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App Volumes Is Here – Next Generation Application Delivery!

Harry Labana

Author: Harry Labana

Harry leads the app delivery team as vice president of management services and strategy for VMware End-User Computing (EUC).

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VMware App Volumes (formerly CloudVolumes) is now shipping! App Volumes is a real-time application delivery system that enables IT to instantly deliver applications with complete application lifecycle management. App Volumes provides seamless end-user experience while reducing infrastructure and management costs. Unlike traditional application management solutions, App Volumes allows IT to deliver a stateless desktop without any trade-off between user experience and costs.

This fully rebranded and Horizon View integrated release comes only 3 months after acquisition. New features include additional integration with Horizon View allowing for even faster application delivery, support for RDSH published desktops and applications, Citrix XenDesktop and XenApp, non-persistent physical devices, improved personalized user environment options and greatly improved and expanded support for Microsoft Office.

App Volumes will be included as part of Horizon 6 Enterprise and will continue to be offered as a standalone product that will include support for Citrix environments.

Application management has been a significant pain point over the years. Prior to the release of App Volumes, little progress has been made to address application management and delivery. Yes, we have seen progress from sneaker net installs, better application packaging with MSI’s and evolved Electronic Software Distribution (ESD). However, application virtualization was invented and has been available for almost a decade and we’ve tried remoting the application presentation tier over the wire to present applications and tried to consider this as application delivery. Despite this, applications for the vast majority of customers I speak with continue to represent a hornets’ nest of complexity that stifles organizational agility.  Most are still using a “Glorified Ghost” approach to application management and delivery.

Customer Feedback

I’ve been traveling extensively meeting customers preparing for General Availability and spreading the word on the benefits of real-time application delivery and life-cycle management as I’ve written previously. I asked many how they would describe their application management strategy today.  The most honest customer response was, ”Our application management strategy is to throw more bodies at it. We hire application management zombies.“

Zombie Image

 

When scrutinized to better understand why this is still the case for so many people, the answers can be summed up as follows:

  • Time and Resources: Managing applications and their lifecycle consume time and resources. There is Electronic Software Distribution (ESD) infrastructure deployment and management (e.g., SCCM), application packaging, application distribution, application package deployment failure diagnosis, and application package upgrades.
  • Application Packaging Expertise: Finding and retaining qualified people is difficult due to the experience and expertise required.
  • ESD is complicated: Application deployment success is mixed. Combining multiple different application packages together on end points often introduces conflicts, and removing applications can be difficult, leaving files or registry keys tattooed on machine after removal.
  • Application virtualization compatibility: Traditional application virtualization solves some problems and introduces others; app to app interaction and app to OS integration can be challenging when using traditional application virtualization methods.
  • User Installed Applications: When users are able to install applications, they are then permanently bound to a single, unique desktop, and some user installed apps (UIA) break applications installed by IT making coexistence of IT managed and user installed apps difficult to manage. IT often solves the problem by denying users administrator access, which introduces difficulty in managing other personalization aspects of the desktop experience.

App Volumes is focused on solving enterprise application management challenges by enabling real-time application delivery and lifecycle management with its unique architecture and approach outlined in more detail here.

While it’s great to understand the architecture and appreciate why we can achieve some never seen before capabilities, it is equally easy to see the key benefits for yourself and understand what App Volumes is truly capable of. It is also helpful to understand what App Volumes does not do to avoid common misunderstandings –most common being application isolation. We work with VMware ThinApp to provide isolation.

VMware App Volumes natively installs applications to the OS.  This is important so I’ll say it again – App Volumes natively installs applications into the OS. This is why cross application communication and OS dependencies are handled so easily. App Volumes virtualizes above the OS not just the application itself.

Make apps easy to provision, deploy, update and manage instantly.

Create and assign an AppStack

Update applications in an AppStack

App Volumes and Citrix 

App Volumes Many Applications in Seconds

Our philosophy

With a laser focus on the applications, App Volumes is better equipped to address enterprise needs for better application management. To that end, we also understand that any solution must not create overhead or additional infrastructure. The solution must work with existing enterprise architecture.

We understand and I personally learned a very long time ago as a customer, new solutions that don’t live side by side with existing enterprise infrastructure are usually doomed to fail. They often represent too much complexity to adopt at scale.

This is the driving reason VMware App Volumes does not try to leverage our technology to manage every tier of your stack rather, we simply focus on the apps for real-time delivery and lifecycle management. We will continue to work with best of breed technologies like native hypervisor technology in project Fargo to enable broader management use cases, partner with eco system providers, support Citrix environments and enable future integrations to simplify overall management to meet customer needs.

As we apply our laser focus to applications it is important to note that an application will comprise many parts.

  • .NET applications and cross application communication between frameworks
  • WMI extensions
  • Application dependencies
  • Drivers and services
  • Cross container application communication

App Volumes is able to virtualize all of these and deliver these components, dependencies and use cases in real time to a user, AD group, OU, an individual and even a specific machine.

Of course we will encounter edge case unknowns that we will uncover together as we grow App Volumes’ capabilities. It’s important to understand that we have been hard at work working on this technology for several years refining our approach. Large complex enterprise customers using thousands of complex applications have rejected alternatives and validated our approach with large-scale adoption of App Volumes. I encourage you to learn more about what App Volumes can do for your enterprise.

VMware App Volumes was started as a company years ago (as Cloud Volumes) with an unrelenting focus on applications. This created a groundbreaking approach to application delivery and was one of the reasons why VMware acquired this incredibly focused team. We solved many hard problems and will continue to evolve our capabilities quickly. In the early days many doubted our approach. However, smart customers realized that our approach wasn’t so crazy and we are grateful for their guidance as well as the overwhelming response we’ve had from so many for our early access program, eager to help us reach this milestone. Thank you.

I am sure some people may still have questions and we look forward to addressing those by showcasing the power of our technology through demos and online trials. We firmly believe the product speaks for itself.

Download and try App Volumes for yourself here

http://www.vmware.com/products/appvolumes

I look forward to bringing even more innovation to serve your needs in 2015 as we look to help companies modernize legacy ESD approaches, and wish you well for this holiday season.

@harrylabana

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