Finally, the wait is over. After years of no significant releases VMWare have now released ThinApp 5.0. But is it too little, too late? I first started using ThinApp about 5 years ago. At the time I compared it to Softgrid\App-V and it was quite exciting. It was the first time I saw this concept of a portable virtual application. It’s isolated just like an App-V application but doesn’t require a client! It seemed great. What’s more, some applications I couldn’t capture successfully with App-V, worked with ThinApp, another win!! The VMWare trainer even had an old copy of Doom which he had captured as a ThinApp and could bring with him and run anywhere. I was sold. This was something I was interested in and wanted to use.
Unfortunately for me at the time. Enterprise customers were not really adopting this technology. In fairness, at the same time not very many were embracing App-V either. It was still so ‘bleeding edge’ that it was considered a risky venture with more risk than reward. As time went on App-V got ahead of the pack, likely because Microsoft had such a strong presence in the Enterprise already and may have been seen as less of a risk. In my opinion, they also did a great job of encouraging people like me to collaborate and get involved with the Online community. It then became the case, that ThinApp seemed to be the third most popular Application Virtualization technology, behind App-V and XenApp Profiling. What I was hearing from peers was that ThinApp was not designed for large Enterprise. This was later reflected by the fact I worked with a few customers who required ThinApp ‘Packaging’ but these were for a very low volume of apps and also for a very low volume of users.
Fast forward to the present and XenApp Profiling is no more. ThinApp now has an void it can fill and climb into second place. XenApp Profiling had a very limited use and also did not receive a whole lot of development focus by Citrix, it was just something that you could use, they never seemed to encourage it’s use. In fact, Citrix released a statement with the tag line along the lines of ‘Use App-V, no, go ahead, really’. They have continued on with this notion and have fully embraced App-V which is now integrated. Unfortunately, as my opening remarks may have suggested. VMWare also did not focus much development on ThinApp. I hadn’t used the product in 3 years, when I did use it again pretty much nothing had changed and most disappointing of all, the product could not support 64-bit applications! Well that has changed.