Microsoft App-V is the leading application virtualization technology being released in 2002, originally as SoftGrid by Softricity, it has matured into an enterprise class product. In 2006 Microsoft bought Softricity retaining the Softgrid name until 2008, when SoftGrid was renamed to App-V.
Microsoft App-V requires a streaming agent to be installed on the client computer which can download the different blocks that constitute the application package by using streaming technology.
Application blocks are streamed to the user's device and cached, with enough blocks being downloaded to allow the application to function. If additional functionality is selected by the user, for example, the user may try to use pivot tables in Microsoft Excel for the first time, the cache is checked to see if the correct application block is available and if not, then the corresponding application block is streamed from the central streaming server.
Options are available to ensure the whole application, that is all application blocks are pre-cached, which is important to users who would rarely connect to the network, such as sales people with laptops who may travel a lot.
App-V streaming uses individual function calls from individual files in the application package which are sent down to the client on a as-needed basis, making App-V a true application streaming technology.
App-V can be deployed in three different scenarios:
• Standalone Mode
• Lightweight Infrastructure Mode
• Full Infrastructure Mode
Using 'Standalone Mode' App-V, applications are sequenced (packaged) and deployed as MSI files which can be run by end users without the need for additional infrastructure the MSI files can be delivered to the users desktop using an Electronic Software Delivery system such as Microsoft SMS.
'Lightweight Infrastructure' utilises a Microsoft System Center Application Virtualization Streaming server, where the virtualized applications are stored as pre-configured packages. These packages are sequenced (built) on a clean computer, with all necessary components and application dependencies bundled together.
'Full Infrastructure' mode utilises Microsoft System Center Application Virtualization Management Server, along with it's management console to administer the addition and removal of applications, the changing of File Type Associations (FTAs) and the assign of access permissions and licenses to users and groups.
The Microsoft System Center Application Virtualization Management Service provides the backbone connectivity between Microsoft System Center Application Virtualization Management Console and the Microsoft Application Virtualization Microsoft SQL data store, where details of applications are stored.
App-V requires licenses for each concurrent user accessing applications using App-V technology. These licenses have been reduced substantially in price since Microsoft took over Softricity.