Book Image

Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide

By : Augusto Alvarez
Book Image

Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide

By: Augusto Alvarez

Overview of this book

Microsoft's Application Virtualization technology has been emerging as one of the main platforms in application virtualization. This is mainly because more and more organizations are thinking about application virtualization as a valid implementation; also because App-V represents probably the most attractive solution. App-V introduces a new and efficient way to improve operating systems and application life cycles in organizations. However, if we want to maximize our investment we must learn that every scenario and application differs from another, as does complexity.With Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide administrators will find detailed topics for understanding App-V components, architecture and implementation models; as well as step-by-step guidance to master App-V processes. There is also guidance on integrating App-V with other robust platforms like VDI, SCCM 2012 and even virtualizing server applications. Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide will start by giving readers the means to discover unfamiliar topics in App-V, as well as understanding App-V's architecture. By doing so, it will provide the baseline needed before shifting to advanced topics in App-V, like complex scenarios for sequencing and deploying applications. The book details scripting within App-V, as well as handling the platform using the command line; there is a complete review of troubleshooting installations, sequencing and deploying applications. Integration is another key component we will cover by introducing App-V in VDI and SCCM 2012. Server applications are not forgotten with Server App-V, using this book the reader will have a detailed understanding, with how-to steps to virtualize server applications.
Table of Contents (17 chapters)
Microsoft Application Virtualization Advanced Guide
Credits
About the Author
About the Reviewers
www.PacktPub.com
Preface
Index

Third-party tools for App-V


The App-V community also offers a lot of features and add-ons we can implement in our App-V platform in order to optimize our processes.

As we said earlier, we need to evaluate which tools are actually going to add a significant value in our scenarios, considering also that several of these tools are not free.

App-V Ping tool

The App-V Ping tool, from Immidio Resource Kit, is a simple tool from which we can quickly verify whether the connection to our App-V management/Streaming Server is working properly. This is a basic task we must perform in order to understand whether our clients can receive applications.

The tool verifies the 554 connections with a little more detail than the telnet client, but it will not verify whether the "content" folder is shared or whether the user has permissions in any application.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://immidio.com/resourcekit/

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows version (apparently there's no OS restriction)

    • App-V Management or Streaming Server

App-V Client Diagnostic and Configuration (ACDC) tool

The ACDC tool, created by Log In Consultants, is one of the most powerful available tools to monitor, configure, and diagnose in App-V client. Some of the tasks we can perform are as follows:

  • Launch predefined and custom commands within the virtual environment of each application

  • See the impact of the App-V client and the available virtual applications on your system by calculating package size, cache size, user delta file size, log file size, and so on

  • Diagnose problems with App-V applications by parsing the App-V client log file (in real time) and search any message online

  • Configure settings that are not visible in the App-V client GUI, such as Predictive Streaming, Allow Stream from File, Max Package Age, and many more

  • Give an overview of application and package information by merging important WMI, registry, and OSD information in one single window

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=69&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7, Windows Vista, or Windows XP

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

    • App-V Desktop/Remote Desktop Services Client 4.5 or later

App-V USB tool

The App-V USB tool, created by Log In Consultants, works with App-V client to automatically add and import App-V packages located in a USB drive.

We can manually add selected applications or just select to detect and import all applications with one click.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=40&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7

    • App-V Client 4.5 or higher

App-V add-on ADM 2.0

This add-on, created by Log In Consultants, extends the App-V Administrator template offered by Microsoft with a new ADM that includes several very interesting options, such as:

  • Global cache file location

  • Read-only cache file configuration (used in VDI environments)

  • Enhanced logging settings

  • User cache location

  • Publishing server configuration: server host and server type

  • Tray icon settings

  • Communication settings

  • SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER system variable

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=70&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows Vista, or Windows XP

    • App-V 4.5 or later

Application Virtualization Explorer

This tool, created by Gridmetric, simplifies several common tasks performed by advanced sequencer professionals. Some of the tasks we can perform using the attractive GUI are: configure application dependencies and file type associations, view and edit OSD scripts, and so on.

