Is ThinApp Dead?

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.48.52 AMNow that VMware App Volumes is live and a number of customers have deployed App Volumes or are thinking of deploying App Volumes, one of the questions that I constantly get asked is, “is ThinApp Dead?” Or “is App Volumes replacing ThinApp?”

Well I want to say this once and for all that ThinApp is not dead and App Volumes is not replacing ThinApp.

ThinApp still has a purpose in the EUC stack and is still the leader in Application Virtualization. In fact, App Volumes and ThinApp can work together happily and App Volumes is a great tool for delivering ThinApped applications to the End User.

App Volumes makes it very easy to deliver your ThinApp application quickly and instantly to your End Users.

Another use case for App Volumes and ThinApp is to deliver your ThinApped applications to RDSH servers so that you can stream your ThinApped applications to your End User devices such as iOS and Android devices. This can even improve your XenApp environment.

App Volumes and ThinApp working together make it very easy to quickly spin up a RDSH host and publish applications through VMware Horizon View or through Citrix XenApp.

I hope that this quick post puts the question to bed for the foreseeable future.

As a ThinApp fan I am happy that there is still life in this great solution!!!

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VMware User Environment Manager Application Profiler

One of the great benefits to the new User Environment Manager from VMware is the ability to be able to manage user setting at an application level for each individual applications. There are a number of ways in witch you can configure your applications to be managed by the UEM solution. The quickest and easiest is to use the Application Profiler that is available with the UEM download.

The VMware UEM Application Profiler is an extra software install that you install on a desktop or virtual machine where you have your user software installed. Once installed the application profiler can be used to quickly create the standard application settings that can be easily rolled out to your users.

As the UEM Application Profiler is not part of the standard install this blog will document just how to install and configure the UEM Application Profiler.

This blog post assumes that you have already configured User Environment Manager in your environment and everything is working as designed, if you do not have UEM installed and running then please see my blog on the VMware website Here

Capturing Application Settings

  1. Log in to the desktop where you have installed the Application Profiler software
  2. Install the Application that requires a profile
  3. Launch the Application Profiler

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  1. Click Start Session

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  1. Select the Application that requires a Profile and click OK

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  1. The Application will automatically launch
  2. Make any changes to the Application that will be required as part of the application profile
  3. Once the Application is configured correctly switch to the Application Profiler and click Stop Analysis

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  1. Click OK

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  1. Click Save and save the config file with the predefined settings

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  1. Copy the 3 saved files to the \\UEMServer\UEMShare\general\applications
    • Configuration file
    • Flag file
    • Icon file
  2. In the VMware User Environment Manager – Manager click refresh tree

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  1. The new Application will now appear in the application tree

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My good friend and colleague Stephane Asselin created some good video’s on the process that can be found here https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLfr3uvmY7hBwGeHiVIfo7rGA7rk4yemEV

To read more from Stephane check out his blog here http://myeuc.net/?wref=bif

Application Profiler Configuration Procedure

The following should be installed on all of the PC’s that will be required to run the Application Profiler.

  1. Run the VMware UEM Application Profiler x.exe file
  2. Click Next

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  1. Accept the License Agreement and click Next

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  1. Confirm the destination folder and click Next

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  1. Click Install

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  1. Click Finish

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VMware User Enivronment Manager SyncTool

The VMware User Environment Manager SyncTool provides support for users that are not always connected to the network such as Laptop users. The SyncTool is also recommended when users are at remote offices that have slow or limited bandwidth.

As the User Environment Manager SyncTool is not part of the standard install this blog will document just how to install and configure the UEM SyncTool.

This blog post assumes that you have already configured UEM in your environment and everything is working as designed, if you do not have UEM installed and running then please see my blog on the VMware website Here 

SyncTool Configuration Procedure

  1. Configure the following SyncTool GPO’s, these GPO’s can be found at; User Configuration > Policies > Administrative Templates > VMware UEM > SyncTool
  2. Run VMware UEM SyncTool during logon as Group Policy Extension

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  1. Watch local profile archive changes

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  1. Synchronization Intervals

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  1. Synchronization retry intervals

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  1. Synchronization Profile Archive Backups

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  1. Local Sync Path

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  1. Sync Local FlexEngine log file to network at logoff

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SyncTool Installation Procedure

The following should be installed on all of the PC’s that will be required to run the SyncTool.

