When to use Microsoft App-V for application packaging/distribution?

A couple of times this year, I’ve had customers question whether Microsoft App-V is still relevant in this day and age. Well, the answer is “yes” – and especially since it was rolled into the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (build 1607) as predicted by Tim Mangan and verified by my colleague Leo D’Arcy (@LeoDArcy1).

So, when would you use App-V? My colleague Steve Harwood (@steeveeh) coached me on this a while back, and this is what he had to say (with some edits for style but the message unchanged):

“App-V, like .MSI or .EXE is the application packaging format. This wraps all of the application files (e.g. registry keys, DLLs, files, etc.) into a format and that format then needs to be delivered down to the endpoint by a tool, e.g. SCCM, App-V infrastructure or another electronic method.

Of all the packaging formats App-V is an extremely versatile solution. It virtualizes the application which gives us a couple of advantages in that it allows an upgraded version of an app to co-exist with a previous version and it allows a clean uninstall (as the bubble is removed in its entirety). Additionally App-V plays really well with VDI as you can host the App-V files in a shared location and multiple differential VDIs can launch from that location which saves on costly high-spec storage space.

In short, SCCM is the delivery tool to push the application in whatever format it may be. App-V is a tool to wrap the application to allow it to be a layered onto the OS

It’s also important to note that App-V requires no infrastructure and can be fully integrated into System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) (e.g. create App-Vs then import them into SCCM application lifecycle); however, if you don’t have SCCM you can install the ‘App-V infrastructure’ which is another method that can be used to deliver App-Vs to the endpoint. Alternatively you can use PowerShell for delivery…”

[This is an edited version of a post that was originally published at markwilson.it]

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