With the launch of App-V 4.6 happening today, I was able to catch up with Karri Alexion-Tiernan, Director of Product Management for App-V for a quick Q&A.
Stephen: What problems can Microsoft application virtualization (App-V) solve for my business?
Karri: App-V reduces the IT costs of packaging, deploying, testing, updating, and servicing installed software. It can isolate applications from the operating system to prevent application conflicts (for example allowing you to be able to run to different versions of the same software on the same machine without overwriting key settings and preferences. It can stream applications on demand over the Internet or via the corporate network to desktops, terminal servers, and laptops.
In addition, App-V automates and simplifies the application management lifecycle by significantly reducing regression and application interoperability testing. It reduces the end-user impacts. No reboots required; no waiting for applications to install, and no need to uninstall when retiring applications and finally it enables controlled application use when users are completely disconnected.
As you move to Window 7 you can create a simple base image that contains only the OS in a pristine state and deliver only the applications needed by the user on demand. Take a look at App-V MVP Daniel Nerenberg’s blog for real world implementation. We’ve done the heavy lifting for IT Pros and have seamlessly integrated App-V and System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) already.
Stephen: Why should I consider App-V now?
Karri: App-V will help save money immediately by freeing up administration time from IT and enhance end-user productivity. It is an out-of-the-box platform to enable you to migrate your applications and deploy Windows 7 faster and easier. We offer much tighter integration with more products (Office 2010, SCCM, 3rd Party Distribution Systems) and we support both Windows 32/64-bit applications and x86/x64 platforms on desktops as well as Terminal Servers. App-V client deployment is easy and plugs into your existing deployment workflows.
Stephen: What benefits would my IT organization gain from deploying App-V?
Karri: IT organizations will be able to reduce IT costs associated with deployment, testing, application updates. App-V reduces the time spent on application and regression testing because conflicts no longer occur. Once tested, App-V delivers virtual applications faster by using streaming and eliminating application installation.
App-V delivers the virtual application on demand to the user when they need it, not when IT schedules or pushes it overnight. That paired with the ability to consolidate Terminal Services infrastructure and use servers more efficiently as well as being able to reuse existing SCCM infrastructure to deliver and manage physical and virtual applications really helps companies continue to realize ROI on their existing infrastructure investments and expedite deployment.
Stephen: How would the users benefit from App-V?
Karri: Users would enjoy productivity benefits as applications follow them and not a specific device. Some key benefits include:
- User settings roam with them, no matter which PC they login from.
- Applications are pulled by the user. Only 20-40% of the application to get up and running, as opposed waiting for the full installation to complete.
- No more reboots during application deployment, upgrades and other maintenance tasks associated with native applications means more user productivity time.
- Fewer machines required supporting down-level application versions, for example Word 2003, Word 2007 and Word 2010 can co-exist on the same machine.
- Applications are available to the user while connected and when offline.
- Fewer helpdesk calls and shorter wait times for support.
You can see the step by step videos of the product features here.
Stephen: Which applications can I virtualize using App-V?
Karri: Most of the applications (32 or 64 bit) can be virtualized using App-V. Virtualizing an application is a simple three step process that does not require source code changes to your applications.
The key to application virtualization is sequencing: a step-by-step process going through the installation and post-configuration procedures for the application. Documenting the sequencing process step-by-step is referred to as a “recipe” - a standardized template that you can hand someone else in your organization and have them recreate the same package.
For information about using the App-V Sequencer with down-level versions of App-V check out the App-V Blog and the App-V Sequencing Guide. A video demonstrating the sequencing process can be found here. Microsoft has published a recipe to virtualize Office 2010 and can be downloaded from http://officeitpro.com.
Stephen: How can I get App-V?
Karri: Microsoft Application Virtualization combines with five other tools to make the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance, which delivers dynamic desktop solutions. App-V is also available via Microsoft Application Virtualization for Terminal Services, MSDN, and TechNet.
Stephen: What is the news about virtualized Office 2010?
Karri: App-V’s native streaming, no installation and isolation capabilities deliver Office 2010 faster than a traditional install and with less user productivity impact. Our customers will now be able to run multiple versions side by side and ease the learning curve associated with advancements like the ribbon user interface while providing IT Pros more time to migrate LOB applications dependent on older Office versions.
Cross product collaboration with the Office team allows us to deliver seamless integration and new advancements in virtual Office 2010 and the Office family of products not previously available, examples include:
- Improved SharePoint integration to Open, Save, Edit files.
- Send your email items quickly with Outlook’s Fast Search.
- Send files from directly inside of Office products, such as PowerPoint.
If there was any doubt about virtualizing Office with App-V in the past, you can feel confident that virtualized Office 2010 will deliver a seamless experience for your users.
“App-V 4.6 provides Office customers with a robust set of features to tackle core challenges including application upgrade, application coexistence, and user readiness. It’s an exciting, powerful new way for IT to deliver Office 2010 quickly without impacting user productivity.” --Takeshi Numoto, CVP Microsoft Office
Take a look at App-V MVP Ment Van Der Plas’ blog where he shows how to virtualize Office 2010 Beta with App-V 4.6.
Stephen: How is the customer experience on App-V?
Karri: Over 80 customers have tried and deployed App-V 4.6 with great success and business benefits. You can learn about some of them here. A few examples are below.
“By cutting the time that consultants spend on application packaging and deployment, we’re freeing them to focus on providing quality service to their customers.” - Doug Miller, Practice Architect, CDW
“We want our clinicians to be doing what they’re supposed to do: caring for patients. With App-V, we’re reducing time required for computer work so that clinicians can focus on the business of healthcare.” - Keith Lee, End User Support Manager Care New England, United States
Stephen: Where can I learn more about App-V?
Karri: The App-V Tech Center contains videos, whitepapers; test-drive labs, community resources at document library. We also have the following specialized resources:
- The Springboard Series on TechNet
- App-V Blog
- MDOP Blog
- Office 2010 Beta
- App-V Home Page
- Remote Desktop Services (Terminal services) Blog
Real World Expert Blogs:
- Ment Van Der Plas talks App-V deployment with System Center Configuration Manager and Sequencing Office 2010.
- Daniel Nerenberg shares App-V Real World Experience from an MVP and STEP member perspective on his blog.
- Tim Managan talks about App-V and Windows7 integration on his blog.
- Ruben Spruijt, App-V MVP and STEP Member, describes the power of App-V’s Shared Cache in his blog.
- Kevin Kaminskis discusses Sequencing 64-bit apps on his blog.
- Rodney Medina talks about how App-V is helping his customers deploy Windows 7 in his blog.