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It seems that Microsoft released a new or updated product every week in 2012. App-V 5, released in November as part of the MDOP Update, provided a completely overhauled and streamlined way to manage applications.
App-V allows an administrator to decouple the application from the operating system. This process allows for the instant deployment of an application, easy application upgrading (without client restarts), and seamless application access control/monitoring.
Seeing App-V in practice is a lot more impressive than reading about it. Over the next four posts, we will walk through setting of App-V 5 in a new environment and package Office 2013 for instant application deployment.
App-V components ^
Out of all of the MDOP components, App-V has always seemed the most daunting to me simply because of the amount of material provided and the number of required components. As a whole, App-V can be divided into four technologies: Server, Database, Sequencer, and Client.
The Server technologies consist of three roles that can be installed on a single server or delegated to individual servers. The App-V server roles are: Management Server, Publishing Server, and Reporting Server. These roles can be installed on a single server or divided out.
A full implementation of App-V will also have two databases. One database is required for the Management Server and the other database is used for Reporting Server.
The Sequencer component allows for the packaging of software and modification of App-V packages. It is normally installed on a standalone virtual machine (and is setup similar to a UE-V Generator machine).
The final component is the App-V client. This client communicates with the management server to retrieve and publish applications. The App-V client is also tracks Registry and file changes made within a virtual application for each specific user.
If you do not currently have a test domain, go ahead and set one up! For guidance on setting up a test lab, see:
Your lab does not need to be elaborate and can consist of a single domain. In total, you will need 5 VMs. Using dynamic memory, I had no issues with 5 VMs on a Dell OptiPlex 380. The table below provides a breakdown of each VM. For all VMs, the minimum hardware requirements are assumed. Each VM is fully patched and joined to the lab domain.
|Machine Name||Operating System||Roles/Features||App-V Component||Software|
|DC-01||Windows Server 2012 Standard||AD Domain Services, DHCP||No App-V Component||No Additional Software|
|App-V||Windows Server 2012 Standard||Web Server (IIS) static content, default document, ASP.NET, .NET Extensibility, ISAPI Extensions, ISAPI Filters, Windows Authentication, Request Filtering, IIS Management Console.Net Framework 3.5||Management ServerPublishing ServerReporting Server||Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x64)Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 SP1 Redistributable Package (x86)|
|SQL-01||Windows Server 2012 Standard||No Additional Roles/Features||Management Server DatabaseReporting Server Database||SQL Server 2012 Standard with just the Database Engine Services and Management Tools installed.|
|IT-01||Windows 8 Enterprise (x64)||No Additional Roles/Features||Sequencer||No Additional Software|
|IT-02||Windows 8 Enterprise (x64)||No Additional Roles/Features||Client||Client will install additional software|
After all of your VMs are setup and patched, take a snapshot of each machine. In my next post, we will setup the App-V server components and the SQL side. Finally, if you do not have access to MDOP 2012 yet (or the App-V 5 Beta), you can follow along by using the TechNet Virtual Lab for App-V 5.