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Installing Microsoft Application Virtualization (Part 1)

Introduction
When Microsoft acquired SoftGrid in January 2007, App-V 4.5 was the first version fully branded under the Microsoft umbrella. The most notable change that was made is, logically, the new name. After some other names like Microsoft Application Virtualization (you will find this name when researching the product) the final name became App-V (based on Microsoft hypervisor Hyper-V). You will also see the name System Centre Application Virtualization Management Server for this product. Beside the name change, several new features introduced such as Dynamic Suite Composition and the Lightweight Streaming Server. This article will not go into the details of these new features since we are not interested in producing a step by step installation guide of App-V in this article. The installation of the App-V architecture is composed of three components:

App-V Server App-V Client App-V Sequencer

Installation App-V Server


Before starting the installation of the App-V Server component you need to decide if you will be using the full App-V environment or the streaming option only. The full App-V environment is exactly the same as the previous SoftGrid version, most importantly, in terms of its database and the full management console. The management console provides you with options which include the assignment of applications to users based on group membership and software license metering. The Streaming only arranges that the sequences can be started using the client, but you should arrange via other software products or scripts authorization (by default everyone can start the applications using the streaming only feature), adding the application shortcuts to the end user and the software licensing part. It depends on several factors which option you choose in your infrastructure. In this article I will describe the installation of the full environment option. The software installation will be started using the delivered setup.exe. For the full environment you need to start this executable out of the management installation folder. For the streaming part you should start the same named executable in the streaming folder. Microsoft is (logically) using the MSI installer for the installation of the App-V product. The first window is the welcome message with information about the installation. Nothing interested is mentioned here so we will quickly continue with the next steps.

Figure 1 Of course there is also a license agreement that should be accepted before the installation can be carried out.

Figure 2 In the next screen the user name and organization information need to filled in.

Figure 3 In the Setup Type Window the option appears to select the installation methodology. I select the custom option to show all the possibilities and explain what do these options mean in your infrastructure.

Figure 4 Because of the custom setup the available installations options appear. The first App Virt Management Server is the actually streaming component. This component is serving the client resquest to streamed applications. This component requires MS Core XML Services 6 to be installed on the server. The second option is the Management Console of the suit. The console makes a connection with the App Virt Management Service. This is the third option. This is a web services based component. To install this option you need Internet Information Services and .Net Framework 2.0

You can install the components on one server or on separated servers. For example the Management Service on an existing IIS server and the console on a special management server. For the article I will install all components on the same server.

Figure 5 If you did not install the required supporting software the following screen will be displayed. You need to cancel the installation and install that software first.

Figure 6 As mentioned before the full App-V environment requires a database. The installation wizard automatically searches for available MS SQL servers and you need to choose on which server you would like to host the database.

Figure 7 Next you can use an existing database (if you have more than one App-V Server, I will discuss this later) or to create a new database. By default the database will be created using the default paths defined on the SQL server, but you can change that with the option Use the following location when creating the database.

Figure 8 If you would like to use the secure communication option available within App-V you need to have a server certificate installed before you start the installation. That certificate can be configure or App-V in the Connection Security Window. In this article I will not use secure connections and did not install a certificate.

Figure 9 By default App-V uses port 554 to stream the applications, but you have the possibility here to change the use a different port.

Figure 10 App-V has only one type of permission within the console. There is no delegation of control possible. You can only give a group Full Control within the App-V infrastructure. In this case I will give the administrator role to the Domain Admins.

Figure 11 Secondly you also need to specify which users are allowed to access the App-V infrastructure. This part only allows setup a connection to the server, but does not specify which applications the users can use. In this case I will use the Domain Users.

Figure 12 The next step is to specify the content path. This content path is the folder in which you will store the sequences so they can be streamed to the clients. If you change the default path you need to create the directory in advance. You can always change the path later in the console.

Figure 13 The installation wizard has now collected all the necessary information and will install the AppV server locally on the disks.

Figure 14 After all the installation the last Windows will appear mentioning that the installation is completed.

Figure 15 A restart is required before the App-V server can be used.

