If you are interested in learning more about VMware ThinApp –  whether you just got started with application virtualization or you've got a particular app you are packaging — join us at the VMware ThinApp Lounge. This online event, held the first Tuesday of each month at 9am Pacific time, is a great opportunity to talk to members of the product team and learn more about ThinApp. (Tell your boss it's free consulting if he thinks you should be alphabetizing your TPS reports instead.)

I wanted to get more of an idea of what the ThinApp Lounge was all about, so I sat down with VMware's own Dean Flaming, host of the Lounge, to find out what goes on there. The next Lounge is tomorrow, Tuesday, October 6, at 9am PDT (-7 UCT). Join Dean each month in the Lounge — and say hi for me!

Q. Who should attend the ThinApp Lounge webinar?
A. Anyone interested in getting an introduction to ThinApp, what it is, how it works, and a demonstration of it.  Questions are welcome!

Q. How long have we been doing the ThinApp Lounge?  Why did we start?
A. VMware has had the ThinApp Lounge since the acquisition of Thinstall and the release of ThinApp.  Originally it was designed as a presentation of a technically specific ThinApp topic with Q&A but was revamped about 4 months ago to become more of an introductory piece to assist both customers and partners, as well as others, in spreading the word on ThinApp.  We started the ThinApp Lounge to give people a means to come find out about ThinApp at a time and place of their choosing without having to interact with additional personnel if they didn’t desire to as we found many IT people like to have the option of scheduling when they wish to learn something as well as learn about something without being hampered by sales types. 🙂

Q. How hard is it to get started with ThinApp?
A. It’s extremely easy to get started with ThinApp.  In fact, a two-part video exists on YouTube and elsewhere showing ThinApp from Start to Finish in 20 minutes from ground up!

Q. Do I need to have a ThinApp Problem to join the ThinApp Lounge or will there be other content presented?
A. No problems necessary!  Only a desire to learn a little about ThinApp as a product is needed.  Currently the ThinApp Lounge is defined to deliver ThinApp Introductory webinars but in the near future as demand grows, we look to have some intermediate level webinars as well (such as “How to use AppLink”, “How to use AppSync”, etc.).

Q. Any good stories or “Ah-ha!” moments from the Lounge?
A. One of my favorite things is seeing the light turn on in peoples eyes when they start to realize just how malleable ThinApp really is and the options it presents to customers.  Two areas I commonly see this around are Security and App Packaging.

With Security, the insecurities of a legacy application that is still required often turn out to be the bane of the customer’s issues as that application’s needs end up driving what the customer can and cannot do – especially when compliance requirements come into play.  When that legacy application is wrapped within ThinApp, it’s insecurities start to become insignificant – and depending upon the app and environment,  almost to the point of not needing updates to fix the insecurities of the app.  This is because the insecurities of the app are contained within the “Virtual Bubble” and are not allowed outside that “virtual bubble” onto the native system.

With App Packaging, it’s always fun to show how one can create a ThinApp package which has no executables in it whatsoever – but rather, executes a natively installed application through the “virtual bubble”.  This “virtual bubble” could have additional settings, configurations, plugins, add-ons, or other items which allow the natively installed application to operate entirely differently than it is configured to on the native system.

Q. In a past life, you were a Citrix expert – how should people experienced in Citrix & Terminal Services deployments be thinking about ThinApp?
A. I spent more than 10 years as a Citrix/Microsoft consultant and solutions provider, developing solutions to customers issues and needs.  In that time, I found many customers implementing Citrix solutions often had one or more applications which wouldn’t play nicely with other applications needed by all employees.  This resulted in the creation of a separate Citrix or Terminal Server SILO where that specific app was housed.  Setting up this SILO always took additional time, effort, and money to do as it was just a pain to get that pushed to everyone who needed it.  ThinApp solves this issue with extreme ease by virtualizing the conflicting components or applications so that one can reduce their Citrix footprint.  I’m usually countered on this point by Citrix’s Application Isolation Environment, but I can safely say (and most likely anyone who has worked with an AIE will attest to this) that AIEs are hard to configure properly, still require the application to be installed, and do not virtualize the application but rather just isolate it’s calls via a hidden redirect.  With ThinApp I can also build completely vanilla Terminal Servers and drop in the applications on a per user basis as they login – very similar to a VDI scenario.

Since SBC (Citrix and Terminal Server), VDI, and Application Virtualization solutions can not only work together but can all solve some of the same or similar issues – even though they are all completely different technologies – it is very relevant to ask oneself what the issues really are and what the solutions are accomplishing with regards to business needs.

With ThinApp, we aim to solve software issues with a software solution – and we believe ThinApp is the best, most powerful, and most simplistic application virtualization product on the market.