Extended App-V 5 integration in RES Workspace Manager 2014 SR2, how does it work?

Intro
With the release of Workspace Manager 2014 SR2 (WM from now on), RES has extended the App-V 5 integration making it possible to automatically Add and Publish a package inside the user context. WM does this with evaluated permissions since the user doesn’t have the permissions to add App-V 5 package itself, the add and publish is executed when the user clicks on the application for the first time making it a Just in Time (JIT) deployment method. I have been involved in the pre-stage of this feature and would like to discuss how it works and how it differentiates from App-V Scheduler.

How does it work?
The concept is pretty simple, there are a few options added in the console after you select the .appv file :

  • Package delivery mode
  • Always use the latest version of the package

Package delivery mode allows you to select 3 available options : None, Minimal and Full (both user publishing and global publishing can be selected).
Below you will find a screenshot of how the package delivery option looks like :

Package Delivery Mode Small

When you select None, WM will not add and publish the package and you can use another delivery method like App-V Scheduler or the App-V native infrastructure for example to take care of the deployment. This option still makes use of the App-V 5 integration options in WM like the version variable (to detect the latest package version) and inject\capture user settings.

When you select Minimal, WM will add and publish the App-V package when the user clicks on the application for the first time and will show the following message to the user  :

Prepared Message

WM will add the package without using the mount option, so the package will be streamed just like how it’s configured during sequencing.
After the package is added and published the following message is displayed :

Finished Message

After the user clicks yes the application is launched, depending on the streaming settings of the package you may see the App-V progress bar notifying the application is getting streamed :

Loading2
When you select Full, the exact same process happens as with the minimal option, but the difference is the package gets 100% loaded (mounted in the background) when the application is launched.

The Always use the latest version of the package option will instruct WM to scan the .appv files in the folder of the package (and up to 2 subfolders below in the package folder), if WM finds a newer version of the package it will try to deploy it and will show the following message to the user :

Update Message

This update process also happens in the user context when the user clicks on the application.

In my opinion global publishing makes more sense in combination with UEM tools, because then you can manage the application the same way as they where installed natively (access and control etc) and you don’t have to publish the package for every user making it faster and less entries in the user registry.

Conclusion
I don’t know any UEM products that has such deep integration with App-V 5 as RES Workspace Manager, RES was one of the first to integrate with App-V 5 and with the extended integration in SR2 there is now also a very easy way to (optionally) add and publish a package. But one can ask itself if the user context is the right level to deploy the packages for their environment as it can take a while for the application to become available and it can cause numerous messages to your users that just want to launch the application as quickly as possible. Also it can be difficult to make use of new extension points in App-V 5 (like shell extensions and browser plugins) because the package isn’t deployed initially before it’s started for the first time.

How does this feature compare with App-V Scheduler
Because WM uses a just in time deploy method that runs in the user context and App-V Scheduler deploys directly when the machine boots and based on a configurable timer or centrally controlled by App-V Scheduler Central View they cannot be really compared with each other. Also the WM App-V 5 deployment option is only available in the silver\gold editions of Workspace Manager where App-V Scheduler is available in a free community edition and can also be used with other UEM tools or even without UEM tools as well. App-V Scheduler also addresses the following challenges which are out of the scope of the RES WM deployment option :

  • Cache management for non-persistent use cases (PVS\MCS)
  • Cache management for persistent use cases (automatic clean-up of older package versions to control cache size and remedation of applications)
  • Instant application access by adding and selectively mounting packages at machine start-up (to append to non-persistent images for example)
  • Support for connection groups
  • Support for deployment configuration files
  • Real-time central management of App-V 5 packages, connection groups and virtual processes on multiple machines
  • And more… Click here to read more about the App-V Scheduler features

Just like App-V Scheduler, this new WM feature reduces complexity (less scripting etc) and more granular control compared to other deployment options, but depending on your scenario keep above points in mind when deploying and managing App-V 5 applications.