It also includes the option for browsing PKG files of any given package.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid (trial version available)

  • Download link: http://www.gridmetric.com/products/ave.html

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP SP3, Windows 2003 Server SP2, Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 SP1, or Windows 2008 R2

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP2

App-V Client Setup Kit

The App-V Client Setup Kit, by Log In Consultants, is a tool that helps App-V administrators to generate a universal Visual Basic script to deploy the App-V client. This script can later be used manually or with any deployment tool.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=20&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

Application Virtualization Analyzer

The Application Virtualization Analyzer, developed by Log In Consultants, is a suite from which we can obtain basic and important information from all of our App-V packages. The tool is oriented to quickly detect any conflicts present.

Using an Excel file, all of the information is parsed and organized to list your App-V packages. In the same Excel file, all of the conflicts are detected and listed separately.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=118&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Windows Server 2003 or higher

    • PowerShell V2

AppV_DeployApp and AppV_PublishApp

This set of tools, developed by TMUrgent (Tim Mangan), was created to simplify the App-V implementations without requiring any Management/Streaming Servers. It improves the standalone implementations by automatically loading applications in a file share and using Active Directory User Groups to define permissions.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.tmurgent.com/AppVirt/DeployNPublish.aspx

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 (setup includes automatic installation, if it's not present)

LaunchIt

LaunchIt, developed by TMUrgent (Tim Mangan), is a tool that can be included in App-V packages in order to add a warning message to the user when it shuts down the application with all the processes that are going to be terminated with that action. This only applies when we configure, in the package, the TERMINATECHILDREN=TRUE value.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.tmurgent.com/AppVirt/DownloadLaunchIt.aspx

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

App-V OSD editor

The App-V OSD editor, by Log In Consultants, represents a GUI for reviewing and editing OSD files. This is an "old" application, so it does not support the Windows 7 OS tag in OSD editing.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=27&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7

OSD Illustrated

OSD Illustrated, developed by TMUrgent (Tim Mangan), is a simple interactive web application available, from which we get a complete reference about the OSD tags available.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://tmurgent.com/OSD_Illustrated.aspx (no need to download actually)

  • Requirements:

    • Internet Explorer 7 or higher

Batch+

Batch+ is a tool, created by AppPlus, that allows administrators to quickly edit several OSD files at once with the parameters we decide, for example, adding the Windows 7 tag to all packages.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.intercept-it.com/AppPlus/Community/CommunityTools/BatchFreeEdition/BatchHighlights.aspx

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

Add OS to OSD

This tool, created by Fabian Meister, simply adds an OS tag to a selected OSD file. It does not check the OS tag we are using; it just adds the tag.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://local.micro.biol.ethz.ch/appv/Add_OS_to_OSD.zip

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

OSD+

This tool, developed by AppPlus, includes several functionalities to handle, edit, and launch App-V packages, without requiring an App-V platform. Some of the features included are the following:

  • File streaming capabilities into App-V client

  • Launch application from inside the GUI

  • Launch troubleshooting tools inside the application's virtual environment

  • Create manifest files for SCCM and third-party delivery software integration

  • Create "dynamic suite compositions" with the click of a button

  • Import registry files into the OSD file

  • Restore OSD files to previous save points

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid

  • Download link: http://www.intercept-it.com/AppPlus/Products/OSD/Highlights.aspx

  • Requirements:

    • Undocumented

App-V Helper

The App-V Helper tool developed by mayankjohri and available on Source Forge, is another tool to facilitate package deployment. We can select any given package and the computer where we would like to deploy and execute the process.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://sourceforge.net/projects/softgridhelper/

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

Softricity File (SFT) Checking utility

The Softricity File Checking utility, created by Kalle Saunamäki, permits administrators using a command line to retrieve detailed information about SFT files. Some of the information that can be retrieved is about block size, GUIDs, and FB1 size.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.virtualapp.net/sft-check.html

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

LogTools for SoftGrid client

This suite, created by Kalle Saunamäki, includes several command-line utilities to handle App-V client log files efficiently. The tools included are:

  • logloader - tool to convert log files to XML format for further processing (application launch/shutdown events)

  • logxml2csv - tool to convert XML-formatted files to CSV files for easy viewing and processing in, say, Microsoft Excel

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.virtualapp.net/client-logtools.html

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

    • Minimum log-level for App-V Client(s) set to 4 - Information

For more information about App-V client logs and their log level, see Chapter 5, Troubleshooting App-V.

