Novell ZENworks Application Virtualisation
Good practice – tips and tricks
This document is not created by me, it is simply compiled by me (James Stewart) mostly from ATT material and with input from my colleague Ian Stimpson. Hopefully you find it useful!
Prior to installing ZENworks Application Virtualisation on your packaging machine you must first create the packaging machine. It is highly recommended that the packaging machine be a clean installation of the operating system that you will be distributing the virtual applications to. Because the packaging process uses snapshotting to determine differences, having a clean machine will reduce the amount of clean-up required for the application, and prevent unwanted dependency on the host machine.
In addition to installing only the operating system, it is good practice to standardise on a baseline service pack without any additional released patches, for instance WinXP SP3 or Win7 (without SP1 at the time of writing this document). The reason for not installing additional patches is in case you virtualise an application that depends on a patch being installed.
The following will help to reduce the amount of non-application related information is captured in your applications:
- Automatic updates
- Performance and logs
- Windows time
You can refer to the Windows resource kit for more information on the function of most common Windows services.
Additionally, to make it easier to revert changes to the packaging machine between packaging operations, it is recommended that you implement your packaging workstation as a virtual machine. There are many whole machine virtualisation solutions available. The most popular desktop virtualisation solutions are VMware Workstation (requires a license), VirtualPC (requires a license) and Virtualbox (open source edition is free). By using a virtual machine you can create a virtual machine snapshot of the clean machine after you have created your initial base snapshot for the packaging tool. This allows you to revert back to the clean state with a single mouse click.
In addition to implementing these guidelines, as you learn more about the Windows registry and file system, it is recommended that you take the time to clean up your virtual application after performing the initial snapshot.
To ensure that you do not capture many common changes that occur in the background on Windows, it is important to build your base repackaging machine with as many background processes disabled as possible.
These processes include the following:
Make sure you disable the following personalised menus:
Choose a consistent naming convention for both deployment and build purposes. The launch icon doesn’t need to be any different from the standard application, and in most cases it is best practice for this to resemble standard applications so users won’t notice the difference.
Build: name: Application-version-OS-ZAVversion
Deployment name: vApplication-Version
Launch Shortcut / icon name: GroupWise
MSI Output: For MSI applications, provide Installation parameters preceded with a v Example: Novell\vApps\vGroupWise