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Explore Las Vegas 2023 VMware App Volumes VMware Explore 2023 VMware Horizon

Bringing our Apps Everywhere vision to life with VMware App Volumes

Decades ago, server-based computing began with Terminal Services (now known as Remote Desktop Session Hosts, or RDSH) and single-session app virtualization (commonly referred to as remote apps or published apps). Back then, shared desktop and app resources were the only server-based computing options for users to access across a server operating system (OS). Server-based computing evolved with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), offering a new persistent desktop model that gave users discreet virtual desktops rather than a shared host OS. Advances in VDI introduced a non-persistent desktop model, where IT admins could set up pools of stateless desktops for employees who didn’t need a persistent experience. As the cloud emerged, desktop-as-a-service (DaaS) became a great option for fast desktop and app deployment because bundled capacity eliminated infrastructure needs.  

While each of these options has advantages, they also share some common complexities, most notably app lifecycle management. Whether published apps are hosted within farms on RDSH servers or apps are deployed inside VDI or DaaS desktop images, IT organizations still rely on a variety of tools to manage the lifecycle of their apps. Some organizations have multiple virtual desktop and app vendors, further compounding app lifecycle management complexity.  

8 Stages of App Lifecycle Management
Figure 1. The eight stages of app lifecycle management

The challenges of app lifecycle management 

Why is app lifecycle management so difficult? First, we have to understand some common app lifecycle management challenges, which range from app discovery to packaging, delivery, and much more (see Figure 1 for the stages of app lifecycle management). Many IT organizations spend time-consuming cycles on operating system update processes (ever heard of Patch Tuesday?). IT admins often must schedule and coordinate time windows for app updates to make it through user acceptance testing (UAT) and into production. Let’s not forget about app compatibility issues that IT admins may run into while trying to get apps deployed correctly on different types of operating systems and versions.  

Now, imagine having to manage apps across different delivery models like published apps, persistent and non-persistent VDI, and DaaS; across different clouds like private and public; and across various desktop and app delivery vendors. That type of app management will require more than one tool. What if there were a better path forward to help manage app lifecycles no matter what delivery model, cloud, or vendor you choose … with a single solution? Now there is, with Apps Everywhere! 

Apps Everywhere
Figure 2. Apps Everywhere

The Apps Everywhere vision 

Apps Everywhere is our vision for unifying app delivery and full lifecycle management across any VDI, DaaS, or published app cloud. The technology driving the Apps Everywhere vision is VMware App Volumes. App Volumes is a real-time app delivery solution that separates apps from the OS image to simplify app lifecycle management with one-to-many provisioning. IT teams can capture single app copies to be delivered to many VDI desktops, DaaS desktops, and RDSH servers that are hosting published apps. Any time there’s an app update, only one app copy needs to be updated. Apps can be entitled to users so when they log into any non-persistent desktop or access a published app, they’ll get the latest app update. Using one app copy significantly reduces infrastructure costs — IT admins no longer have to install copies of the same app across every desktop image or RDSH server, which takes up costly disk space. Instead, one app copy on an App Volumes server can be used across many user sessions (one-to-many provisioning)! Additionally, by separating apps from the OS, IT can also reduce their number of OS images down to one generic evergreen OS image, making OS management easier and less time-consuming.  

Recently, we’ve taken the power of App Volumes to the next level with Apps on Demand, a capability that further reduces costs, especially in app publishing environments like Horizon Apps or Citrix Virtual Apps. Apps on Demand uniquely attaches apps to RDSH servers (or VDI hosts) based on the users actually using apps. With Apps on Demand, IT doesn’t need to set up dedicated RDSH servers and install apps on them to support potential max user capacity. By attaching apps to RDSH servers on demand, IT admins can reduce the number of RDSH servers they’re managing, the number of and time spent managing OS images, and the number of farms and silos being managed.  

Apps on Demand
Figure 3. Apps on Demand

Apps Everywhere at VMware Explore 2023 Las Vegas 

At VMware Explore 2023 Las Vegas, we’re making some significant announcements about Apps Everywhere, including hosting an upcoming beta for App Volumes support for persistent virtual desktops in the next three months. We’re also working toward Apps on Demand support for Horizon Cloud next-gen, Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop RemoteApp streaming, and Amazon AppStream 2.0 in the next six months. As you can see, the theme behind our Apps Everywhere vision is using App Volumes as the industry’s first cross-platform and cross-cloud app lifecycle management solution. Unified app management is the goal, and every additional innovation we pack into App Volumes is helping our customers reach that goal. The result is simplified app management that reduces management and infrastructure costs. If you are at Explore in Las Vegas, you can learn more about Apps Everywhere, App Volumes, and Apps on Demand from subject matter experts in our App Volumes sessions. To learn more about App Volumes and Apps on Demand, I encourage you to watch these lightboard videos or visit