SFT Encoder Express

The SFT Encoder Express, created by Kalle Saunamäki, represents the free version of the Virtualization Encoder. This tool permits us to package, into a standard App-V package, any directory we choose; the SFT Encoder creates the necessary files (SFT, OSD, and SPRJ).

The files are created using the SoftGrid 4.1 and 4.2 standards.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.virtualapp.net/sft-encoder.html

  • Requirements:

    • Any Windows OS

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

Virtualization Encoder

Virtualization Encoder represents the paid and professional version of SFT Encoder Express. Besides permitting administrators to package any given directory, it includes several other options, such as upgrade or downgrade package versions (App-V 4.6 SP1 is supported) or editing a package without the need to create a new version of this package.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid (trial version available)

  • Download link: http://www.gridmetric.com/products/sftencoder.html

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP SP3, Windows 2003 Server, Windows Vista SP1, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, or Windows 2008 R2 operating system.

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 with SP2

App-V Migration tool

The App-V Migration tool was created in 2008 (last version) by Log In Consultants; it allows administrators to automatically create App-V packages using the installer MSI for the application.

The process basically executes an "unattended" installation for the application, with the parameters we define; the tool completes the installation and generates the App-V package.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.loginconsultants.com/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_details&gid=28&Itemid=149

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP, Windows Vista, or Windows 7

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

    • App-V Sequencer 4.5

Lib-V

This suite, also offered by Gridmetric, is oriented for specific companies' business applications; basically, it is a .NET 2.0 library that allows applications to handle and edit App-V components on their own.

This way, if the application was created to be virtualized, we can customize it in order to understand, handle, and edit any of the App-V components (such as SFT, OSD, SPRJ, XML, and MSI files) without requiring manual editing by a sequencer professional.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid (no trial version available)

  • Download link: http://www.gridmetric.com/products/libv.html

  • Requirements:

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0

    • The rest is undocumented

AppScriber

AppScriber, created by Immidio, represents a platform from which we can provide end users with an application portal. Users can now subscribe/unsubscribe from applications just by using this portal.

AppScriber is not App-V-exclusive. It also supports Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, Citrix XenApp, and Symantec Altiris Deployment Solution.

Note

This application works in a way similar to Software Center, offered by SCCM 2012, which we had the chance to review in Chapter 8, Integrating App-V with System Center Configuration Manager 2012.

This suite is not free, but Immidio also offers the AppScriber 3 Express edition at no charge.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid

  • Download link: http://immidio.com/appscriber/

  • Requirements (for back-end servers):

    • Windows Server 2003 or later

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0 SP2

    • IIS 6 or later

    • SQL Server/SQL Server Express 2005 or later

    • Internet Explorer 7 or higher (client machines)

AdminStudio

AdminStudio, created by Flexera Software, is a robust suite for application management and optimization using MSI files. It permits application packaging with all the necessary parameters and customizations, plus adding features, such as testing and validations, generate reports, centrally manage permissions, and so on.

AdminStudio also includes a virtualization package that supports App-V packages for quickly converting MSI files into App-V packages, validating and testing for conflicts, editing packages without the App-V Sequencer, and so on.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid

  • Download link: http://www.flexerasoftware.com/products/adminstudio/editions.htm

  • Requirements:

    • Windows Server 2003 or later

    • SQL Server 2005/SQL Server 2005 Express or later

    • IIS 6 or later

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

App-V Tool suite

The App-V Tool suite represents a set of applications composed by Duplicate Root Detector, Permission Copy , and App-V Search .

Duplicate Root Detector will scan a folder for .sft files and report whether any of those files use the same root (asset) directory. .sft files that are part of the same package are not reported as using the same root directory. It also scans for duplicated package IDs among SFT files.

Permission Copy allows the user to copy the Access Permissions from one App-V application or application group to another.

App-V Search is a simple search tool that allows you to search the names of applications, application groups, and packages for a given string, using the SQL database.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://appvtools.codeplex.com/releases/view/63642

  • Requirements:

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

PowerShell snap-in for Microsoft App-V Server 4.6 SP1

Even though it is not an application itself, the PowerShell snap-in could be quite useful when we are looking for ways to automate processes handling App-V server operations.

