An oldie but a goody… From 2015… ‘FlexApp is cool, but where do I start?’

If you are a first time user of Application Layering technology you may be overwhelmed by the choices. You may also be wondering, “What applications should I start with?” In short, just about any application that does not require full application isolation is a GOOD candidate for FlexApp Layering, so your options are nearly limitless.

Some applications may require frequent updates or put stress on IO subsystems. Many line of business applications need to be ‘always available’ for the business to function. For DR, companies have invested storage replication for critical systems. However, this is not the case for virtual desktops which can be the most critical systems of them all.

The three types of applications below are suggested starting points that will immediately make your life easier.

  1. Applications with Frequent Updates
  2. Applications that need a DR/HA plan (core / key apps at a minimum)
  3. Applications that require faster storage I/O for better performance

All of these are GREAT candidates for FlexApp!

FlexApps are portable layers that can be copied, pasted, imported and delivered to virtual and physical desktops! Here is more detail on three different types of applications you can get started with now.

Pay extra attention to the Liquidware FlexApp method in each of the 3 examples.

1. Application that require frequent updates

It is very difficult for administrators to update virtual desktops – even for single / small application update.  Any update no matter how small, require the ENTIRE image to be recomposed or redeployed out to each data store.  There are typically many data stores that host images and for some architectures recomposing is a dreaded necessity. Applications typically have to be installed and updated in EACH image when the same application is used by different groups and pools.

Traditional VM method: (approx. method – other methods may exist)

  • Open Source Base Image / VM, Update Application, Test all applications in image, Ensure the image is clean and then shutdown and Recompose / Redeploy whole image.  (making a mistake is not an option with this method)
  • Proceed to do this for all the images and pools that contain the application. (usually many more than 1)
    • Takes a significant amount of time to recompose images.  (can take all weekend for some)
    • Takes a significant amount of resources to recompose.  Ie. Can bring the SAN and / or network link “to its knees” (can crush performance on anything SAN/NAS and network attached)
    • Most of the time this has to be done with users offline
    • Must be done to each image and each pool the application is used with
    • Extensive testing has to be done to ensure you didn’t break any other applications
    • Mistakes when updating images can introduce unwanted personality where some images or pools are behaving differently than others
    • The image usually needs to have a number of cleanups, so the next time it boots cleanly, again without introducing additional personality

 

Liquidware FlexApp method:

  • Update the single application in the FlexApp packaging console (either clone, update and reassign or extend the in-use package – basically push button in our console)
    • Can be done during the workday – even at peak usage without user disruption
    • This is done once vs. once for each image or pool / Package once and deploy many
    • Application can be copied, imported and deployed to more users for scaling
    • No expensive re-compose or rebuilding of images
    • No tattooing or personality introduced to main image
    • No platform specialist needed – any admin can just package, assign and test / use application

 

2. Applications that require a DR strategy

Many line of business applications need to be highly available. Usually 100% of the applications do not need to be available, but a core set is required for the main functions of a company to operate.   Images are large and in-use so replicating whole VM images is almost a non-starter for small businesses, even large enterprises.  The technical challenges, resource requirements and laws of physics make this impossible for many.  Replicating user data is enough to try and manage – much less entire virtual desktop images.

Traditional VM Method: (approx. method – other methods may exist)

  1. Have 2 datacenters with the exact same desktop images on each end and perform application updates using the traditional application update method in scenario 1 above to primary and secondary locations.
    • Consumes lots of people time
    • Hard process to execute and to ensure is done exactly the same on both ends
    • VM’s can develop a personality during the process, which is not what you want
  2. Invest in significant bandwidth, hardware, software and personal to manage VM desktop image replication.  (non-starter for many!)
    • Huge investment
    • Resource intensive
    • Plagued with complexity and failures

Liquidware FlexApp Method:

  • Copy the FlexApps from location A to location B.  (copy, paste, script or replicate – many options available and single apps are FAR less heavy to copy or replicate than entire VM Images!)
  • Import the applications to FlexApp
  • Assign the application with ProU to virtual or physical desktops!   (It’s not required to have the same virtual desktops at the DR location and this can all be automated!)
  • Login to your OS only desktop and your FlexApps will be ready to use

 

3. Applications that require higher I/O than your SAN / NAS can deliver

Often times SAN/NAS systems are overloaded mechanically, on the network – even the built-in caching systems of these devices are taxed to the max trying to optimize and deliver the entire VM image.  Decoupling applications from the image and delivering them from new or alternate storage can be next to impossible for many applications using traditional application virtualization.  The performance overhead of traditional application virtualization (in the bubble isolated apps using ThinApp or App-V) is often used for application compatibility and never for higher performance.

Traditional Method (approx. method – other methods may exist)

  • Move entire image to faster, less loaded SAN or NAS
  • Upgrade entire SAN / NAS volume (Significant investment and may not give boost to specific apps)
  • Implement I/O acceleration in memory technology


Liquidware FlexApp method:

  • Place FlexApps on higher performing storage (can be done per app with specific focus, application looks like its in the image – but is not, the original image and storage has extra IOPS for main OS etc)
  • FlexApp can be delivered from the appropriate VMDK based or VHD based delivery mechanism (Mix and Match)

 

The types of applications that you can FlexApp are endless, but the three types above will give you a great place to start to ease your frustrations of application management. If you are not yet a FlexApp customer, you can download and trial FlexApp today by visiting the Download section of www.liquidware.com.

Click here for an Actual Demo Layering 11 Disks with 16+ FlexApps onto an OS only clean VM!

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