For this post I am only covering the Installation of App Volumes 3.0. I plan to follow up with a post on configuring App Volumes 3.0
With VMware App Volumes you can deploy and easily manage applications for your virtual desktop users.
One of the main goals with a VDI environment is to get to a non-persistent image for all of your users. Having a non-persistent image allows you to conserve on storage and provide a simple environment to manage. You don’t have to manage each virtual desktop because user data is not saved on the image. Updates and patches can be rolled out with ease. The problem has been how do you manage applications. Either you provide every user with the same applications, which can mean you waste storage and VM performance by having applications that some users don’t need provisioned to them, or you allow users to have dedicated customizable VMs. There have also been other software companies, such as LiquidwareLabs that provide application management in VDI. Finally, VMware can now compete in this very important space with a product of their own, App Volumes.
App Volumes allows you to capture applications, similar to Thin Apps, but with greater customization and usability. Applications can be packaged individually or in groups of applications. You can then assign applications, called app stacks, to users of your virtual environment. The applications are mounted to the virtual desktops using VMDKs or VHDs. This layering technology means that the OS treats the applications as if they are local minimizing some of the compatibility issues that Thin Apps had. New applications can be assigned to users on the fly making the management all that much simpler. App Volumes 3 introduces even more capability in how it integrates with UEM for profile management. Together VMware finally has a full suite for the VDI space.
App Volumes 3 has quite a few improvements and major changes from the 2.X App Volumes. The differences, including pros and cons, of each will require their own post later. For now, I’m focusing solely on 3.0 and its installation and configuration.
You can find the complete list of FAQs for App Volumes 3.0 here.
The detailed VMware Installation guide can be found here.
Installing App Volumes 3.0
High Level Steps Required for App Volumes 3 Deployment
- Deploy and configure the App Volumes Manager OVA.
- Create a capture VM and install AppCapture. This allows you to create your application stacks which will be deployed using App Volumes.
- Install the App Volumes agent on your virtual desktop images.
App Volumes 3.0 virtual appliance Requirements:
- vSphere 6.0U1 and above
- Minimum 80 GB of disk space
- Minimum 4 GB of RAM
I chose to do the installation using the vSphere Web Client, but the steps are similar if you decide to deploy using the regular vSphere client.
In the Web Client right click on your vCenter Server and then select Deploy OVF Template.
You may receive the following message if you do not have the Client Integration Plug-in installed. Click the link for Download the Client Integration Plug-in and follow the prompts to install lthe Plug-in. Then start the previous step over again.
From the Deploy OVF Template window you will need to locate the .ova for AppVolumes. Click Browse…
Navigate to where you saved the install media and select the .ova file. The version I had downloaded was labeled VMware-appvolumes-ovf-3.0.0-498.ova (A). Click Next (B).
vSphere will go through a quick validation step before presenting you with the details of the OVF. You should see something similar. The details may vary based on the exact build you are installing. Click Next.
Click Accept (A) followed by Next (B).
Next give you new App Volumes Manager a name (A). Then select a folder to place the virtual appliance in. If like me you do not want to place it in a designated folder simply select your datacenter name instead (B). Then click Next (C).
Here you need to select what physical resources you would like your virtual appliance deployed to. I currently only have a single ESXi host so I will select that (A). Click Next (B).
On the storage selection window you have a few options. I like to change the virtual disk format to Thin Provision (A). This is not a requirement, but I like to take advantage of thin provisioned VMs whenever possible. Next select the datastore (B) that you would like to build the virtual appliance on. If you are running your VMs in a clustered environment be sure to select the shared storage datastore(s) to provide HA for the App Volumes manager. Click Next (C).
Next use the dropdown(A) to select the network where you would like to deploy the App Volumes manager. Click Next (B).
On the Customize template window fill out the specifics for the network assignment. It is recommended to use a static IP as opposed to DHCP. Click Next once you complete all the fields.
On the summary windows click Finish. I chose to power the VM on myself once it completes the import.
The import should only take few minutes. Once Complete you can power the new VM on.