App-V 5.0 is a powerful user friendly tool to have in your system management arsenal.  App-V is not part of the System Center suite, it requires an MDOP subscription, but integrates nicely and leverages your existing System Center infrastructure.  It can also be installed in a standalone environment.  Other competing products are VMware ThinApp and Citrix XenApp.  App-V, ThinApp, and XenApp all can accomplish a successful virtualization deployment, but App-V pulls ahead when organizations have implemented System Center products such as SCCM and SCSM.  App-V Application delivery through SCCM 2012 Sp1 is now native, and you can utilize your SCCM Distribution points as App-V “Publishing” servers.  SCSM provides self-service for users to request app-v applications as well as provides SQL analysis services to present your organization with beautiful OLAP cubed reports that track virtualized application utilization.  Its always nice to present your manager a report that shows how many times a virtualized app is being executed or how much time you saved in not having to patch an application on 10,000 workstations.

Scenario- For this implementation demo I will be splitting up the management and publishing roles onto two servers.  The purpose of this is to scale the publishing server into a load balanced setup for redundancy and increased performance.  SQL will also be remote since MDOP doesn’t provide the same SQL licensing as System Center, I will have to utilize a shared remote SQL cluster.

Architecture- Server 2012 R2, SQL Server 2012 SP1, Windows 7 Enterprise, App-V 5.0 Sp2

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Prerequisites- http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj713458.aspx

Installation- http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj713471.aspx

1- Prepare the database.  I performed this action on the SQL server as a local admin.  Every time App-V setup is executed it must be launched as a administrator.  You will have to use the App-V 5.0 SP1 media for the server components.  SP2 only acts as an upgrade to the Client and Sequencer.

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4- Select Management Server DB and Reporting Server DB if SSRS is going to be installed on the same SQL Server.  For this demo I will be installing SSRS on a separate server.

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5- Select Use the “default instance” unless you have multiple instances to select from.  Select “default configuration”.

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6- Never install on OS drive.

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7- Select “Use a remote computer” since we are logged on locally to the SQL server which will not be the management server.  The remote machine account should resemble “contoso\managementserveraccount”.

I setup a domain account named “contoso\SRVAppV” for the administrator login.

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8- Install.

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9- congratulations, we have successfully prepped the database.

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10- Validate the AppVManagement database was created.

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11- Log onto the server you want SQL reporting Services installed and launch setup as an administrator.  Select “Reporting Server DB”.

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12- Select a different volume other than the OS one.

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13- Use default settings unless you want the reporting database no to be “AppVReporting”.

14- Launch app_v_server_setup.msi as a administrator on your designated Management Server.

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15- someone didn’t install all of the pre-requisites.

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16- install vcredist_x86 not x64.

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17- Now setup will launch successfully.

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18- Next

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19- Select Management Server.  You can also combine Management Servers and Publishing Servers.

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20- Select the name of the Remote SQL server you just prepared.  Unless you changed the SQL database name use the default.

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21- More Prerequisites not loaded.  Follow the instruction in the dialog box or the Microsoft URL provided above in the Prerequisites section.

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22- After the prerequisites have been loaded, we can continue to the next part of the installation.  Select the account you specified during the database prep in step 5, we selected contoso\SRVAppV.  If contoso\SRVAppV is part of an active directory group, you can select that now.  Select the port binding, I used 8080 since I know its open in the subnet the servers belong too.

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23- Select you SSRS settings you used in step 13.  Once again I chose a port I knew was open.

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24- Install

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25- Success!

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26- Now launch the management console.  You can do this from the management servers start menu (select App-V management), or simply typing the url http://manangmentserver:portbinding/console.html.  This requires the Silverlight plugin so be sure to install the plugin when prompted too.  I usually connect to this console from my workstation which already has Silverlight installed.  Notice on the first run we receive an error “There were problems interacting with the database on the server. The error was Login failed for “ACCOUNT”.  I have done multiple App-V deployments and see this in over 50% of them.  Here is how you fix this error and don’t ask my why the installer failed to permission the SQL DB correctly. Take not of the account the management server is trying to connect with.

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27- Connect to the SQL Server, select security, New Login.

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28- Now here is a trick a very smart DBA showed me.  under Login name type your domain\computername of the management server.  For whatever reason the management server computer name permissions don’t providion correct during the Management server installation.  If you attempt a search you will find that SQL 2012 doesn’t all computers to be added as logins. By simply typing it in here and clicking OK you can provision the management servers computer account.  Simply I know but I was scratching my head and Daniel the DBA came to the rescue.

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29- Now the login will be created, select it and click properties.  Then go to User mappings and select the two App-V databases AppVManagement and AppVReporting.  You only need DB_datareader/DB_datawriter.

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30- Now go back to your management console URL and you will the error message has gone away.

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31-  Now lets install a publishing server on a separate server that will eventually be load balanced.  Run setup as an administrator and click next.

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32- Accept.

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33- Select “Publishing Server”.

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34- Say no to OS Drive 🙂

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35- Select your management server name, and name of the IIS website.  Again I know port 8080 is open.

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36- The Publishing server completed successfully, now we have to let the management server know it exists.

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37- Now go to your management console URL and select servers.  Select “Register New Server”.  Input the name of the Publishing Server and select OK.  You will not see your streaming server and an available server.  This completes the server setup for Management, Publishing, and SQL.  Lets move on to some other configuration items.

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38- Here is a sample of the items you configure through group policy.  You will have to load the app-v 5.0 admx templates into GPO.  Here is the URL to the 2.0 versions http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41183

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39- As mentioned is Step 1 SP2 only applies to the Client and Sequencer.  The client within the SP2 media can be upgraded or installed as a standalone.  There is one major change…

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40- After you run the installer as a an administrator the setup completes successfully but there is something missing.  The App-V 5.0 SP2 GUI is no longer installed.  You can verify the Service is running but there is nothing in the system tray.  Microsoft decided to remove the GUI out of the base install of the SP2 client.  Regardless if you are upgrading or preforming a standalone install of the client, the GUI will not be available.  But why???  This is actually very smart on Microsoft behalf.  The GUI was very minimal, but not necessary.  If you take into account a 10,000 VDI deployment, you want to trim some fat.  Fear not you can still deploy the client GUI via application deployment.  I will post how to perform this later.  My only gripe is Microsoft did not communicate/document this very well when SP2 was initially released.

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41- Let publish an application.  For this guide I will not go into Sequencing, since its a guide in itself, I will simply demonstrate publishing an application I already sequenced.  Select “ADD or Upgrade PACKAGES”.

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42- Select the APPV file that was created when you sequenced your application.

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43- Rick click the application and select “edit active directory access”.   From here you will select an App-V group that you want to see this virtualized application.  After you have provisioned permissions rick click again and select “Publish”.

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44- Now logon to a workstation with an account that is in the Active Directory group you provisioned in Step 43. The workstation also has to be pulling the correct group policy that points to the publishing server you defined in step 38.  The virtualized application will appear on the “desktop” or “Program Files” depending on how you configured it in step 42.  If you right click the virtualized app you will see its not installed locally.

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Conclusion-  We have deployed App-V successfully with a remote SQL server as well as a Publishing Server that can be load balanced later on.

Takeaway’s-

How to setup Load Balancing- http://www.thinclient.net/blog/?p=344 (this is a good guide that applied to my environment)

Hotfix to add Support for Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2- http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2897087

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