Overcoming hurdles to application virtualization

Tariq MahmoodApp-V, Application Virtualization, Sequencing

Overcoming hurdles to application virtualization.

 

If application virtualisation is such a great idea why aren’t more organisations doing it?

The many benefits of application virtualization are beyond doubt.  For example:

  • Delivery of applications is much quicker and easier
  • You can centralise application management
  • Applications can be accessed anywhere
  • There is no need to “install” applications on end points anymore
  • You can run multiple versions of the same application for multiple versions of Windows
  • No user interruption for updates
  • Reduced compatibility testing
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To take advantage of these and other benefits, organisations going down the route of application virtualisation are often hindered in their efforts to get maximum value due to a few key issues:

  • Difficulty in finding IT professionals who have virtualization or application packaging expertise
    If you do get lucky and find one or two, they don’t come cheap. These specialists need to have a deep understanding of the Windows file systems registry and software installation process as well as a really good nose for hunting out badly written applications so they install and run properly without prior knowledge of these applications
  • The actual process of application virtualization is time consuming
    Even with the most highly skilled application specialist the industry average is still some 2.5 applications per day.  And because people don’t work 24 hours a day, take holidays and occasionally get sick, projects can quickly stretch to weeks and months
  • Hofstadter’s Law: It always takes longer than you expect, even when you take into
    account Hofstadter’s Law

    Estimating how long complex tasks, such as application virtualization, can take is no where near an exact science. Automating the process can not only reduce the delays but should also reduce costs significantly
Application virtualization solutions compared.
 Citrix AppDNAFlexera AdminStudio Virtualization PackAutonoWare ConversionBoxDell ChangeBASE
Automatically convert EXE’s to App-V 4.x/5.xNo*No*YesNo*
Automatically convert MSI’s to App-V 4.x/5.xYesYesYesYes
Semi-automated modeYesYesYesYes
Automatically convert scripts to App-V 4.x/5.xYesYesYesYes
Full batch conversion automation for MSI’sYesYesYesYes
Full batch conversion automation for .exe’s & scriptsNoNoYesNo
32-bit & 64-bit App-V Sequencer supportYesYesYesYes
Pre-determine specific main installer files onlyNoNoYesNo
Pre-conversion test of flat filesYesYesYesYes
Pre-conversion test of actual app installationNoNoYesNo
Full list of errors & potential issues per app. E.g. AutonoWare’s MSI installer technology actually installs the MSI’s and on error records the error and carries on with the installation where others stop at the first error. NoNoYesNo
Conversions of complex multi-chained installations (installing pre-reqs on the VM before converting)NoNoYesNo
Conversions of complex applications that require user input (license keys; installation steps, etc)NoNoYesNo
Automated silent installation for .exe’sNoNoYesNo
Expected successful conversion rate >30%NoNoYesNo
Expected successful conversion rate >60%NoNoYesNo
Launches the app and captures the launch behaviour during conversion process?NoNoYesNo
Creates a proper feature block for App-V 5 (if required).NoNoYesNo
Perfect installation path resolution for MSI’s. NoNoYesNo
Guaranteed conversionsNoNoYesNo
Total installation time – less than 3 days?NoNoYesNo
Total installation time – less than 30 minutes?NoNoYesNo

* Although the conversions may be semi-automated, the operator either needs to browse to a folder with the .exe and then provide the silent switches or import a CSV file with the Name, Path and .EXE which adds on considerable time to the process. The conversion may be automatic but the process for it is not.

Based on our extensive knowledge of the virtualization market there are many other features that can be compared but the only way to truly understand the differences is to test them to see which one is best suited to your own environment.

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