  1. Run the VMware UEM SyncTool x.exe file
  2. Click Next

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  1. Accept the License Agreement and click Next

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  1. Confirm the destination folder and click Next

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  1. Click Install

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  1. Click Finish

12For more information on the VMware User Environment Manager SyncTool please see the documentation here. https://www.vmware.com/pdf/uem-860-synctool-admin-guide.pdf

Storage Considerations with App Volumes

With the release of VMware App Volumes 2.6 VMware has added the ability to manage multiple copies of the same AppStack as a single AppStack with in the App Volumes Manager interface. Storage groups can be used to group datastores together, this way you can add an AppStack to a storage group and the App Volumes Manager will place the AppStack in the best place based on your Distribution Strategy. For Distribution Strategy you have 3 options:

  • Spread – Distribute files evenly across all the storage locations.
  • Spillover – Distribute files by filling each storage location before using the next one.
  • Round-robin – Distribute files by sequentially using the storage locations.

When a user logs in, the App Volumes Manager will manage the connection to the relevant AppStack. When the Spread option is chosen the App Volumes Manager will use Round-robin to connect users to the AppStack VMDK to spread the connections over the datastores.

This will make managing and assigning AppStacks to large numbers of users much easier for the App Volumes administrators.

The graphic below gives you a high level look at how this affects storage.

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Now the question that an architect needs to answer is how many VMDK’s will be needed to support a single AppStack with in the App Volumes manager. The table below is the recommended number of connections per VMDK depending on storage type.

Storage Type VMFS NFS Flash Storage
Recommended Maximum connections per VMDK 128 250 1000

Using this table it make the decisions basic math. The following equation can be used to figure out just how many VMDK’s will be needed per AppStack.

Number of users / Maximum connections per storage type = Number of VMDK’s needed or datastores

So if you were assigning an AppStack to 500 users in you organization and the storage type the AppStack VMDK’s is stored on is VMFS the calculation would be

500 (Users) / 128 (max connections per datastore) = 3.9

A single copy of the AppStack VMDK could then be placed on a datastore with in the Storage Group and the App Volumes Manager would replicate that VMDK to all the datastores with in the storage group.

Now the above calculation helps with number of users connecting to AppStack VMDK’s however you will also need to take in to consideration the number of IOPS needed for the software in the AppStack. For best performance this may mean you need more datastores to spread the load across more disks.

How to configure Storage Groups for AppStacks

The following will walk you through how to configure a storage group in App Volumes.

  1. Log in to your App Volumes Manager
  2. Click Infrastructure, Storage Groups, Create Storage Group

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  1. Give the Storage group a Name, then choose the options that are required, then click Create

Note: If there are already AppStacks on the storage that will be included in the storage group check the box Automatically Import AppStacks

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  1. Click Create

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Once the storage group is created any new AppStacks created on a datastore with in the storage group will be automatically copied to all the datastores with in the storage group.

Link Horizon Deployments Together with Cloud Pod Architecture

VMware has just made life easier for VMware Horizon administrators. With the release of VMware Horizon 6.1, VMware has added a popular feature—from the Horizon 6 release—to the web interface. Using Cloud Pod Architecture you can now link a number of Horizon deployments together to create a larger global pool – and these pools can span two different locations.

Cloud Pod Architecture in Horizon 6 was sometimes difficult to configure because you had to use a command line interface on the connection brokers. Now, with Horizon 6.1, you can configure and manage Cloud Pod Architecture via the Web Admin Portal, and this greatly improves the Cloud Pod Architecture feature.

You can read the rest of my post on VMware.com  Click Here

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

Horizon View: RDS PCoIP Design Tips

With the release of VMware Horizon View has come the ability to not only configure virtual desktops but also virtual applications hosted on Windows RDS servers.

In this post, I will cover a couple of things that you should take in to consideration when configuring virtual applications and how they might affect the sizing of your View Cluster and the number of connection servers you will need.

There many different papers and posts on how to configure RDS servers themselves, so I will not be touching on that in this post. I want to discuss the effects of how the PCoIP connections connect to RDS servers and what you should look out for.

For the full blog please see my post on VMware.com  http://blogs.vmware.com/consulting/2014/06/horizon-view-rds-pcoip-design-tips.html