It has already been six months (a little over) since my last update, time for version 4.0 – a lot has happened in the meantime, as a result, you’ll see some noticeable changes. Not only from a feature/functionality perspective but from a vendor/company perspective as well. From now on I will be focusing on the big three: Citrix, with App Layering – former Unidesk, VMware App Volumes and Liquidware FlexApps.Continue Reading
Throughout the past year and a half I have had some very positive feedback on the application layering cheat sheet, needles to say that I will continue to update the sheet going forward. Currently I am up to version 3.0 already. The main goal is to highlight some of the most important features and capabilities of each product and changes/additions when compared to the previous cheat sheet, version 2.0 in this case, though I will never be able to include all changes, features, and so on of every product. As such, this is by no means meant as an exclusive list.
If you are using VMware Horizon/View for VDI, publishing applications and/or Hosted Shared Desktops you have the choice between three protocols: PCoIP, RDP and Blast Extreme, with RDP basically being the fallback protocol when all else fails. Here it’s important to note that Blast has been around for some time in the form of a HTML5 client used through HMTL5 compatible web browsers — available as of VMware Horizon View 5.2 Feature Pack 1. It is the ‘Extreme’ part that is (still relatively) new.
Also know as Just In Time (JIT) desktops, or vmFork technology. In short, it enables you to clone an existing virtual machine in just a matter of seconds — close to one clone per second actually. Its technology is based on in-memory cloning of a Master virtual machine (which also means it shares the memory of the so-called parent virtual machine) and copy-on-write for rapid deploy purposes. As you can probably imagine, this approach offers some unique desktop provisioning options when combined with, let’s say a Citrix XenDesktop Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI in short. Do note however that initially Instant Clones are/were a feature of VMware Horizon version 7 (Enterprise edition) and upwards, it was VMware’s Project Orion that introduced Instant Clones to Citrix’s XenDesktop, which is still in tech preview.
Just over seven months ago I released a blogpost named ‘Application Layering Questions? I got answers. Graphical cheat sheet included!’. A lot has happened since then. And although the above mentioned blog is still very valid regarding it’s content, the cheat sheet could do with an update. A version 2.0 if you will.
We all know that Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop are both well established within larger enterprises. Smaller companies however, also often rely on Citrix (using XenApp mostly) to securely deliver their applications and/or desktops to their end-users. Today I would like to focus on how to deliver XenApp hosted applications and desktops while minimizing costs and maximizing both performance and manageability. Note that this is not going to be a Microsoft RDSH vs. Citrix debate, instead I will assume that XenApp licenses are already in-place.
Licensing can be complicated, not only do we need to consider XenApp and/or XenDesktop licenses; we also have to deal with Microsoft licensing, if we like or not. Throughout this chapter I will focus on the different types of Citrix licenses available, how they get applied from a XenApp / XenDesktop perspective and what other types of (Microsoft) licenses we need to take into consideration, like RDS, VDA (and no, this is not the Citrix VDA), CDL etc.
Since this will officially be my first blog post as a Citrix CTP, I would like to start by thanking everybody for your support during the last couple of years and of course for all the congratulations and well wishes I have received since the official announcement last week. It has been a truly wonderful experience! Having said that, let’s get back on topic. This is not going to be a MCS vs. PVS kind of blog post; there are plenty of good ones out there already, instead I will assume that you already choose MCS over PVS. However, while the choice has been made you still have some doubts as to weather MCS is up to the task at hand. Throughout this post I will summarize some things to think about and questions to ask when and before implementing Citrix MCS.
Application virtualization (mostly App-V & Thinapp) has been around for some time now, application layering however, is still relatively new. Although assumed by some and theoretically possible in some cases, application layering is not meant as a replacement for application virtualization. In fact, you could say that they go hand in hand. Today there are multiple layering solutions available, and while the concept is the same they all take a (slightly) different approach. By the way, if it’s the (graphical) cheat sheet you’re interested in, I would suggest you scroll down.
Last week Jason E Smith, who is the Global Director of User Management and Performance Solutions within Liquidwarelabs, showed and told me a thing or two about ProfileUnity, their User Environment Manager, including their application layering a.k.a. FlexApp solution. They are on the verge of releasing ProfileUnity / FlexApp version 6.5 (as of early October) which currently holds the status of Release Candidate 1, which is the one Jason showed me.