Implementing App-V – Part IV: Sequencing Applications
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Ok, we had a good look about the entire App-V platform so far: Explanation about application virtualization and the components involved in App-V (Post I); installation of the App-V Server including some troubleshooting tips (Post II); integrating App-V client components, testing the default application and some troubleshooting about this process as well (Post III).
Now it is time to sequence some real applications and deliver them to clients. As always, I’m going to start with an easy one, so you can see all the tricks involved to get the things working. But first, we must prepare the App-V Sequencer machine.
As we’ve seen in Post I, the main component involved in the sequencing process is the App-V Sequencer.
Sequencer Quick Checklist
Use the same base operating system for both, Sequencer and Target (client) machines. Microsoft does not support using different type of OS between these two. Off the record: I’ve used many applications that worked perfectly when this requirement was not fulfilled.
The Sequencer machine must have a second partition available. The common use for this one is to assign the Q:\ drive letter.
Sequencer and Client machine must have the same Windows Installer version.
In the Sequencer machine ensure that the directories %TMP%, %TEMP% (user temporal data) have sufficient space, since the application use this directory to store temporal sequencing data.
Before sequencing an application you should close all other programs, including Antivirus.
As a recommended best practice, use VirtualPC or any other type of virtual machine for the App-V Sequencer. Combine this using snapshots or differencing disks to always have available a fresh OS to deploy applications.
App-V Sequencer Setup
Once you’ve checked all the requirements mentioned above, the installation process is quite simple and straight forward.
App-V Sequencer main window:
Sequencing Applications Step-by-Step
As I mentioned earlier my first pick will be a simple application, this will allow us to get familiarized with the sequencing process. I want to start showing the App-V compatibility with some non-Microsoft applications, I’ll be using Mozilla Firefox.
1. In the App-V Sequencer program window select “New Package”.
2. A new wizard will start, select the package name “Firefox”.
3. In the next window you are ready to get started with the applications installation and capture, so you can start creating the installation folder in the Q:\ drive.
Within this folder, the application will store all the program files and the sequencer will use them to package the application.
Note: You don’t need to place the installer inside this folder.
4. Click on “Begin Monitoring” to start the installation process.
5. The capture process will start by selecting the folder in the Q:\ drive.
6. Once you’ve selected the folder, the virtual environment will start to load, wait for the “Monitoring started. Please begin installation” message appears.
7. Locate the installer and start the installation process.
8. In the installation process, the main step will be in the destination folder option that the program use to place the program files. Select the folder you’ve selected to be monitored. In my case: Q:\Firefox.
9. Once the installation is complete and you verified that the program was installed correctly, get back to the sequencer window and click on “Stop Monitoring” and click on “Next”.
10. In the next window you can add some more files inside the package. This can help you if you are using customized applications, that need to load local files.
In my case I don’t need any.
11. In the next window, the sequencing process detects the applications that compose Mozilla Firefox, in my case the Firefox standard app and the Firefox safe-mode.
You can add new ones, remove the detected and modify the components involved: File type associations and icons.
For every application shown here, we will need to make a small change. Click on each application in the right list, and select the “Edit” option. In the “OSD File Name” you will probably see a long name, like “Mozilla Firefox 188.8.131.5223.osd”.
You need to change this one removing all the spaces in the name, like “Firefox.osd”.
Change this in all applications involved and click on “Next”.
12. The next step is optional, where you can launch the applications for a final check that they are working properly. Click on “Next”.
13. Sequencing process is complete. Click on “Finish”.
14. The package is ready for the final customization regarding the application deployment.
In the App-V Sequencer window, select the “Deployment” tab and change the Protocol option to “RTSP” (this will automatically change the Port to 554), and in the Hostname option select the name of the App-V Server, in my case “appv-server”.
In the Operating System list, you can add all the baselines where this application can become available. And note also the option to generate an MSI package, that you can use it with the App-V Stand Alone mode (explained in Post I of this series) and/or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) integration with App-V.
15. Before saving the package, you can explore other options within the Sequencer, like the registry files that are modified by the application.
Once you are done, click on save this package locally.
With the project saved, you can check on the files created and verify that the OSD files were not created with names composed by blank spaces.
Adding the Package to the Server
Now that the package has been sequenced and created, it is time to add it to the server.
1. Copy the files created in the App-V Sequencer to the “content” folder in the App-V Server.
2. In the App-V Server, open the App-V console. Right click in Applications and select “Import Applications”.
3. Select the SPRJ file for the Mozilla Firefox and click “Open”.
4. In the General Information window, accept the default options and click on “Next”.
5. In the “Published Shortcuts” select the shortcuts that the clients will have created.
6. In the “Access Permissions” select the group that will load this application. In my case, I’m using Domain Admins.
7. In the “Summary” window, click on “Finish”.
And now you have the application ready in your App-V Server to be deployed.
Testing the Application
After completing the importing wizard, the application is ready to be deployed in the client machines.
Access the client machine, and if you want to avoid the process of log-off and log-on to test it, locate the App-V Client console (C:\Program Files\Microsoft Application Virtualization Client\SftCMC.msc), select “Publishing Server” and click on “Refresh Server”.
The new icons will appear in the desktop or in the places you’ve selected.
Mozilla Firefox starting
Troubleshooting App-V Published Applications
The most common error about App-V applications I’ve experienced are regarding the firewall exceptions discussed in the Post III of this series. But, there’s also another problem that appears related to the package it self.
If the package that you’ve created, the OSD file name uses spaces between, like “Mozilla Firefox 184.108.40.20623.osd”:
Then most likely when you try to deploy this application, after importing it in the server, you’ll get these errors:
“The package requested could not be found in the system data store or the files associated with this package could not be found on the server”. “Error code: 4513CDC-1690150A-20000194”
To fix this, you’ll need to regenerate the sequenced application as shown above, editing the application information and remove any blank spaces in the OSD file name.
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