Microsoft Virtualization Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Slashing Windows 7 Migration, Virtualization and App Packaging Costs!

Flexera Software, the leading provider of strategic Application Usage Management solutions for application producers and their customers, today announced the launch of AdminStudio Suite 10.  The new release, optimally priced for enterprises of all sizes, is the industry’s first comprehensive Application Readiness solution enabling organizations to strategically manage application packaging and remediation across their entire software estate, mitigating Windows 7 and application virtualization migration risks.

“The evolution – from application packaging as a means to better manage costs in a static technology world, to application management as a means to better manage quality and compatibility in a dynamic technology world – is a game changer” said Chris Jackson, a principal consultant at Microsoft (better known as ‘The App Compat Guy’). “It allows organizations to see beyond their current state and regain their technology agility.”

AdminStudio 10

With as many as 35% of an enterprise’s applications requiring updates in any given year, coupled with the explosive growth in Windows 7 migrations and virtualization initiatives, compatibility assessment, remediation and packaging processes are now of strategic importance to IT organizations.  AdminStudio delivers application packaging efficiencies as much as nine times greater compared to manual efforts.

  • AdminStudio 10 now lets users centrally manage and report on the virtual and traditional application portfolio for an overall view of the application estate’s readiness for each format.
  • A new, unified “application-centric” application catalog manages all deployment types for an application, enabling all packages, including virtual packages, to be handled with the same process and tools as those used for MSIs, eliminating the cost and complexity of having multiple solutions and repositories.
  • Moreover, AdminStudio 10 is now powered by the latest version of the world’s leading MSI authoring and editing tool, InstallShield® 2011, giving users complete flexibility in editing packages using the same installation preparation tool relied on by more than 71,000 ISVs worldwide.

“Most organizations do not have adequate visibility into their application portfolio to reliably understand the time, cost and resources required to successfully migrate their applications,” said Maureen Polte, senior director of product management at Flexera Software. “AdminStudio 10 delivers continual readiness via a repeatable, reliable process to prepare and package MSI and virtual applications for Windows 7 migrations or day-to-day upgrades, drastically reducing the cost, labor and risk associated with application migrations.”

AdminStudio Application Compatibility Pack

Now available as part of AdminStudio Suite is the new AdminStudio Application Compatibility Pack.

  • AdminStudio Application Compatibility Pack automatically assesses all applications to accurately calculate the effort and cost of the migration project.
  • It also pinpoints and fixes application compatibility issues for desktop, server and web-based applications.  As a result, packagers can test applications in minutes instead of weeks and obtain an overall view of the compatibility of all applications, including which ones require fixing for deployment on Windows 7 or Internet Explorer 8.
  • Moreover, for applications that do require remediation, AdminStudio Application Compatibility Pack generates a standard MSI transform, automatically fixing in a matter of minutes 98% of installation package-related Windows 7 compatibility issues.  This drastically reduces overall costs by removing the need for skilled packaging and support resources and manual efforts.

Significantly, like all products in AdminStudio Suite, AdminStudio Application Compatibility Pack utilizes a perpetual, per administrator license, making it optimally priced and packaged for all enterprises, including small and midsized businesses.

“The biggest challenge with Windows 7 migrations is the applications.  Organizations have had trouble cost-justifying commercial application compatibility products priced on a per-application basis, and most large organizations have hundreds or thousands of applications (the rule of thumb is one application for every 10 users)”, said Terry Cosgrove, Principal Research Analyst at Gartner.

“Seamlessly integrated application compatibility testing and remediation should be part of the DNA of any robust Application Readiness process,” says Polte. “Unlike point solutions priced on the number of applications, which are often prohibitively expensive and discourage use as part of a continual Application Readiness strategy, AdminStudio Application Compatibility Pack is unique in its integration into a comprehensive, affordable suite and in its predictable cost, encouraging unlimited use and adoption of industry best practices.”

AdminStudio Virtualization Pack

Today’s launch also includes enhancements to AdminStudio Virtualization Pack, which prepares reliable virtual applications for deployment with a complete set of suitability testing, automated conversion, validation, editing and management reporting capabilities.

