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How to: Update Virtualized Application Part 1: App-V

Logically after a while when an application is installed updates needs to be performed. When the application is virtualized these updates need to be added to the package. In this article I'm describing the steps for updated a App-V virtualized application.

Determine the package upgrade methodology




The first step is to determine the way you would like to upgrade the application. There are two methodologies:

  • Upgrade the current package

This methodology is most used when the application needs to be updated with a hotfix or other small update.  Good example is an upgrade to Acrobat Reader 9.1 to 9.2 or specific fix for Microsoft Word.

  • Create a new package

When the update actually exist of introducing a complete new version (for example Office 2003 to 2007) most times a new package will be created. Although technically an upgrade is possible, it's logical not advisable. By create a new package you have some more flexibility to introduce (and roll-back if necessary) the new application. Also the package itself is much cleaner in comparison upgrading the current package.

In this article we will focus on the first methodology, because with the application virtualization mind this is actually the only upgrade option within virtualized applications.

Upgrading a App-V Package

Upgrading a virtualized application based on App-V will be upgraded on the Sequencer machine. Just like creating a new package the package guidelines apply to upgrading an App-V package. So take care the sequencer is a clean state.  Copy the package from your App-V content directory to the local disk of the sequencer, so you don't directly edit the production version of your virtualized application.

The next step is to start the Application Virtualization Sequencer. Within the sequencer you need to open the package for upgrade via File - Open for Package Upgrade and selecting the sprj (App-v project file) file.

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In this article I will use Acrobat Reader as the example application for upgrade. During the loading of the application for upgrade, you need to specify the disk you are using as the App-V drive. Remember that you need to specify only the drive(letter). The subdirectory is automatically created during the encoding of the virtualized application. After the encoding the sequencer displays the same information at the end of a normal sequence (except that all information is (logically) now already filled in).

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If the upgrade exist of changing some parameters in the registry of files in the VFS (Virtual File System) these changes can be made within the sequencer tabs. However for most updates you really to install a component. Therefore the option Tools out of the Menu needs to be chosen, followed by the selection of Sequencing Wizard.

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Again the same wizard will be shown as during the normal first time sequence process. Most people will directly move to the Begin Monitor window. Now it's time to start the installation of the hotfix. In our case we will start the update of Acrobat Reader. When the installation is finished you can stop monitoring again and just follow the wizard as you are used to be. Also after the wizard you can make adjustments as normal.

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When the application is fully configured you can save it again. It's important to know that all files are changes except the SFT file. This one will be replaced, where automatically the previous version will be deleted (as shown in the following print screen).

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Now it's time to copy the sequence to a (test) App-V server. Because most files are replaced I'm always create a back-up copy of the current package. Then I copy the new sequence over the current version. In this case both SFT files will reside, while the other files are replaced by the new versions.

When using the full App-V infrastructure the new SFT file needs to be added to the management console. To accomplish this you select the package and choose out of the right mouse button Add Version.  Select the just created SFT file and configure the absolute path. At the end of this wizard the new version of the application is available to be used. The client will automatically detect the new version and will update his cache.

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Conclusion

In this article I showed how a virtualized application needs to be upgraded when using App-V. It's important to understand that during the upgrade the SFT is replaced (where the old version is removed automatically) and the other files are changed. Also take care that you create the updated package with a copy of the sequence and that you create a back-up of the production package for the rollback scenario.




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Wednesday, April 16, 2014
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