App Volumes 4.0 beta is available today, bringing new innovation to managing virtual desktops by tackling some of the toughest management challenges including rollout and lifecycle management of applications.
Managing the delivery and lifecycle of one app is easy, but try managing hundreds or even thousands of apps. All of these apps require regular feature updates and security patches. Then, factor in user to app permutations. Although there may be quite a bit of overlap of apps between users, there will also likely be quite a lot that doesn’t overlap. And much of the admin’s time is spent managing the exceptions. If there are incompatibility issues with an application, IT has to either uninstall the app, find the previous version and reinstall it, or worst case, reimage the desktop. It’s a landmine and a never-ending grind. Sigh…
Desktops and Apps On-Demand
App Volumes has addressed many of these challenges by providing technology that allows admins to virtualize applications from the operating system, greatly reducing the number images under management. A key pillar of our Just in Time Management technology (JMP), App Volumes enables the delivery of highly personalized, non-persistent desktops. When you log into a non-persistent desktop powered by JMP, you are getting a brand new, fresh desktop, on-demand. Applications can be packaged by App Volumes and delivered to the desktop at login, as a VMDK or VHD file. Data, user settings and policies are also snapped in as you log in. This on-demand paradigm enables zero downtime updates and easy rollbacks.
That’s the quick summary of App Volumes today, but let’s dig in and see what App Volumes 4.0 is bringing to the table.
Brigitte Skakkebaek interviews Jeff Ulatoski
Inventory and Lifecycle Management (aka Organize the Chaos)
With the App Volumes 4.0 beta we introduce several new and exciting features, including the concept of an inventory, speeds up roll outs and rollbacks if needed. An app inventory creates a construct for any given app- let’s take Adobe Reader for example. Within that inventory, all various app packages for that app are included- for example, Adobe Reader 10, Adobe Reader 11 and Adobe Reader DC.
To take it a step further, all the various app packages can be cataloged based on the stage the app is in. For example, if a new version of an app was just packaged, it could be categorized as ‘New’ and then recategorized to ‘Tested’ when it gets to the testing phase, all the way to ‘Published’ and ‘Retired’. The image below shows various lifecycle stages of a package:
Together, the inventory and lifecycle stages information provide the admin with a quick comprehensive overview of any given application and the lifecycle of each version within that inventory. And because the previous version of an app can remain in inventory, it is easy to roll back in case something goes wrong. The next time a user logs in, App Volumes will deliver the updated (or perhaps rolled back) app package at login.
Streamlined Management of the Exception and the Rule
But that’s not all! We’ve also innovated app assignments and delivery. With App Volumes 4.0, a new version can easily be rolled out to end-users. With our new marker technology, an app package within an inventory can be designated as the ‘current’ version and all users who are assigned to the ‘current’ version will be updated at their next login.
However, in every business there are always exceptions that take time to manage. There may be users who require a special version of an application because they need specific features, or they have incompatibility issues with their operating system or neighboring apps. The good news is that App Volumes 4.0 also brilliantly manages the exceptions, not just the rule. Those users will be exempt from broad sweeping app assignments and can be assigned by AD group or even as an individual.
Try it for Yourself
We are excited about App Volumes 4.0 and we think you will be too. Get the Beta here, and test out these features today. You’ll also have an opportunity to join the App Volumes 4.0 Beta community and give us feedback, see what people are talking about and help shape the future of app delivery and management across VDI and published apps.