  • Enhanced validation and conflict testing of Microsoft® App-V packages supports packagers in managing both MSI and App-V with the same tool and processes to ensure a consistent, unified approach.
  • Packagers can also directly edit App-V packages, saving significant time and effort by eliminating the need to re-convert from an MSI when a change to an App-V package is required.
  • AdminStudio Virtualization Pack’s enhancements also include robust suitability testing – removing the trial and error approach to determining if applications can be virtualized.  This along with customizable reports and dashboards provides essential decision support for choosing the appropriate delivery/deployment technology via continuous reporting on the application estate’s readiness for each format.

“AdminStudio is a life saver for us.  It gets the job done,” said Brandon Farmer, systems engineer at United States Marine Corps Intelligence Activity.  “We’re constantly juggling multiple packaging projects on very limited resources, such as our recent migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 – and we don’t have time to waste doing things manually, or trying to cobble together a patchwork of freeware and tactical tools that don’t hit the mark. We just virtualized Microsoft Word 2003 using AdminStudio, and it took me a half hour – compared to the days it would have otherwise taken.”

“Flexera Software continues to deliver solutions that help automate our customers’ adoption of Windows 7 and App-V,” said Karri Alexion-Tiernan, director of product management at Microsoft Corp.  “AdminStudio 10 provides benefits beyond one-time conversion, allowing customers the flexibility to create and manage both App-V and MSI packages.”

Microsoft Virtualization

Download Guide to Monitoring Data Center, Virtual Environments & Cloud

It’s only recently that businesses have started focusing on modern application performance management techniques, and along comes cloud computing and other “hybrid IT” elements (such as Software as a Service) to make application performance even more complicated.

In The Definitive Guide to Monitoring the Data Center, Virtual Environments, and the Cloud by business technology writer and analyst Don Jones, you’ll see how application performance management techniques need to evolve to accommodate hybrid IT. You’ll learn about emerging techniques and technologies, and develop a “shopping list” of capabilities that your IT environment will need in order to survive in the Hybrid Age. This guide will make Dell Virtualization a much easier proposition to implement into your business.

This complete book includes the following chapters:

  • Chapter 1: Evolving IT: Data Centers, Software as a Service, Hosted Solutions,Virtualization, and Clouds
  • Chapter 2: Traditional IT Monitoring, and Why it No Longer Works
  • Chapter 3: The Customer is King: Monitoring the End User Experience
  • Chapter 4: Success is in the Details: Monitoring at the Component Level
  • Chapter 5: The Capabilities You Need to Monitor IT From the Datacenter into the Cloud
  • Chapter 6: IT Health: Management Reporting as a Service

Download the complete 111 page book today!

Note: You will need to create a profile in Realtime Nexus (The Digital Library for IT Pros) when you click the above link.

Courtesy: Realtime Nexus

You would also be interested in downloading these e-books:

Microsoft Tools Virtualization

Download Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0

The increasing use of virtual machines—for purposes ranging from support of older operating system environments to power savings—has created new challenges for IT. In particular, virtual machines may be left offline (stored in a non-operating state) for extended periods of time, which conserves resources when the server capacities of the virtual machines are not needed or frees up physical computing resources for other purposes.

However, offline machines, templates, and virtual hard disks do not automatically receive operating system, antivirus, or application updates that would keep them compliant with current IT policy. An out-of-date virtual machine may pose a risk to the IT environment. If deployed and started, the out-of-date virtual machine might be vulnerable to attack or could be capable of attacking other network resources.

Therefore, IT groups must take measures to ensure that offline virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks remain up-to-date and compliant. At present, these measures involve temporarily bringing the virtual machine online, applying the necessary updates, and then storing it again.

VMST 3.0 helps you reduce IT costs by making it easier to update your offline virtual machines, templates and virtual hard disks with the latest operating system and application patches—without introducing vulnerabilities into your IT infrastructure.

VMST 3.0 helps customers more effectively—and safely—manage the workflow of updating their offline virtualization environment.

