First Look: App Volumes

I have been meaning to take a look at App Volumes for a while now, so thought it was about time I understood how it fits together in the Horizon stack.

Q. The first question I always ask is why look at this technology? Well the answer is application packaging is difficult, often cumbersome and timely.  Once the application is packaged you then have to look at lifecycle management, updating the application, testing the application and rolling out updates to users.

Q. This then leads onto the next question, how will App Volumes help?  App Volumes is a layer technology in which you capture an application or applications inside a virtual machine (think ThinApp).  These captured applications are then mounted as a VMDK to a users virtual desktop.

App Volumes is not an application virtualisation technology. Therefore if you need two different flavours of internet explorer, one could be delivered by App Volumes and the other via ThinApp.

The main use case I see for App Volumes is to make achieving the ‘nirvana’ of non-persistent desktops far easier, as it’s as easy as installing an application onto a VM and assigning these out to Active Directory Security Groups.

You still need to deal with the odd applications that have their quirks which need to be delivered by App Remoting or ThinApp.

Components

AppStack – Name for the captured applications.

AppStack Volumes – Read only volume that contain one or more applicationsbeing presented to the users as an VMDK.

Writeable Volume – Captures any changes the users makes to an application such as Microsoft Word settings are presented back to the user at next login.

App Volumes Manager – Centralised Management Console used to manage and assign AppStacks.

App Volumes Agent – Installed on the user VDI machines and is responsible for mounting the assigned AppStacks (VMDK’s)

I find that a picture is easier to understand.

App Volumes Diagram

Licensing

App Volumes is available under three licenses schemes:

  1. Horizon 6 Enterprise Edition using 10 or 100 Named or Concurrent User packs
  2. Horizon Application Management Bundle using 10 or 100 Named or Concurrent User packs
  3. VMware App Volumes using 10 or 100 Concurrent User packs

In the next post I will be installing App Volumes.

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