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App Volumes – Prepare provisioning machine / VM

If you use the VMware App Volumes for your application packing and deployment, then it´s very important to prepare the packing machine for the applications, the App Stacks in the right way.

Very important things here are OS updates, installed applications and dependencies. Let us take a look at the preparation.

First step is to install the Operating system for your packaging machine. Make sure that the machine is installed in a clean state. That means basic OS and updates. The packaging machine should be a equivalent to the target system where you want to deploy the applications to. That means same state from OS version and update or Service Pack standpoint. If the packaging machine has the SP1 installed for instance, that Service Pack has to be installed on the target systems as well. That makes sure that you have the best compatibility.

Another important point are dependencies. If you want to provision applications in an App Stack which has dependencies to other application to work properly. Then you have to installed that application as well for packaging that App Stack. The same if you want to provision an App Stack with several applications in one App Stack. You have to install them all in the same process.

You use a Golden Master Image for the VDI (VMware Horizon) environment with applications installed in it? Well, then this applications has to be installed in the packaging machine for App Volumes as well. You remember, same state of source (packaging machine and target (VDIs) systems. but that is a point where you have to pay a lot attention to or better to say, you have to be very carful in your planning and design. I tell you why. I saw sometime environments where I was requested for troubleshooting such environments because of issue with application / App Stack assignments, performance and compatibility. If you have a VDI infrastructure + application virtualization + Profile Management to say it in general terms, it´s very important to understand how it works, will be configured and why,

Make sure you don´t install applications in the Golden Master, which you later wants to provision via App Volumes. You will get compatibility issue for sure in your environment. Two application (same) to the same machine in the same time, but through different technologies. Can´t be good, right.

Assign nothing to the packaging machine. I mean, no App Stacks, Profile Management etc. That will bring issue or at least makes the whole thing more complex.

The account you use for the packaging machine should be not your usual domain account. Create a separate one for the machine. That makes it much easier in a team structure in case you getting sick, be on vacation etc. Give that account admin privileges local or domain and make sure that only the application team or the persons which should be able to use the machine and package applications has access to it. Another option is a special group. Sometimes not all settings of the applications was captured without administrator privileges. But give it a try.

Last but not least, make sure you have set the correct Antivirus exclusions in case Antivirus is installed on the machine. Here a good reference.

Please do not use any VM which you have used before. Install a absolutely new one! My recommendation is as follows:

  1. Create a new virtual machine (VM)
  2. Install OS + updates (only necessary ones, no feature updates or something)
  3. Make a snapshot from the clean state. That make sure you can go back all the time
  4. Install dependencies (as described above)
  5. Create another snapshot

With that process you will have two states where you can go back to in case you have to or to start a new packaging process. Another option is to have two separate VMs for that.

Happy packaging!

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