Mark Cresswell | 9 November 2012
With the new App-V 5.0 co-existence and migration is the name of the game while upgrade is nowhere to be found
On the 1st of November 2012 Microsoft announced the release of MDOP 2012 and with it App-V 5.0. (And 4.6SP2). This came as a surprise to many who were not expecting to see App-V 5.0 until after the New Year and were therefore looking forward to a peaceful Christmas.
App-V 5.0 is new, everything about it is new. There is a new single file package format, new sequencer, new client and new streaming infrastructure that only runs on new(ish) operating systems. And that's before we look at the new features that many have been waiting for!
For those just about to embark on App-V the choice of 4.6 or 5.0 may appear obvious, but that is not so. The App-V 5.0 client will only run on Windows 7 and Windows 8, banishing Vista and earlier versions from the equation entirely! While the App-V 5.0 RDS client is for Windows Server 200R2 or Windows Server 2012. What's more the App-V 5.0 package will not run on a 4.6 client nor can it be delivered by the 4.5 RTSP Streaming servers. Nor will an App-V 4.6 package run on a 5.0 client. So, if the desktop estate still contains XP, a 4.6 deployment will be necessary and 5.0 will have to wait until the desktops and RDS servers are at the right level.
If you are in the smug "I'm fine, we're all Windows 7 and RDS 2008R2" camp then the path to 5.0 is a little shorter. However, if you're the trail-blazer type you should choose 5.0 for new deployments, but remember that 5.0 is new new new so expect some teething problems. 4.6 on the other hand is mature and well understood and may still be the choice for the more cautious amongst us.
With App-V 5.0 co-existence and migration is the name of the game while upgrade is nowhere to be found.
So, what if you are already using App-V and have a mixed estate? XP, Vista and Windows 7 or 8. Here, co-existence and migration is the name of the game while upgrade is nowhere to be found! Microsoft have provided tools in the form of PowerShell commands, to migrate from a 4.6 package to 5.0 but there are some challenges in using these and not all packages will work after conversion. So you may need to re-sequence some using the 5.0 sequencer. Migration is not going to happen overnight so how do you handle the co-existence? Well until XP and Vista are banished from the Desktops, and TS has been moved to RDS you're going to have to maintain two separate infrastructures or delay the deployment of App-V 5.0.
Where two worlds collide.
Once the minimum OS has been deployed then Microsoft has made switching a little easier. Windows 7 and 8 (and RDS) can run both the 4.6SP2 App-V client at the same time as running the 5.0 App-V client. 4.6SP2 being serviced by a 4.5 management infrastructure or SCCM 2007R2 while the 5.0 Client is being serviced from a 5.0 Management server or SCCM 2012SP1. You can then migrate you 4.6 package libraries over to 5.0 at your leisure while causing little or no inconvenience to your users.