Some of the operations we can use by handling these Cmdlets are: setting App-V management server options, handling applications and packages, adding/removing servers as well as server groups, and so on.

Note

Additional details

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://posh4appv.codeplex.com/

  • Requirements:

    • App-V Management Server 4.6 SP1

    • PowerShell V2

App-V Generator

App-V Generator, created by Infopulse, is a tool for fast creation and editing of App-V packages for the Windows OS family.

App-V Generator, in contrast to App-V Sequencer, uses snapshot-based package creation. It compares two system snapshots, detects system changes, filters out application data from system data, and creates a resulting App-V package.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid (trial version available)

  • Download link: http://www.infopulse.com.ua/eng/Solutions/App-V-Generator/

  • Requirements:

    • Windows 2000, Windows XP, Windows 2003 Server, Vista, Windows 2008 Server, or Windows 7

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 SP1

PkgView for App-V

This tool, developed by TMUrgent (Tim Mangan), lets administrators view and analyze the PKG files from any user or in the global directory.

This tool is focused for advanced sequencer professionals, since by using it, we can evaluate whether the files sequenced are running in their right environment (as user data or application data).

Detailed information about PkgView can be found on Tim's blog at http://www.tmurgent.com/TmBlog/?p=166.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.tmurgent.com/download/PkgView_1.5.0.zip

  • Requirements:

    • Any 32-bit Windows OS

PimpMy for Softgrid and App-V

The PimpMy suite, developed by TMUrgent (Tim Mangan), contains a set of two applications: PimpMy for SoftGrid Real-Time Monitoring package and PimpMy for SoftGrid Help Desks package.

The Real-Time Monitoring package offers information on-the-fly about current utilization of App-V packages. The tool also integrates with System Center Operations Manager.

The Help Desks package provides a user interface that is oriented for Help Desk operators to easily identify problems in App-V packages deployed to clients.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid (trial version available)load link: http://tmurgent.com/PimpMy/PimpMy4SG.aspx

  • Requirements:

    • Windows Server 2003 or later

    • Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5

Failure to Launch

The Failure to Launch app is actually a web app that we can use from any browser that supports Silverlight. This web app was developed by TMUrgent (Tim Mangan) and contains a detailed explanation and use cases about App-V errors.

Failure to Launch provides some great guidance about common App-V client errors. It covers general information about error codes, flow charts about issues with launching apps, information about errors during execution, and so on.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.tmurgent.com/AppVirt/FTL/Ftl.aspx

  • Requirements:

    • Browser compatible with Silverlight

sftImport

sftImport, created by DeNamiK (a software company), is a tool to automate the process of importing applications into the App-V management server, using their OSD file.

The application supports using CSV (Comma Separated Value) files to import a large number of applications.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free (registration required)

  • Download link: http://www.denamik.com/en/downloads/cat_view/8-denamik-free-downloads

  • Requirements:

    • Undocumented

Advanced Installer

Advanced Installer is not an App-V-oriented suite; it is in fact used in several scenarios as an alternative to application virtualization. It offers the way to package applications into an MSI to facilitate the deployment.

However, it includes the possibility to create your own App-V packages manually by editing the file system, registry, and other components in the virtual environment. To review this process, take a look at http://www.advancedinstaller.com/user-guide/tutorial-appv.html.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Paid (trial version available)

  • Download link: http://www.advancedinstaller.com/download.html

  • Requirements:

    • Windows XP SP3 or superior

    • Windows Installer 2.0 or superior

DSC Management Utility

The DSC Management Utility, developed by add3 consultants, adds more functionality to the Microsoft DSC Composition tool.

DSC provides the way to link package dependencies in App-V. With this tool, we can edit those links and dependencies, but we can also retrieve the exact applications included in each package to gain more understanding in the dependencies we are setting.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://www.add3.co.uk/content/app-v-dsc-management-utility

  • Requirements:

    • Undocumented

App-V Import tool

The App-V Import tool, available in CodePlex, is used to browse for App-V packages and import them into the App-V client as a standalone configuration. This app, of course, does not require for any App-V server to be present.

Note

Additional details:

  • License: Free

  • Download link: http://appvimport.codeplex.com/

  • Requirements:

    • Undocumented