Sequencing with Tim Mangan: Episode 13 Posted

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?).Sequencing With Tim Mangan

So I worked out a different way, and decided to document it for everyone else.

The Issue

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.

By Tim Mangan

Tim is a Microsoft MVP, and a Citrix CTP Fellow. He is an expert in App-V and MSIX.