If application virtualization wasn’t on your IT radar screen with the previous 4.x versions that were Softricity SoftGrid I’d strongly suggest your IT enterprise get a POC (proof of concept) or pilot in place with the most current production version of AppVirt. More on this later – see MDOP near the end of the article.
AppVirt Ala Carte 4.5
There are going to be so many cool and beneficial new features in v4.5 that truly make Microsoft AppVirt a highly scalable enterprise platform across the LAN, WAN and internet that at least a cursory AppVirt POC will prepare you for the “virtual feast” of choices coming your way. Here’s a short list of some of the new AppVirt 4.5 features from today’s menu:
- Heavy weight server – traditional SoftGrid Server
- Light weight server – streaming server for branch deployments – takes advantage of EDS/SMS nodes
- Stand alone – Server-less – package applications then deploy as MSI
- Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC) – bubble-to-bubble contexting for add-ins and middleware
- Via the Internet – use the AppVirt Management/Streaming server directly from the Internet
300 branches, 2700 desktops, 384 mbit pipes
One of the biggest features our customers have been asking for is the Light Weight Server for branches. One customer in paticular that we did an AppVirt POC for has 2700 desktops spread accross 300 branches connected with 384 mbit lines. The light weight server solution for branch models will fit the bill nicely. Using their EDS solution they will be able to take advance of the new MSI features for sequencing AppVirt packages then advertise virtualized application packages to their desktops.
MSI Utility (download it here)
In beta and when it’s released verion 4.5’s AppVirt sequencer will package applications with MSI as an option. I’ve been playing with the Hot Fix updates to the AppVirt Client and Sequencer – running sequenced packages through the MSI Utility then installing/fully caching the packages to my laptop – without an AppVirt server or ADI authentication. Don’t tell my corporate helpdesk that I’ve got FireFox, Netscape Navigator, Avant Browswer and iTunes all running virtually.
MDOP – EA/SA for the desktop
Microsoft has put a lot of dollars and thinking into application virtualization, desktop management tools and training with comprehensive programs like MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack)- where you can find AppVirt (SoftGrid). If your enterprise is licensed as EA/SA on the desktop I’d run, do not walk to find out if you have training dollars for an AppVirt POC just waiting to be spent. You may be sitting on EA/SA credits good towards a POC or DDPS engagement. Like Yogi Berra says, ” . . . they give ya’ cash, which is just as good as money.” Of course, your enterprise agreements may vary – be sure to check to the specifics of your volume licensing details before flogging me.
Additonal 4.5 beta resources
While you’re checking on those licenses here are some great links to check out for more details on v4.5 beta. Some are hands-on, in the trenches walk-through’s on how it works – others are from the source – overviews from Microsoft – all around good reads.
- Microsoft Application Virtualization (Formerly SoftGrid) 4.5 Trial Guide (how to install)
- The World Simplified is a Virtual World – Beta 4.5 Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC)
- Top 5 AppVirt features from the Microsoft SoftGrid Team Blog
- Tim’s Trash of Thoughts – from who else but Tim Jacobs (21+ AppVirt articles)