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Overview of Apps On Demand

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This lesson provides the overview of Apps On Demand and how it can help ease application management in a virtualized environment.

What is Apps on Demand?

Apps on Demand is a new method of virtual application delivery that delivers apps to users as needed without an installer. Apps on Demand delivers and manages apps in virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), DaaS and published app environments.

This modern app delivery method helps separate the OS and app layers, allowing admins to update the OS image and applications when needed without coordinating both updates. As a result, Apps on Demand reduces complexity and dependencies, eliminating app entitlement challenges through a single user entitlement.

What are published apps?

Published apps are applications that run in virtual desktop environments either on premises or in the cloud. Traditionally, IT organizations have relied on app publishing, or virtual application delivery, to deploy published apps. In this process, all applications are attached to the desktop at the start of a user’s session.

Published apps are especially common in regulated industries like healthcare, government, and financial services. Offerings like VMware App Volumes and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops are part of traditional app publishing solutions.

The traditional deployment model for published apps requires what is called “farm” buildout. This process depends on farms or silos, which are groups of physical hosts that support a single app or collection of apps. Each host within a farm needs its own OS with the right applications installed. Typically, published app farms are built to support peak user capacity.

What are the challenges of published apps?

With farm-based app publishing, every new app brings more costs and complexity. Specifically, app administrators encounter the following challenges when using traditional app deployment:

Overwhelming management: App and OS management need to work together but may have conflicting needs and timelines, creating versioning difficulties when updates happen at different times.

  • Every time the OS or app requires an update, all the host images on that farm also need to change. These app updates need to align with the timing of OS updates.
  • Before rolling out every update, user testing is required. When a failure happens during testing, rollbacks are difficult and additional image changes are needed.
  • Since users keep old versions of apps after new updates, administrators need to keep both versions deployed, leading to image sprawl.

Complex entitlements: Traditionally, user entitlement needs to happen at host-level within a farm, which can become more complicated as farms expand.

  • Whenever changes occur, app administrators have to re-rationalize the entitlements.
  • Temporary infrastructure is required to support users during OS and app updates.
  • To access an app, the user needs entitlement for that app on the host within the farm where the app resides. Thus, IT needs to maintain the right entitlement at the host-level.

Underutilized infrastructure: Published app farms are designed for peak performance, but they operate significantly below capacity most of the time.

  • When users are not accessing certain apps, servers designed for peak usage go to waste. However, IT still must manage those unused resources during that time.
  • When multiple farms are all operating under capacity, the underutilization is often so significant that it could account for an entire farm’s hardware and management tasks.
  • Every time a farm adds another application, the increased capacity results in further underutilization.

Elaborate app packaging: Prior to sending an application to production, the process of developing the right package is lengthy and requires specialized knowledge.

  • App administrators have to perform app compatibility testing by OS, architecture and environment.
  • Administrators must also manage app dependencies on other packages in order to install the correct versions.
  • Finally, administrators need to handle app distribution, which is challenging because the distribution of large packages is often inefficient.

What are the benefits of Apps on Demand?

Apps on Demand eliminates traditional farm buildout from the process. Rather than attaching all apps to the desktop at runtime, it attaches individual apps to the Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) only as the user launches them. Apps on Demand activates the next RDSH after the existing host reaches a predefined capacity, meaning that farms no longer need to continuously support peak usage.

By simplifying app publishing and optimizing infrastructure, Apps on Demand offers the following benefits for app administrators:

Streamlined app management: Apps on Demand decouples OS and app management so administrators can develop and deploy applications more efficiently.

  • Apps on Demand removes repetitive images, significantly reducing OS management time.
  • With one-to-many provisioning, administrators can simply capture the app once and deliver it to many RDSH and VDI.
  • By reusing one app across all end-users, Apps on Demand reduces infrastructure costs.

User-based entitlements: Apps on Demand offers user-based entitlements, eliminating the need to manage entitlements on each host.

  • Apps on Demand moves away from machine-based entitlements, decreasing the management burden on app administrators.
  • Users get a unique set of apps in their session based on what they access.
  • Only one copy of the application is needed to meet the user’s specific needs.

Optimized infrastructure utilization: Apps on Demand can help collapse multiple farms into one, decreasing infrastructure needs and improving efficiency.

  • Rather than several underutilized farms, Apps on Demand can use a single farm at a higher utilization.
  • By reducing excess infrastructure, Apps on Demand eliminates unnecessary resources and costs for IT management.
  • Apps on Demand can be used with Horizon RDSH and Horizon Cloud, as well as Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop multi-session environments.

Simplified app packaging: Apps on Demand is highly compatible with modern packaging formats, eliminating concerns about mismatched versions and OS in legacy applications.

  • Apps on Demand allows administrators to capture their complete app portfolio.
  • When using Apps on Demand, IT can experience a 99 percent app compatibility with a variety of file types and virtualization formats.
  • Apps on Demand supports fast, dynamic application provisioning.

Apps on Demand for published apps from VMware App Volumes

VMware is transforming the app publishing process with the Apps on Demand feature in VMware App Volumes, an application and user management solution for Horizon, Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, RDSH, and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops. The solution combines on-demand app delivery with the separation of OS and app layers to reduce management and infrastructure needs.

With its Apps on Demand feature, VMware App Volumes offers a range of benefits for app administrators:

  • Simplified application and user management
  • Streamlined management of Horizon, Microsoft Azure Virtual Desktop, RDSH and Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops
  • Decreased IT costs by eliminating underutilized infrastructure
  • Support for maximized reliability with a modern architecture

By optimizing infrastructure and management with Apps on Demand, VMware App Volumes revolutionizes the app publishing market.

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