Introduction to App Volumes

In a VDI environment, you can provide a user access to persistent or a non-persistent desktop. In a persistent desktop, you can install all the applications within the base image and create virtual desktops using that base image. Installing applications in a single base image will grow the disk size and the same will get replicated to the virtual desktops created using that base image. If users or departments require applications that differ from the baseline, you have to create separate desktop pools. Multiple pools lead to multiple base image to be created which significantly increases the storage and administrative overhead. Installing apps on a non-persistent desktop are especially challenging. Any configuration changes will be lost once user logout of the desktops.

VMware App Volumes is an application layering product to deliver real-time applications on the virtual machines. Quickly providing users with applications that require no installation reduces infrastructure strain and overhead and simplifies application life-cycle management. App Volumes or App Stacks are virtual disks (VMDK or VHD) consist of everything required to run an application. App Volumes, help organizations to centrally manage the application that is deployed to a virtual desktop with virtual disks. Once captured, you can provision applications to users, group or computer assignment. You can manage the process using App Volume Manager a web-based interface that is integrated with Active Directory and vSphere. When an application is no longer required, you can easily remove it.

App Volumes Benefits

  • Delivering multiple applications from a single App Stack.
  • Real-time provisioning of applications to user, groups, computers and organizational units.
  • Persistent desktop experience in a non-persistent enviornment.
  • Application isolation within AppStacks using ThinApp.

App volume Components

  1. App Volume Manager: Is a Windows Server system used as the Web Console for administration and configuration of App Volumes and assignment of AppStacks and writable volumes. It is also used as a broker for the App Volumes Agents, for automated assignment of applications and writable volumes during desktop startup or user login.
  2. App Volume Agent: Is a software to be installed on all Windows desktops where users receive AppStack volumes and writable volume assignment. 
  3. App Volumes Database: MS SQL database that holds configuration information for AppStacks, writable volumes, users, machines, entitlements, and transactions.
  4. Provisioning Virtual Machine: Is a provisioning virtual machine that includes the OS, necessary updates, and service packs, and has only core applications installed. This VM should have App Volume agent installed on it.
  5. vCenter: Provides an interface to manage VMware Infrastructure from a centralized console.

App Volumes Manager Installation Prerequisites.

  • Windows Server 2012 R2 VM configured with 2 vCPU and 4 GB RAM.
  • Active Directory account with read access to the domain.
  • VMware vCenter Server administrator account.
  • App Volumes ISO installer. To download the trial evaluation, go to https://my.vmware.com/web/vmware/evalcenter?p=app-volumes.
  • Microsoft SQL Server.
    • SQL Express 2008 R2 or above supported for testing or nonproduction
    • SQL 2008 R2 or 2012 Standard  or above
    • SQL Server account with DB Owner role required for installation and operations

Installing VMware App Volume Manager

This video demonstrates the installation of VMware App Volume Manager

 

Summary

This concludes the installation of VMware App Volume manager. Once we have App Volume Manager installed, we need to install App Volume agent on the provisioning host or target client. In next post to the series, I will be demonstrating the installation of VMware App Volume agent o the provisioning host or target machine. Hope this will be informative to you. Thanks for Reading!!! Be social and share if you find worth sharing it.