VMware App Volumes—Just What Your Citrix XenApp Environment Has Been Missing
By Debra Perrin Coltoff, Technical Writer, End-User-Computing Technical Marketing, VMware
You have already heard that VMware App Volumes provides real-time application delivery and life cycle management, but did you know that App Volumes also optimizes the management of Citrix XenApp published applications?
Organizations are searching for a straightforward solution aimed at handling their XenApp applications efficiently, effectively, and at scale. App Volumes has made an impact in this space, using application containers (AppStacks) for application management and delivery. With an agent as the interface between application AppStacks and the OS, containers remain separate from the operating system, allowing a single application or set of applications to be shared by many XenApp servers, following a one-to-many delivery scheme.
Multiple AppStacks can be attached to a single XenApp server. As users access the server, they access all applications within the attached AppStacks. App Volumes runs on the backend of the XenApp environment, remaining transparent to users.
Applications function as they always have with XenApp.
The App Volumes agent on the XenApp server merges the AppStack applications into the Windows OS. After the application merge with Windows is complete, application shortcuts, objects, and registry entries are available to the operating system and user for normal application execution.
Benefits of App Volumes in a XenApp Environment
There are many benefits to using the combined solution of App Volumes and XenApp. With the two solutions working together, businesses gain:
- Faster Application Deployment
By combining core applications into a single core AppStack, management of all applications is simplified. You can place departmental or use-case-specific applications into other AppStacks for agility, and manage and deploy these non-core applications distinctly from core business applications. Within seconds, deployed AppStacks are attached to XenApp servers, and all of the applications within them are accessible to multiple users. Faster application deployment provides increased productivity for your entire organization.
- A Generic Operating System Image
Generic core OS images of XenApp servers allow those servers to be quickly provisioned to fulfill a particular need. AppStacks applied to generic servers deliver applications quickly and simply. By using AppStacks to inject the necessary applications into the XenApp servers, a single generic XenApp server image quickly becomes a Finance server, a Development server, or a Human Resources server.
- Minimized Application Updates
Applications in AppStacks are managed in a central location. As a result, IT installs and updates applications only in a single AppStack. XenApp publishes that shared repository of applications to all XenApp servers with access to the AppStack. Time spent to manage the application life cycle is significantly reduced.
- Reduced Server Maintenance
By using AppStacks for application management, the XenApp server image is focused on the server and the OS. The need for nearly constant application maintenance on multiple XenApp server images is eliminated. If a XenApp server fails, easily move the AppStacks to a new server and the problem is solved.
- Efficiently Handled Application Conflicts
App Volumes and VMware ThinApp work well together to solve the problem of application conflicts in a XenApp environment. ThinApp packages isolate potentially conflicting applications from one another, allowing IT to keep packaged applications together within an AppStack. There is no need to handle conflicting applications by placing them on separate XenApp servers.
Note: App Volumes runs on the back end of a XenApp environment, delivering applications directly to XenApp servers. These applications function as if natively installed and are remoted and presented to the user by XenApp as usual, using standard XenApp protocols.
Access to Applications in a Combined App Volumes and XenApp Environment
In a combined App Volumes and XenApp implementation, as in any other XenApp environment, the user logs in through an endpoint to access the XenApp server. By the time the user logs in to XenApp to launch an application, the AppStacks assigned to that server have already been attached by App Volumes, and the applications are available and ready to be used. The user has no knowledge that App Volumes is involved in the Citrix environment at all.
App Volumes is a flexible solution that can be used in many different ways to solve many different problems. To learn more about the combined solution of App Volumes and XenApp, read Implementation Considerations for VMware App Volumes in a Citrix XenApp Environment.