So far I have packaged virtual apps with:

Altiris SVS
Microsoft App-V (formerly Softgrid)
VMWare Thinstall

What is the industry take on each tool? From what I have seen the VMWare Thinstall is pretty weak and does not come close to the App-V or SVS tools. And the App-V is a pain in the neck to make anything work. I have had nothing but success with the SVS tool. It offers far more than the other tools and it actually works. I like that you can do a setup capture, or create a data layer. It also allows you to run Non-virtual apps as part of your virtual app.

I wanted to know that the packaging community thought of each tool and why.

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I have packaged with the latest version of all 3 tools, and for a low maintenance, no infrastructural changes, and no administrative/management overhead, out of the box solution, etc, ThinApp is a very good candidate - does everything that it promises to do very well, including dynamic linking of middle ware applications. Its simplity almost seems to indicated it was developed more for developers

For a big bang solution with all the enterprise administration/manaegement bells and whistles and "smoke" and mirrors thrown in, you can go the AppVirt route - there is gotcha, being able to free up a drive letter, to be used to mount the virtualized drive. Packager image and client workstations should have that drive letter available - not easy in an enterprise environment with mulitple applications being assigned to Windows/Novell or other mapped drives. The dynamic suite composition (for linking applications) is not easy you use, does not have a graphical interface for modifying OSD's.

SVS has its pros and cons, does not come with a major infrastructure requirements, and is a bonus if you already use Wise Package Studio to package your applications - the virualization feature is already a part of WPS. However, of the 3, it is the most expensive. Did have a feature allowing it to be linked with SMS 2007, this feature has not yet been ported to SCCM!
Answered 10/07/2008 by: samw@med.umich.edu
Yellow Belt

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How does ThinApp handle custom installs? Where I work we do a lot of custom installs for the customer and in fact it is rare anyone gets a generic install of anything. And how does it handle something like this:
You install firefox and the user sets all bunch of custom bookmarks. Then you need to upgrade firefox....how does thinapps keep the bookmarks?

And I have read that App-V cost the most. SVS for our environment would be about $250,000 for over 10,000 seats which is not that bad. SVS also has a robust packaging tool and I have not seen the same functoinality in ThinApp at all....unless I missed it. Example: SVS lets you install a non-virtual package along with your virtual package. Can Thinapp do that as well?
Answered 10/07/2008 by: mhsl808
Fifth Degree Brown Belt

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App-V should be around $10 a desktop as an addition to your Software Assurance agreement with Microsoft. ThinApp doesn't have much for editing tools which can be of use because the uncompiled package is basically a file structure with some text files representing the global package settings and registry hives.
Answered 10/07/2008 by: kkaminsk
Ninth Degree Black Belt

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We decided to go the SVS route since we've already packaged with Wise Package Studio and had great success with our first few virtual apps.
I only played for a very short period of time with the Thinstall solution. The idea of having single .exe files on a network share is nice but during our tests several apps didn't work properly.
And since we are a mixed Novell/Microsoft shop (deploying apps with ZENworks) and not in the possession of Software Assurance, Softgrid was no choice for us.

However, you need to check out the pros and cons for every solution and compare to the situation in your company.
Test your important apps to see how they work...
Answered 10/07/2008 by: rpfenninger
Second Degree Green Belt

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We decided nearly 3 years ago to use SoftGrid because no other tool at this time could handle so much bad programmed applications we have had to virtualize. Together with Citrix and a Terminalserver farm it´s today still the best solution for us. I also tryed Thinstall but it could not solve the problems the I have with some software in App-V, too.

Today I will check the new Version of Xenocode and try to virtualize software that use SQL Server Express.
I´ve no problem tu run a virtual server with Citrix and that product,too.

I think there is no generall solution for virtualization in a company.It alway´s depence on the kind of software you have to virtualize, if you have to serve Desktops or Terminalserver, inhouse or external via web and wich enviroment is currently present.

A good overview of the products was posted by Michael Keen called Application Virtualization Comparison chart

We as ASP for the insurance branch hit our target with a combination with App-V and Citrix but also keep in view other products.

Answered 10/08/2008 by: vkleiner
Orange Senior Belt

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