batch migrate many 4.6 packages to 5.0. The App-V file has all the meta data in it so it is the only file you you need. There are no OSD files either, but there are two optional configuration files. They are similar to OSD as they contain many of the same properties. This is where you would inject scripts. You can use these files to make changes to avoid the need to go back to the sequencer to update a package. They claim that most of the time it will just work and you can just use the “.appv” file, but if you need to tweak it there are two configuration files you can optionally mess with: a Deployment Configuration file (one file) changes get applied to anyone that uses the computer. The other file is a User Configuration file (may be one or several). This latter file is for making changes that affect the user on the machine. You can have one package and multiple configuration files if you wish, resulting in many different variations of an App-V package.

Microsoft is partnering with Adobe to get package accelerators available to help with the deployment of Adobe products via App-V.

The UI lets you adjust shortcuts and applications within the web based console.  You can apply changes only to specific user groups if you wish.

Client UI also has metro style card interface.

Virtual Application Connection feature lets virtual applications operate in the same bubble so they can communicate with each other while still being isolated from the operating systems. Updating included dependencies like Java required many package updates, now you can connect to the same one and have only one to update.  In 5.0 you don’t need to go into OSD files and figure out what was the master application, link them, etc. Now you can do this in the web UI-- create a “Connection Group”, give it a name and specify which applications belong to the group (in the background the configuration files are created/edited based on your choices and applied to the client).

When putting applications in the same environment they could conflict. There is a priority you specify to dictate which one wins out given any such conflicts.

Everything is possible via PowerShell so it is very easy to write your own tools or for third parties to create tools to offer the same functionality within their products.

Virtual Application Extension – and extension point is a virtual subsystem that can be registered with the native Windows OS. In short, you can let the OS and native applications see into virtual bubbles at a very granular level when necessary.

Supported subsystems: Shortcuts, file type associations (FTA), AppPath, URL protocols, Software Clients, Set program access and computer defaults and COM Local servers. Configuration files are reportedly well documented and contain lots of comments to help spell out where various manipulations may be made.

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Event: Cut Complexity and Improve Efficiency with Dell KACE and App-V

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MMS2013: Better Together: Application Virtualization 5.0 and Office

Speaker: Ele Ocholi

It’s interesting that this would be a session at all. I remember when Softricity first came onto the scene and Microsoft had made its acquisition of the technology. You could tell they knew it had a lot of promise but Microsoft was careful about how it was positioned. Back then, it was specifically recommended that you NOT deploy Office with App-V. As it has improved, so too has the confidence in the solution.

Office 2013 Click To Run (from Office 365) now runs with full functionally using App-V with no sequencing required.  Office 2010 is now officially supported with App-V. Note you must use the retail versions to create the packages.

New with App-V 5.0: No Q drive! It is now an “integrated platform” and it follows windows standards. Dynamic configuration lets you control how isolated your applications should be. A new web-based management interface was introduced as well as some PowerShell automation and customization capabilities. There is also no longer a 4gb package size limit.

Running with App-V, you can have multiple versions of Office running on the same system, you can also sequence and connect add-ins. 

The Office Deployment tool from the MS Download Center will let you build this App-V package. The packages created in this way should not be edited (opened with the Sequencer).  Editing is not supported and Microsoft claims you should not need to.

For the Office 2013 Click To Run (from Office 365) package, you can control what applications from Office you want, languages, etc. via a XML configuration file that comes with the Office Deployment Tool.

The App-V package is created with COM integration and Objects Enabled set and so any add-ins you sequence must do the same: COM Mode must be set to “integrated”. Objects Enabled must be set to “false”.

To connect two App-V packages together like with this add-in scenario you must create a connection file listing the GUIDs for both application packages. In the demo, the connection was made by using PowerShell with the Add-AppvClientConnectionGroup cmdlet and enabling it globally.  No longer do you need to have one package look for another, these connection groups manage the relationship separately now.

To offer support for Office 2010, a Office Sequencing Kit is offered as part of MDOP. The sequencing kit walks you through the changes needed and package accelerator for Windows 7 and 8 are also being provided.

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App-V with Java/JRE/JDK

It is very critical to understand how to handle installation of Java related applications in App-V environment.
While some are of the view that the application should be installed along with Java in the same bubble while some say that the Java version installed on the base machine can be used.

