VMware has released the new ThinApp Factory appliance!
So… What the heck is ThinApp Factory and how can I use it?
What is ThinApp Factory?
ThinApp Factory is a virtual appliance which can be used to automate the packaging of legacy Windows applications with VMware ThinApp.
The virtual appliance is a Debian Linux vApp which can be installed on VMware vSphere 4.1 or higher or VMware Workstation 8.x and higher. It has a TomCat web based interface and built into it is an enhanced ThinApp package editor and basic web based store for users to install their own applications.
It can pull from manually uploaded installers, regular file share repositories (something very common amongst IT shops), as well as RSS-style app-installer feeds using the JSON format.
Why would I use ThinApp Factory?
- Faster Application Conversions – ThinApp Factory allows for customers to automate and run their packaging operations in parallel thereby reducing the packaging times of all applications.
- Removes Barriers to Application Adoptions – Packaging applications can take time, even if the application installation is easy. This is where using ThinApp Factory shines as it can allow customers to automate the entire process for many applications – and even package these applications at the same time! And with the introduction and use of Feeds, applications can now be automatically downloaded and packaged when newer versions become available.
- Feeds for Automated Application Installer Downloads – VMware ThinApp Factory introduces a new, RSS-like application installer feed ability where software manufacturers, partners, and customers can create simple feeds with everything needed to capture legacy Windows applications within ThinApp.
- Recipes for Repetition and Customization – ThinApp Factory introduces a new recipe feature for repetitive settings and for customizations. If a customer commonly makes certain modifications within their applications or ThinApp packages, this can be defined as a recipe for use when capturing various or specific applications. Additionally, if many versions of an application can be captured with the same common settings but of different values for each package, then recipes also allow for custom input during the capture process of all applications.
- Import your existing ThinApp Projects – Have a bunch of existing ThinApp Projects already? No worries! You can import these into ThinApp Factory for management and deployment. This allows for rebuilding with newer runtimes and editing the package settings via the ThinApp Factory GUI.
- Virtual Machine Work Pools – One of the nicest features of ThinApp Factory is the ability to work with various types of capture and build (CnB) VMs. This means you don’t have to choose a specific system to build from as you now have the choice to have many different system configurations for capturing a legacy Windows application as a ThinApp. Anything from an uber-clean OS built by ThinApp Factory or a custom built VM imported into ThinApp Factory as well as multiple operating systems.
- Manual Captures – While ThinApp Factory is all about the automation, customers can still capture an application manually through ThinApp Factory if necessary.
- Can Provide Applications to VMware Horizon Application Manager – One of the biggest benefits of VMware’s Horizon Application Manager is the ability to provision ThinApp packaged applications to end users. ThinApp Factory allows for customers to automate the capturing and delivering of legacy Windows applications into Horizon for provisioning to end user desktops.
How much does ThinApp Factory cost?
VMware ThinApp Factory is provided for free to all existing VMware ThinApp customers! You will need a valid ThinApp license for ThinApp Factory to work. Additionally, a valid Windows XP volume license or Windows 7 Pro/Ent/Ult MAK/KMS license is also required.
Where can I get ThinApp Factory?
VMware ThinApp Factory can be downloaded from the VMware Flings site. The specific flings page for ThinApp Factory can be found here.
Is there a more in-depth overview of VMware ThinApp Factory?
Is there a place where I can find existing recipes?
The VMware ThinApp Communities has been redesigned to accommodate an updated ThinApp Packaging Notes and Recipes portal. This is where you will find all of the existing packaging notes as well as new recipes such as the Simple Recipe for VMware View Clients.