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Configuring and Troubleshooting Application Issues : Designing a Delivery Strategy

5/23/2011 6:12:05 PM
A delivery strategy identifies how the application is delivered to the user. The primary method of delivery is to install it on the user's computer. When the user wants to run the program, it is launched from the Start menu.

However, there are several other methods of delivery available. These additional methods use different types of virtualization techniques. Virtualization techniques include the following:

  • Windows XP Mode

  • Virtual PC

  • Remote Desktop Services

  • Application Virtualization

1. Windows XP Mode

After adding Windows XP Mode, you can install applications in the Windows XP Mode VPC. Applications will appear and can be launched from the Windows 7 Start menu without starting the Windows XP Mode VPC. From the user's perspective, it looks just as if it's running in Windows 7.

If an application is not compatible with Windows 7, this will often be your first choice as an alternative. It doesn't require any additional servers on the network. However, Windows XP Mode does work best if the hardware supports virtualization. You can install the update from KB 977206 (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/977206) as a workaround.

2. Virtual PC

If the PC hardware doesn't support virtualization and you don't want to use the workaround, you can still use Microsoft Virtual PC (VPC) on the system. With VPC, you can install another operating system (such as Windows XP) in the Virtual PC and then install the application within the VPC.

Microsoft Virtual PC is available as a free download. It is the precursor to Windows Virtual PC. Windows XP Mode must use Windows Virtual PC.


The drawback is that the user must launch VPC and then launch the application within the VPC image. Although this will work, the extra steps can sometimes confuse the end user. VPC also requires more RAM and processing power.

3. Remote Desktop Services

Remote Desktop Services (RDS) can be used to deliver applications to users. The application is hosted on a server configured as an RDS Session Host server. Users can then connect to the server and run applications remotely.

Remote Desktop Services was previously known as Terminal Services. It was renamed in Windows Server 2008 R2.


Figure 1 shows how RDS can be used in a network. In the figure, three clients are using RDS. The clients can be running Windows 7, Windows XP, or just about any operating system. They need only network connectivity to the RDS Session Host server.

Figure 1. RDS used in a network

The server can host full desktops or individual applications.

Full desktops The client could be running Windows XP and then connect to the server to launch a Windows 7 desktop. The Windows 7 desktop will operate within a window on the client's system.

Applications A single application can be run on the server. RemoteApp applications can be hosted on an RDS Session Host server. Clients can then start the application from their Start menu, from a desktop icon, or from a web page depending on how the RemoteApp application is configured. The application runs in a window on the user's desktop and has the look and feel of a locally run program.

4. Application Virtualization

Applications can also be streamed to a user's desktop on demand similar to how audio and video can be streamed to the client. Microsoft's Application Virtualization server (App-V server) can be used to stream applications to SoftGrid clients. App-V was previously known as Microsoft SoftGrid.

Figure 2 shows how an App-V server works in a network. The client has the Microsoft Application Virtualization for Desktops tool, which is also known as the SoftGrid client. The client requests the application.

Figure 2. Application virtualization

The App-V server then sends the application in streamed chunks. Depending on the activity of the user, different chunks of the application will be sent. The SoftGrid client formats the streamed application and presents it to the user.

Although applications can be very large, most users don't access all of the features. For example, Word has many different capabilities related to formatting, translating, and more. These capabilities will be streamed to users who need them but not sent to users who don't.

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