VMware ThinApp can be deployed using two main methods streaming or locally deployed. The main difference between the two methods is where the ThinApp Package will be executed from. In the streaming case the ThinApp package will reside on a shared folder, where users access it remotely. In the other hand when locally deploying ThinApp packages the ThinApp package is copied to each of the end point devices and executed locally. Each method can be deployed in few different ways, & has its pros & cons. Some companies rather streaming, some rather locally installed, where others mix and match between the two. Below is a closer look on each of the two main VMware ThinApp Deployment Scenarios.
VMware ThinApp Streaming.
In this scenario, the ThinApp executable packages will reside on a shared folder hosted by a windows file server or a storage filer where users access it remotely by accessing it directly by browsing the share folder to it or by a short cut created by the administrator or ThinReg to the executable. The beautiful part of ThinApp streaming that it does not require any specialized infrastructure like other Application Virtualization products in the market. All you require to be able to stream ThinApp Application is a file share where you put the executable and users access it from it. ThinApp Streaming is usually used in VMware View and other VDI scenarios and in environment where sufficient network and storage is available and centralized management/upgrade mechanism is desired.
Before going into each mechanism, its worth mentioning this post is a part of a larger VMware ThinApp series I am creating & below are the links to other VMware ThinApp posts in this series in case you were looking for one of these or interested to read about it as well.
VMware ThinApp Deployment Scenarios(This Post)
Back to the VMware ThinApp Deployment Scenarios. Below are some advantages and disadvantages of streaming ThinApp packages when compared with locally deploying it.
VMware ThinApp Streaming Advantages:
– VMware ThinApp allow centralized management as all packages are served from the same location
– In place upgrade/update to packages ease packages upgrades/updates without requiring any downtime.
VMware ThinApp Streaming Disadvantages:
– VMware ThinApp Streaming increase the importance of Network/storage availability. If your Network or storage is not available, your applications will not be available to your users.
– VMware ThinApp Streaming performance highly dependent on your network/storage performance. You will need to make sure that you have a sufficient storage/network that can deliver streamed packages without affecting your end user experience.
VMware ThinApp Locally deployed
In this scenario ThinApp Packages are deployed locally to each Endpoint. ThinApp packages can be deployed to Endpoint using many different methods. Electronic software
distribution (ESD) like MS SCCM, IBM Tivoli Software Distribution, Flexerasoftware and the same can be used to deploy ThinApp packages. Actually you can use the exact same methodology you have traditionally used to deploy your software packages through MSI, which mean you don’t have to change your method of deployment. That in turn reduce the cost other wise would have been spent on buying the new ESD as well training your team on using it. As an alternative methods, you could push the software to your end users through an Active Directory script where others like to give them to end users on a memory stick so they can use them on any machine they have access to. Each enterprise deploy the packages to their end point depending on their needs. Below are some of the advantages and disadvantages of locally deploying ThinApp packages.
VMware ThinApp locally deployed Advantages:
– As the packages deployed locally to the endpoint devices, availability of them is not dependent on Network/Storage or any other infrastructure component availability.
– The performance of locally deployed ThinApp packages more resemble traditionally installed application performance.
– They can be deployed utilizing the same mechanism used to deploy traditional software packages, which reduce training cost.
VMware ThinApp locally deployed disadvantages:
. Unlike streaming package management/updates/upgrades is decentralized though can be better managed through ESD software.
– Software will be required to be updated or replaced on each machine the packages was deployed to.
Which VMware ThinApp Deployment Scenario fit you environment?
Well, it depend on what you are doing. If you have an infrastructure that can handle streaming and you would like to have a centralized management/upgrade/update of your software packages then streaming can be your best choice. Else if your infrastructure can not handle streaming or you desire to still use the same deployment mechanism your team has been already trained on then the locally deployed mechanism could be your best choice. Further, the size of the application could govern which method you use as streaming large applications can overload your network if you don’t have the efficient bandwidth required. In most environments I have seen, they have mixed and matched between the two deployment methods based on their needs.
I hope this help you figure out which method you want to use to deploy your ThinApp packages, & I would love to hear your feedback of how you are currently doing it in your environment.