Before beginning this post I did a quick search on this very site in order to link to my previous App-V Scheduler review. To my shock, I never posted a review!! Unbelievable! I have been a huge fan of the App-V Scheduler tool since it’s initial release. In fact, in one my most viewed posts on this site I mentioned the App-V Scheduler tool as one of my favorite deployment tools for App-V.
In that post, I discussed the scalability of App-V and the best methods for deploying App-V applications in different environments. Recently I have started to work on another App-V Full Infrastructure project. In certain environments such as a completely non-persistent VDI environment, the App-V Full Infrastructure can work pretty well. This is because the App-V Management Server\Publishing Server combo makes for a rapid deployment method. Application publish and appear instantly on login. With Shared Content Store mode, applications do not commit to any local disk…so perfect, right?
Well, when working on App-V projects a fully non-persistent VDI environment is rarely the only environment in an organization that you deploy to. Often there will be a mixed case of deploying to some non-persistent virtual desktops, persistent physical desktops, non-persistent RDSH, persistent RDSH etc. The Infrastructure can become very complicated, very quickly. Even when just deploying to a non-persistent VDI environment, you have to realize the true cost of using the App-V Full Infrastructure:
You may have:
- 2 Management Servers
- 2 Publishing Servers Per Site
- SQL Cluster
- Load balanced Web Services
- DFS-R for Content on FileShare
All of these expensive resources to just publish and un-publish applications because let’s face it, the App-V Management Console does not offer much else! Other than dropping in configuration files and creating connection groups, everything else you’d like to accomplish will require some PowerShell scripting.
The App-V Scheduler is a much more comprehensive and admin friendly deployment tool and best of all, other than a file share for hosting the applications you don’t need any additional infrastructure. Plug it into your existing environment and go!
With App-V Scheduler, you can deploy the agent easily to any machine alongside the App-V client and customize for that particular environment thanks to it’s advanced cache management capabilities. For example, in a non-persistent environment you can enable Shared Content Store mode, point to your content share, set your service account and configure any other options you want. You can even set options on a per application basis.
And check out some of those options!! You can enable pre-stage of the virtual registry which improves performance, you can set to process any deployment configuration files which happen to be in the applications folder on the fileshare, much better than the finicky method of importing updated configuration in the management console that most people don’t seem to know is even an option. Another huge benefit is that the agent can also process pending tasks…that’s a major failing point of the App-V client. During a conference presentation I once said the App-V Scheduler agent is what the App-V client should have been from day one.
What if you want to deploy to laptop users? You can configure the agent to mount all packages. Just configure the agent appropriately for whatever environment you want. You don’t need to hack together a solution using the App-V Full Infrastructure and PowerShell scripts or heaven forbid, put things in the login script like many did with App-V 4.x! App-V Scheduler has pretty much everything you want all available as a simple checkbox or button. It’s also the only App-V deployment tool that I’m aware of that offers real time central management. No need to wait for the clients to refresh.
The Scheduler is also awesome for XenApp admins and the brave souls manning the helpdesk. You can quickly deploy new applications on the share, remove packages, debug application issues etc.
For anybody who may have used the early versions of App-V Scheduler but have not checked out 2.x, you may not have seen the above screen before. There’s a central view console which allows you to point to groups of client machines and centrally manage the agents. How could you not want to use this in your RDSH environment?
If you are thinking about setting up the App-V Full Infrastructure STOP!!!
You need to try App-V Scheduler first. Save money and heartache experienced when setting up the often times frustrating App-V Full Infrastructure that’s not flexible for all environments by trying the alternatives first. If you are deploying to purely physical devices across multiple geographic regions than SCCM could be the way to go. If you are deploying to XenApp (prior to 7.9 at least) then App-V Scheduler is an absolute no brainer. If you are deploying to XenDesktop, again App-V Scheduler is a no brainer! If you have RES ONE, you could use the great Automation Manager and Workspace Manager capabilities for deploying the apps but still compliment it with App-V Scheduler for the great features you don’t get out of the box with RES ONE such as the agent capabilities for Admins and HelpDesk folk. There’s even a nice variable grab in the view tool:
The App-V Scheduler offers the ability to real time centralized management. Push application updates instantly, similarly remove applications instantly and thanks to those advanced options you can actually completely and successfully remove any and all App-V applications. No more corrupted cache issues!