App-V Resource Kit Tools available

From stealthpuppy 

A number of useful App-V (resource kit) tools have been released which look very useful:

Application Virtualization Application Listing Tool
The App-V Application Listing Tool (ListVApps) is a tool which lists all the virtual processes that are running at a specific time on a specific computer. You can use the tool to get information about the priority and owner of each process, the size of its virtual memory, its session identifier and processing time. User with administrator privileges will see all running virtual applications.

Application Virtualization Cache Configuration Tool
The App-V client cache tool (AppVCacheSize) allows administrators to increase the Microsoft Application Virtualization client cache size through a scriptable command line interface. AppVCacheSize uses the specified parameters to configure the desired cache size, as well as toggle between using a free disk space threshold or set a maximum cache size.

Application Virtualization Client Log Parser Utility
You can use the fields and values contained in the output file to filter information obtained from the log files. The output file generated by the application log parser utility contains the following fields: System, OS, Build, Date, Time, Module, Log Level, hApp, App, User, Thread, and Message. The information contained in the output file can also be imported into Microsoft Excel for subsequent evaluation. This log parser simplifies the task of looking through log files, being able to filter by log level, build report, launch failures, mini-dumps, minimum disconnected operation mode entries and more. Afterwards, the appropriate party can import the data for analysis and/or utilization.

Application Virtualization SFT Parser Tool
This one looks interesting, but a PKG Parser would be nice too:
You can use the Application Virtualization SFT Info utility to extract the following information from SFT files:
·         Validation of SFT files—Process corrupted SFT files, and recover information from corrupted SFT files.
·         XML export of contents of SFT—Export the contents of an existing SFT file. You can evaluate SFT segments or SFT metadata and construct a textual tree view of all file information SFT file.
·         Listing of all of the files in the SFT—Identify and print the files contained in the SFT with their full paths. This is a good method to quickly identify the contents of a package.
·         Statistics about properties of the SFT metadata—Identify statistical information, such the largest file contained in a package. This can be very useful for identifying packages that are too large in size and are causing issues loading on the client.
·         Get relevant information on a file in the package—Display size, timestamps, attributes, and version information associated with the package.
·         Ability to skip processing of file data if using functionality that requires only the metadata—Allows working with very large packages quickly.
and finally:

Application Virtualization Dynamic Suite Composition Tool
This is a GUI tool for managing DSC.
Dynamic suite composition is a Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) feature that enables applications to be sequenced separately from the plug-ins and middleware applications they rely on, while still being able to utilize the virtual resources such as file system and registry settings, in the virtual environment. The packages will run and interact with one another as if they were all installed locally on a computer. The primary package will also assume the secondary packages entire virtual environment, including the virtual file system. If there is an installer associated with a virtual application package, the installers will be automatically updated.

Microsoft App-V 4.5 Management Pack for SCOM 2007 available for download

From Virtual World:

The Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 (App-V) Management Pack enables IT professionals to use Microsoft System Center Operations Manager 2007 to monitor App-V server systems. The Management Pack is designed to maximize Application Virtualization Server availability for handling Application Virtualization Client requests. This component delivers an enterprise-level solution to proactively monitor Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 server systems.

Feature Summary

  • Monitor and detect Application Virtualization service failures.
  • Monitor connectivity errors with external App-V dependent services such as SQL and Active Directory Domain Services.
  • Monitor when the backlog of queued requests crosses thresholds.
  • Monitor the general health state of the App-V Server.
  • Monitor machine-wide health metrics as related to App-V Server components.
  • Visually monitor trends in the backlog of queued requests on App-V Servers.
  • Monitor the number and type of alerts across the App-V infrastructure.
  • Monitor response time when communicating with external services.

Download here

 

I passed 70-656: TS: Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, Configuring

Last week I passed this exam and since I was struggling to get my study material together, I wanted to give all readers a head-start by elaborating on my studying efforts.

For the record: MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) reduces application deployment costs, enabling delivery of applications as services, and allowing for better management and control of enterprise desktop environments. Together, these technologies deliver a highly cost-effective and flexible Windows desktop management solution. MDOP consists of the following products:

  • Microsoft Application Virtualization
  • Microsoft Asset Inventory Service
  • Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management
  • Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset
  • Microsoft System Center Desktop Error Monitoring

First make sure you check out the site of MDOP charter (http://www.mdopcharter.com/) and register for a free exam by using the promotional code "MDOP" as mentioned on the website. There also some nice links to some other material as well. Be sure to check out the syllabi and preparation guide (the skills measured section) of the exam to give you an overall picture of the questions asked.

To get some high level overview of all the products in MDOP I like the Gartner article here and more information in the different data sheets of the MDOP products.

There is some demonstrational video material on this website and if you want you can take a free clinic for application virtualization over on Microsoft Learning.

The exams exists of 75 questions and most of the questions are about Microsoft Application Virtualization (about 65%). But make no mistake you can’t pass this exam without studying for the other tools. Make sure you download the bits and follow the installation material and familiarize yourself with the different products.

I hope this helps studying and good luck with your exam.

Using environment variables in App-V

When it comes to environment variables in Microsoft Application Virtualization it’s good to know how the sequencer handles them.

When an environment variable is changed during the monitoring phase of the sequencing process the sequencer picks it up. This works for both User environment variables as well as System environment variables.

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After the sequencing process is done and the project is saved they end up in the OSD file under the <ENVLIST> section.

image

It’s good to know that the sequencer at this moment will detect if directories are referenced in the environment variable and automatically translates them to the appropriate %CSIDL_ or %SFT_MNT% variable.

Be careful however with referring to the hardcoded drives because this directory will not always be replaced with the %CSIDL_ variable. For example if you created a directory in the root of C:\. If your destination doesn’t have the specific drive and directory the application might fail.

During launch of the application all environment variables in the OSD will be treated as user variables during the use of the application. Also the ones that were captured as system variables. But be aware that the ENVIRONMENT tag in the OSD will override an existing system environment variable for that user’s session.

Usually applications don’t care if the environment variable is user or system based. However there are cases where badly written applications don’t check the variable but check the registry instead. Environment variables are (normally) saved in:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Environment
  • HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Environment

If your application is not working with the environment variables in the OSD you can always try adding the variable to one or both of the registry keys above.

To do this you could use a prelaunch script to add the registry key:

<SCRIPT TIMING="PRE" EVENT="LAUNCH" WAIT="FALSE" PROTECT="TRUE">
<SCRIPTBODY>cmd /c REG ADD HKCU\ENVIRONMENT /V _USERENV /T REG_EXPAND_SZ /D "USERVALUE" /F</SCRIPTBODY>
</SCRIPT>

This cannot be done for the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE key due to limited user rights. Instead just simply add it in the sequencer, either in the Virtual Registry tab or during monitoring phase.

Hope this saves some troubleshooting time!

App-V Application Publishing and Client Interaction

Documentation is really starting to be delivered now. Microsoft recently released the App-V Application Publishing and Client Interaction whitepaper.

This white paper provides information about how the client operates and where it stores data to support virtual applications.

Download here.

Availability App-V 4.5 TS client

While Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 RTMd a while a go there were some rumors in the community about the availability of the App-V 4.5 TS client.

While the desktop client of App-V can be obtained through MDOP 2008 R2 the TS client will be available through Volume Licensing.

Rumors came to an end when Microsoft announced the availability of the App-V 4.5 TS client on november 1st. So all you TS customers will just have to count days (28 days remaining ;-) )

I Sequenced an App, Deployed it, I have a minor change. Now what?

Well if you have a minor change like a registry key or an .INI file, you don’t have to Sequence again. You can easily script changes into the virtual environment of an already deployed application. You don’t even have to use the Sequencer for this. Just edit the applications it’s .OSD file with the Login Consultants OSD Editor or something else that can edit XML files, like notepad.

Check the Microsoft KB939085 to learn how to run scripts in an .osd file in App-V.

Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Sequencing Guide available

This white paper is designed to provide administrators with guidance for sequencing applications to create virtual packages that can be delivered to the end user. This white paper discusses setting up the sequencer, sequencing best practices, an example of sequencing, important information related to updating packages, and finally examples of advanced OSD scripting.

Available on the Application Virtualization TechCenter and download here.

New App-V 4.5 documentation and downloads

My Google Alert threw a couple new Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 updates at me this morning. Here an overview:

Microsoft Application Virtualization Administrative Template (ADM Template)

The Microsoft Application Virtualization ADM template configures client settings for the App-V Windows Desktop Client and for the Terminal Services client. The ADM template centrally manages common client configurations by using an existing Group Policy infrastructure and includes settings for communication, client interface, and permissions.

Microsoft Application Virtualization Best Practices Analyzer

The Application Virtualization (App-V) Best Practices Analyzer is a diagnostic tool that verifies configuration settings for a computer running a Microsoft Application Virtualization Streaming Server version 4.5 or Microsoft Application Virtualization Management Server version 4.5.

Feature Bullet Summary:

  • Scans Microsoft Application Virtualization Streaming Server
  • Scans Microsoft Application Virtualization Management Server
  • Reports warnings and guidance for configuration settings that should be adjusted
  • Produces an HTML report with all errors and warnings

Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Security Configuration Roles

The Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Security Configuration Roles (SCW) can be used to help protect and harden your Application Virtualization environment on Windows Server 2003 and 2008 by closing or disabling unnecessary ports and services reducing the overall attack surface.

Feature Bullet Summary:
The Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 SCW Roles contain hardening definitions for:

  • Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Management Server
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Streaming Server
  • Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Management Service

Go check it out.