Wednesday, 11 July 2012

App-V 5.0 Sequencer now in BETA!

You have probably been using the latest version of App-V (4.6 Service Pack 1) for a while now as it was released in April 2011.  Read more here

And so, the latest release from Microsoft, Version of 5.0 will be news and I believe it will make a big difference to your streaming and virtualization projects (note the difference between the two) 

There are some pretty hefty changes with the release (remember it's still in BETA, some features are not currently supported, like full off-line streaming) of Microsoft App-V virtualization technology.

Some of the highlights include:

Q drive: The (infamous) Q drive has been eliminated. People complained, I wondered and Microsoft responded. No more Q drive to mount your applications in App-V. Referencing the MSDN blog posting, 

"The new best practice is to set the Primary Virtual Application Directory (PVAD) to the same path that the installer is installing its application to.  Matching the installer path to the Primary Virtual Application Directory path allows the Sequencer to create a package that has optimal runtime performance."

Stream Optimizing Packages: There are now three options for Streaming packages in App-V including;
  1. On-demand streaming delivery (Default): A package created and skipping the stream optimization step will be streamed on-demand to the machine via stream faults.
  2. Stream optimized: A package that goes through stream optimization process contains a primary feature block and this entire block is streamed before launching.  This can be performed in the Stream Optimization step in the Sequencer, just like 4.6 SP1 release.
  3. Fully downloaded (not available in Beta): The package will be fully downloaded before it can be launched.  There is a checkbox that allows you to specify all applications in the package to be fully downloaded.
Better Support for Reboots: I remember that this was "never a problem" but it now it appears that this non-problem has been fixed. App-V Version 5.0 (BETA) now processes reboots natively. This will make a big difference for the proper/full capturing of application installations.

File Type Associations (FTA's): Microsoft made setting/editing the file type assocations (what happens to your application extensions) easier to edit.

The biggest change with the release of App-V 5.0 was the file format. The App-V Sequencer now produces the following;
  • .appv package.  This contains the sequenced application files, registry, stream map, and manifest.
  • Deployment configuration and user configuration template files.  These template files are used to customize package functionalities on the client during run-time.
  • Report.xml file.  This is a saved report of the Sequencing warnings and errors that occurred during the sequencing.
  • MSI file.  This is the MSI that allows administrators to deploy sequenced packages via MSI.
Most importantly, the file format is a basic ZIP file. Yes, a ZIP file. You can not edit/add and view your App-V packages with the need for special software or mounting your application as a drive.

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