Implementing App-V – Part II: Choosing and Preparing the Environment

 

Other posts in this series:

Implementing App-V – Part I: Introduction to Application Virtualization

Implementing App-V – Part III: Integrating Clients

Implementing App-V – Part IV: Sequencing Applications

After the first post about App-V and application virtualization technologies we had a nice review about the platform. So, if you feel like this type of technology can add some value to your organization, let’s start playing around.

Before you begin, let’s talk about the available models in App-V that will help you choose the strategy according to your platform. The architecture is prepared to support almost any scenario, including low-bandwidth branches offices or even offline deployments.

App-V Models

Stand-Alone Mode

This is the minimalist mode of App-V with no infrastructure required but the machine that packages the application, “sequencer” from now on, and the App-V Desktop Client.

Sequencing the application adds all the necessary files into one package and generates an MSI file that you can use to deploy manually, by group policy or using SMS/System Center Configuration Manager.

This mode is focused when you have several offline users (do they even exist at this point?), or when you have already SCCM deployed and you don’t want to add a App-V Server.

Streaming Mode

This model it is also focused on platforms that do not want Management Servers. The components present here are the streaming server, sequencer to package applications and the App-V client.

The Streaming Server as the name says it, streams the applications to the clients on demand. The server does not use a SQL database, the permissions are set and maintain based on ACLs (access control lists).

You can use it on low-bandwidth links like branch offices to optimize the application deployment.

Full Infrastructure Model

The full model contains the full set of components in App-V: Management Server, Sequencer, Streaming server and App-V Client. In most cases, the streaming server it is completely optional since the application streaming can be executed from the Management Server, delivering applications on demand to users.

Using a Management Server will add the applications shortcuts publication within the process of deployment. And includes more features for reporting, using a SQL database.

Applications in this model are associated to security groups in Active Directory. And you can also manage centrally the applications licenses.

We are going to focus this set of posts in a Full Infrastructure Model, using a Management Server, Sequencer and a App-V Desktop Client.

Enough with the explanations, let’s get to work.

Installing App-V Management Server

The process it is a little tricky, but we’ll try to set clear all the necessary requirements before running the installation wizard.

Pre-Requisites

This is the list of minimum requirements:

  • Windows Server 2003 SP1 or superior
  • IIS 6 role installed with ASP.Net
  • .Net Framework 2.0
  • MMC 3.0
  • SQL Server 2005 Express SP2

Before proceeding with the installation take a closer look to what are the SQL and IIS configurations necessary that we are going to review next.

Here’s the environment that I’ll be using:

  • Active Directory and DNS platform in place.
  • Windows Server 2008 (32-bit)
  • IIS 7 role installed with ASP.Net
  • SQL Server 2005 Express SP2.

SQL Special Considerations

The SQL Express can be installed with the default options, but, as I mentioned it before, there are a few SQL configurations that needed to be set before the App-V installation process:

1. Open SQL Server Surface Area Configuration Tool from the SQL Server Start Menu folder.

2. Click on Surface Area Configuration for Features.

3. Inside of “CLR Integration”, click the option for “Enable CLR Integration”.

4. Inside of “OLE Automation” click “Enable OLE Automation”.

5. Close “Surface Area Configuration for Features”.

6. Click “Surface Area Configuration for Services and Connections”.

7. Inside “Remote Connections” select “Local and Remote Connections” and set “Using both TCP/IP and named pipes”.

8. Restart the SQL Server services to apply all changes.

IIS Considerations

Since I’m using Windows Server 2008 and IIS 7 for the Management Server installation, there are a few considerations about it.

  • Install ASP.Net feature with all pre-requisites.
  • Windows Authentication feature enabled.
  • IIS 7 Management Tools with Management Service and IIS 6 Management Compatibility features installed.

Step-by-Step App-V Management Server Installation

One completed the pre-requisites and considerations, let’s start with the installation.

1. With the App-V installation media, double click the setup executable.

2. Welcome page, click on “Next”.

3. Accept the License Agreement and click on “Next”.

4. Select “Custom” setup type.

5. Here you can modify installation components (not recommended) or change the installation directory. Click on “Next”.

6. Select the SQL Server instance where the database will be stored. In my case, I’m using the same server with one instance. Click on “Next”.

7. Select “Create a new database”. Maintain the suggested database name “APPVIRT”. You can also modify the location for the database files. Recommended for this type of server to store the database on a different hard drive than the operating system.

8. Leave deselected the option for “Use enhanced security”. You can set secure connections with this server, that will require of course for a certificate. Out of the scope in our case.

9. Leave the default value for the RTSP (Real Time Streaming Protocol): 554.

10. Select the group that will have full access to the App-V Management Server console. In my case, I’m selecting only “Domain Admins” to give access. This option can be modify later.

