Friday, 31 October 2014

Server App-V: The New Lift and Shift for server applications

There is a lot of talk these days on application virtualisation, especially regarding Microsoft’s App-V desktop application virtualisation products. A little know server component has been in development for a number of years know. For a number of both technical and organisational issues, Microsoft’s Server App-V technology is just not getting real traction in today’s application migration and server migration programs.

If you have not heard about Microsoft’s Server App-V server-application virtualisation technology, you can read more here.
Quoting from Microsoft;
"Server App-V builds on the technology used with Application Virtualization (App-V) by separating the application configuration and state from the underlying operating system running on computers in a data center environment. Server App-V allows for dynamic composition of application and hardware images which can help significantly reduce the number of images that need to be managed."
Possibly one of the reasons why Microsoft Server-App has not generated the broad level of interest and acceptance in IT, is that server based applications are less likely to packaged and included in automated deployment systems like Microsoft SCCM. In an effort to resolve some of these technical challenges, Microsoft has released a tool that allows for Remote Application Packaging and then conversion to the Server App-V format.

There are a number of packaging and deployment scenarios that this application packaging tool supports including;
  • You need to deploy an application to a newer version of Windows Server
    • Note: Using this tool does not guarantee that your application will work with a newer version of Windows Server. You will need an application compatibility tool for that.
  • You need to migrate an application from physical server a to a virtual machine
  • You want to leverage VMM Service Templates to deploy a select number of application workloads
This Microsoft tool does not support all packaging scenarios, but Microsoft has indicated full support for the following deployment scenarios (note: all the following required Server App-V Sequencer SP1 (build

  • All MSI based installers
  • The following Windows components:
    • Windows services
    • Registry
    • File systems
    • IIS
    • Environment variables

  • You can download the tool here.

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