Definition

Microsoft App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization)

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Compare top tools for deploying virtualized applications

Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) is a tool IT administrators can use to run applications remotely and stream them to end users.

Microsoft App-V features a centralized management console admins can use to control how much access users have to each application. App-V's agent-based installation approach uses Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager to bypass Active Directory settings and push virtualized apps to users instantaneously. Admins can also break down an app suite such as Office and deliver individual apps to users.

Several components make up Microsoft App-V:

App-V Sequencer is a wizard-based tool used to virtualize the applications. It creates app packages made up of sequenced app files, Windows installer files and multiple XML files.

The App-V Management Server is the central management location in charge of delivering apps to App-V's Desktop Client and Remote Desktop Services Client. It uses Active Directory to keep track of users and apps, authenticates requests for application access and maintains security. It also meters, monitors and gathers usage data. With its Silverlight-based Web management console, admins can deploy or remove App-V apps, assign permissions and more from any computer.

App-V's Publishing Server enables application streaming through a virtual app package. It also delivers the App-V Desktop Clients, through which IT admins can configure settings for how much access users have to specific apps. 

The App-V Desktop Client on the users' endpoint device retrieves virtual apps and publishes apps to the computer. When users turn on their device, the Desktop Client automatically makes the virtual environment available on the Windows endpoint. Finally, the Desktop Client keeps track of and saves user’s custom application settings and file alterations.

The App-V Remote Desktop Services Client allows the App-V Desktop Client to work during shared desktop sessions.

App-V Reporting Server provides admins with access to App-V reports so they can determine how users are employing virtual application packages.

In addition, App-V integrates with Windows To Go so users can copy their virtualized OS to a flash drive or portable hard drive. It can also stream over a WAN with DirectAccess.

This was last updated in November 2015

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