Tag Archives: App Volumes

VMware App Volumes 2.9 Installation – Part 5

In part 1 to Part 4, we completed the App Volumes installation and configuration. We are now ready to install the desktop applications.

This stage is where you install the application into the AppStack Template we’ve created. You install all the App Volume applications into this Windows client machine, which acts like your master. Logically, this master should have no applications, so it’s plain vanilla Windows. The VM should be a part of Windows AD domain.

The following applications are required to run when the user logged off, so they should not be installed in App Volume:

  • VMware Tools
  • VMware Horizon View agent
  • VMware Log Insight agent
  • Security agents

In general, all agents should be installed directly into Horizon master image.

Let’s proceed to do our AppStack. First, ensure your Provisioning VM is ready. Go to AppStack and ensure you see the status Provisioning, as shown below.


Login to the Provisioning VM. You should see the pop up box. If not, you need to fix that first.


Proceed to install the applications. You can install multiple applications. I’ve installed Java, Flash, FireFox and Chrome. If your application requires OS reboot, you can reboot as many times as you want. It will come back to Provisioning Mode. Once you are done, click on the OK button. You will get a prompt that Windows will reboot to complete the provisioning process.


Once rebooted, login back. You will see the following message, indicating that it’s successful. Do you notice something different to my Windows after the reboot?


Yes, you are right. The applications were uninstalled. Notice the icons are gone.

They have been captured, however. Go back to the App Volumes Manager, and you will now see them.


We are now ready to assign it. Click the Assign button. As you can see from the screen below, you can assign it to a user, group or specific computer. They are given different icons by App Volumes.


Select the object you want to assign, and click the Assign button. Make sure the Windows machine has App Volumes agent. Once you assigned, the result will look like this. In this example, I assign it to a Windows machine, so any user who login will get the applications.


Once you assign, you can see the mapping. Go to Directory tab, and you will see them. In my example below, I login as obi-wan to the computer that has AppStack assigned.


With that, there is only 1 more thing to do, which is to login and see it! And voila, your desktop has the applications! I’ve opened the Control Panel. My App Volumes applications look like natively installed Windows applications. This is one key difference to ThinApp. App Volumes does not virtualise (or containerize) the application. Yes, that means you can use App Volumes to deploy ThinApp-ed package.


How does it work under the hood? App Volumes automatically & dynamically append a vmdk to the selected VM. Notice the VM has 2 hard disks. The second hard disk comes from a different datastore, as that’s where I placed the AppStack.


I used the word dynamic, as when I powered off the VM, the vmdk is removed.


You may think that 2 vmdk files will result in Windows seeing 2 hard drives. This would mean 2 different drive letters. Does it mean the applications are not installed in C:\ drive? No, as you can see below. Windows does see 2 hard drives, but the second drive is not given a drive letter. All the applications are installed on C:\ drive


VMware App Volumes 2.9 Installation – Part 4

In Part 3, we completed the Agent and View Broker installation. In this part 4, we are now ready to configure AppStacks.

Go back the Windows VM where you install your App Volumes Manager. If you remember, we left at the screen in Part 2. There is no AppStack created yet. Click the Create AppStack button.


You get the following screen. To create AppStack, just need to specify the name, datastore, etc. Click the Create button.


It is not instant, and the status changes to Creating.


Wait for the above process to complete. Once completed, the status will change to Unprovisioned. Click on the Provision button. Notice it’s giving you a hint on the next step, which is Select Provisioning VM.


Remember the MS AD integration requirement? This is where it comes in handy. You need to find the computer. In my case, I just typed “volume“, clicked Search button, and it found my Provisioning VM.

I selected it, and clicked on the Provision button.


The AppStack status is now changed to Provisioning. Again, it’s giving you a hint on the next step, which is to install applications on the provisioning computer.


My plan is to create >1 AppStacks so I can evaluate cross AppStacks integration and see the experience in managing multiple AppStacks. I created these 3 AppStacks

  1. Core Apps:
    1. Basic and mandatory apps, like Java, Flash, Chrome, FF.
    2. The reason for including browsers is browsers typically needs plugins.
  2. Productivity:
    1. MS Office, Adobe Reader
  3. Admin Tools
    1. SSH, BitVise, vSphere C# Client, vSphere Web Client, etc.

This what it looks like after I created 3 AppStacks. The next step is to choose a Provisioning VM.


A Provisioning VM can be used for >1 AppStack, but not at the same time. If you do not manually unassign it, you get an error message like the following:


The next step is to install application. I will use a separate post to mark the separation, as the work is done on another place (the Provisioning VM). You can find it on Part 5.

VMware App Volumes 2.9 Installation – Part 3

In Part 2, we completed the Volumes Manager installation. In this part 3, we are now ready to install the Agent and Horizon View Broker. You can do them in any order.

Agent Installation

The step is simpler than the Volumes Manager installation. You start with the same ISO image and setup.exe.

Go to the Provisioning VM, and mount the ISO file. Once done, click on the setup.exe.


The same wizard screen appears.


This time, leave the choice as Agent.


The only thing you need to specify is the App Volumes Manager address. I use FQDN as I prefer to avoid hard coding IP address.


And within a few minutes, it’s done. You get the screenshot like this to confirm it’s done.


Once that’s done, it will prompt you to reboot. After that, power it off so you can take a snapshot. This preserves any changes.


You now have a master image, ready as your provisioning machine. Keep this machine clean.

You specified the App Volumes Manager address during the setup. Verify it’s registered with the Volumes Manager. You should see your newly registered VM in the Infrastructure tab, Machines subtab.


Now that’s done, let’s move to the Horizon View Broker Service.

App Volumes View Broker Service Installation

The step to install the broker is similar to the agent. In fact, the process was faster than the Agent installation.

Mount the App Volume installer on your View Connection Server.


It only ask for your App Volume Manager.


Yes, that’s it. Pretty simple to install the Agent and the View Broker. With that, we are ready to configure AppStack. I cover that in Part 4.