Using VMST 3.0, customers can now service:

  • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
  • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
  • Virtual machine templates.
  • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.

Download This Solution Accelerator, which provides automated tools and guidance that IT professionals can use to update offline virtual machines, templates, and virtual hard disks efficiently and without exposing them to security risks.

Click here to access the video module, At the end of this module, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the challenges with updating offline virtual machines, virtual hard disks, and templates.
  • Explain how the Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool will greatly streamline the process of servicing and updating offline virtual environment.

You can upgrade to Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 from Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 2.1 and the Beta version 3.0 of the tool, review the Getting Started GuideLearn More

Guest Posts Virtualization

Virtual SAN Fragmentation – Diskeeper Corporation’s V-locity

Guest Post – The marriage of Storage Area Networks (SANs) and virtual machines is a match made in heaven. The entire idea of a SAN is to reduce unnecessary resource usage on production systems and to streamline storage so that it’s more easily accessible. Virtual machines take the entire concept one step further, adding the benefits of maximizing hardware resources and the capability to add servers without taking up additional space.

File fragmentation—since the origin of modern computing is a prime drain on system performance—has substantial effects on both technologies. In the case of SAN, gains made with network technology and drive speeds are totally dependent on the state of the files on the disk. If those files are fragmented, data being read and written will be slowed to the degree of the fragmentation, affecting all users and applications waiting for that data. The entire purpose of a SAN is defeated. Even performance measures such as thin provisioning are crippled: in a fragmented environment, drive space is wasted.

Virtual environments also suffer their own brand of trouble from fragmentation, due to the fact that a virtual environment has added steps to data storage and retrieval. When a file request occurs on a virtual server, the I/O request is relayed, at the least, from the guest system to the host system—which means multiple requests are occurring for each file request. When fragmentation is present, there are multiple I/O requests for each fragment, creating an enormous amount of unnecessary overhead on disk subsystems.

Robust technical challenges require robust solutions and Diskeeper Corporation’s V-locity virtual platform disk optimizer—developed for VMware ESX and Microsoft Hyper-V platforms—is designed specifically to relieve IT personnel from dealing with complex fragmentation scenarios in virtual environments.

“V-locity software is absolutely transparent on our virtual SAN systems; it just works,” said Richard Webb of Sustainable Evolution, Inc. of Lynnwood, Washington.

V-locity utilizes Diskeeper Corporation’s proprietary IntelliWrite fragmentation prevention technology, which makes it possible to prevent 85 percent of fragmentation before it ever happens. Fragmentation is addressed at both the host and virtual machine levels—so that performance is maximized all across the virtual platform. V-locity also has InvisiTasking® technology, which means that only otherwise idle resources are utilized in addressing fragmentation and handling other tasks associated with VMs.

“The V-locity product really takes care of the fragmentation on the host and VMs automatically, without the need of manual intersession or overhead of creating scripts and jobs,” Webb said. “The central reporting and configuration management really facilitates ease of management and metric transparency.”

When combining two of today’s most beneficial innovations—SAN and virtual machines—fragmentation is completely addressed with V-locity.

You can contact Colleen Toumayan, at this email address for more information.

Read other Guest Posts here –

Microsoft Virtualization Windows Installer, Application Compatibility and Deployments

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) – Introduction

Windows XP Mode was introduced in Windows 7 as one of mitigation which would allow users to run legacy applications on Windows 7 as of one Compatibility solutions.  This method looks cool and easy. Its suited for individuals or small scale companies. However, when the size of the organization is high, this solution is not advised. It is not easily manageable and thats exactly where MED-V comes to help!

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), enables deployment and management of Microsoft virtual PC Windows desktops to address key enterprise scenarios. Primarily, MED-V helps enterprises upgrade to the latest version of Windows even when some applications are not yet functional or supported. MED-V builds on top of Virtual PC to run two operating systems on one device, adding virtual image delivery, policy-based provisioning, and centralized management.

