Have you implemented your strategy in place for ongoing support of Microsoft App-V 4.6 on windows desktops?
Support ended – July the 14th 2015
The day has come and you may have already made your decision about continued use of App-v 4.6 with your current standard operating environment as part of your application portfolio. There are a few extras that may not have come up in discussion depending on whether you are proceeding to maintain a hybrid app 4.6 , 5.0 app portfolio, App-V Server hosting server support for RDS or Citrix environments, Upgrade and connectivity between 4.6 and 5.0 packages in SCCM 2007 or 2012.
Your MDOP and RDS CAL licensing covers you for continued use of 5.0, so you can support both but its later down the line where you will tackle issues regarding connectivity/connection of the 2 formats and the risk of business critical applications in the old format will only increase. Avoid the reactive only approach and save business operational downtime.
The hybrid 4.6 and 5.0 desktop package portfolio
Going down this path is one way to save on cost by gradually transitioning your app portfolio to app-v 5.0 to not have to add extra personnel to convert or repackage apps.
There are a few questions to ask yourself as in the long term complications will arise and risk levels of running business critical applications on an unsupported app delivery platform can lead to costly sudden solutions to fix the problem.
Q. Have you identified the number of Line Of Business (LOB) apps used in your production SOE that will remain as 4.6 post July 2015?
- Of that number, how many of the LOB apps have your identified are business critical that could halt productivity or operations if they were unable to work following an SOE update? A risk assessment is suggested in this case?
- What is your strategy to address issues with virtualised application sociability or connectivity of apps between 4.6 and 5.0 formats as there is currently no supported way of managing this?
- Do you know what your Microsoft Extended support cost could be for apps vs having them repackaged of converted?
It’s worth asking yourself these questions and working out your organisations approach to them in order to plan ahead to mitigate risks identified.
App-V Publishing Server 4.6 with RDS, SCCM 2007 or Citrix
App-V packages hosted on a 4.6 App-V management server for RDS environments will prove challenging to maintain going forward. You will be looking at provisioning another server to host your 5.0 App-v management server to support version 5.0 packages. Installing the 5.0 publishing server software on the same server that has the 4.6 version is not supported.
You can update your SOE desktops to run both the 5.0 and 4.6 clients together so that you don’t have to perform rapid migration but you do have to consider that the 5.0 clients depends on upgrading your SOE build and production machines to Powershell 3.0 and .Net 4.5.1. Whenever upgrading versions of Microsoft middleware always conduct a pre-deployment upgrade of SOE and secondary tier applications that depend on the middleware as a with middleware improvements comes also the deprecation of supported API’s which may affect functionality of previously working software.
Sociability between packages created in both formats will pose a challenge as you begin to work through your portfolio of packages, addressing the issues of app-v 5.0 connection groups that do not work with 4.6 DSC linking.
The Continued Support Strategy
Support ends 12 months after the next service pack releases or at the end of the product’s support lifecycle, whichever comes first. For more information, please see the service pack policy at http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/#ServicePackSupport
Devising a New Support Strategy
1 – Conduct an assessment of the current infrastructure and Microsoft licensing status supporting your App-V 4.6 application portfolio. SCCM, App-V Management Server, MDOP2 – Produce a list of the supported App-V 4.6 packages in your environment as a basis to begin an assessment of applications to classify them in either one of these categories.
2 – Produce a list of the supported App-V 4.6 packages in your environment as a basis to begin an assessment of applications to classify them in either one of these categories.
- Enhance / Upgrade
This is, in fact, a rationalisation exercise to segment the application portfolio, to reduce the scope and resource requirements for a further conversion and migration effort.
3 – App-V applications with dependencies or sequences that included Microsoft office products or Microsoft Internet explorer will have to undergo a more in-depth technical assessment. The remaining applications can have a preliminary automated assessment conducted using App-V 5 converter tools. (Note: The App-V 5 converter tool provides high-level conversion compatibility assessment only. Repackaging of some applications from scratch may be required in not successfully converted.)
There are other 3rd party assessment tools (Changebase/AppDNA ) that can provide reporting on the compatibility of MSI and EXE packages against App-V 5.0 as well as Citrix for those moving towards application delivery on VDI or Web portals.
4 – Having completed the rationalisation exercise, you will now have a clearer picture of the applications in scope, infrastructure maintenance/requirements and licensing changes going forward.
5 – Planning a budgeting the costs is the next stage. With a defined list of applications in scope you will be able to manage application migration costs as effectively as those for infrastructure and licensing.