VMware ThinApp tutorial: Resources on VMware virtualized applications

When done right, virtualized applications simplify desktop management. This tutorial explains how to use VMware ThinApp to deliver virtualized applications to users.

VMware ThinApp is application virtualization software that condenses a program and its associated data into a single

executable file. For IT pros unfamiliar with the nuances of virtualized applications, this VMware ThinApp tutorial provides valuable and informative resources.

Application virtualization applies server virtualization principles to applications. ThinApp and other application virtualization tools abstract applications from the underlying operating system, which creates several benefits:

  • Conflicts don't arise when multiple virtualized applications run concurrently.
  • Virtualized applications can run on a wider variety of OSes.
  • OS updates won't break application compatibility.

Historically, the lack of a deployment mechanism for VMware ThinApp has been a major criticism. Previously, IT pros had to distribute ThinApp through MSI files or Microsoft Group Policy Object software.

But now VMware ThinApp 4.6 is tightly integrated with the company's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) platform, View 4.5. As such, administrators can deliver virtualized applications to View desktop pools. For many companies, however, this setup may not be practical, ]-- especially for IT shops that don't have an interest in VDI.

This VMware ThinApp tutorial provides resources on how to configure and distribute ThinApp. It also covers how VMware's application virtualization tool stacks up to the competition and how ThinApp fits with VDI.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Delivering virtualized applications  | Working with VMware View
 



DELIVERING VIRTUALIZED APPLICATIONS

Before you can stream ThinApp to endpoint devices, you have to configure the back end in the data center. But it's not as complicated as you might think. This section of our VMware ThinApp tutorial explores how it's possible to deploy virtualized applications with only three physical or virtual machines.

Using VMware ThinApp to virtualize applications
Virtualized applications are supposed to simplify desktop management. VMware ThinApp can deploy a program to a guest OS, without having the user install the application. But virtualization pros must prepare accordingly before delivering virtualized applications.

Using VMware ThinApp for application virtualization
Despite application virtualization's numerous benefits, there are political and technical obstacles to overcome. Licensing, activation and application support issues are common problems with application virtualization. If you're satisfied with these tradeoffs, this walkthrough can help you use VMware ThinApp for application virtualization.

App-V vs. ThinApp: A VMware pro votes Microsoft
Microsoft App-V and VMware ThinApp are popular application virtualization products with major differences. ThinApp, for instance, turns applications into self-contained executables, but App-V uses client-side agents to distribute virtualized applications. One VMware pro even claims Microsoft has the better application virtualization approach.
 



WORKING WITH VMWARE VIEW

Both ThinApp 4.6 and View 4.5 received a user-interface overhaul from previous versions. Among the changes, View now provides a way to deploy ThinApp to virtual desktops, which makes sense considering that both technologies share a natural overlap. For a closer look at the greater integration between ThinApp and View, check out the resources in this section of our VMware ThinApp tutorial.

Launching VMware ThinApps in View 4.5
VMware addressed ThinApp's lack of a deployment method in View 4.5. Now administrators can direct ThinApps at desktop pools from a dedicated server. After some initial configuration, you can launch VMware ThinApps in View 4.5.

How to put the VMware View client on a USB drive
By placing the VMware View client on a USB drive with ThinApp, you can securely deliver a virtual desktop to any computer with a free USB port and Internet access. It's ideal for travelers who don't want to lug around a bulky, corporate computer. This method is also a shrewd way to beam desktops to remote employees.

ThinApp deployments in a training environment
ThinApp is a boon in training environments -- especially for students who need to work with different versions of the same application. Rather than using two desktops, students can flip between ThinApp deployments. Also, VMware's application virtualization platform makes classroom preparation a breeze.

This was first published in February 2011

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