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Hullabaloo About Application Layering in VMware Horizon Mirage

By Tina de Benedictis, Senior Technical Marketing Manager, End-User Computing, VMware

What is the hullabaloo about application layering in VMware Horizon Mirage? Application layering allows you to

  • Create different application layers for different sets of users, such as a specific department or job role
  • Easily update an application layer and then distribute the update to all users assigned to that application layer
  • Include in an application layer both natively installed applications and virtual application packages created with VMware ThinApp
  • Isolate application layers from the base layer, which contains the operating system

In Horizon Mirage, IT administrators can create standard base layers and application layers and control the contents of those layers on all endpoints. A base layer contains the operating system, system software, and any applications you want all your users to have. An application layer includes a set of applications—and you decide which set of applications is in each application layer.

At the same time as IT maintains control of base and application layers, users can customize their endpoints with their own data and settings and install their own applications. IT decides how much users can customize their own endpoints, and which layers to standardize and control. When IT updates the base and application layers, they can preserve user settings, data, and applications.

VMware-Horizon-Mirage-desktop-layers

Layers of a Horizon Mirage Desktop Image

What is the process for creating a Horizon Mirage application layer?

1. On the master computer (reference machine in Horizon Mirage parlance), the Capture App Layer wizard prescans the clean state.

VMware-Horizon-Mirage-application-layer-capture-prescan-complete

2. Install the applications on the reference machine.

3. The Finalize App Layer Capture wizard takes a postscan of the reference machine to create a set of differences.

4. Horizon Mirage creates an application layer from those differences.

VMware-Horizon-Mirage-application-layer-capture-complete

How do you distribute this Horizon Mirage application layer to endpoint computers?

1. In the Update App Layers wizard, choose the set of endpoints to receive the application layer.

2. When each selected endpoint next connects to the network, the application layer downloads in the background from the datacenter, without impact on a user’s daily work.

3. At their convenience, each user reboots their computer to exchange the new application layer for the old one.

VMware-Horizon-Mirage-Application-Layer_Update_Reboot

Here at VMware, we are excited about the new 4.0 release of Horizon Mirage, especially because of application layering. Horizon Mirage is integrated with VMware ThinApp, so you have the best of both worlds: distribute isolated ThinApp virtual applications alongside applications that must be natively installed, such as applications that require device drivers. If you want more information about the unique handling of device drivers in Horizon Mirage, search for Driver Library in the table of contents of the VMware Horizon Mirage 4.0 Reviewer’s Guide.

Take a look at VMware Horizon Mirage!

Try it! For more information about application layering and a tutorial that walks you through hands-on exercises on application layering, see the VMware Horizon Mirage 4.0 Reviewer’s Guide.