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6 comments on “Extended App-V 5 integration in RES Workspace Manager 2014 SR2, how does it work?

    • Don’t get me started about App-V 4.6 limitations 🙂 I’m glad we now have App-V 5 which has a much better base.
      Regarding the integration, I don’t agree, it’s good to have a very easy way to add and publish a package directly from WM. This integration can help customers with very basic deployment needs to easily integrate App-V 5 applications without using full infrastructure components and complex scripting. That’s the goal of this integration and not to cover all other deployment challenges like described in the article.

      • The problem with/the beauty of App-V 5.0 (latest hotfix) is that it has a lot more extension points than 4.6 did. There is more to it that closing down FTA’s, and Shortcuts. I agree that the publishing of App-V 5.0 packages can be improved. You are so right when stating that it is a process which is too intensive on the system. But not all organisations will have or use the RES Security feature(appguard). No matter how much you and I think it is a necessary feature… As for zero profiling, there is a simple solution for that. Simply specify what you would like to capture 😉

        And I agree with you that this integration is a nice feature, not all organisations will want to setup a VAS server or uses SCCM for deployment of it’s App-V packages. As it was certainly not necessary with 4.x. I think RES hits it (almost) right on the spot with this feature. But there are still some serious downsides with this feature, especially when using User publishing. It would be nice for instance, if user publishing was done during logon of just after it. This would open up the option of prefetching user settings again (Now it is still selectable, but it is actually done at application launch). And it would be nice if it was possible to use deployment/user configs. We’ll see how it goes…

        Don’t get me wrong with my previous comment, I don’t think there is so called “best way” for publishing App-V 5.0, I think it all depends on the platform and situation.

  1. I do not fully agree with your view on publishing packages in the user context. Publishing packages globally will make the applications available to all the users on the machine, even if they are not allowed according to permissions set in de WM-Console. They will not get a shortcut from WM, but they have access to the package. Also, if there is a context-menu delivered with the package, it will become available to the user even though the user does not have access according to the permissions set in WM.

    • Hi Wim,

      Thanks for your reply and I know this point can be arguable so I want to explain why I think that user publishing makes less sense in UEM managed environments :
      The power of WM is that the whole user context is managed, this means users cannot access applications and processes they are not allowed to. This is (unlike you say) also the case for global published applications, just like natively installed applications (through managing the shortcuts, FTA’s and appguard).
      User publishing can bring additional challenges when used in combination with zero profiling for example (republishing the package for the user every time or you need to capture much more then really needed) this will cause more overhead on the machine and user publishing will also cause more entries in the user registry without bringing real benefit.
      Maybe to hide a context menu for users that doesn’t have access to and the update process of a package that is in use can be a bit easier when using user publishing, but the use cases are fairly limited. With global publishing you only have to publish the package once on the machine and you can manage it in the same way as native installed applications inside the user context.
      So it’s good to have the choice between user and global publishing and the combination of both, but hopefully it’s more clear now how I came to the statement that global publishing makes more sense in UEM controlled environments.

      Bram

  2. Hi Bram,

    Glad I stumbled over this post just after I’d been in contact with RES Support over some missing features in the new AppV 5 integration

    Hope you don’t mind me posting this here – it should be relevant to anyone interested in the AppV 5 integration

    They have asked me to post these as user voice requests to see if these features would be used by the RES community as a whole and not just our single implementation.

    The full details are below on the 2 User Voice requests, support for Dynamic Configuration XML files (so we can remove shortcuts / file types which are already published by RES, but contained in the raw .appv package) and HTTP(S) streaming support for scaling in large deployments and secure internet application streaming.

    https://ressoftware.uservoice.com/forums/166486-res-software-product-ideas/suggestions/6843985-appv-5-dynamicdeploymentconfig-xml-support

    https://ressoftware.uservoice.com/forums/166486-res-software-product-ideas/suggestions/6844010-appv-5-http-s-publishing-support

    RES would like us to vote for the features if you think it would be a good addition to RES Workspace Manager,

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