App-V Part 1

Microsoft App-V: Part 1

This is the first part of a series about Microsoft App-V. This is Microsoft’s entrance into the application virtualization sector. App-V comes with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, and is currently at version 5.1.

App-V Standalone

App-V can run in a standalone mode, or integrated with SCCM. Standalone App-V delivers applications by steaming them to clients into the App-V cache. Applications are then executed from that cache. If an update is available, it will download at application launch. Applications are sequenced by using a repackaging type procedure. Admins install the application on a reference machine that the App-V Sequencer analyzes to produce the virtual app. Most applications can be executed this way, but some are not acceptable. You should also check relevant license agreements to ensure that you are not breaking any agreements by virtualizing the application.

App-V with SCCM

App-V can also be integrated into SCCM. You must still have the Desktop Optimization Pack to deploy virtual apps through SCCM. Within SCCM, you can also specify virtual environments, where a collection of virtualized apps can communicate with one another. Normally, virtual apps are run in a sandbox, where they can’t really communicate with the outside operating system. These environments allow them to communicate with one another, but not with the outside OS.

Components

There are three components to a standalone installation of App-V. First, the server, is installed on a server and hosts the management functionality and the SQL database. The SQL database must be on the same server as the management components. You only need this component if you are doing App-V outside of SCCM. If you are using SCCM, SCCM handles the function of the management server. Also, doing this with SCCM does not require another SQL database.

Second is the Sequencer. This application sequences the application for use by App-V. This is a similar process to repackaging an application. You install it on a reference machine and the Sequencer analyzes the installation and captures the files and registry keys that are installed by the application. It then packages these into a file that is delivered to clients.

Finally, there is the App-V client. This component is required whether you’re doing your App-V implementation with SCCM or without. When doing this with SCCM, the client is only there to render the applications. The App-V content is actually stored in the SCCM client cache.

Installing the Server Component

First, App-V requires IIS to function. For a list of the required features by App-V component, see here: https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn858705.aspx.

Make sure that you install the server component on a server that is running a SQL instance. The installation is pretty straight-forward, and can usually be done by keeping all available defaults. Here’s a screenshot of the installation options:

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In normal cases, it’s best to install the reporting components on the management server to save SQL licenses, but you can decide that based on your environment’s requirements. The publishing server can be separated off if you choose. You can also add multiple publishing servers for large environments, or for high-availability.

After installation, you should be able to open a web browser and navigate to the management server name and port and see this:

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