Export (0) Print
Expand All
8 out of 12 rated this helpful - Rate this topic

About Virtual Application Packages

Updated: September 1, 2012

Applies To: System Center Configuration Manager 2007, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R3, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP1, System Center Configuration Manager 2007 SP2

Configuration Manager 2007 supports running sequenced applications created using the Microsoft Application Virtualization Platform. Virtual application packages run on Configuration Manager 2007 client computers without having to install the software application on the local computer. Target computers must be running Windows XP or above to run virtual application packages.

ImportantImportant
Configuration Manager does not support using the shared read-only cache feature of App-V.

After you create a sequenced application using the Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer, you must import the package into Configuration Manager 2007 and deploy the virtual application package to Configuration Manager 2007 clients.

noteNote
The information in this topic applies only to Configuration Manager 2007 R2 and Configuration Manager 2007 R3.

Terminology for Virtual Application Packages

The following terms are used to describe virtual application packages and the components of virtual application packages.

Application Virtualization Streaming enabled distribution point
A Configuration Manager 2007 distribution point that has been enabled to stream virtual application packages to Configuration Manager 2007 clients.

Microsoft Application Virtualization Desktop Client
An application that resides on a Configuration Manager 2007 client computer running Windows XP or Windows Vista that communicates and authenticates with the Configuration Manager 2007 site to receive the virtual application package and allows a sequenced application to be run locally.

Microsoft Application Virtualization platform
The name for the Microsoft products that are used to create, store, distribute, and run sequenced applications.

Microsoft Application Virtualization Terminal Services Client
An application that resides on a Terminal Server and communicates and authenticates with the Configuration Manager 2007 site to receive the virtual application package and allows a sequenced application to be run locally.

Sequenced application
An application that has been created by the Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer, streamed to a computer running the Microsoft Application Virtualization Terminal Services Client or the Microsoft Application Virtualization Desktop Client, and that can run inside of its own virtual environment.

Sequencing
The process of creating an application package by using the Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer. In this process, an application is monitored, its shortcuts are configured, and a sequenced application package is created containing the .osd, .sft, .sprj, and .ico files.

Streaming
The process of running a virtual application packages from an Application Virtualization Streaming-enabled distribution point.

Virtual Application Package
A Microsoft application virtualization sequenced application that has been imported into Configuration Manager 2007.

Importing a New Virtual Application Package

To deploy a virtual application package to Configuration Manager 2007 clients, you must import a Microsoft Application Virtualization sequenced application into Configuration Manager 2007. When you import a virtual application into Configuration Manager 2007 the associated XML file is used to provide information about the virtual application and the Name and Version is assigned to the Configuration Manager 2007 virtual application package properties. Although the Name and Version fields are populated by the associated XML file, these fields can be updated. The XML file is a manifest of the virtual application and also contains additional information associated with the package. The .sft file name is also changed and any associated .osd files are configured to reference the new .sft file.

Before you import a new sequenced application into Configuration Manager 2007 you should create a source and destination directory. You can assign any name to the source and destination directories. The source directory should contain the sequenced application created using the Microsoft Application Virtualization Sequencer. You can use the New Virtual Application Package Wizard to specify the sequenced application source directory location. The source location can be one of the following:

  • The network location specified when the virtual application was initially sequenced.

  • The network location where an existing virtual application is currently saved.

The destination directory is the location where the sequenced application will be saved in Configuration Manager 2007.

noteNote
The Destination directory must be a different directory than the Source directory. When you import a virtual application all files in the specified Destination directory will be overwritten with the new files.

Virtual application packages in the destination folder can be distributed to distribution points and deployed to Configuration Manager 2007 clients. Only virtual application packages that have been imported into a destination folder using the New Virtual Application Package Wizard can be distributed to Configuration Manager 2007 clients. For more information about importing a virtual application package, see How to Import Virtual Application Packages into Configuration Manager.

After you have successfully completed the New Virtual Application PackageWizard, the new virtual application package object is visible in the results pane of the Configuration Manager console when you select Packages under the Software Distribution node.

Virtual Application Package Software Components

Virtual application packages are able to run regardless of which applications have been installed on the target computer. The required software applications are included in the virtual application package. When you import a virtual package into Configuration Manager 2007, all applications associated with the virtual package are displayed on the Package Properties page of the New Virtual Application PackageWizard.

Virtual application packages do not have associated programs like standard Configuration Manager 2007 software packages. The required programs are contained within the virtual application package therefore you do not need to specify programs when you distribute virtual application packages.

Preparing a Configuration Manager Client to Run Virtual Application Packages

For Configuration Manager 2007 clients to run virtual application packages, you must enable the advertised programs client agent. For more information about enabling the advertised programs client agent for running virtual application packages, see How to Configure the Advertised Programs Client Agent for Running Virtual Applications.