Here is how you can do both of these in a proper way:

1) Java installed locally on the machine: If Java is locally installed on the machine and you capture the App-V application, then you will see a hard coded entry in the registry. This basically points the App-V application to look for Java in this local machine location. If you upgrade your Java version from say 1.6.21 to 1.6.24, then you do not need to worry, however, if you do a major upgrade from 1.6.21 to 1.7.xx then you need to upgrade your App-V Application as well. You need to maintain the software library for all these applications and then upgrade them as part of Java Upgrade in the organization.

2) Java is installed as local copy inside App-V bubble: Java can also be installed as a local copy with your App-V application. There can be various reasons for doing this:
 a) Application is compatible only with a certain version of Java
 b) Application uses a higher version which is not locally installed.
 c) If Software manager do not want to upgrade the application every time Java gets updated.

In these cases a private copy of Java can be captured with App-V. However, there is a procedure for achieving this.
These steps will be helpful in doing this:

http://packagingguide.blogspot.com.au/2011/11/app-v-for-java-runtime-environment.html

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TechEd 2013 - The Replaceable PC

Speakers: Stephen rose & Ronald Dockery

 

Managing multiple PC's for users is a challenge. You've got a desktop, laptop, personal devices, etc. How do we get the data to be available on all of them?

 

Roaming profiles were always around, but that was problematic. Skydrive, exchange online, UEV, Windows live accounts, and other tools help make this simpler. My users don't care how it works, they just want it to work.

The guys set up an experiment with a volunteer from the audience and put on lab coats and safety gear. Then proceeded to beat a laptop with a hammer. It was one of the presenter's laptop. He was less happy about that. Not to worry- it was a Lenovo. So I was okay with the hammer act Cool

UEV (User Experience Virtualization) sets up with app-v, folder redirection, and works all kindsa cool with Skydrive Pro. We don't want users taking all of the company data, so the UEV keeps up with user settings, apps, and data. 

 

Windows 8.1 has deeper integration with Skydrive. Skydrive Pro has more options for security, and can even be on-premise if you wish. 

 

UEVDeliver Windows and app settings across devices

Folder RedirectionProvides access to documents on any device on the domain

AppV- Enable users apps to follow them across devices (as needed)

Config Manager- Manage and distribute apps to users on all of their devices

 

Overall this was a pretty seamless solution, but as far as implementation you'd be looking at a ton of work.

 

In theory if a user was on VPN the same things could happen. UEV is a new spin on roaming profiles and USMT that seems to actually work. The settings and needs are being streamed instead of loaded, and then presenting the desktop.

 

Thinking of "that user" that can ruin your day when they get a new PC- UEV an make "Dot" much happier when she gets a new PC, and you get to keep doing your real job instead of spending all day making her happy- she's already happy.

 

We're working across boudaries, but it's not the solution for everything. Sure we can use APPV, cloud storage, GPO's, etc. but there's going to be gaps.

 

But wait, there's more! There's a settings store, for simple file share of this, there's a UEV generator to build a template for folks, and theres the ability to deploy the agent via anything (like a K1000)

 

UEV can be configured in a few steps. On the server, build settings store. There's a special account group called UE-V_Users that have special access controls. Push the agent. Cool!

 

Folder redirection is thinner, smarter, and faster. If we couple it with DirectAccess and Branch manager things get even better. Sure this won't work in all environments, but the tools are there for some cool stuff. Using files shares and GPO's accomplishes a lot. This keeps our users safe from themselves and keeps things backed up (okay that's a separate task and isn't automatic, but better than expecting the user to do it). We can also have some good flexibility when it comes to offline files. Turn it off, Force it on, let the user control, etc.

 

On Technet some resources for getting started with AppV: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hh826068.aspx 

 

App v5 has some cool new features- Web console, no more Q drive, publishing via AD is very seamless; Connection groups let us group apps and components for easy bundling of software.

 

With config manager we can take all of this stuff and then manage it all. 

 

Windows to Go can then help solve the problem of "You smashed my PC, but what if I don't have another one?" Using MDT to build that base image and put it on a drive and let's go on any machines. There are requirements for the USB drive,here's a list of approved drives: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/hh831833.aspx#

 

With all of these features together, the PC, the base hardware, becomes less relevant. We're loading everything up on the USB device and using UEV, AppV, etc. so the session is secure, and the user is having seamless experience. Pretty cool stuff. One of the more interesting, entertaining, and overall really useful-in-the-real-world classes I have gone to. 

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