Microsoft App-V is what was formerly known as SoftGrid and it’s some pretty clever stuff
It’s main feature is to virtualize applications, this isolates them on the users workstation and reduces application conflicts-thus reducing end user downtime. However the apps can still fully interact with each other such as copy & paste etc so still giving the users the experience they’re used to.
The latest version is 4.5 and major highlights include:
HTTP streaming. Support for streaming virtual applications from an IIS server (v6 or v7) providing dramatic performance and scalability improvements for large App-V deployments.
Re-designed Sequencer. Simplifies the process and reduces the complexity of creating virtual application packages.
Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC) for MSI packages. Consolidate virtual environments, control virtual application interaction, enable faster, easier administration.
Seamless integration with System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2. Allows customers to easily deploy virtual applications through the System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 infrastructure and scale their deployments.
Client cache improvements. The maximum size of the client cache has been increased to 1 TB.
Improved Manageability. Integration and support for VSS writer, Operations Manager management pack, ADM template.
Accessibility. The product is now Section 508 compliant, bringing App-V in line with Microsoft shipping requirements.
Most conversations I have with schools include App-V as they often have odd bits of software like “Science for GCSE 1997” and “Maths is brilliant V 2.3” that don’t play nice with each other-and App-V is a great way to solve that.
See the Technet MDOP page here.
Advantages of using App-V:
Streams applications on demand over the Internet or via the corporate network to desktops, terminal servers, and laptops.
Automates and simplifies the application management lifecycle by significantly reducing regression and application interoperability testing.
Accelerates Windows and application deployments by reducing the image footprint.
Reduces the end-user impacts associated with application upgrades, patching, and terminations. No reboots required, no waiting for applications to install, and no need to uninstall when retiring applications.
Enables controlled application use when users are completely disconnected.
Integrates with System Center Configuration Manager to enable physical and virtual deployments through the same people, process and technologies.
It needs to be noted that there are 2 version of App-V available to buy.
App-V as part of MDOP: For use in standard environments.
App-V for Terminal Services: For use in Terminal Service environments only. App-V’s application virtualization allows any application to run alongside any other—even applications that normally conflict, multiple versions of the same application, and many applications that previously could not run under Terminal Services.