Installing: App Volumes Agent

In the previous post I covered ‘Installing: App Volumes Manager‘.  Now it’s time to install App Volumes Agent.

The App Volumes Agent has to key roles in life:

  1. It resides on a provisioning virtual machine and is responsible for the capture of an application.
  2. Agent that runs on a users virtual machine as a service.  It is responsible for handling the filter driver which looks after application calls and redirects to the AppStack and writeable volumes VMDK’s

Pre-Requisites – Provisioning Virtual Machine

These are the pre-requisites that I have identified so far for the capture virtual machine:

  • Ensure that the Provisioning VM operating system and ‘bitness’ is the same as the target virtual machines
  • Ensure that the Provisioning VM Server Pack and patch level is the same as the target virtual machines
  • Optimise the Provisioning VM operating system as per your target virtual machines

Installation

Ensure that you have downloaded the installer App Volumes from here

Don’t forget that App Volumes Manager and App Volumes Agent use the same installer, so we just need to launch the the setup file again.

Launch the App Volumes Setup > Click Next

App Volumes 01

I’m sure you will read the EULA before accepting it then click next

App Volumes 02

Select Install App Volumes Agent

Agent01

Click Next

Agent02

Enter your App Volumes Manager details and the communication port

Agent03

Click Install

Agent04

All done, Click Finish

Agent05

 

Quick reboot of the your provisioning virtual machine and you are ready to go.

In the next blog post I will be configuring an AppStack ready for deployment.

Installing: App Volumes Manager

Part one of this blog series was a ‘First Look: App Volumes‘  in this post, I’m going to install App Volumes.  As with all things it’s best to start with the pre-requisites.

App Volumes Manager

  • Windows 2008 R2
  • Windows 2008 2012 R2 if using App Volumes 2.7
  • .NET 3.5
  • Internet Explorer 9 or 10
  • 4GB RAM
  • 2vCPU
  • 1GB Disk Space
  • ESXi 5.x and vCenter 5.x (note ESXi and vCenter version must match)

App Volumes Agent

  • Windows 7 32/64 Bit
  • Windows 2008 R2 64 Bit
  • Windows 8.1 32/64 Bit if using App Volumes 2.7
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 for RDSH if using App Volumes 2.7
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 and 2012 R2 for VDI if using App Volumes 2.7

SQL Database

Windows 2012 R2 with SQL 2012 if using App Volumes 2.7

Step 1 – App Volumes Manager

Download the installer App Volumes from here

You will notice two files, one is an ISO which contains the application and licence key file.  The license is EULA based, so you need to promise to be good!

App Volumes Manager and App Volumes Agent use the same installer, we need to make sure that we install App Volumes Manager first.

Launch the App Volumes Setup > Click Next

App Volumes 01

I’m sure you will read the EULA before accepting it then click next

App Volumes 02

 

Select > Install App Volumes Manager > Install

App Volumes 03

Click Next

App Volumes 04

Select whether you wish to use SQL Express or SQL Database Server > Next

App Volumes 05

I’m using a SQL Database Sever so have entered in the relevant details > Click Next

App Volumes 06

Select your Firewall Ports > Click Next

App Volumes 07

Select you install path > Next

App Volumes 08

We are ready for the install

App Volumes 09Finally Click Finish

App Volumes 10

Step 2 – Initial Config

When you launch App Volumes Manager you should be greeted with the getting started guide.  The first thing we want to do is upload and apply our license key file.  Once done it’s time to configure Active Directory.

App Volumes 12

 

This was probably one of the easiest Active Directory integrations I have done, other vendors pay attention!

Next select the Active Directory Security Group which will be allowed to access App Volumes Manager.

App Volumes 13

Next we need to plumb in our vCenter details, couple of points to note:

  • Mount Local – can be useful for testing applications on local storage before using production storage
  • Mount On Host – Avoids having vCenter as a SPoF

App Volumes 14

Select your Default Storage Locations for AppStacks and Writeable Volumes.

App Volumes 15

Next choose if you want to upload any pre-packaged volumes.

Finally Select Storage & Upload Prepackaged Volumes from an ESXi Host

AppVolumes21

Final Thoughts

I have to say that I’m seriously impressed with the initial configuration of App Volumes.  It really is a breeze, they even go as far as telling you vCenter permissions during the configuration wizard.  Other vendors should take note!

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.