How to Prepare for a Migration to App-V 5.0
This is the first post in a series of posts around migration of App-V from 4.x to 5.0.
Since App-V 5.0 was announced in November last year, it has garnered lots of excitement from customers. In order to provide those benefits, App-V was designed from ground up to provide the foundation upon which we could continue to improve App-V in the future and add scenarios that were not feasible previously, such as shell extension support in virtual applications.
And now that App-V 5.0 SP2 Beta is announced, even more scenarios are enabled, giving more reason to migrate to App-V 5.0. Some of the new SP2 features include shell extension support for virtual applications (ex. Right-click), and simpler VC-runtime packaging.
Since releasing App-V 5.0, we have noticed that there is a learning curve for the new architecture for App-V 4.x customers. Therefore, if you're a 4.x customer, you should be prepared to invest time into the following:
- Learn about App-V 5.0, the new changes, and how it impacts your current environment
- Assess, prepare, and execute a migration from 4.x to App-V 5.0.
The Purpose of This Article
This blog provides you the resources to familiarize yourself with App-V 5.0 as well as highlight the considerations & limitations of the migration process. Specifically, you will learn:
- Must-read resources before migrating.
- Considerations and Limitations of Client Co-existence/Package Conversion in the Migration Process
After reading and following all instructions in this article, you should be ready to pilot a migration. The next article will help you assess your infrastructure and give you a migration workflow.
Familiarize Yourself With App-V 5.0
It is very important to understand App-V 5.0. There are several paradigm changes from App-V 4.x and to ensure a successful deployment, you will need to take some time to sit down and plot the differences. Most importantly, read all the materials that are out there for migration first. There is a wonderful post called "Must Have Migration Resources" (link below) that lists plenty of App-V 5.0 resources to get you started.
Some of resources listed in the post include:
- App-V 5.0 whitepapers, including a trial guide, and a CfgMgr-specific guide
- All on-line App-V 5.0 documentation.
- Useful blog posts and KB article links for App-V 5.0 issues found early on.
Must Have Migration Resources:
After you have read this, next is to go into detail on the differences between App-V 4.x and 5.0.
Understand the Differences Between App-V 4.x and App-V 5.0
Many features of App-V has changed in the way it is configured, or operates under the hood. Several Microsoft consultants and Premier Field Engineers have released several blog posts on these new changes. Below is a list of what we feel are a set of useful ones to familiarize yourself with.
1. Four-Part Series - The New Package Format, File system, Registry, and App/User State Changes
2. Connection Groups - The Evolution of Dynamic Suite Composition
3. Starting Processes in the Virtual Environment (aka. RunVirtual)
4. Scripting - How it works in App-V 5.0, and Differences From App-V 4.6
Package Migration Should be Last, Not First in a Migration Deployment
The most common mistake our customers make is to first try and convert their applications through the converter and launch the application in App-V 5.0. The package converter is built to help convert standard applications with ease. We have found highly customized apps (OSD customizations, scripts, dependencies) do not work well with the converter.
Instead, we recommend a phased approach for migrating packages and testing the App-V 5.0 deployment. Here is what we recommend:
- Deploy the App-V 5.0 client in co-existence mode before migrating any packages.
- Sequence a few apps, and deploy them to the App-V 5.0 client for testing.
- Plan a phased migration of your application set from 4.6 (or earlier) to 5.0 through a process of converting and sequencing apps.
Now that you're familiar with App-V 5.0, next you'll want to keep in mind some considerations and limitations.
Migration Considerations and Limitations
As you prepare for a migration, here are some things to consider and some high-level limitations to be aware of.
Application Re-packaging Time:
Dedicate some time to analyzing your packages environment. As mentioned above, many foundational features have changed, and therefore some packages will require more time and analysis before migrating. All packages, including the ones that go through conversion, need to be tested and validated again.
System Center Configuration Manager 2012 SP1 provides better integration with App-V 5.0 than ever. Read the System Center CfgMgr 2012 SP1 / App-V 5 whitepaper to analyze and understand if it suits you.
The package converter will not convert scripts, packages with dependencies, and/or other certain customizations. It also only directly converts 4.5 packages and later. We highly recommend testing App-V 5.0 by sequencing your critical apps first when performing a pilot. A future post will come out to highlight the limitations of the package converter, and assist you through a straightforward and successful conversion experience.
Server: Shortcut/FTA Settings
Packages that has shortcut and FTA customizations through the 4.6 management server will not have these transferred. To transfer these, there is a tool that we will use to ease the migration process of them.
User state is not persisted during migration. Users will need to re-adjust settings on upgrade. For this reason, we recommend a phased approach for applications. It is important to take this into consideration when planning your migration for what approach will best satisfy your users.
Co-existence keeps the upgrade experience seamless for your users when done right, but can cause unwanted scenarios when steps are missed. Keep an eye out for a future blog post coming out on co-existence gotchas. For now, it is important to follow exactly the steps that are provided, otherwise application co-existence may not function correctly.
System Center Configuration Manager Migration Gotchas
Please read the CfgMgr / App-V 5 whitepaper in detail to make sure that you follow the correct steps.
This concludes the first post of our Migration series to help you with your migration. We have provided a list of recommended reading materials, considerations and limitations, to help prime you for a solid migration pilot. In the next post, we will provide some recommendations on a workflow for steps to migrating your Server, Client, and Packages successfully.
We are always looking for feedback. Was this helpful? If there's something specific you'd like to know, please leave a comment below!
Adam Kiu, App-V Program Manager