App-V is now more ready to step into desktop virtualization

Microsoft released App-V 4.6 earlier this week. With this release Microsoft Application Virtualization will be brought to the next level: support for 64-bit applications. This release will contribute to a broader adoption of application virtualization in combination with desktop virtualization. Think about Windows Server 2008 R2 RDS which is 64-bit only or VDI scenario’s where storage usage is an issue.

With App-V 4.6 it is now possible to design well scalable desktop virtualization solutions based on Microsoft Virtualization products (and of course products of other vendors).

While you may think it’s a minor release from 4.5 SP1 to 4.6, the new features are great:

Support for 64-bit applications—provides the ability to sequence and run 32-bit and 64-bit applications on 64-bit versions of Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2003 R2. For more information about supported operating systems, see Application Virtualization Deployment Requirements.
Support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2—provides support for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, including support for Windows 7 features such as the taskbar, Jump Lists, AppLocker, BranchCache, and BitLocker To Go.
Expands globalization and localization—provides support for 12 additional languages.
Support for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) systems—provides the capability for the read-only shared cache to help optimize server disk storage in VDI scenarios.
Improved sequencing experience—provides improvements to the sequencing wizard and support for sequencing 32-bit and 64-bit applications.

If you are looking for the server components of App-V 4.6, there are none. The server components are still on 4.5 SP1 level. The server components of App-V were already supported on 64-bit operating systems.

The App-V 4.6 release is mainly for new implementations, where there is a need for 64-bit support. If you are now running happy on App-V 4.5 SP1 there is no urgent need for upgrading to App-V 4.6. For an easy migration to Windows 7 or Windows Server 2008 R2 RDS though, you could already start with upgrading your current App-V client environment to the 4.6 release.

App-V 4.6 with Windows Server 2008 R2 RDS is a strong combination for a fair price. App-V is part of the RDS CAL. If you want to use App-V 4.6 on the desktop you will need to buy an MDOP 2010 license (requires Software Assurance agreement).

The release of App-V 4.6 has brought a lot of great articles on the web also. On you can find a nice overview.
Next to that, Microsoft is updating the App-V documentation on the App-V Techcenter Library.

If you are new to application virtualization, I would suggest to first get your requirements clear and select a product based on your organizational needs:7-things-you-need-to-know-about-application-virtualization
But if App-V does fit to your business needs, it is now time to go on. Next to the benefits when deploying App-V with desktop virtualization, App-V 4.6 will also help with the deployment of the upcoming version of Office, Office 2010. Also the pre-virtualized version of Office 2010, Click-To-Run will be based on App-V technology

So, get yourself trained with the new App-V version and start sequencing. Have fun!

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