Setup of ThinApp Factory in vSphere

The following article was published on the vmWare Blog and outlines the steps to install the ThinApp Factory Appliance in a vSphere environment using the Setup Executable.


  • Internal Static IP address (DHCP is not supported)
  • Internal DNS / FQDN name specified (DNS is required if names are used instead of IPs).
  • Administrator login to vCenter.
  • Win XP Pro Volume License CD
  • Win XP Pro Volume License Key
  • NOTE: You can also use Win 7 as well (in conjunction with Win XP or in place of).

  • ThinApp License Key

    NOTE: If you don’t have one available for use, you can request a demo license from the ThinApp Product Home Page.

  • SysPrep Files:
  • AppFactory Appliance Install Instructions:

    1. Download the ThinApp Factory Appliance from the VMware Flings site.
    2. Execute the ThinApp Factory Appliance install EXE (it’s a ThinApp Package) on a Windows OS which has network access to login to the vCenter environment.

      NOTE: Use of the VMware vCenter Server Virtual Appliance (often called the VCVA or VSVA) is also supported.

    3. Upon execution, select “Deploy a new ThinApp Factory virtual appliance” and click NEXT.
    4. TAF Setup

    5. Select “VMware vSphere 4.1 or higher” and click NEXT.
    6. AppFactory Installation  2

    7. Type in the IP Address or FQDN of the vCenter server, the user name, and password and click NEXT.

      NOTE: When typing in the User name, one must use a vCenter Administrator. If vCenter is tied to Active Directory, DO NOT type in the domain (e.g. “DOMAIN\USER”), just type in the user name. Local user accounts in the Win 2008 vCenter server or accounts in the vCenter Server Virtual Appliance may also be used.

    8. TAF vCenter Login

      NOTE: At this point you may be prompted for a vCenter Cluster selection if you have a vCenter cluster.

    9. Select your vSphere server or vCenter Cluster from your data center which you wish to deploy the virtual appliance to.
    10. Pasted Graphic

    11. Select any desired resource pools for the ThinApp Factory appliance to reside within. This will also be the resource pool which Work Pool VMs and Instance VMs will be created.
    12. AppFactory Installation  5

    13. Select the desired ESX Datastore from the list.
    14. AppFactory Installation  6

    15. Type in a Virtual Machine name for the appliance. This will also be used as the HOSTNAME.
    16. AppFactory Installation  7

    17. Select the virtual network the virtual appliance is to attach to.

      NOTE: Use of virtual distributed switches is NOT recommended with ThinApp Factory!

    18. AppFactory Installation  8

    19. Define the static IP address, DNS, Gateway, and domain suffix.
    20. AppFactory Installation  9

    21. Define the network proxy if needed for access to the Internet (NOTE: Outbound Internet access is necessary if pulling from public feeds).
    22. AppFactory Installation  10

    23. Enter your THINAPP license and ThinApp License Display Name (i.e. ThinApp Popup).
    24. AppFactory Installation  11

    25. After approving the final details, click NEXT. The deployment will begin.
    26. AppFactory Installation  12

    27. Once the deployment is complete, click FINISH.
    28. AppFactory Installation  13

    29. If the browser window doesn’t open, open your browser of choice and go to the address entered for the ThinApp Factory Appliance.

      When the EULA appears, scroll to the end, check “I have read and accept this agreement” and then click the “I Accept” button – assuming you do agree to the End User License Agreement.

    30. Pasted Graphic 1

    31. On the initial login, the admin password is blank (no password). Click LOG IN to login.
    32. Pasted Graphic 2

    33. At this point you will see the ThinApp Factory Dashboard. While the entire dashboard is selectable, at this point we want to go to settings (in the upper right hand corner).
    34. ThinApp Factory Dashboard

      Within Settings, at minimum we must configure WORKPOOLS, ADMINISTRATION, and FILE SHARES or FEEDS in order for ThinApp Factory to work properly.

    35. Click on WORKPOOL then under VIEW WORKPOOLS, click the ADD button.
    36. Pasted Graphic 5

    37. When adding a Workpool, you must specify the Name, Number of instances (this is the number of simultaneous VMs to be run), and a Creation Mode (VM or ISO).
    38. NOTE 1: If you DO NOT have a clean VM, it is highly recommended you let the ThinApp Factory Appliance build a clean VM for you!! Select “Use ISO to create a new VM“.

      NOTE 2: If you are UNSURE if your VM is absolutely clean, it is highly recommended you let the ThinApp Factory Appliance build a clean VM for you!! Select “Use ISO to create a new VM“.

      Here we show using an existing VM. When selecting “Use ISO to create a new VM”, the only difference from the below screenshot is we type in a OS Install License Key instead of selecting a virtual machine.
      Pasted Graphic 7

      If additional work pools are desired, you can enter them now.

      Pasted Graphic 9

    39. Click on the Administration tab and reset the admin password. Remember, the default password is blank.
    40. Admin Password

    41. If Feeds are desired, click on FEEDS then click on ADD FEED to create a new feed for downloading applications.
    42. Add Feed

      A feed only requires a name and a JSON source.

      TAF Add Feed

    43. If a file share is desired, select FILE SHARES then select ADD FILE SHARE.
    44. File Share

      A file share requires a name, the share location, and potentially credentials. Click SCAN when ready.

      NOTE: If you click OK TO CONVERT, all installable applications found will immediately be scanned and the ThinApp Factory Appliance will start working to create ThinApp packaged applications of all found installers.

      Add File Share

    Capturing an application:

    You should now be ready to create a ThinApp package!

    1. Go to the dashboard
    3. Select a single simple application for initial testing such as “Audacity” if using a Ninite feed.
    4. Click the CAPTURE button.
    5. Capture App

    6. Click AUTO CAPTURE after verifying the settings in yellow.
    7. AutoCapture

    8. To view the progress, click VIEW in the popup window.
    9. Notification Popup

      Additionally, within the vSphere Infrastructure Client, you should see a VM instance with a name starting with your work pool name.


    Deploying an application:

    1. Once the package has been built, it will show under the PROJECTS tab. From there, the application can be deployed as desired.
    2. AppFactory Installation  Projects

    3. Selecting a project, one can publish, unpublished, rebuild, or delete. Selecting Publish will present the application to the ThinApp Factory Store.
    4. Browsing to the ThinApp Factory Store, one can select the applications they wish to deploy, then select Get Applications.
    5. AppFactory Installation  Store


    You have now concluded the initial setup and first capture and deployment of a ThinApp packaged application! From here you can explore creating Recipes and fine tuning your ThinApp Factory for optimal use.

    The original article can be found on the VMware ThinApp Blog

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