Application Virtualization Client


Dozens, if not hundreds of various applications may be needed by an arbitrary user in the process of working on a modern computer. Besides the effort of installing them on each user’s computer, further maintenance is required such as updating it on time, running different versions concurrently, providing for compatibility with other installed applications, and finally removing those programs once they are no longer needed (sometimes complete removal cannot be fulfilled and a portion of folders/files as well as registry keys created by the application remain intact). All these problems can be solved with application virtualization.
Let’s study an example with Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V)

The idea behind this technology is as follows: instead of installing the application to the target computer, it is installed to a specially prepared “clean” machine (a virtual machine with client OS, for example). During the stage of application’s initial setup a special utility (that goes by the name Sequencer in App-V) tracks down every dependency of this application: files, folders, registry keys and branches, system libraries; and creates a package containing all of those. Packed application is then transferred to the target computer, where it runs inside an isolated container (also often called sandbox). User doesn’t have to install the application and adjust its settings ­– it just can be started without delay. At the same time user still has an opportunity to change various options of virtual applications, and set associations for file extensions.
There is an option in the centralized infrastructure of App-V to set rights for applications, allowing them to be run only by certain users or groups. Having started an application once, a user can log off the corporate network and leave for a business trip, and that application will run from user laptop’s local cache without the need of connecting to App-V server (or it won’t run if security standards of the enterprise do not allow that).
App-V virtual application packages can be distributed using the tools of application deployment to workstations (SCCM 2007, for example). App-V perfectly handles solutions for terminal access and presentation virtualization (based on MS RDS or Citrix XenApp) as well as VDI (VMware View, MS RDS, Citrix XenDesktop). In the latter case a considerable amount of disk space can be saved on virtual workstations, if all clients will have access to a read only cache for virtual applications located in a shared folder on the network. Taking into account that installed applications may take up to 20 GB of disk space, savings prove to be rather significant.
Finally, license purity can also be controlled with the help of App-V by setting the limit number of concurrently running instances of an application.

App-V Components:
Application Virtualization Client – a component installed to a client workstation or terminal server that allows retrieving, updating and running virtualized applications.
Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer – a component installed to a reference computer, where initial installation, setup and packaging of applications are carried out.
Application Virtualization Management Server – a centralized server, which allows publishing virtualized applications, setting access rights, managing licenses and much more.
Application Virtualization Management Console – a snap-in, which allows connecting to and managing one or more App-V Management Servers.
IIS Server – allows connecting to management servers of App-V Management Server with the App-V Management Console.
SQL server – used for storing management servers’ databases.
Streaming server – allows deploying application packages to client computers.