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Microsoft in Innovation Mode: Hello, App-V 5!

It's been six years since Microsoft acquired Softricity, the company that developed the App-V product which was at the time called Softgrid. Since that acquisition and with the exception of renaming the product, Microsoft had done very little with the software aside from some minor upgrades, patches and hotfixes. That's all about to change. Microsoft has finally announced App-V 5, which, while still in beta, has been completely revamped and updated and has some really cool features and functionality.

Versions of App-V prior to 5 were focused on not only virtualizing applications, but also on what I call "extreme isolation." This isolation presented integration challenges with other applications and also with the underlying operating system. Here's an example: Traditionally, when you installed applications like WinRar or Winzip, you can simply right-click and get quick access to application functionality like "Extract Here" because they were integrated into the Windows shell. Virtualized, WinRar or Winzip would no longer work that way.

App-V 5 will resolve that problem and allow virtualized applications to be that much more integrated with the underlying operating system, thereby allowing virtualized applications to work more like traditional applications.

Another major milestone in App-V 5 is the fact that the size limitation on virtualizing application has been lifted. Traditionally, there used to be a 4GB maximum package limit. In addition, the reliance on a drive-letter has also been removed, thereby making App-V applications even more seamlessly integrated.

Managing and troubleshooting App-V is also improved. The new version now has a Web-based administration console, making it easy for IT to manage the environment. On the troubleshooting front, the new version now integrated with Windows Event Log, as opposed to logging independently to separate files, thereby being more tightly integrating with the operating system.

As you can see, App-V 5 is a major version upgrade. It only took Microsoft six years, but I am not complaining -- better late than never, actually. Honestly, I am excited about the new Microsoft. There seems to be innovation in almost every product category. Look at what they have done with SQL 2012, Hyper-V 3 and other products. I truly hope this trend continues.

Posted by Elias Khnaser on 04/25/2012 at 12:49 PM


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