Is the 2014 version of Flexera's AdminStudio Virtualization Pack any good?

Hi there,

I am part of a remote packaging service creating a number of App-V 5 and MSI's packages each month. Currently, the client are using App-V 5.0 but will shortly be upgrading to App-V 5 SP3 and we would therefore like to revisit their existing MSI (and other physical apps) estate with a view to convert some previously 'App-V incompatible' apps. 

The client do currently have a few AdminStudio licences (although I guess the virtualization pack is separate) so not sure if it is worth paying for. 

Has anyone had experience of using the App-V sequencing tool within this pack? If so, how successful was it? Was the "Application Virtualization Suitability and Compatibility Testing" accurate and did it provide useful information in terms of applications' compatibility? 

I guess I'm looking for an overall picture of its success vs its cost. Apologies if that's too vague so please ask more questions you feel may be relevant in order to answer it.


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Answers (3)

Answer Summary:
Posted by: anonymous_9363 7 years ago
Red Belt
It's hard to know what the additional stuff in SP3 will do to magically change 'App-V incompatible' apps into 'App-V compatible' ones.

Also, I believe the virtualisation stuff comes in a separate edition of AS. I don't think there's an add-on pack. You may have to buy upgrades and re-install. Don't quote me, though - most clients I've worked for have just bought the Enterprise edition.

  • its definitely an add on pack. Just had this discussion. There are 3 addons. if you guy two, they give you the third. This is then called AdminStudio Enterprise Complete. - Badger 7 years ago
  • Apologies, I should have been more clear with what I meant by App-V incompatible. I was talking about new support for context menus, better permission-ing, etc. Thank you for your response. - alex_skinner 7 years ago
    • Not Context menus. Its ShellExtensions. There is a minefield for you. It does not work natively. I used to cover this in App-V 4.6 training. It puts the shellextension keys into the Config XML file, and actually puts physical registry keys down. Creating what is actually a hybrid package. physical and virtual. - Badger 7 years ago
Posted by: packageologist 7 years ago
Orange Senior Belt
I wouldn't recommend it for your use case.

It is useful if you have a huge number of apps that have already had some 'discovery' done (i.e. a basic install test, all settings required extracted to files/registry/transform and the installation automated via a script) and you wish to batch convert them in the fastest way possible.

The application compatibility testing gives too many false positives and false negatives to make it worthwhile. It will sometimes be able to point out things like drivers or boot time services, but the sequencer itself can now point these out with much better reliability.

Most of the time when an app is incompatible with App-V, it has nothing to do with the more obvious cues that these tools (and the sequencer) can pick up. It's usually because of something unusual going on in the code that's very hard to detect from the outside, so manual analysis by an experienced troubleshooter is required.

Running an app compat solution will generally slow you down; however there may be the occasional useful piece of information it will be able to give you, and if you need to provide evidence of why you are unable to virtualise an app, you can always use the various red/amber warnings to bamboozle your clients!

  • Thank you for your reply, it's been a great help! - alex_skinner 7 years ago
Posted by: Badger 7 years ago
Red Belt

App-V v5 to v5 SP3 will not yield a huge amount of extra App-V candidates. (if its v4.6 to v5 or v5 SP3 that would get better results)

If you are doing a number a month, (what number) it sounds like BAU, so 10, 20? I would say No, don't get the pack.

The virt pack is an add on for all editions of AdminStudio even in the latest enterprise edition (Thank you Flexera), if you are buying AS, I would argue its possibly worth shelling out the extra few £$€'s at the time. BUT it will not do all of your apps for you in a heart beat. Also you said your client has some licenses, you need to watch the AS licensing model, its is a named per user model, so if its installed on a machine, only ONE person can use it. If someone else logs in and uses it, technically your are in breech of the licensing.

You mention the sequencing tool, technically it converts MSIs into App-V packages, if its an exe, essentially you do a capture, convert the ISM to an MSI, then convert the MSI into App-V.

It would be immensely useful if you have just finished packaging in MSI format ALL of your applications for Win 7 or 8, then at the last minute the powers that be say, "hang on, we now have App-V licensing so were are going to App-V ALL of our apps." (of course other application virtualisation options are available, also catered for in the Virtualisation pack), now you could just run your fully functioning packages (MSI fully configured with MST) through the conversion and you would have App-V packages.

Assuming you (or the vendors) do not use a lot of CustomActions, they don't get processed during the conversion (it flags that in the report). Which can make it very hard for the conv to figure out where to put the files and figure out what the shortcut is supposed to point to. You can fix that by dropping the CA and sorting out the Directory table properly, but yawn, you might as well sequence it. Then you have the next discussion point of, are you using App-V streaming applications?? if so, are you going to use FB streaming to optimise it?? Cos the conversion tool doesnt handle that (well it didn't, maybe it might now)

Also on the conversion tools, (yep all of them Flexera and other vendors) you get sold the 100% or 99% effective, but then the tech guy will tell you about the 'false negatives' and the 'false positives'. False negs are better, I think, as you can convert them, or sequence them and it works, Yay.

In my experience every single false positive has been immediately deployed to a directors desktop, then its discovered to not work properly, shameful testing I know. But it can make you look a bit of a plum. Its normally pushed through for the director, green, tick, convert, deploy. Oh, now you understand the phrase 'false positive'.

Punchline, not really worth it.
The places we have used it, we get Level 1 people to run apps through, if it works good for them, if it doesnt, then it comes into the packaging queue for the big boys to look at (most follow this track).

  • You are correct, our aim is around 20 per month.

    Yes, we have several virtual machines assigned to individual packagers - you can't be too careful with AS licencing... ha!

    I did wonder how it would 'work out' custom actions. I am considering the App-V conversion scripts for MSI's that don't have CA's in so that begs the question... why would you use AS Virt pack seeing as the App-V scripts are just as useful, especially as the app compat isn't 'that' accurate... hmm.

    Anyway, thank you for your reply. Again, it's been really useful and greatly appreciated! :) - alex_skinner 7 years ago
    • you might need to clarify 'app-v scripts' .If you get it (AS Virt pack) , run them and check how the App-V package turns out. I could rattle off specific examples, but one I can think of is MSI that have CA for license key dialogues, they wont get processed, you have an app-V package with no active license. - Badger 7 years ago

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