Microsoft App-V seems incredibly hot right now, with everyone getting ready to jump on App-V 5 when SP2 comes out. There is way more activity in this space than I have ever seen!
I have been running training classes on App-V for over six years now. Back when Microsoft bought Softricity, I saw an interest spike. But it was not a big spike, and it did not last long. I also have been seeing a somewhat larger boost in interest in the last 2+ years as customers started on their Windows 7 Migration, a boost that has continued through this year. That boost has caused me to add an extra class into the schedule each year, and those classes have been mostly full.
But in all of that time I never booked a student for a class until after the previous class had completed. Until now. This summer it has been hot. We have a class starting next week in Boston. Full. The next class is in Phoenix in December. Full. I added a new class today in January through our partner in Phoenix (ThinClient Computing). It already has students booked. What is going on?
Companies that use App-V 4.6 are ready to move over to 5.0. Companies that use Citrix Streaming for App Virtualization (which is going away) are switching over to App-V. Companies that never used App-V and are now a tad late in their Windows 7 Migration are using it to get done faster. Companies that completed an overhaul to SCCM2012 are now ready to virtualize their apps. Companies that finished their Migrations are virtualizing apps for flexibility. It is like a huge wave hitting us right now.
And finally there is what Microsoft is doing to the product. App-V 5 is a complete rewrite of the application virtualization stack; modernizing what AppVirt is all about and trying to make it simpler. While I have recommended App-V 5 for new customers, I have been cautious with existing customers thinking about upgrading to version 5 until we see a number of new issues resolved and other new things that we had been asking for. Most of these should be solved with the release of SP2, although I am still cautious about how well it will perform. . But the customer interest tells me that they are ready commit to SP2 now, before we even see the final bits.
App-V is finally hot.
I haven’t posted a sequencing video in a while, so I was due. Then a customer queried me about dealing with a large package. When I looked into the question, I found that the way I used to deal with large packages isn’t supported by the sequencer any more (when did that change?).
So I worked out a different way, and decided to document it for everyone else.
The issue is that the SFT file has a 4GB size documented limit. The 4GB limit is after compression, so you can stuff more in as long as it compresses. As we have seen in the past, the 4GB limit seems to be somewhat of a soft limit; you can go over a little and the package seems to still work — but you are never sure if a user might eventually hit a piece of functionality that crashes the app. And we aren’t sure what “over a little” really means, because packages fail at some point. My friend Nicke has further determined that if you create a small feature block 1, you can create a much larger app that seems to work. But still we worry about those.
The solution to getting under the limit is in understanding that it is a per package limit of the SFT itself. The most common techniques to work around it are:
- Reduce the size of the app. Often this means a custom install with less features, and/or cleaning files out that are not really needed.
- Redirecting portions of the package to live on a file share as supported by the app. This requires an app that has some registry based path locations that you can modify.
- Redirecting portions of the package to live on a file share using the Microsoft App Compat toolkit. This unfortunately involves developing a shim and then requires an external install of the shim at the client to work so it isn’t so popular of a method to use.
- Moving portions of the package to live in a depdent package and using Dynmaic Suite Composition. This method always works and is supported.
The Universal Solution
The solution that seems to work for all apps is the last one. And this is what I show how to do in the video. When Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC) is used, the sum of all the assets may rise above the 4GB limit. To our knowlege, there is no limit on the sum size of all of the layers. As there is no known limit to the number of dependent packages that you can add. In a practical sense, the limit might just be disk space in the cache, followed by how much memory you have.
The video for lucky Episode 13 may be found here: Sequencing With Tim Mangan. It is about an 18 minute video, and if you pay attention to the system clocks in the VMs, you will see that I shot the two sequencings and client testing all in a single sitting in under 15 minutes.
With 2012 here and vacations behind us it is time to get serious about some App-V training. So what are our plans for training in the next quarter?
|February 6th-10th Irvine, California, USA
||We are working with a new partner, Agile360, to finally bring our Masters Level App-V Training class to California. We always get a lot of requests for west coast classes but the is the first time that we have been able to make it work. So if you can’t come to us, book this one quickly! Details on this class here.
Maybe that location doesn’t work for you. It happens. So we have some other options for you.
|February 6th-10th Copenhagen, Denmark
|Normally every class I post here at www.tmurgent.com is run by Tim Mangan. This one time I am making an exception. We are expanding our partnership.We are often asked by training companies and other experts in App-V if they can train using our materials. We have proven ourselves to be very picky about letting others use the GridMasterTraining system that we developed (more on that below). We insist that the training turn students into full blown experts. That it must be hands-on. That is is conducted by someone that knows the product completely inside and out and can handle the unexpected, and has demonstrated the skills to teach others.
||So after three long years of work, we are finally ready to announce our new certified training partner.He is fellow MVP Nicke Kallen. Nicke has helped me in the European classes these last three years, and has earned his reputation as an expert through engagements and deployments in multiple countries. An excellent speaker (even if he doesn’t think so yet), we are thrilled to add him as our third Certified Trainer.
|At the GridMasterTraining.com website, we post the published training schedules for all of our trainers, but we each have our own website where we advertise our own classes. Tim’s are here at www.tmurgent.com and my Canadian partner Kevin Kaminski uses his site at www.BigHatGroup.com. We are still “dotting the I’s” on contracts for Europe, so we aren’t ready to announce the website for Nicke, but we already have this class in Copenhagen. So if you read Danish, you can use this link: http://www.lean-on.com/154/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=535&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=107&cHash=8bcfb2e5a5 about this class.
