This is the first in a two-part series about App-V 5.0 and how it integrates with Configuration Manager 2012. It will also detail some common scenarios where App-V may be appropriate. Next week we will talk about the App-V Sequencer. These posts will not cover anything to with the standalone server version of App-V 5.0.
The first thing you should know is that even though App-V is built into SCCM 2012, you still need a separate license to use it. App-V comes with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and is currently a part of the Software Assurance pack. SCCM only gives you the ability to publish App-V applications. You still need the client and sequencer, which is only available from the MDOP media.
The article will detail how to install the App-V client on your machines and how it interacts with the SCCM client. It will also go through Virtual Environments and common scenarios for using App-V.
The first piece to this is the App-V client. It must be installed on all devices where you want to publish App-V applications. It is a simple EXE install, and it will choose the 32-bit or 64-bit version of the App-V client based on the architecture of your device. It is possible to extract the individual MSI’s from the EXE, though I recommend just using the EXE. Here is a sample command line for that installation of the client:
“appv_client_setup.exe” /quiet /norestart /ACCEPTEULA /ENABLEPACKAGESCRIPTS=1
As you can see, there’s no server information in my installation command. This is because the SCCM client will recognize that the App-V client is present and take over its settings. The other important thing to note is the ENABLEPACKAGESCRIPTS option. I am setting my clients to allow package scripts because that is required for advanced applications.
I use the SCCM application method for my client deployment, so here are the MSI installer codes for you to use as your detection method. Note that these are current as of this writing (MDOP 2013 R2), but they will change with the next release:
Be sure to change the connector to “Or” when setting up your detection method.
When using SCCM and App-V together, the SCCM client “takes over” the App-V client. It manages the server settings, and all content is delivered from your SCCM distribution points. When you “install” a virtual application from Software Center on your device, the SCCM client goes and downloads the App-V files from the SCCM distribution point and places them in the SCCM client cache. The App-V client then streams the application from the SCCM client cache and presents like any other application. The one caveat here is that the virtual application is stored in the SCCM client cache, so you may need to increase the size of your cache (default is 5GB). I have mine set to 25GB, and it has never been a problem.
App-V Virtual Environments
This is a new feature with CM 2012 and App-V 5. This new feature allows you to create environments for your virtual applications. App-V runs everything in a bubble. This allows you to create a bubble for multiple applications, allowing them to work together and talk to one another. This can help, because it eliminates the need to create multiple packages for the application because they all have different requirements. You can simply layer them on top of one another using this new environment feature.
Scenarios for App-V
So when should you use App-V? Let me first say that these examples are my own opinion. It is perfectly acceptable to use App-V any situation that benefits your organization. I choose to use App-V in only certain specialized situations.
One very good way to leverage App-V is for software or systems that need specific versions of something. One example is if you need a particular version of Firefox and Java to run a web application. You can package the version of Firefox and Java that you need and deploy it out for use with that web application. Using this method, you can keep the computer secure by using the most up-to-date versions for normal web use, but still have your version-specific stuff for your web application.
Another good use for App-V is if you need an application sandboxed from the rest of the computer. App-V runs everything in bubble, so this can be achieved. It will NOT, however, keep your users from getting viruses or malware.
App-V is great tool, and if used correctly, it can add value to your CM 2012 infrastructure. Come back next for a post devoted exclusively to the App-V Sequencer.
All content provided on this blog is for information purposes only. Windows Management Experts, Inc makes no representation as to accuracy or completeness of any information on this site. Windows Management Experts, Inc will not be liable for any errors or omission in this information nor for the availability of this information. It is highly recommended that you consult one of our technical consultants, should you need any further assistant.