11. Select the provider group, that by default will have access to the enabled applications. In my case, I will select only “Domain Admins” and later personalize each application for each group.

12. Select the folder where the applications packages will be stored. Leave the defaultC:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center App Virt Management Server\App Virt Management Server\content\”. Click on “Next

13. On the “Ready to Install the Program” window click on “Install”.

After a few moments you will have the App-V Management Server fully installed.

14. Recommended: Reboot the server.

IMPORTANT: If any of the pre-requisites and considerations mentioned above are not completed, you will receive a message like this when you start the installation:

Error 25109. The installation program could not create the configuration data store. Please see the installation log file for more information

Post-Installation Procedures

There are basically three more tasks to execute after the App-V Management Server installation is completed to guarantee the proper functionality:

1. Once the server is rebooted, you will need to verify the “Application Virtualization Management Server” service. If you are running on a virtualized environment, you will need to manually start the service.

2. Share the “content” folder created for the applications packages (by default C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center App Virt Management Server\App Virt Management Server\content\). Give to “Everyone” the “Read & Execute”, “List folder contents” and “Read” access.

3. If you have the firewall enabled, ensure that you enable the exceptions for inbound connections with the programs sghwdsptr.exe and sghwsvr.exe. Both located in “C:\Program Files\Microsoft System Center App Virt Management Server\App Virt Management Server\bin\”.

Note: If these firewall exceptions are not in place, you will also have problems with App-V clients trying to receive and execute the application packages. We’ll check that later.

And yes, you can now open the “Application Virtualization Management Console” and start working with the platform.

Make sure that you deselect the “Use Secure Connection” if you didn’t install a certificate for App-V.

Other Resources

As an interesting option to evaluate your App-V Management Server environment is the Microsoft Application Virtualization Best Practices Analyzer.

It verifies general configurations in your Management and/or Streaming Server 4.5, and notify about possible anomalies as a diagnostic tool. Requires the presence of Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer to generate the reports.

In this example, the warning generated is about the database been stored in the same place as the Management Server.

 

I’ll be reviewing in the next posts how to prepare clients and applications to be deployed by App-V. I’ll be using Microsoft Office 2007 as the sequenced application.

Other posts in this series:

Implementing App-V – Part I: Introduction to Application Virtualization

Implementing App-V – Part III: Integrating Clients

Implementing App-V – Part IV: Sequencing Applications

Cheers!

31 Comments »

  1. This is an awesome post, we are contemplating rolling out a AppV environment and were not sure where to start.
    Tx a mill for taking the time and effort to post this.
    I’m eagerly waiting for the next posts ;-)

  2. Dear Augusto Alvarez,

    I have configured a demo environment using App-V 4.5 SP1.
    I have win 2008 R2, AD, DNS and IIS 7.5, SQL 2005 SP3.
    I have installed APP-V server, when I open APP-V mmc and try to connect to Application Virtualization System, I received the following error…

    Unable to log into the SoftGrid System.
    Invalid user name or password.
    Error code: 0000C801

    I look into http://support.microsoft.com/kb/930470, but without success…

    Please I need a help

    Thank you,

  3. Hello Augusto,

    Thank you for the reply!
    well I found the problem, I forget to select Windows Authentication check mark in WEB SERVER Role.
    I have installed IIS 7.5 without selecting in web server the windows authentication method!

    Is there anywhere I can find a full video tutorial for APP-V?
    Ur 4 posts helped me a lot in my installation… Thx!
    What is the difference between APP-V 4.5 SP1 and the new version 4.6?
    Another question please: There is 2 versions of APP-V, one for RDS(TS) and one for Windows desktops…
    I’m using the Desktop version… what is the difference between these two?

    Regards,

    –Charbel–

  4. Dear Augusto,

    I have implemented App-V 4.5 SP2 (App-Server, Sequencer and client) for Windows Desktops…

    I have been created the Office package using Sequencer under Hyper-V ‘Windows XP clean copy’ .
    when I’m trying to open any office application on my HP thin client T5740e (Windows Embedded Standard 2009) I’m receiving the following error:

    The operating system is not presently configured to run this application…

    Please I need your help…
    Antivirus is disabled, and I followed step by step the article below:

    http://blogs.technet.com/b/appv/archive/2008/07/30/softgrid-sequencing-office-professional-2007-in-30-easy-steps.aspx

    Without success same problem…
    However I launched all office 2007 from the Sequencer before generate the package, everything was fine, every single office application launched successfully…

    I found out these error logs on the client side:

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: MsiInstaller
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 1001
    Date: 8/25/2010
    Time: 2:27:45 AM
    User: HPDEMO\student
    Computer: LAB-01
    Description:
    Detection of product ‘{90120000-0030-0000-0000-0000000FF1CE}’,
    feature ‘ProductFiles’ failed during request for component ‘{0638C49D-BB8B-4CD1-B191-050E8F325736}’

    Event Type: Warning
    Event Source: MsiInstaller
    Event Category: None
    Event ID: 1004
    Date: 8/25/2010
    Time: 2:27:44 AM
    User: HPDEMO\student
    Computer: LAB-01
    Description:
    Detection of product ‘{90120000-0030-0000-0000-0000000FF1CE}’,
    feature ‘ProductFiles’, component ‘{CC29E973-7BC2-11D1-A921-00A0C91E2AA2}’ failed.
    The resource ‘C:\Windows\system32\FM20.DLL’ does not exist.

