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VMware App Volumes 3.0 confusion frustrates customers

IT pros have run into several issues regarding App Volumes 3.0, saying it was rushed to market. And VMware's approach to different versions has only increased confusion.

VMware App Volumes 3.0 customers have encountered technical problems that may stem from the vendor's product release...

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App Volumes is a layering product that allows IT to deploy applications to users' desktops through virtual disks. With the software, IT can assign and deliver users' AppStacks, which are groups of applications. After VMware released App Volumes 3.0 in March, IT pros complained about multiple issues with the new product, including the inability to delete AppStacks, inconsistencies with the interface and more.

"It felt like 3.0 was rushed to the market," said Jason Coleman, an engineer at Enterprise Networking Solutions Inc., a VMware partner in Sacramento, Calif. "It feels like it still needs a little bit of polish."

VMware first rolled out App Volumes late in 2014, following its acquisition of CloudVolumes. Earlier this month, VMware updated App Volumes 2.10 to version 2.11 -- about three months after launching App Volumes 3.0. The reason: VMware treats 2.x and 3.0 as separate products for on-premises and cloud-based deployments, respectively, a company spokesperson said.

But that approach has created confusion around which versions certain customers should be running. The company has privately advised some App Volumes 3.0 customers with on-premises deployments to go back to version 2.10 or 2.11.

Coleman tested VMware App Volumes 3.0 for his customers, but quickly realized there were problems that weren't easy to fix. The biggest issue: He was unable to delete AppStacks without making a call to VMware's technical support team.

"When you can't delete them, you have a big collection of archived AppStacks," he said. "You get a lot of leftover content."

Following his testing, Coleman decided to stick with App Volumes 2.10. That version has a much different interface, but doesn't present any of the same problems as 3.0, he said.

IT pros have run into other problems with App Volumes 3.0, as well. Omesh Pertob, virtualization architect for the city of Round Rock, Texas, said there was a very inconsistent experience in applying apps by user and applying apps by computer when he tested the software.

Companies are always looking for the next new hot thing, and things get rushed out to market.
James Gordonsenior vice president of IT at Needham Bank

Problems with new releases often derive from vendors quickly pushing out a product to keep up with customers' demands for innovation, said James Gordon, senior vice president of IT at Needham Bank in Needham, Mass.

"Companies are always looking for the next new hot thing, and things get rushed out to market," he said.

Needham Bank tested out an earlier version of VMware App Volumes, but opted to go with Unidesk's competing product instead. The problem with App Volumes was, the more AppStacks IT assigned to a user or their computer, the longer the login time would take.

"I had users who would bust out stopwatches and say, 'My reboot took me three minutes when it used to take half that,'" Gordon said.

With Unidesk, adding apps does not increase the login time, he said. The drawback with Gordon’s version of Unidesk is IT can only add apps when a user's computer is off or in maintenance mode, but with App Volumes, IT can add AppStacks while a user's computer is running live, he added. 

Next Steps

Case study: How Unidesk helped a law firm

Get to know Citrix's AppDisk app layering tool

How to use Liquidware Labs FlexApp for app layering

Dig Deeper on VMware virtual desktop software

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