Upgrading VMware App Volumes

A number of people have now asked me about the process for upgrading VMware App Volumes Managers.

In this blog I will document how to upgrade an App Volumes deployment from 2.5 to 2.6. It should also be noted that to avoid downtime you should have at least 2 App Volumes servers load-balanced in a pool. To find out how to load-balance App Volumes see my blog on the VMware web site Here.

This process will work if you do not have your App Volume servers load-balanced however during the process your desktops will not have access to the App Volumes server, meaning no AppStack or Writable will be attached at boot-up or login.

Before beginning the upgrade process make sure you back up the SQL database that App Volumes is using.

To upgrade the App Volumes servers follow the following process:

  1. Remove the first App Volumes server from the Load-balanced pool.
  2. Log in to the first App Volumes server
  3. Click Start -> Control Panel
  4. Click Uninstall Program
  5. Highlight App Volumes Manager and Click Uninstall

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  1. Click Next when the uninstaller starts
  2. Click Remove
  3. Click Finish
  4. Now run the Setup file for the new version of App Volumes, in this case 2.6
  5. Click Next

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  1. Accept the License agreement and click Next

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  1. Select the App Volumes Manager and click Install

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  1. Click Next
  2. It is very important at this stage to select Connect to an existing SQL Server Database and click Next

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  1. Select the correct SQL server. Configure the SQL log in information. Select the Database. DO NOT check the Overwite existing database check box then click Next

NOTE: If you do not add a Login ID then servers SYSTEM account will be used to connect to the database and App Volumes will probably fail to start.

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  1. Confirm the ports are correct and click Next

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  1. Confirm the install location and click Next

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  1. Click Install
  2. Click Finish
  3. Add the App Volumes server back in to the Load Balanced pool.
  4. Follow these steps for any additional App Volumes servers.

Once the serevrs are updated you should now update the App Volumes Templates. To do this check out my blog post here

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VMware App Volumes™ with F5′s Local Traffic Manager

App Volumes, a result of VMware’s recent acquisition of CloudVolumes, provides an alternative, just-in-time method for integrating and delivering applications to virtualized desktop and Remote Desktop Services (RDS)-based computing environments. With this real-time application delivery system, applications are delivered by attaching virtual disks (VMDK’s) to the virtual machine without modifying the VM or applications themselves. Applications can be scaled out with superior performance, at lower costs, and without compromising end-user experience.

For this blog post, I have colluded with Justin Venezia – one of my good friends and former colleague working over at F5. Justin and I will discuss ways to build resiliency and scalability within the App Volumes architecture using F5’s Local Traffic Manager (LTM).

App Volumes Nitty-Gritty

For the full blog please see my blog on VMware .com  http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2015/02/vmware-appvolumes-f5.html

App Volumes AppStack Creation

In this blog post I will show you how easy it is to create a VMware App Volumes AppStack and how that AppStack can then be easily deployed to one or hundreds of users.

When configuring App Volumes with VMware Horizon View an App Volumes AppStack is a read only VMDK file that is added to users virtual machine and then the App Volumes Agent merges the 2 or more VMDK files so that the windows operating system see them as just 1 drive. This way the applications look to the Windows OS as if they are natively installed and not on a separate disk.

To create an App Volumes AppStack follow these simple steps.

  1. Log in to the App Volumes Manager Web interface
  2. Click Volumes

For the full blog please see my post on VMware.com http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2014/12/app-volumes-appstack-creation.html

App Volumes AppStacks vs Writable Volumes

With the release of VMware App Volumes I wanted to take the time to explain the differences between AppStacks and Writable Volumes and how the two will need to be design as you start to deploy App Volumes

With App Volumes the way that you manage your Windows desktops is changing and App Volumes will help manage these changes. The graphic below shows the traditional way of managing a Windows Desktop and the way to manage a desktop with App Volumes and the introduction of “Just in Time Apps”

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So what are the differences between AppStacks and Writable volumes?

AppStacks

For the full blog please see my post on VMware.com http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2014/12/app-volumes-appstacks-vs-writable-volumes.html