Monday 4 April 2011

Server App-V: Shift, Pause and Play for Server Applications

Well, to say that my time in Las Vegas at MMS 2011 was well ... Spent... Would be accurate.

Whether it was well spent - is another question. That said, I was able to meet up with the Microsoft App-V team (thanks Sean, Lidiane and Angie) and we were able to chat a little about the next version of App-V (version 5) and also spend some time on the new release of Microsoft's server application virtualization product - Microsoft Server App-V

There is a "release update" blog posting from the Microsoft Application Virtualization team blog, where you can read about this cool server-based virtualization product here:

This is a pretty detailed posting about the features of the Server App-V product with some important optimizations which include;

  • State persisted to local disk
  • Windows Services
  • IIS Applications
  • Registry
  • Text-based Configuration Files
  • WMI Providers
  • SQL Server Reporting Services
  • Local users and groups
  • Java

The key bits here are that I am interested in are the state persistence, COM+DCOM and services support.  From what I understand, the Server App-V does not take a bubble or isolated approach to virtualizing each application - from what I understand it's more a "layer" approach. Where the application is installed on the target platform - but isolated from the server build.

This approach has a couple of benefits :

  1. COM+/DCOM applications are likely to work
  2. Services support - a key benefit for server platforms
  3. Reduced virtualization application compatibility potential - More apps will work!

There are a few downsides to this approach;

  1. You may get application level conflicts
  2. Middleware dependencies and components may require a little more thinking/planning 

My favourite bit about this whole approach is that you can "Pause" an application - save that state and then move that application (with it's saved state intact) and move it to another platform. This is a killer feature and should make Server App-V a big hit with the data-center boys.


Colin Bragg said...

Regarding your understanding of the 'layer' concept,I too presumed this would be the case just like Symantec's SWV and asked this same question of Microsoft here: but as you see the application is still isolated far more than just a layer and is contained within a bubble. The bubble is launched using Powershell cmdlets. I have installed and played with the Beta. You can see my blog including screenshots here:

Greg Lambert said...

Colin, thanks for the comment... I will have a look at your blog as well...