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App-V vs XenApp RRS feed

  • Question

  • Just wondering if anyone has any experience comparing the products? I've read the excellent comparison matrix from Ruben Spruijt which in my opinion seems to state that App-V is a better, more mature technology from a pure virtualisation perspective anyway. 

    Anyone have any real world experience? 

    I get the feeling that XenApp is a glorified isolation tool - alarm bells started ringing when Ruben's matrix stated that regression testing "may" be needed with XenApp, as well as "potential" issues for cohabitation. this worries me a lot. 

    Effectively, I've been keen to promote App-V in my company for a long period, but certain cost restrictions are pushing us more and more towards XenApp. I need to be able to prove that App-V is by far and away the better product. The fact that it's bundled with MDOP from a licensing POV doesn't help matters in the slightest. 

    Any thoughts or suggestions? 
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 2:43 AM

Answers

  • Agreed to Znack:

    Knowing App behaviour and having profound MSI packaging skills surely helps you to control the virtualization process for your apps, because you then know what Installers do with your system and where to look and tweak certain stuff. Also, This skill may help you to "break up" vendor's MSIs into "can be virtualized" and "has to be installed locally" parts that might help you to broaden the virtualization scope.

    Concerning licensing: If you don't know details about you TS environment, I suppose you are focusing on, well, "Fat Clients" (Desktop workstation). Then, as you correctly wrote, you have to have MDOP licenses for all the users that should use App-V (or any other of the MDOP products).

    Sort of this is true for XenApp as well, however they have different licensing models: For XenApp (regardless of users run the apps on a central server or on their workstation), Citrix has a "Concurrent User" model.
    To make understanding harder, Citrix has introduced the new version of XenDesktop (that also includes XenApp and therefor application streaming) that comes with a per-user and per-device licensing.


    Falko
    • Proposed as answer by znack Thursday, November 19, 2009 5:09 AM
    • Marked as answer by RayneWooney1 Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:31 AM
    Thursday, November 12, 2009 7:37 AM
    Moderator

All replies

  • In terms of licensing it's quite interesting if you plan to run your applications on the client or on a Terminal Server (or: Citrix Server): MS has integrated the App-V for TS licenses into RDS-CALs so if your users are licenced to access Win2008 TerminalServers / RemoteDesktopServices, they are licenced for App-V running on that TS as well.

    This of course changes if you plan to run the applications on a Desktop directly (without any remoting prtotocol).

    From a technical perspective, only by comparing features won't help you, because on the papers/slides both solutions look quite equal.

    What should let your (and your bosses) alarm clock ring is that while there are lots of companies that already have succesfully App-V, there is essentialy no noise about organisations that sucessfully run XenApp application streaming on a strategic level.

    There are even some companies that startet with XenApp streaming but then came to a point where they shifted over to App-V.

    It seems (well, you can't "sell" that to your boss) that the core virtualization of App-V simply works better allowing to virtualize more applications with less packaing effort.



    Falko
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 9:57 AM
    Moderator
  • Thanks for the response. 

    It's interesting, I'm not sure what our MS TS situation is - seems fairly complicated. From what I hear the App-V licensing model still means you need to have an app-V license for each user no matter if they receive apps via thick or thin client. 

    From a XenApp perspective, another school of thought is that when "profiling" an application you have very little in the way of customization, if an application doesn't virtualize. Of course with App-V, customization and tweaking of applications to run is very much part and parcel of the virtualisation process. Some people may call this the "black art" of packaging. :) MSI packaging is something I've done for years so I'm keen to get a lower level understanding of how the sequencing works rather than snap-install-snap - Voila! Virtual App!

    Do you or anyone have access to numbers on market share of App-V vs XenApp? I highly doubt it!

    Cheers



    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 10:11 PM
  • Hello,

    Usually what type of agreements are already inplace usually decides what application virtualization tool is to be used. Since app-v now is included in a RDS-CAL this of course puts Citrix own solution in a different position than previously. What this means in the end is something that I am unaware of.

    Regardless of tool used I do believe that internal knowledge about it is what will eventually make any application deployment project successfull in order to locate the greatest benefits of any tool.

    /Znack
    Wednesday, November 11, 2009 11:07 PM
  • Agreed to Znack:

    Knowing App behaviour and having profound MSI packaging skills surely helps you to control the virtualization process for your apps, because you then know what Installers do with your system and where to look and tweak certain stuff. Also, This skill may help you to "break up" vendor's MSIs into "can be virtualized" and "has to be installed locally" parts that might help you to broaden the virtualization scope.

    Concerning licensing: If you don't know details about you TS environment, I suppose you are focusing on, well, "Fat Clients" (Desktop workstation). Then, as you correctly wrote, you have to have MDOP licenses for all the users that should use App-V (or any other of the MDOP products).

    Sort of this is true for XenApp as well, however they have different licensing models: For XenApp (regardless of users run the apps on a central server or on their workstation), Citrix has a "Concurrent User" model.
    To make understanding harder, Citrix has introduced the new version of XenDesktop (that also includes XenApp and therefor application streaming) that comes with a per-user and per-device licensing.


    Falko
    • Proposed as answer by znack Thursday, November 19, 2009 5:09 AM
    • Marked as answer by RayneWooney1 Tuesday, November 24, 2009 12:31 AM
    Thursday, November 12, 2009 7:37 AM
    Moderator
  • From my experience, XenApp is still an MSI installation on a Terminal Server. Which is fine as long as the MSI behaves in a client fashion on that server. Some Apps alter their installation according to the host's OS target. If this app is then published, one has to be carefull that it's not being published to a workstation with the server's MSI behavior. An example of this is Adobe Pro. On a workstation it installs and behaves as a full version of Acrobat. On a server it configures itself to be a central repository for Adobe Pro clients to work from. If this is published, each client instance would behave as a central repository.
    One of the strengths of AppV/Softgrid is that the application is sequenced on a client machine, ideally an idential build as the target deployment host.
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 11:30 AM
  • Hi,

    actually, there are different methods of getting an application onto a XenApp Server. What Ruben compared is XenApp's "Application Streaming" feature. XenApp Application Streaming is the small subset of XenApp's features that can be compared with App-V/SoftGrid, because both are Application virtualization technologies.
    To create a XenApp Streaming Package, the application installation result is recorded on a separate machine. Citrix calls this the "Streaming Profiler" and exactly like with App-V it is run on a separate machine that can be a "Client OS" machine. Therefor, in terms of MSI intelligence both solutions use the same concept (note that I don not state they are the same ;-) ).
    On the (Fat) Client, Citrix Streaming also does not install, but rather extracts content from a CAB file.

    So, in terms of OS specific installations, there are no conceptual differences between XenApp Streaming (Profiling) and App-V (Sequencing).


    Falko
    Thursday, December 10, 2009 1:48 PM
    Moderator