How to build a centralised hosted packagers platform ?

Managing an App-V environment; Check-lists, Tips and Tricks, Best Practices, Videos, How to Guides

Moderators: kirk, jur, kkaminsk

Post Reply
AppZ
Wanna Be AppVirtualizeR
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:36 pm

How to build a centralised hosted packagers platform ?

Post by AppZ » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:07 pm

Our packagers today use customised local VMs of different flavours to capture applications. It is a hassle to build and maintain and update the machines and there is a disparity between packaging platforms (age and configuration) that risks inconsistencies in the output sequences and packages. We would like to move away from local, private VMs under the desk of each packager to a hosted desktop.

Benefits:
Consistency in build levels and configuration. Today each packager, internal and external, builds the best way he knows with a mixed level of discipline in updating. Making one high quality sequencing build and automatically propagating that when the build is updated will ensure this element is common to all.
Faster availability of staged machines as the owner can update the build and automatically propagate.
Same usability & performance for offshore sequencers as local. Today they work on local and different infrastructure due to network latency and use their local repositories rather than in corporate HQ.
Scalable in times of projects
Easy to deploy and provide controlled access for external App-V company.
There is also the security aspect of having a managed platform rather than self-managed VMs around.



The optimal platform sill needs to be selected but I expect it will be between HyperV and XenDesktop or ESX.

Anyone done this ? How to maintain the builds ? We have SCCM. We can't easily/cleanly use cloning due to unique SCCM identifier.

I would like to see the new VMs spun up automatically and available always with the latest build.

We need around 80 VMs.

We're able to pay for consulting on this if you/your firm really can deliver a How To.



Thanks for advice.

Best regards

kirk
Guru
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:32 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: How to build a centralised hosted packagers platform ?

Post by kirk » Wed Mar 21, 2012 12:35 pm

Hi,
since you already have SCCM in place, I'd use it to deploy the Sequencer VMs as well. This way you can make sure that all your VMs are (or at least: start) equally configured and if you need to deploy changes (like significant changes to the "core client" or new App-V Sequencer Versions), SCCM can help you here as well.

For fast recovery, a VM snapshot should be created rioght after SCCM has finsihed with its installations and updates (but in a shut-off state).

In fact you'd then make sure that you apply some extra Exclusion Items to the Sequencer Configuration (to avoid capturing "SCCM noise").

The actual hypervisor doesn't really matter. For apparentyl 80 VMs (and Packaging Engineers?) it sounds affordable to implement a "VDI infrastructure" (hence: a Desktop Broker) as well - so the Engineers always use like a web browser to establish a connection to their VMs. However, you should use a "dedicated" assignment (an Engineer always gets the same VM), because they may want to reboot their VM - and work on it afterwards.
Persoanlly (!) I'd look at XenDesktop, VMWare View, Quest vWorkspace and pure Microsoft RemoteDesktop VirtualizationHosts.
All of them provide features for Desktop Brokering, Secure Internet Access and VirtualMachine Management - but for differetn costs...


An product to look at might be Citrix XenDesktop with its "Provisioning Server" / Difference Disk approach that'd allow to save some disk space (one golden image + 80 diff disks). However, you'd have to ensure that these "clones" get different Identifiers (like for SCCM, AntiVirus...)


If you'd post your (general) location (country, state), I asume some Forum Members would send you PMs, offering their services :-)
Falko

AppZ
Wanna Be AppVirtualizeR
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Nov 22, 2011 6:36 pm

Re: How to build a centralised hosted packagers platform ?

Post by AppZ » Sat May 19, 2012 5:10 pm

Hi Falko, we are almost done with the building. At wasn't so difficult but needed a collaboration between various people.

SCVMM 2012
Hyper-V 2008 R2
SCCM 2007 R3
Win 7 x64

There is an SCCM Task Sequence to build the Master. The Master is then propagated to 80 VMs that includes disabling the SMS Hos Agent service so that SCCM doesn't interfere with sequencing or see clones.

An expert from Login Consultants wrote the PowerShell magic to automate the propagation and monthly maintenance. We have a maintenance weekend when all machines are wiped and re-staged with the latest sequencer's build aligned with the same level of patching and core components are the end user machines.

The machines are controlled by the sequencing engineers via the SCVMM console that is published to their end points.

There is no broker. All machines are available all the time and are assigned to the sequencers for their personal use that they RDP on to.We go to validation of the platform next week.

Thanks for your comments.

Declan

kirk
Guru
Posts: 810
Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 3:32 pm
Location: Germany
Contact:

Re: How to build a centralised hosted packagers platform ?

Post by kirk » Mon May 21, 2012 10:42 am

Asking "an expert from Login Consultants" = a colleauge is always a very good choice ;-)
Falko

Post Reply

Return to “Managing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest