App-V 5.0 Beta released, what’s new/different?

Yesterday Microsoft announced the public availability of App-V 5.0 Beta. You can download it from Microsoft Connect and start playing with it.

Normally I wouldn’t push people to really start testing as soon as possible, but in this case I really urge you to do so.  

Why should I test?

Well pretty much each component of App-V has been changed/rewritten from scratch.

Since the old SoftGrid days up untill App-V 4.6, everything was build on top of the old base this is why upgrading was quite easy as none of the components changes but where upgraded. I still have some Sequences that I have made with SoftGrid 2.0, which still work on App-V.

This is the first release where major changes have been made to the code, in such a way that a lot of the issues customers encounter should be solved by handling things completely different.

What’s different?

As mentioned, a lot. But here are the highlights in short which are most interesting for you:

  • The management/streaming server is still there!
  • RTSP is gone. SMB and HTTP(s) streaming only. Which is fine by me. I liked HTTP streaming more anyway.
  • New management console for management server, no longer MMC snap-in. Now purely based on Silverlight.
  • No more “Q:” drive, you will be able to just see the files on disk from the outside.
  • Completely revamped client (Metro style), programmable using PowerShell.
  • The Sequencer is pretty much the same as 4.6 SP1
  • And last but not least the package format SFT is gone, and so are the OSD and ICO files. Everything will be stored in a new .APPV file format.

The .APPV file is actually a much more open format then the “old” .SFT file. If you rename it to .ZIP, you will see :-) I’m not saying it’s a ZIP file BTW.

Update 23-04-2012: Changing the .APPV extension to .ZIP and editing the file through Windows Explorer is not supported by Microsoft. Also if the file is not readable by Windows Explorer after renaming it to .ZIP, this does not mean the App-V package is invalid.

The most important thing to realise is that you existing packages will not simply work on App-V 5.0, they will all have to be converted to a completely new format and they will run in a different/changed type of virtualization as you have seen so far with previous versions of App-V. App-V 5.0 already provides package converting tools, so my advise would actually be to focus most of your testing on your existing sequences!

Screenshot of new App-V 5.0 Client UI:

AppV5ClientUI

Have fun!