The advertised programs client agent determines which advertised virtual application packages are appropriate for the client or the user. When an advertisement is found and the package is ready to run, the agent connects to an available distribution point to download and run the package locally or runs the package directly from the distribution point. If you configure virtual application packages to download and run locally on the target computer they will be stored in the Configuration Manager 2007 client cache. The default Configuration Manager 2007 client cache size is 5 GB. You should increase the default cache size depending on the size and amount of virtual application packages you deploy in your Configuration Manager 2007 environment. For more information about configuring the Configuration Manager 2007 client cache see How to Configure the Temporary Program Download Folder (Cache) for Configuration Manager Clients. Only the most recent version of each virtual application package will reside in the client cache. When a newer version of a virtual application package is started, any previous version of the virtual application package is then deleted and the newer version is stored in the client cache. When a virtual application is deleted the virtual application package is also deleted from the client cache.

The advertised programs client agent also controls how clients check for advertised packages and how they behave when an advertised package is available or scheduled to run. By configuring the advertised programs client agent, you can specify these client behaviors as well as other client settings and run options.

You must also install the Configuration Manager 2007 SP1 client software and the Microsoft Application Virtualization Desktop 4.5 client for target computers to run virtual application packages. For more information about installing Configuration Manager 2007 client software, see Tasks for Installing Configuration Manager Clients and How to Install the Microsoft Application Virtualization Client. Target computers must be running Windows XP and above or Windows Server 2003 and above to run virtual application packages.

If you use the Install Software task sequence step to deploy a virtual application package and configure the advertisement to Download on Demand, the Configuration Manager 2007 will not maintain the virtual application package in the Configuration Manager 2007 client cache.

Enabling Virtual Application Package Streaming

If you want to run virtual application packages directly from a distribution point, you must enable an accessible distribution point for streaming virtual application packages. When you enable streaming, virtual application packages are saved in the Configuration Manager 2007 package share and any existing virtual application packages located on the distribution point are refreshed with the latest version. Configuration Manager 2007 clients will run assigned virtual application packages directly from the distribution point across the network until the virtual application package has been cached on the target computer.

noteNote
Virtual application package streaming to Configuration Manager 2007 workgroup clients is not supported.

When streaming is enabled, a separate copy of the associated virtual application package .sft file is saved in the streaming cache location so the original package source can be updated without having to disconnect active streaming sessions. When you disable streaming for a distribution point all copies of the .sft file are deleted from the streaming cache location. Configuration Manager 2007 clients require a connection to a Configuration Manager 2007 distribution point to stream virtual application packages. For more information about enabling distribution points for streaming, see How to Enable Streaming for Virtual Application Packages. Streaming is also supported for Configuration Manager 2007 clients assigned to a branch distribution point. For more information about branch distribution points see How to Configure Branch Distribution Points

ImportantImportant
Configuration Manager 2007 clients assigned to a branch distribution point run virtual application packages using SMB file streaming regardless of the Configuration Manager 2007 site mode.

Configuration Manager 2007 clients connect to, and run virtual application packages from distribution points using port 80 (HTTP) in mixed mode environments, and port 443 (HTTPS) to stream virtual application packages in native mode environments. However, target computers will connect and run virtual application packages from branch distribution points using SMB. The following table displays how target computers will connect and run virtual application packages depending on the Configuration Manager 2007 site mode:

 

Distribution Point Type Default Port, protocol

Standard distribution point in a mixed mode environment

80, HTTP

Standard distribution point in a native mode environment

443, HTTPS

Branch distribution point in a mixed mode environment

SMB

Branch distribution point in a native mode environment

SMB

Streaming virtual application packages with .sft file less than 1 kb is not supported.

noteNote
If you plan to have only target computers download and run virtual application packages, you are not required to configure a distribution point for streaming.

Advertising a Virtual Application Package

You can advertise a virtual application package to any Configuration Manager 2007 collection. By default, virtual application packages are also made available to associated subcollections. Each target computer in the collection will receive the advertisement and all required applications are contained in the virtual application package

The Configuration Manager 2007 client will use normal Configuration Manager 2007 client polling methods to locate the advertisement. For more information about Configuration Manager 2007 client polling methods, see How to Initiate Policy Retrieval for a Configuration Manager Client.

