Microsoft Application Virtualization: Tips to pick right apps for sequencing


The following guidelines can be applied to test if any given application is a good candidate for sequencing or not.

  1. Application Size: If the maximum client cache size is set for 4 GB (The Max can be 64 GB), then the maximum size of application (sft file) which can be streamed on that machine is 4 GB.
  2. All applications which have the installed footprint greater than or equal to the max client size, set by the client, should not be sequenced. The Max application size Softgrid can handle is 4GB, [This is my guess as Q: drive has FAT filetype and the max filesize FAT can handle is 4GB ]. More details at http://www.softgridguru.com/viewtopic.php?t=2763.

  3. Device Driver: Softgrid presently do not support sequencing of device drivers thus any application which install device driver should not be sequenced.
    The only exception is when the device driver can be installed locally without installing the application. In this case the Device driver should be installed locally and only the application without the device driver should be sequenced.
  4. Plugins: Specially Office plugins, although they can be sequenced without any issue, they should not be sequenced due to usage issues. For example you sequenced 4 excel plugins and one user is using all 4 of them. Say he opened excel through one sequenced version, created the document and closed it. Now App-V & OS does not have a mechanism to open that excel sheet using that particular sequence  The only workaround is to sequence all the plugins in a group. But now the issue is to maintain all the plugin sequences also if you are working for a company which heavily relay on Office Plugins and most user use different set of plugins than managing the sequence will be a nightmare.
  5. Windows Context menu: Presently App-V does not have mechanism to handle Windows Context Menu, thus these types of applications are not good candidate for Sequencing.
  6. Custom Application Protocol: Some applications have custom launch protocols, such as “abcd://testing” etc. These types of applications cannot be sequenced without installing a prerequisite. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa767914%28VS.85%29.aspx and http://www.codeplex.com/customurl for more details how to archive it.
  7. Shortcuts: Application should have a minimum of 1 Shortcut. If no shortcuts are present then the application should be sequenced in a Suite along with the application which needs it.
    If Macromedia Flash is the application in question to be sequenced then the shortcut should be pointing to the locally installed IE.
  8. Middleware: Middleware applications are not a good candidate for sequencing as they can be used as prerequisites by various many applications in the build and thus should be installed locally. but if multiple version of it are needed then it should be sequenced along with the application which needs them.
  9. Path hard coding: The application should not have folder/file path hard-coded in the application itself. Some application hard code the path of files in registry or ini file or executables. In these cases it has been found that the application can be sequenced most of the time, but extreme care should be taken while sequencing & testing. Configuration files such as ini, conf, txt etc are good places to look for the hard-coding.
  10. Base Build Applications: Applications which are already part of base build should not be sequenced. One can sequence them but they are of no real value.
  11. Auto Update: Application with automatic updates should not be sequenced. Sequenced application most of the time fails to properly update itself. Also allowing auto update leads to non compliance of application version. These type of applications should be sequenced only if the auto update feature can be disabled during sequencing procedure and users should be educated not to enable the feature.
  12. Services: For services -item, you should note that services that can be started when application starts and shut down when application main executable shuts down can be included in sequence. Only services that run as their own are (like boot-time services do but there are others) not suitable for sequencing as under SoftGrid all application starting happens under user’s session context. Special thanks to ksaunam.
  13. COM+: Some application which uses COM+ might not work properly in virtual environment, thus this type of applications needs be tested properly.
  14. COM DLL: Few application which uses COM DLL surrogate virtualization, i.e. DLL’s that run in Dllhost.exe, does not work properly in Softgrid Environment. Thus this type of applications needs be tested properly.
  15. Licensing Policies: Applications with licensing enforcement tied to machine, e.g. the license is tied to the system’s MAC address. This type of application should not be sequenced if the activation can not be done by the user at the first launch of sequenced application.
  16. Internet Explorer & Service Packs: Internet Explorer, Services Patch and Service pack can not be sequenced.
  17. Hosts file can not be sequenced
  18. Applications using or accessing WMI to access virtual environment such as registry, files etc.
  19. Applications which require or allow locally installed applications to access it. such as MS Office applications. NOTE: Sequencer should make sure no instance of locally installed application is running before virtual application is launched.
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  1. Application Size: If the maximum client cache size is set for 4 GB (The Max can be 64 GB), then the maximum size of application (sft file) which can be streamed on that machine is 4 GB.
  2. All applications which have the installed footprint greater then or equal to the max client size, set by the client, should not be sequenced. The Max applicaiton size Softgrid can handle is 4GB, [This is my guess as Q: drive has FAT filetype and the max filesize FAT can handle is 4GB ]. More details at http://www.softgridguru.com/viewtopic.php?t=2763.

