SCCM as its known is in its 4th iteration and is a well-established product in the market place. So what does App-V give to the features of SCCM?
SCCM is all about managing the corporate desktop and this means that IT administrators need to deploy software to many hundreds or thousands of desktops. This can take the form of applications, either written in house or purchased, as well as software updates and operating systems. What App-V brings to SCCM R2 is application virtualization.
Application virtualization means that when an application is deployed to the desktop it is shielded from other applications, the registry and the file system through the use of a virtual “sandbox”. Some of the benefits of this are a reduction in regression testing. Testing takes time which is money. Running the application in its own sandbox means that the application does not conflict with other application and therefore reduces the need for testing. A caveat though! Not all application can be virtualized, most noticeably those which need access to hardware devices. So for example you could have Office 2007 running alongside Office 2010! The IT administrator can also utilise App-V on Terminal Services.
To create our virtual application we need to sequence it, which means taking an app and creating it with the files need to support our virtual app in our infrastructure. And our infrastructure in this case is of course – SCCM R2. Because we are using SCCM R2 we are able to utilise all the existing distribution points, which are there supporting “normal” software distribution. We are also able to utilise the SCCM client agent, which is cool as we don’t need to have multiple agents installed on the corporate desktops.
The administrator will need to be competent in SCCM and in APP-V to implement this but the benefits are clear. At Global Knowledge we can offer training on SCCM and App-V, although the App-V curriculum is included within the MDOP courses. Naturally, as you would expect, we can customise the training to include only the App-V product.
P.S. Look out for the next version of SCCM which has been released into second beta!