Figure 16 After the installation there are a few settings you should configure before starting to use the server. This can be accomplished by using the App-V Management Console. As mentioned before, this console can be installed on the same server or a separate machine. The shortcut to the console can be found within the Administrative Tools folder on the machine you installed the console. The first time you start the console you need to connect to the App-V server.

Figure 17 If the console and the web service are installed on the same server you use the localhost otherwise you have to fill in the server on which the App-V web service role installed. You can use your current credential or specify your special administrator account. After logging on you need to specify some settings to finalize the installation and optimize the App-V server configuration. The first step is to configure the Default Content Path which can be set within System Options below the web service server (the server you connect the management console to).

Figure 18

The second location you can choose some important options about the way memory and processor is being used on the App-V server. This should be configured on a per server basis within Server Groups - <Server Group Name> (default is Default Server Group).

Max Memory allocation The Max Memory Allocation option specifies how much memory the SoftGrid Streaming server can use for the SFT file cache to support user settings. The default value can be rather small for busy SoftGrid Streaming server systems. This value should be raised to the amount of RAM that is in the SoftGrid Streaming server minus the amount of RAM that is needed for Operating System and other components. Warn Memory Allocation The Warn Memory Allocation value is the threshold where the server starts logging warings to the sft-server.log file. This value is typically around 80% of the Max Memory Allocation value. Max Block Size The Max Block Size depicts the size in kilobytes of the buffer in RAM to be used to cache the largest contiguous block of data from a SFT file for a user session. This value is ignored in Softgrid 4.0 and higher and above as the Max Block Size is dynamically determined based on information within the SFT file. Number of Core Processes The number of core processes (default is 3) specifies the number of SFTCore.exe processes that can run simultaneously on this server. Each process can handle up to 1.5GB of memory so in general there is no need to increase this number. Max Chunk Size The Max Chunk Size specifies the size in kilobytes of the largest block of code in any SFT file that may be streamed from this SoftGrid Streaming Server. The default is 64KB and it is recommended to leave it like that.

Figure 19 At the default provider properties, also several settings can be set like the way of refreshing the client with the server and the authentication and logging information to your needs.

Figure 20 Now the App-V server is ready to stream applications. Remember that the default test application is configured to use secure streaming (via port 332), so if you choose to use the AppV infrastructure on the default port you should reconfigure the default test application or add your own sequenced application to the console.

Installing Microsoft Application Virtualization (Part 1)

IntroductION
In part one of this article series, I began by describing the installation process for the App-V server. This article continues with the installation process of the App-V (TS) Client and the AppV sequencer.

App-V (TS) Client


In order to start the virtualized applications, you will need to have the App-V client installed on those machines that will be using the App-V infrastructure. There is a separate client for desktops (Windows XP, Windows Vista) and terminal Servers (both 2003 and 2008) on the 32bit platform. Unfortunately there is no 64-bit version of the App-V client. The installation of both clients is identical. In this article I will use the App-V TS client installation to guide you. The Client requires Microsoft XML Parser 6, so you need to install this before you start the installation of the App-V Client. You start the installation of the App-V client by using the setup.exe The App-V client also requires Visual C++ 2005 and a modified Application Error Reporting component. The installation will install these software products itself.

Figure 1 When the supporting software is installed the actual installation of the App-V client starts by showing the welcome message.

Figure 2 The next step takes you to the license agreement, which needs to be accepted before the installation can be continued.

Figure 3 Next, you can select the setup type for the client. Using Default program settings, as the name suggests, involves the installation of the default setup as specified by Microsoft. Configure program settings allows you to change the installation options. I will use the Custom option to show all the possibilities.

Figure 4 When needed, the location of the client can be changed.

Figure 5 Microsoft App-V is storing two kinds of data. The first kind is the global data. This data is shared between the users on the same machine. User specific data is stored in a second location, by default in the user profile. The location can be changed to a location on the user home drive for example. Finally, the App-V drive letter should be specified. This drive letter should be the same on all machines. During the sequence process you will install the application on that drive by default.

Figure 6 App-V stores the streamed virtual application data locally on the disk. You can specify how large this cache file may be. You have the possibility to set a fixed maximum size or use a dynamic value based on a value of minimum available disk space.