MED-V helps to minimize application-to-operating system compatibility issues while accelerating operating system migration. In fact, MED-V helps remove the barriers of upgrading the operating system. By delivering Windows XP or Windows 2000 productivity applications in a Virtual PC, you can complete testing more quickly and manage incompatible applications after the upgrade. MED-V also gives users a seamless experience because virtualized applications can be accessed from the standard desktop Start menu and appear alongside native applications.

To Install, Setup and Work with Virtual Windows XP Mode in Windows 7 – Read this article

When you add MED-V to a Microsoft Virtual PC, you’ll get the following administration capabilities:

  • Virtual images repository and delivery to provide mechanisms for simplifying the process of creating, testing, delivering, and maintaining virtual images from a central location.
  • Centralized management and monitoring to help administrators manage the entire life-cycle of virtual machines deployed on desktops throughout the enterprise
  • Usage policy and data transfer control on the MED-V client to enforce user or group usage policies, access permissions to virtual images, and data transfer permissions

In coming days, you will read more on this topic!

Courtesy: Microsoft Virtualization Team Blog

Microsoft Tools Virtualization

Download Linux Integration Services v2.1 for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2

The Microsoft Virtualization team announced the availability of the Hyper-V Linux Integration Services for Linux Version 2.1. This release marks yet another milestone in providing a comprehensive virtualization. They have supported Linux as a guest operating system on the virtualization platform from the days of Virtual Server and continue to enhance the support in that regard.

The following features are included in the 2.1 release:

  • Driver support for synthetic devices: Linux Integration Services supports the synthetic network controller and the synthetic storage controller that were developed specifically for Hyper-V.
  • Fastpath Boot Support for Hyper-V: Boot devices take advantage of the block Virtualization Service Client (VSC) to provide enhanced performance.
  • Timesync: The clock inside the virtual machine will remain synchronized with the clock on the host.
  • Integrated Shutdown: Virtual machines running Linux can be gracefully shut down from either Hyper-V Manager or System Center Virtual Machine Manager.
  • Symmetric Multi-Processing (SMP) Support: Supported Linux distributions can use up to 4 virtual processors (VP) per virtual machine.
  • Heartbeat: Allows the host to detect whether the guest is running and responsive.
  • Pluggable Time Source: A pluggable clock source module is included to provide a more accurate time source to the guest.

Download the Linux Integration Services v2.1 for Windows Server 2008 Hyper-V R2 here

This version of the integration services for Hyper-V supports Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11, and Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.2 / 5.3 / 5.4 / 5.5.

For support questions, please utilize the Linux Integration Services forum here:

Microsoft Tools Virtualization

Download System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0

System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0 lets you build the foundation for an on-premises cloud infrastructure, enabling you to deliver IT as a service for your organization. Using SSP, you can respond more effectively – and at lower cost – to the rapidly changing needs of your organization. SSP is freely available, and fully supported by Microsoft. This solution is built on top of Windows Server 2008 R2, Hyper-V, and System Center VMM. You can use it to pool, allocate, and manage resources to offer infrastructure as a service and to deliver the foundation for a private cloud platform inside your datacenter.

VMMSSP includes a pre-built web-based user interface that has sections for both the datacenter managers and the business unit IT consumers, with role-based access control. VMMSSP also includes a dynamic provisioning engine. VMMSSP reduces the time needed to provision infrastructures and their components by offering business unit “on-boarding,” infrastructure request and change management. The VMMSSP package also includes detailed guidance on how to implement VMMSSP inside your environment.

Download System Center Virtual Machine Manager Self-Service Portal (SSP) 2.0 here

The self-service portal provides the following features that are exposed through a web-based user interface:

  • Configuration and allocation of datacenter resources: Store management and configuration information related to compute, network and storage resources as assets in the VMMSSP database.
  • Customization of virtual machine actions: Provide a simple web-based interface to extend the default virtual machine actions; for example, you can add scripts that interact with Storage Area Networks for rapid deployment of virtual machines.
  • Business unit on-boarding: Standardized forms and a simple workflow for registering and approving or rejecting business units to enroll in the portal.
  • Infrastructure request and change management: Standardized forms and human-driven workflow that results in reducing the time needed to provision infrastructures in your environment.
  • Self-Service provisioning: Supports bulk creation of virtual machines on provisioned infrastructure through the web-based interface.Helps business units to manage their virtual machines based on delegated roles.