But maybe it is that the date doesn’t work for you. That happens too. So instead consider this one.
|April 23-27 Canton, Massachusetts, USA
||This class will be back at our home base.
Details on April Class
We are sometimes asked, you hold the class in a Library?
We do, as often as feasible. We have a great library here in town with just the facilities we need for the small classes that we run. I always keep the numbers in a class low so that everyone can get plenty of individual attention and the board meeting room there is a perfect size. Plus, I would rather have our meeting room costs go to a great cause – the library programming for the community. Sometimes this doesn’t all work out; the room isn’t available or we fill the class and we move to a nearby hotel. But yeah, if you want the best App-V training in the world, you might just have to go to the Library to get it!
So what is the “Masters Levels Training“? This uses the GridMasterTraining system designed by Tim Mangan and Kevin Kaminski. It is the most thorough training available anywhere in the world. We have been using this system for fiveyears now, and in one week we can bring a complete novice with general IT competencies up to an expert in Microsoft App-V. Every aspect and deployment model is completely covered, and we teach you the techniques to produce high quality packages, plus the skills needed to handle the worst applications out there. We always train to the latest version out there, but accommodate those using older revisions.
As an MVP for App-V, Microsoft sometimes makes early versions privately available to us to get us to provide them some valuable feedback before it is too late in the development cycle to make changes. So I have been looking at the 4.6 SP1 changes for quite a while now — almost a year.
This enabled us an early start to updating our training class materials for the new release, which are now ready. While most of you were holding off on training this winter in anticipation of what Microsoft showed off at TechEd Europe, Kevin and I have been hard at work rewriting and developing a lot of new Sequencer labs. I think the Sequencing Companion Guide, which has grown to over 450 pages, has something like 20 Labs in it now. Add another 210 pages for the Concepts and Administration Companion Guides and it amounts to a whole lot of writing!
||We are still out at the printer, so these are the “old” guides.
The new sequencer is so completely different than the old, from a UI standpoint. While the new workflows will make it easy to get started with App-V, we believe that you still need some good, up to date, training in order to produce production quality applications, especially for those harder apps.
The new guides will be in use in our next classes. I have a public class scheduled the first week of April in Malmo, Sweden, and another in May in Canton, MA in the US. I believe Kevin Kaminski has one later in April up in Canada. Come On, get trained!
We finally made the decision and work is well under way. We will publish a book on App-V!
The book will be focused on being a reference for the App-V Client. We have a ton of material in the Companion Guides from our “Masters Level” App-V Training Classes that we do not really teach to so much as refer to in the class. We decided to create a book from this that details everything you need to know about the client. The estimate is that this will be a 200 or so page book.
I’m not going to make any promises right now about when it will be completed. We have a base of about 180 pages done, but are busy updating to include the new stuff in 4.6 that we couldn’t talk about until the public release.
App-V 4.6 delivers big integration benefits with Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2 and more
[Note: This is an updated version on 1/6/2011 of the original 2/22/2010 post based on recent information provided by Microsoft on Branch Cache. See also this post: http://www.tmurgent.com/TmBlog/?p=306 ]
While many of us have been waiting on the release of App-V 4.6 so that we could upgrade our Terminal Servers to WS2008 R2 to take advantage of 64-bit (see my blog article on 4.6/TS ) it’s not the only reason that this release of App-V is important to customers. While App-V may also be important for the desktop as 64-bit desktop becomes a reality in the enterprise, there is much else new to talk about – especially for Windows 7. In this article, I will discuss each of what I feel are the most important new things for the desktop, mostly focusing on Windows 7 desktops, but also hitting items of interest to other App-V deployments. Continue reading
What a great day of training and education and networking! This year’s event was no less than awesome. With over 200 people registered for the event, watching live from four sites in two countries, and a great lineup of speakers who gave nothing but deep technical content, everyone had a blast! Well, except for Lee Benjamin, who got snowed in in Dallas and spent the entire day trying to get back to Boston.
Virtualization Alliance. The event was the second run by Virtualization Boston, a local user group here in the Boston area. This year we joined together with user groups in New York, St. Louis, and Calgary to bring the event to their users. With time-zone issues, some of those groups joined us late and extended the program with locally delivered content as well. I firmly believe that this is the future for local user groups. The ability to share speakers and content – reaching beyond the limited personal contacts we each have – will create a tremendous uptick in the quality of the training and education that we each can provide. We also learn from each other what works and what doesn’t, what people are interested and what they aren’t. We call this loose pooling of interests for user groups interested in Virtualization the Virtualization Alliance. Once we have time to review what did and did not work on this event, we will look to expand these efforts.
Recordings. We managed to get three of the five parallel tracks recorded. Although we charged an extra $15 to view the recorded sessions, 60% of those in attendance live also subscribed to the recorded version. It will take a little time (because we were able to add the extra rooms without sufficient internet capacity, it will take more than the 3 days) than we hoped to get it all ready. But those who signed up will get an email explaining how to access them when ready. We will also turn back on the subscription registration so others can purchase access.
February 8, 2010
Last chance to register for Virtualization Deep Dive Day 2010 this Friday February 12th.
Boston/New York/St Louis/Calgary
This is an event that I am running. I will be doing three sessions, so come check it out, or buy access to the recorded sessions.