Figure 7 Within the startup file (the OSD file) of the virtualized application you will specify the location where the data file (SFT file) can be found. With the application Source Root you can override this setting with another location. This is useful when you have more locations with more App-V servers and you would like to connect specific workstations to a specific App-V server. In the same dialog window you can also configure the application authorization settings and the automatic load options.

Figure 8 Next, you will need to configure the server connection to the App-V server. It is logically important to configure the client with the correct type App-V server depending how you installed your App-V server. You can choose between the HTTP streaming (port 80) and the standard application virtualization server (using port 554). Both can also be chosen using the secured connection (SSL, 443 or 332). Logically, you also need to fill in the host name or alias name and the port you configured (when using another port).

Figure 9

Figure 10

All the necessary information is now collected to install the client and the physical installation will start after this dialog window.

Figure 11 When the installation is finished this dialog window will be shown. The client is now installed and applications can be streamed from the server.

Figure 12

Unattended installation of the App-V Client


The App-V (TS) Client needs to be installed on a client on which you would like to use the virtualized applications. In larger environments you would not like to do these manual steps on every machine. The client can be installed unattended via the MSI parameters. Also, the required supporting components can be installed unattended. On this webpage you find the information you need to install the client unattended.

App-V Sequencer
We will now continue with the installation of the last component the App-V Sequencer. This component is being used to create the virtualized applications which can be used within the App-

V infrastructure. The sequencer is normally installed on virtual platform, because after the creation of each virtualized application the sequence machine should be reverted to a clean state again. It is a best practice that the sequencer is installed on the operating system which is being used the most within the organization. The sequence machine should also have a second partition. This second partition should have the same drive letter connected to it as specified in the App-V client. The App-V sequence installation is started using the setup.exe in the sequencer folder. The sequencer has a prerequisite with Visual C++ 2005 SP1, which will be installed out of the installation wizard of the App-V Sequencer.

Figure 13 The welcome dialog is presented as the first step of the installation wizard.

Figure 14 And again there is a license agreement that should be accepted before you can install the Sequencer software.

Figure 15 If necessary, the installation location can be changed, but normally there is no need to do that.

Figure 16 The installation wizard is ready to install the application.

Figure 17 The installation is finished and the program is ready to be used for virtualizing applications.

Figure 18 It depends on the type of applications and the installation steps of those applications if you join the Sequencer machine to the domain or a workgroup. If you decided to add the machine to the domain you should disable the machine account password changes between Active Directory and the workstation. This can be accomplished using the Local Security Settings or creating a Group Policy Object within Active Directory. Within Security Settings - Local Policies Security Options the setting Disable Machine account password changes should be configured to Disabled.

Figure 19 Before using the App-V Sequencer you should create a snapshot of the current state of the virtual machine. This snapshot can be used to return to a clean state when you have finished the virtualization process (described in an upcoming article).

Figure 20

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Installing Microsoft Application Virtualization (Part 2)

Continuing on the installation of the App-V (TS) Client and the App-V sequencer.

Published: Oct 20, 2009 Updated: Oct 20, 2009 Section: Application Virtualization Articles Author: Wilco van Bragt Printable Version Adjust font size: Rating: 4.3/5 - 19 Votes 1 2 3 4 5

If you would like to be notified of when Wilco van Bragt releases the next part in this article series please sign up to our VirtualizationAdmin.com Real Time Article update Newsletter. If you would like to read the first part in this article series please go to Installing Microsoft Application Virtualization (Part 1).

Introduction
In part one of this article series, I began by describing the installation process for the App-V server. This article continues with the installation process of the App-V (TS) Client and the AppV sequencer.

App-V (TS) Client


In order to start the virtualized applications, you will need to have the App-V client installed on those machines that will be using the App-V infrastructure. There is a separate client for desktops (Windows XP, Windows Vista) and terminal Servers (both 2003 and 2008) on the 32bit platform. Unfortunately there is no 64-bit version of the App-V client. The installation of both clients is identical. In this article I will use the App-V TS client installation to guide you. The Client requires Microsoft XML Parser 6, so you need to install this before you start the installation of the App-V Client. You start the installation of the App-V client by using the setup.exe The App-V client also requires Visual C++ 2005 and a modified Application Error Reporting component. The installation will install these software products itself.