Important: VMMSSP is not an upgrade to the existing VMM 2008 R2 self-service portal. You can choose to deploy and use one or both self-service portals depending on your requirements.

Courtesy: Microsoft TechNet

You would also be interested in downloading these Books / WhitePapers from TradePub –

General Microsoft Virtualization

Purdue University Reduces Application Packaging Time, Enhances Access, with Virtualization

Purdue University is a public research university in West Lafayette, Indiana. The IT department at Purdue has three staff members dedicated to deploying and managing approximately 250 software applications used by faculty and students. Application conflicts, resulting from incompatible applications that could not run together on the same computer, and packaging complexities stemming from the need to run applications in both desktop computer and server computer environments, had become a challenge for this team.

By using Microsoft Application Virtualization, Purdue is able to reduce packaging time by 50 percent; avoids having to repackage applications for different environments—which means remotely accessed applications are available a week faster than was previously possible!

One of the Lab Administrator, Bret Madsen says, “By eliminating application conflicts and consolidating packaging for desktop computer and Remote Desktop Services environments, we made deploying and managing applications much easier, We have greater flexibility to provision applications whenever we need to..!”

Read the complete case study here

You can also Download Selecting the Right Virtualization Technology Guide for your reference!

How-to Microsoft Virtualization

Download SuperFlow for Application Virtualization [App-V] Sequencing

The Microsoft Application Virtualization (or App-V) Sequencer is a component of the App-V suite used to package your applications to be deployed to systems using the App-V client. Properly sequencing applications is the key to a successful App-V implementation. This SuperFlow provides detailed information about the Application Virtualization Sequencing process and covers information on setting up the sequencer, Sequencing an application, Configuring the application while sequencing and Validating Successful package creation and Sequencer troubleshooting with Windows Installer Logging

Application Virtualization Sequencing SuperFlow

Download the Application Virtualization Sequencing Superflow here [.msi format]

The SuperFlow interactive content model provides a structured and interactive interface for viewing documentation. Each SuperFlow includes comprehensive information about a specific dataflow, workflow, or process. Depending on the focus of the SuperFlow, you will find overview information, steps that include detailed information, procedures, sample log entries, best practices, real-world scenarios, troubleshooting information, security information, animations, or other information. Each SuperFlow also includes links to relevant resources, such as Web sites or local files that are copied to your computer when you install the SuperFlow.

Also you will be interested in downloading these SuperFlows:

Microsoft Tools Virtualization

Virtual Machine Servicing Tool v3 – Join the Beta Program

VMST 3.0 helps customers reduce IT costs by making it easier to update their offline virtual machines, templates and virtual hard disks with the latest operating system and application patches—without introducing vulnerabilities into their IT infrastructure. Using VMST 3.0, customers can also keep users productive during updates and maintenance of physical hosts: VMST 3.0 now automates the servicing of Windows Server 2008 R2 failover clusters running Hyper-V—leveraging live migration.

Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0VMST 3.0 helps customers more effectively—and safely—manage the workflow of updating their offline virtualization environment. Using VMST 3.0, customers can now service:

  • Offline virtual machines in a SCVMM library.
  • Stopped and saved state virtual machines on a host.
  • Virtual machine templates.
  • Offline virtual hard disks in a SCVMM library by injecting update packages.
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V host clusters.

The Virtual Machine Servicing Tool 3.0 is now in beta until May. Want to give you an advance look at VMST 3.0, and a chance to provide feedback so it best meets their needs?  Join the beta program!  Here’s the link.

On 11th May, TechNet is also doing a Webcast on Understanding the Microsoft Offline Virtual Machine Servicing Tool. You can Register for the same!

You would be also interested in reading –

  1. Free Ebook – Understanding Microsoft Virtualization R2 Solutions from Microsoft Press
  2. Work with Virtual Hard disk(.vhd) files in Windows 7