You can also use a task sequence to deploy a virtual application package. When you use a task sequence to deploy a virtual application package, you do not need to specify a program that will be associated with the package as all required programs are included with the virtual application package. For more information about installing software using a task sequence, see How to Install Software Packages as Part of a Task Sequence. When you select a virtual application package to install as part of the task sequence, the associated Program line will not be available. You must also advertise the virtual application package task sequence. If you plan to stream the virtual application package select Access content from a distribution point when need by running task sequence when advertising the task sequence. If you plan to have target computers run virtual application packages locally select Download all contents locally before starting the task sequence or Download content locally when needed by running task sequence. If you select Download all contents locally when needed by running task sequence the Configuration Manager 2007 task sequence will download the virtual application package to a temporary cache location on the target computer, register the virtual application package, load the package into the Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) cache and delete the package from the temporary cache location. To use this option the App-V RequireAuthorizationIfCached registry entry must be disabled.

Running a Virtual Application Package

A virtual application package can run directly from a distribution point, which is known as streaming, or you can configure the virtual application package advertisement to require the Configuration Manager 2007 client to download and run the application locally.

If you plan to stream virtual application packages from a distribution point, you should consider the available bandwidth because the application will be accessed and run across the network. Streaming virtual application packages to target computers connected to the network by way of a slow connection is not supported. Additionally, if you plan to configure the advertisement for the virtual application package to download to the Configuration Manager 2007 client and run locally, you must ensure that sufficient space is available in the Configuration Manager 2007 client cache to save the virtual application package.

If you plan to run a virtual application package that requires dynamic suite composition you must configure the virtual application package advertisement to Download content from distribution point and run locally. Dynamic suite composition is a Microsoft Application Virtualization platform feature that enables a virtual application package to allow dependent plug-ins or middleware packages installed on the local computer to use the virtual environment.

Updating a Virtual Application Package

You can update virtual application packages that have been imported into Configuration Manager 2007 to a new version of the application or to apply service packs or software updates. However, if you want multiple versions of the same application you must create a new sequenced application and import the application into Configuration Manager 2007. When a virtual application package is updated Configuration Manager 2007 evaluates the data source for the package and makes the necessary file updates to the advertised application. Configuration Manager 2007 clients must restart the virtual application for the updated version to be available. For more information about updating a virtual application package, see How to Update an Existing Virtual Application Package.

Deleting a Virtual Application Package

To delete a virtual application package you must select Remove this virtual application package when it is no longer advertised on the General page of the New Virtual Application Package Wizard. You can then delete a virtual application package from Configuration Manager 2007 clients by deleting the associated advertisement. Removing the advertisement from the collection it was assigned to will remove the virtual application package from all computers in the collection that received the advertisement.

noteNote
When you uninstall Configuration Manager 2007 R2, existing virtual application packages are not deleted from target computers and distribution points.

If you want to remove the package from one computer, you must remove the computer from the collection that receives the advertisement. For more information about removing a virtual application package, see How to Delete a Virtual Application Package from a Configuration Manager Client.

Virtual Application Package Tools

The following list displays the name and brief description of tools that are available to help manage virtual application packages in your Configuration Manager 2007 environment. By default, these files are located in the following directory: <ConfigMgrInstallationPath> \ SMS \ Tools \ VirtualApp.

  • ManageVAppPackage.vbs – Use the ManageVAppPackage.vbs file to update an existing virtual application package or to import a new virtual application.

  • SetRetensionRules.vbs – Use the SetRetensionRules.vbs file to configure the retention policy for virtual application packages in Configuration Manager 2007.

  • AppVirtMgmtClient.sms – Use the AppVirtMgmtClient.sms file to create a Configuration Manager 2007 package to install the App-V client.

  • AppVirtMgmtSequencer.sms – Use the AppVirtMgmtSequencer.sms to install the App-V sequencer into your Configuration Manager 2007 environment.

For more information about using these tools see the Configuration Manager 2007 Virtual Application Package Tool ReadMe which can be viewed by opening the file VAppPackageToolsReadme.htm located in the <ConfigMgrInstallationPath> \ SMS \ Tools \ VirtualApp directory.

Virtual Application Package Reports

There are seven virtual application package reports that retrieve data about virtual application packages in Configuration Manager 2007. The following list displays the Name and associated Category for each report:

  • Computers with a specific virtual application – Virtual Applications

  • Count all instances of virtual application packages – Virtual Applications

  • Computers with a specific virtual application package – Virtual Applications

  • Count all instances of virtual applications – Virtual Applications

  • All distribution points with virtual application streaming enabled – Software Distribution - Packages

  • All virtual application packages in the streaming store of a distribution point - Software Distribution - Packages

  • Streaming store distribution status of a specific virtual application package – Software Distribution - Packages

You can use these reports to obtain virtual application package usage and distribution information in your Configuration Manager 2007 environment. For more information about virtual application reports see About Feature Reports for Software Distribution.

See Also

For additional information, see Configuration Manager 2007 Information and Support.
To contact the documentation team, email SMSdocs@microsoft.com.
Did you find this helpful?
(1500 characters remaining)
Thank you for your feedback

Community Additions

ADD
Show:
© 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.