In a blog post today, Microsoft’s Karri Alexion-Tiernan announced the Beta for App-V 5.0, plus an additional MDOP add-on called UE-V.
App-V 5.0 is the most dramatic change to App-V in a really long time, possibly the biggest since the initial release by Softricity. While I have been working with previous releases, I’m not ready to talk much about the Beta. So much of what I know is under NDA and Microsoft surprised us with the announcement today, so I’ll need time to confirm what is actually in the beta.
For those people who have been asking me if Microsoft will continue with the App-V server, the beta answers this clearly with a “YES”. The server has been rewritten and works completely differently. The console is browser/silverlight based, and we can say goodbye to the RTSP protocol, as the new server prefers more mainstream protocols like HTTP. And you’d better learn powershell because you’ll need it on the server.
The Client also undergoes radical change, as the virtual drive (Q) goes away. Things are now more “transparent” than before, which may or may not turn out to be a good thing. SFTMIME and SFTTRAY are a thing of the past, and powershell is now the name of the game. Also, I’ll note that the changes for VDI are a vast improvement over the Read-only cache implementation of 4.6SP1.
The Sequencer remains similar to 4.6SP1 from a UI perspective, however the output is no longer the SFT format. Conversions of old packages to the new APPV format are possible using some powershell utilities (I have a tool to help automate that), but expect to find more than the usual number of packages that will have to be re-sequenced from scratch. That’s the downside of removing the Q drive.
Oh, and did I mention powershell? Yeah, if you don’t know it yet and want to work with the new App-V you better start learning fast. I’ll write more as I get a change to confirm what a may or may not say yet. What I can say (since nobody at Microsoft gives me the slightest inkling of a release plan) is that this is probably an early beta and we are far from release. Since Microsoft announced the Beta of 4.6 SP2 just one month ago (to support the Beta of Windows 8), this adds credence to a slow release process. But you never know.
As to the UE-V announcement, folks like Appsense and Unidesk must be really happy to see Microsoft validate the user environment (layering) strategy. UE-V as a Microsoft product is not likely to be robust enough to cut into their market share; possibly acting as Terminal Services does to meet the needs of a few while enhancing the need awareness to Citrix XenApp. But again, time will tell.