App-V, the best tool in your toolbox

Application virtualization helps to eliminate conflicts between applications, removes the need to install those applications on PCs, enables multiple versions of an application to coexist on the same machine and provides a faster, less intrusive way to deliver and update applications on demand. You can apply application virtualization to your local desktops, your RDS deployments, or your VDI desktops.

Based on the above, the benefits are clear and as a result we’re seeing that application virtualization, and specifically Microsoft‘s App-V, is quickly becoming a mainstream technology for organizations. Customers are indicating that App-V delivers savings throughout the application management lifecycle.

Expedia is a good example of this. Their IT director, Michael Peterson said as a result of using App-V:

We’ll be able to cut the amount of time it takes to perform installations and upgrades [of Windows 7] from an average of 20 minutes to an average of less than five minutes for each task, and we won’t have to interrupt employees while they’re working.

Let’s talk about Results

As further evidence of App-V’s benefits, a recently commissioned TEI study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Microsoft found that a composite company could achieve a risk-adjusted ROI of 316% on their App-V investment, with a payback period of less than 12 months. Results of the Forrester TEI study are also available via a webcast. You can run the numbers for your environment using the TEI Companion Tool.

We also published a TCO study on application virtualization indicating a labor savings of 27% equivalent to a cost savings of $82 p/pc p/year throughout the application lifecycle.

As part of our overall desktop virtualization strategy and core to our business model, we’re focused on working with our partners to deliver innovation to our customers. This is no different with our approach to App-V. Today, I’d like to highlight two partners, Citrix and AppSense, who are extending App-V to deliver additional value to our customers.

Let’s talk about Microsoft and Citrix Virtualization

We’ve had a long standing partnership with Citrix, which goes back to Terminal Services and has since grown to include XenApp, a key component of XenDesktop, and System Center. Today, I’d like to highlight how Citrix has integrated with App-V, specifically in two areas: Citrix Receiver and XenApp.

Citrix’s provides secure access to any Windows desktop or application from any device anywhere. A key component to that access capability is Citrix Receiver.

  • Receiver is a lightweight, universal client that provides easy, one-click access to any Windows, web or SaaS app, including App-V apps, from any device – smartphones, tablets, PCs, non-Windows devices and thin clients. When the user initiates an application Receiver authenticates and seamlessly connects to XenApp or XenDesktop to deliver the service to the device.
  • Users can also use Receiver’s built-in applications portal to request or subscribe to applications, including App-V virtual applications, or desktop services.
  • The second area of Citrix integration to touch on is App-V and XenApp. This is a great collaboration as it combines the best of breed application virtualization and on-demand application delivery in market.
  • So you might be asking, what’s the added benefit when combining the technology offerings?
  • Together XenApp and App-V enable the most robust application compatibility and deliver the best user experience across all end points, whether they are mobile or fixed, managed or unmanaged, Windows or non-Windows. These applications are then delivered in the most optimal manner, either hosted or streamed.

XenApp integration of App-V enables IT to setup a self-service enterprise app-store for all of their App-V applications, turning today’s enterprise applications into an on-demand service. When XenApp is integrated with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, the combination enables IT to manage all application packages and configure the delivery options using a single console.

This partnership allows customers to use App-V as their primary application packaging mechanism and XenApp with System Center as their primary on-demand application delivery mechanism to deliver applications to both physical and virtual desktops.

Now Let’s talk Microsoft and AppSense

AppSense provides solutions that extend Microsoft’s USV offering. We could have talked about them in our last post but we decided to wait so that we could give you some solid examples related to both USV and App-V. Integration with two layers is a much stronger value add! So here we go.

AppSense is a leading provider of user virtualization technology to enterprise organizations. User virtualization manages user-specific information independently of the desktop, and applies it into any desktop on-demand. IT Pros can deploy new apps, images, and systems without fear of losing user settings –making transitions to Windows 7 and App-V faster and without user disruption.

In talking with the AppSense team they summed up a few key bullets to help our readers understand the enhancements they bring to Microsoft Windows migrations, USV, App-V and VDI:

  • AppSense recommends starting with a default profile which is generated by Microsoft’s native USV Profiles. They then go a step beyond our in box capabilities by abstracting both the user’s desktop personalization as well as the applications allowing them to be virtualized, managed and synchronized at the application level instead of a single collection of data and ensures only the changes are synchronized to reduce the amount of data needed to be transferred.
  • They then combine these settings to create a consistent application experience across physical AND virtual applications regardless of where the application is run – RDS, local – physical, local-virtual with App-V or hosted desktop with VDI.
  • AppSense USV is Windows version agnostic. This enables users to have their application personality, regardless of OS version they login to, without changing Windows elements. These policies apply to physical or hosted desktops and applications.
  • AppSense can also help with migrating from XP profiles to Windows 7 profiles by seamlessly combining the two into a single version.

Let’s Keep the Conversation Going

As an early Christmas present under your “virtual” tree, Desktop Virtualization Product Manager, Skand Mittal is chatting with a few of our Microsoft MVP’s , on the Springboard for IT Pro’s Blog, for a deeper dive into implementing AppSense and App-V this week followed by a discussion on using Citrix and App-V together.

Coming in Q1 of CY2011 you’ll be able to virtualize you applications faster as we bring forward the App-V Package Accelerators via MDOP 2011. We showed a Tech Preview during Tech Ed Berlin. Stay tuned for more on this one, we’re excited about what’s to come!

For additional information please take a look at the Microsoft Desktop Virtualization Zone and the Microsoft Case Studies site for real world customer proof points on App-V.

©2010 Karri Alexion-Tiernan

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