  3. Device Driver: Softgrid presently do not support sequencing of device drivers thus any application which install device driver should not be sequenced.
    The only exception is when the device driver can be installed locally without installing the application. In this case the Device driver should be installed locally and only the application without the device driver should be sequenced.
  4. Plugins: Specially Office plugins, although they can be sequenced without any issue. But due to usage issues, sequencing of them should be avoided. For example you sequenced 4 excel plugins and one user is using all 4 of them. Say he opened excel through one sequenced version, created the document and closed it. Now App-V & OS does not have a mechanism to open that excel sheet in the correct sequenced version of excel. The only workaround is to sequence all the plugins in a group. But now the issue is to maintain all the plugin sequences also if you are working for a company which heavily relay on Office Plugins and most user use different set of plugins then managing the sequence will be a nightmare.
  5. Windows Context menu: Presently App-V does not have mechanism to handle Windows Context Menu, thus these types of applications are not good candidate for Sequencing.
  6. Custom Application Protocol: Some applications have custom launch protocols, such as “abcd://testing” etc. These types of applications cannot be sequenced without installing a prerequisite. See http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa767914%28VS.85%29.aspx and http://www.codeplex.com/customurl for more details how to archive it.
  7. Shortcuts: Application should have minimum of 1 Shortcut. If no shortcuts are present then the application should be sequenced in a Suite along with the application which needs it.
    If Macromedia Flash is the application in question to be sequenced then the shortcut should be pointing to the locally installed IE.
  8. Middleware: Middleware applications are not a good candidate for sequencing as they can be used as prerequisites by various many applications in the build and thus should be installed locally. but if multiple version of it are needed then it should be sequenced along with the application which needs them.
  9. Path hard coding: The application should not have folder/file path hard coded in the application itself. Some application hard code the path of files in registry or ini file or executables.
  10. In these cases it has been found that the application can be sequenced most of the time, but extreme care should be taken while sequencing & testing. Configuration files such as ini, conf, txt etc are good places to look for the hardcoding.

  11. Base Build Applications: Applications which are already part of base build should not be sequenced. One can sequence them but they are of no real value.
  12. Auto Update: Application with automatic updates should not be sequenced. Sequenced application most of the time fails to properly update itself. Also allowing auto update leads to non compliance of application version.
  13. Application should be sequenced only if the auto update feature can be disabled during sequencing procedure.

  14. Services: For services -item, you should note that services that can be started when application starts and shut down when application main executable shuts down can be included in sequence. Only services that run as their own are (like boot-time services do but there are others) not suitable for sequencing since under SoftGrid all application starting happens under user’s session context. Special thanks to ksaunam.
  15. COM+: Some application which uses COM+ might not work properly in virtual environment, thus this type of applications needs be tested properly.
  16. COM DLL: Few application which uses COM DLL surrogate virtualization, i.e. DLL’s that run in Dllhost.exe, does not work properly in Softgrid Environment. Thus this type of applications needs be tested properly.
  17. Licensing Policies: Applications with licensing enforcement tied to machine, e.g. the license is tied to the system’s MAC address. This type of application should not be sequenced if the activation can not be done by the user at the first launch of sequenced application.
  18. Internet Explorer & Service Packs: Internet Explorer, Services Patch and Service pack can not be sequenced.
  19. Hosts file can not be sequenced
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3 thoughts on “Microsoft Application Virtualization: Tips to pick right apps for sequencing

  1. What an awesome article. Never thought of it from that angle. You always createamazing content. Your blog literally keeps me focused for hours lol. Great stuff, don’t ever stop.

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