Some while ago I already wrote two glance at free articles about freeware tools available for SoftGrid. Nowadays SoftGrid have been renamed to App-V and more nice utilities have been released. In this article I will show those tools for App-V called Softbar, App-V 4.5 Client Diagnostic and Configuration tool, App-V BPA and App-V Add-on ADM template.
The first utility is the Softbar from Greg Brownstein. This utility requires .Net Framework 3.5 to be installed. The utility is delivered using a setup exe together with a MSI. The tool will be installed on an App-V client system. When started you will get a small bar which shows the App-V delivered applications as a kind of shortcuts. Maybe your first impression would be that's nice, but it a limited utility. But the utility is build for many other purposes to make life for the guys who create and test the sequences. Within the configuration part which is available using the right mouse button, followed by options, you can select which applications should be visible in the bar. But really nice is the option to add more VAS servers (for example your production and test environment), so you can use more environments next to each other. Also single OSD files can be added to the utility.
Which is also really nice in the utility is again using the right mouse button to quickly start an application within the bubble like command prompt, explorer or regedit tasks. Within the configuration you can add additional applications, which will be shown within the menu. With the tool also quickly the cache (both user as machine) can be cleared. The utility has also a command line, so you can use functionality of the tool within scripts.
App-V 4.5 Client Diagnostic and Configuration tool
The App-V 4.5 Client Diagnostic and Configuration tool (shortly ACDC) has some similarities with the SoftBar tool. The ADDC is a single executable (so no installation requirements), developed by Ment van der Plas. Just like the SoftBar it offers the possibility to start external commands (including the possibility to select the executable directly out of the context menu, but no possibility to add applications to show in the menu). Also additional OSD files can be added, but only one OSD per addition.
Above options are available on the Applications tab. But ACDC offers a lot more options on several tabs. On the client tab all the information about the client configuration (log settings, global directory configuration, user data and disk space in use). The network tab offers the possibility to configure the App-V client network settings, while the permissions tab can be used to quickly configure the security settings. Detailed information about the cache usage can be found on the tab, while on the log tab the App-V logfile is displayed in a really good view including colors displayed errors and warnings.
Microsoft App-V Best Practices Analyzer
The App-V BPA is a tool used to scan an App-V Management or Streaming Server for configuration settings that could result in sub-optimal server performance. The App-V Baseline Configuration Analyzer (BPA) produces standardized reports that are generated by the Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer.
The tool requires .Net Framework 2 and Microsoft Baseline Configuration Analyzer for function. The App-V BPA needs to be installed also, in which you only can specify the destination location (MS advices to leave the default installation because of ACL rights). The utility is actually a command line utility, but if you install the tool on an App-V Server it will see that the server is local available. Otherwise you need to specify which server is the App-V Server. As a result the optimization possibilities are displayed.
App-V Add-on ADM template
In the SoftGrid period Rodney Medina already published an ADM template for configure the SoftGrid client settings central using MS GPO. With the release of App-V 4.5 Microsoft delivered already an ADM template for configuration of the client. However not all settings are available in this ADM template so the colleagues of Rodney revisited the ADM template so it is compatible with the App-V 4.5 version.
Just like other ADM templates you need to add the file to your GPO followed by unchecking the filter option that only fully managed policies are showed. The ADM template offers configuration of settings like: size and location of the App-V cache file, App-V drive letter, Global Data Directory location, user data location, SFT_SOFTGRIDSERVER environment variable configuration, advanced network settings and more. This templates completes the Microsoft ADM template, so you can fully configure the client configuration using GPO.
Again a nice set of utilities has arrived for managing and maintaining App-V infrastructures. It is good to see that the additional App-V ADM template is available to fulfill the gap that the MS templates left. Also both the ACDC as the SoftBar offers added value for the sequencers. Both the tools have their advantages as disadvantages. Just for troubleshooting the SoftBar is the right tool, but if you would like to change the client configuration often (in combination with the sequence troubleshooting tasks) the ACDC is the tool to use. The App-V Best Practice Analyzer is nice tool to check your App-V infrastructure is configured correctly.