Login Consultants releases App-V Client ADMX 1.0

Having a healthy application virtualization infrastructure platform involves configuring the App-V client with the appropriate settings. Today there are two main ways of configuring the client, either during the initial client installation process or afterwards.

Benefit of configuring the client during installation is that the client is fully operational in the shortest amount of time and can be used directly after the installation. Configuration can be done through one of the many command line parameters. If command line configuration is not preferred, settings can also be captured in a Microsoft Transform file (MST) and applied to the original installation.

The downside however to applying your setting at installation time is that is does not cover changing any of the configuration items after initial deployment. Configuration changes like additional user permissions, a different client log level or advanced communication configuration are very likely to change during the life cycle of the App-V client.

Login Consultants has delivered additional configuration methods since the early days of SoftGrid and continued to do so through means of Group Policy ADM add-on when Microsoft officially released an ADM template for App-V 4.5 because that template didn’t cover all settings. App-V Group Policy ADM templates allow administrators to centrally manage settings of the App-V client through Group Policy Objects. If you want an overview on which settings can be managed by which template be sure to check out this great article by Login Consultants’ Falko Graefe.

Although ADM templates bring great benefits to administrating the client configuration, they have been replaced (or upgraded if you will) by ADMX and ADML templates since Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008. Since we see most of our customers are (at least) running these operating system versions, shouldn’t we be using the administrative tooling that come with those versions?

That’s what Ruben Koene thought, which is why he created the first App-V Client ADMX template which is available from the Login Consultants website today.

Ruben was very familiar with the settings that can be managed through the ADM template because he was the creator of the current add-on ADM template. Since ADMX files are structured in a very different way, he had to migrate the original template to the new structure setting by setting.

So I decided to sit down with Ruben and talk to him about the new release.

Why did you decide to create an ADMX template?

Koene: I work a lot at App-V customers. Usually they are running at least Windows Server 2008 in their domain, but still are using the ADM templates to manage their App-V clients, while ADMX and ADML templates have some great benefits over the older templates. Since Microsoft isn’t officially offering an ADMX template for the App-V client, I decided to create one of my own.

What’s the difference between the ADM and the ADMX templates?

Koene: ADM templates come in a proprietary format, while ADMX files are XML bases. It took me a little while to figure out the format but then I was able to migrate the App-V client settings one by one.

What are the benefits of using ADMX files?

Koene: When you use ADM templates, the ADM file itself (which can be several MB’s) is placed up inside the GPO. Because GPO’s are placed on each Domain Controller you end up using a lot of storage on the DC’s and consuming unnecessary bandwidth during replication. This does not only apply to the App-V template but also to ADM templates from other vendors, including the ones from Microsoft in the operating system. When the ADM file is not available the GPO can’t be edited. Organizations who have a lot of GPO’s run into a scenario which is known as a “SYSVOL bloat”. ADMX files don’t cause SYSVOL bloats because they are stored centrally and not in the GPO itself. The ADMX template remains centrally stored also when the GPO is edited.

Besides technical, are there any other benefits?

Koene: Yes. I work a lot with international customers and in some countries more than other administrators appreciate localized versions of their software, including their administrative tools. ADMX file have the benefit that specific languages are stored in a separate language (ADML) file. We are releasing with the default English (en-US) language file, but will be releasing German and French soon after because we have many customers in German and French speaking countries. We might rely on the community for additional languages.

Will this be an add-on as well?

Koene: No, it will not. Since Microsoft hasn’t released an ADMX template and we haven’t received any news that they will, we decided to merge the two templates back together. Settings from both templates can now be managed through a single file.

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How should customers install the ADMX template?

Koene: The template installation process is very straightforward and comes with a Windows Installer installation method. There are two flavors in the installation process: complete and custom. Complete, which is the default installation, installs everything into C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions making local Group Policy Editing possible through GPEDIT.msc. The custom installation allows you to install into a different path, like your central store. Make sure you enable the Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) on your machine if you want to be able to manage Domain policies through GPMC.msc). It also allows you to select either one of the available template files.

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So there are again two template files?

Koene: Yes, but not for different settings. Because the location of the App-V client settings in the registry depends on the platform you are running on (32bit or 64bit) we made sure we created an ADMX template for both platforms. Don’t worry, you can still manage them from a single console and install them through a single installer.

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Last and most important question: what’s the price?

Koene: Login Consultants has a reputation in the market for delivering the best and finest free tooling in this market space, therefore the ADMX client will also be freely available from our website www.loginconsultants.com/download (registration is required).