Figure 1

When the supporting software is installed the actual installation of the App-V client starts by showing the welcome message.

Figure 2 The next step takes you to the license agreement, which needs to be accepted before the installation can be continued.

Figure 3 Next, you can select the setup type for the client. Using Default program settings, as the name suggests, involves the installation of the default setup as specified by Microsoft. Configure program settings allows you to change the installation options. I will use the Custom option to show all the possibilities.

Figure 4 When needed, the location of the client can be changed.

Figure 5 Microsoft App-V is storing two kinds of data. The first kind is the global data. This data is shared between the users on the same machine. User specific data is stored in a second location, by default in the user profile. The location can be changed to a location on the user home drive for example. Finally, the App-V drive letter should be specified. This drive letter should be the same on all machines. During the sequence process you will install the application on that drive by default.

Figure 6 App-V stores the streamed virtual application data locally on the disk. You can specify how large this cache file may be. You have the possibility to set a fixed maximum size or use a dynamic value based on a value of minimum available disk space.

Figure 7 Within the startup file (the OSD file) of the virtualized application you will specify the location where the data file (SFT file) can be found. With the application Source Root you can override this setting with another location. This is useful when you have more locations with more App-V servers and you would like to connect specific workstations to a specific App-V server. In the same dialog window you can also configure the application authorization settings and the automatic load options.

Figure 8 Next, you will need to configure the server connection to the App-V server. It is logically important to configure the client with the correct type App-V server depending how you installed your App-V server. You can choose between the HTTP streaming (port 80) and the standard application virtualization server (using port 554). Both can also be chosen using the secured connection (SSL, 443 or 332). Logically, you also need to fill in the host name or alias name and the port you configured (when using another port).

Figure 9

Figure 10

All the necessary information is now collected to install the client and the physical installation will start after this dialog window.

Figure 11 When the installation is finished this dialog window will be shown. The client is now installed and applications can be streamed from the server.

Figure 12

Unattended installation of the App-V Client


The App-V (TS) Client needs to be installed on a client on which you would like to use the virtualized applications. In larger environments you would not like to do these manual steps on every machine. The client can be installed unattended via the MSI parameters. Also, the required supporting components can be installed unattended. On this webpage you find the information you need to install the client unattended.

App-V Sequencer
We will now continue with the installation of the last component the App-V Sequencer. This component is being used to create the virtualized applications which can be used within the App-

V infrastructure. The sequencer is normally installed on virtual platform, because after the creation of each virtualized application the sequence machine should be reverted to a clean state again. It is a best practice that the sequencer is installed on the operating system which is being used the most within the organization. The sequence machine should also have a second partition. This second partition should have the same drive letter connected to it as specified in the App-V client. The App-V sequence installation is started using the setup.exe in the sequencer folder. The sequencer has a prerequisite with Visual C++ 2005 SP1, which will be installed out of the installation wizard of the App-V Sequencer.

Figure 13 The welcome dialog is presented as the first step of the installation wizard.

Figure 14 And again there is a license agreement that should be accepted before you can install the Sequencer software.

Figure 15 If necessary, the installation location can be changed, but normally there is no need to do that.

Figure 16 The installation wizard is ready to install the application.

Figure 17 The installation is finished and the program is ready to be used for virtualizing applications.

Figure 18 It depends on the type of applications and the installation steps of those applications if you join the Sequencer machine to the domain or a workgroup. If you decided to add the machine to the domain you should disable the machine account password changes between Active Directory and the workstation. This can be accomplished using the Local Security Settings or creating a Group Policy Object within Active Directory. Within Security Settings - Local Policies Security Options the setting Disable Machine account password changes should be configured to Disabled.

Figure 19 Before using the App-V Sequencer you should create a snapshot of the current state of the virtual machine. This snapshot can be used to return to a clean state when you have finished the virtualization process (described in an upcoming article).

Figure 20

Conclusion
In this article series I described the installation steps for installing the App-V infrastructure components. In the first part I described the basic installation of an App-V server, while this second part describes the installation of the App-V client and App-V Sequencer. In an upcoming article I will describe the process of creating a virtualized application with the App-V Sequencer,

how this virtualized application is added to the App-V infrastructure and how the client will be used to launch the application. .