This methodology is complimentary to traditional processes and procedures, but removes unnecessary effort. This is achieved by ensuring that each application only enters the packaging phases needed to generate a production ready package.
The methodology also enables multiple work streams to function at the same time whilst feeding into the same factory delivery processes. A Traditional discovery process can continue to discover the applications on the users’ desktop at the same time as the packaging process is virtualising the applications that are stored in managed repositories. The discovery process will initially focus on the collection of the installation media and only needs to discover the “Installation documents or other materials” if the application is returned from the packaging process as having missing information. The Packaging Process will also be able to feed “Constructive” requests to the discovery process regarding what and where the information might be held on a production workstation (registry, ini file, xml file).
Automating the creation of the virtual application package, releases the packaging resources to concentrate on the remediation of more complex applications rather than the creation of applications that “Just Work”. This reduces the time taken per package and increases the success rate of virtual applications.
Our approach is designed to increase the package throughput and align closer to the expected application deployment schedules of any busy business. The quicker an application is ready to Acceptance Testing, the quicker the business customers can use the application in their daily routines. The methodology and processes move a number of MSI relevant packaging processes to their appropriate positions, and replaces them with application virtualisation focused ones.
The key to increasing the package throughput whilst keeping the package quality high is found in the software devised from the methodology. By automating the creation of the package, and building into the automation engine a set of application virtualisation “Good Practices”, we are able to concentrate efforts on the testing and remediation of the package into a release ready version and not the creation of the package itself.
Another key component of the methodology design is to adopt more “Factory like” processes where package throughput can be measured and resources re-allocated to ensure throughput is not adversely affected by bottlenecks in each phase of the package creation.
The traditional classification of applications as Hard, Medium and Easy have also been replaced with a notion that an application will take as long as an application will take to package. However the processes ensure that an application that might require more than a day to package does not prevent the throughput of applications that can be packaged and tested in much less time. This results in “Block” releasing of the application estate to Acceptance Testing based on the effort required to create the package, and the removal or historic bottlenecks.
AmberReef’s auto-packaging capability allows all applications in a source repository to be converted into App-V 4.6 or 5.x format quickly and consistently (50 packages an hour can be achieved on a relatively simple configuration). Once that applications have been converted we follow a set of tried and tested processes that begins with launch testing and function testing all of the packages. The result of this stage is the release, to acceptance testing, of all packages that “Just Work”. Once these have been delivered the packaging function can focus on the more complex applications.