Integrate Unidesk and App-V for Robust Application Management

Posted by Thomas Willingham on Oct 21, 2016

In an earlier post, I answered the common question, "Is Unidesk an App-V Competitor for Application Packaging?" The quick summary is that App-V is ideal for apps that need to be isolated from the rest of the Windows workspace, whereas Unidesk is best for managing the majority of apps where packaging simplicity, broad app compatibility, the same app interoperability as a local install, and the fastest possible app delivery are needed.

But do you need to replace your entire App-V deployment and lose all the invested time, effort, and expense in App-V sequencing to use Unidesk? Not at all.

In this post, I’ll explain how Unidesk and App-V can be used to create a joint solution.

Deliver the App-V Client with Unidesk

If you have already deployed App-V, Unidesk can help you create a more robust application packaging and lifecycle management solution. You can run Unidesk and App-V side by side – Unidesk to package and deliver the majority of your apps, and App-V to eliminate application conflicts.

One of the challenges with App-V is how to get the App-V client management software delivered to all desktops. The App-V client lets the end user interact with isolated applications after they have been virtualized.


Sequencing Application to Create App-V Package

However, App-V cannot deploy itself to clients. That’s where Unidesk’s ability to quickly and easily package all apps shines. You can use Unidesk to deliver the App-V client to all desktops without having to repeatedly install it.

Here’s how to deliver the App-V client to all desktops:

  1. Create an Application Layer, install the App-V client, and finalize the layer.
  2. Create a Layered Image containing the App-V client layer.
  3. Publish the Layered Image. Choose a Unidesk connector for your provisioning system – e.g. Citrix PVS, Citrix MCS, VMware View Composer, VMware Instant Clones - the hypervisor you want to publish the image to.

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Delivering App-V Client software as a Unidesk Layer

When users login to their workspace, the App-V client will be present and they'll have automatic access to any App-V packages. Remember, Unidesk has 2 ways to deliver apps. One way is by merging all layers into a Layered Image – a standard VHD - before a machine boots. Layered Images typically contain the layers that are used by all users – the Windows OS, antivirus, printer drivers, etc. The App-V client is another such app. The second way is to enable Elastic Layering to deliver the layer to the user at login. Elastic Layering attaches virtual disks at login using in-guest virtual disk (VHD) mounts. This is ideal for departmental and one-off apps that are only used by smaller numbers of users.

Deliver App-V Packages with Unidesk

The other challenge with App-V is managing the App-V packages on multiple desktops and streaming servers. App-V packages can also be copied to each user’s desktop so they can be run locally. In both cases, Microsoft admits in its Overview of App-V that maintaining the package content and keeping it up to date on all of the streaming servers and desktops requires a comprehensive package management solution. Unidesk can be that comprehensive package management solution.

Here’s how to deliver an App-V package to specific users and groups:

  1. Create an Application Layer, copy the App-V package onto the packaging machine, and finalize the layer. You now have a layer that contains the App-V package.
  2. Enable the application layer for Unidesk Elastic Layering so that it can be delivered in real-time at user login based on AD credentials. Note: An App-V package can also be delivered to all desktops by creating a Layered Image using the App-V package layer, and then publishing that image.
  3. Assign the application layer to an AD user or group so that it will properly assigned at login.

Benefits of a Joint Unidesk and App-V Solution

As you can see, Unidesk and App-V aren’t an either / or solution. They can be combined to successfully deliver all your applications and satisfy different use cases. If you already have App-V deployed in your environment, you can seamlessly integrate Unidesk to simply and quickly package your apps.

Use Unidesk to efficiently package and deliver the majority of your applications that need the characteristics of a local installation, including the App-V client and existing App-V packages.

Use App-V to virtualize applications that need to be isolated.

Now that you better understand how to integrate App-V and Unidesk, try them together in your own end user computing environment to experience the benefits for yourself.

What is your experience with application virtualization compared to application layering? Write a comment to let us know!

Topics: App-V

Posted by Thomas Willingham on Oct 21, 2016

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