VMware ThinApp 4.7 Essentials by Peter Björk teaches IT pros about VMware Inc.'s approach to application virtualization, ThinApp best practices, features in the ThinApp arsenal and more. Preview the book's first chapter for free with the link below.
Applications are the raison d'être for modern enterprise IT. With increased reliance on applications comes increased complications, such as supporting different versions of the same application, risk to the OS from the applications' modifications, security threats and other hassles like multiplying maintenance and support tasks.
Virtualized Windows applications can outperform local installations and circumvent compatibility obstacles because they are encapsulated from the underlying OS via ThinApp.
"Out of the box, ThinApp is capable of virtualizing 60% to 80% of your applications," says Björk. By following the VMware ThinApp best practices that Björk presents, and obtaining a fundamental understanding of ThinApp 4.7's architecture, readers can bump up this percentage while they improve app speed, open up new app options and streamline maintenance.
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Please add to the sidebar: Read Björk's take on VMware app virtualization
The book establishes ThinApp terminology early on -- sandbox, ThinApp runtime, the build machine -- and shares some ThinApp how-to's that make application management easier. For example, to ease troubleshooting, create the folder "Thinstall" next to an application package; this changes the sandbox location and allows you to override the contents in the existing sandbox. Another ThinApp best practice is to limit AppLinked packages -- merged virtual applications -- to fewer than 10, although ThinApp allows up to 250 AppLinked packages. Björk also shares when to use the legacy format for ThinApp 4.7's registry, how to avoid rebuilding packages when you want to reuse them, when to use which isolation mode and more tips.
Björk presents ThinApp packaging best practices, caveats and gotchas in the context of ThinApp's architecture and app deployment cases. With ThinApp, applications never install on the local machine and no agents go onto the local computer, as explained in this excerpt from Chapter 1, "Application Virtualization":
ThinApp has one very obvious advantage over other solutions out there. It is agentless, meaning you need nothing locally installed in order to execute an application packaged with the help of ThinApp. Being agentless greatly reduces the administration overhead. When a new ThinApp version is released, you don't have to touch any existing packages already deployed. Start using the new version to capture new applications. You can happily deploy these next to an old ThinApp package since there is no conflict between ThinApp versions running side-by-side. Being agentless also lets you offer an application to a user bringing his or her own device without the need to ever touch the device. You don't run the risk of being accused of altering the user's machine.
Readers familiar with ThinApp's terminology and architecture in Chapter 1 can follow along in a sample application packaging exercise. Learn how to deploy and update virtualized apps via ThinApp, VMware View and VMware Horizon Application Manager; and establish strong ThinApp troubleshooting practices. The book includes a chapter on design and implementation considerations for ThinApp.
Editor's note: The chapter excerpt from VMware ThinApp 4.7 Essentials by Peter Björk is available courtesy of Packt Publishing Ltd. Björk supports VMware ThinApp in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. He came to VMware with Thinstall in 2008.
This was first published in March 2013