    However I attempt to replace the DLL file missing on the client side, MS Word ask for the office CD…
    I sequenced many other applications, all is ok without any problem…
    The problem is the Office 2007…

    Please I need your help!
    Thank You!

    Cheers,

      • Hello Augusto,

        Great articles by the way. I’m struggling with sequencing Office 2010. I followed your instructions on sequencing apps and have had success with other apps. For this one though, I also used instructions found at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/983462. Like Charbel, I am also receiving the error:
        The operating system is not presently configured to run this application…

        My environment is Windows Server 2008 R2 for both the sequencer and the client. I am using Office 2010 Pro Plus (64bit). Any thoughts on how to fix this error?

        Other apps work great on the machine, just not Office.

  5. Hi Augusto,
    I’m trying to set up an environment to test App-V. I’m currently trying 4.6 on and 64 bit 2008 R2 server with SQL 2008 R2 and I’m struggling. With your experience do you think this config is viable or should I use older releases of the components? I can open a Management Console, but there are no apps and I’m sure I should see a default one. Regards Roy

  6. Hello Augusto,

    I’m trying to set up a new environment for App-V using 4.5SP2 version.
    My management server is Win 2008 R2 64, I have installed IIS and SQL 2008 Express SP1 on the same Box (enabling TCP/IP and name pipe for SQL), then I start installing App-V management server, the problem is that the App-V cannot detect the SQL Express 2008 during the installation process, weird and the SQL express has been already installed on the same machine!!!

    N.B: I have tried SQL 2008R2 Express x64, same problem.

    Please any help!
    Thank You…

    • Hello Charbel,
      If you are using a default instance for the SQL Server, you can still try using the name of the server to connect to the database.
      I had the same scenario and was easily solved just by inserting the server name.
      Hope it helps,
      Cheers!
      Augusto

  7. Agusto,

    What would be the steps needed to setup the enviroment if i just want to to do Stand-Alone Mode, we have something similar to SCCM to deploy the software in our enviroment

    Thanks Che!

  8. […] involved in App-V (Post I); installation of the App-V Server including some troubleshooting tips (Post II); integrating App-V client components, testing the default application and some troubleshooting […]

  9. Hello Augusto,
    I have installed App-V 4.5 management server on windows 2008 server R2, App-V sequencer on windows 7 Enterprise, and App-V Desktop client on windows 2008 server R2. But when i refresh the publishing server in app-v client, the application virtual that I sequence didn’t appear.

    my question are:
    – can windows 2008 R2 use App-V Desktop client ?
    – do i have to use app-v TS client to publish application virtual ?

    thx
    Samuel

    • Hello Samuel,
      The recommendation is to use the same OS for the Sequencer and Client machines, not only that, both OS should maintain the same configuration and baseline. But to answer your question, yes, Windows Server 2008 R2 can be used as a Desktop Client.
      App-V for Remote Desktop Services (formerly known as Terminal Services) is a different installer with a different purpose than the App-V Desktop Client. You should use that one on a Windows Server 2008 R2 with the Remote Desktop Services role installed and if you are planning to publish applications from RDS but using App-V.
      Hope it helps,
      Augusto

  10. Great series of articles…

    I have huge respect for people such as yourself that take the time to share their knowledge to the technical community.

    If you are ever in Vancouver, dinner and drinks are on me!

    • Hello Rudy,
      Thanks a lot for your comment. I do enjoy sharing my experience and knowledge with the community; not only you get the chance to assist other people, you also learn a lot in the way.
      Best regards,
      Augusto

  11. May I suggest that in the SQL Considerations section, to add an item #8 Start the SQL Browser Service. I was not able to see the server in the dropdown, and apparently did not configure something correctly when I wntered the info manually, however I did find (eventually) in another article, that starting the SQL browser service allows will make the local SQL server appear in the dropdown list, then when it is selected from the dropdown list, App-V installs itself perfectly. At least, it resolved one issue after another that I was having with starting the App-V service. I hope this may be helpful. Thank you for your work, your tutorials are helpful beyond words.

  12. Hi Augusto

    I’m using APP-V in an w2k8R2 with RDS environment, have you an install doc to set this up? I’ve installed the App-V RDS client but can’t see any of my Apps.

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