“Amazon WorkSpaces is a managed, secure Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) solution. You can use Amazon WorkSpaces to provision Windows desktops in just a few minutes and quickly scale to provide thousands of desktops to workers across the globe.” [https://aws.amazon.com/workspaces/]
“Amazon AppStream 2.0 is a fully managed application streaming service. You centrally manage your desktop applications on AppStream 2.0 and securely deliver them to any computer. You can easily scale to any number of users across the globe without acquiring, provisioning, and operating hardware or infrastructure.” [https://aws.amazon.com/appstream2/]
Cloudhouse’s application compatibility packaging solution uniquely helps to rapidly migrate all Windows desktop applications so that they can be deployed to both Amazon Workspaces or via Amazon AppStream 2.0 without any change to code, and then maintained forever within the resulting container.
No App Left Behind
There are many reasons why enterprises are migrating their workforce to Amazon Workspaces, or to Amazon AppStream 2.0. However, if a migration project is unable to move certain applications, then it will be unable to move certain users, resulting in the full benefits of the project simply not being realised.
One of the most common reasons why an application cannot be moved is that they are old and in their existing state incompatible with, or not supported on, the target environment. Typically, this is either because they depend upon old runtimes like Java 1.3 or .Net 2.0, have hard coded dependencies on the OS, or lack install media.
In some cases the obvious solution is to upgrade the application to the latest compatible, supported version. But upgrading is not often possible.
Maybe an upgraded version doesn’t exist, the expertise needed with the application has left the business or the media to re-install the application lost. Or maybe upgrading is simply too expensive, the vendor no longer around, or the end-user experience so different in the upgraded version, associated change management becomes an issue.
In these cases the natural mitigation is to leave the application where it is, descope it – and its users – from the migration project, and manage the unintended knock-on effects to overall scope, inevitably undermining the benefits that the programme set out to deliver.
At Cloudhouse, using the experience gained helping organisations across all sectors resolve these issues since 2010, we’ve developed our ‘No App Left Behind’ Migration approach to make sure that enterprises migrating to Amazon Workspaces or Amazon AppStream 2.0 are able to leverage the benefits across as many users as possible.
The Cloudhouse Migration service takes every single application through a fast, scalable automated process to make them all deployable to Amazon Workspaces or Amazon AppStream 2.0. And when they get there, they’re guaranteed ‘Evergreen’, able to operate regardless of what updates are made to the underlying Operating System.
How Does Cloudhouse Application Compatibility Packaging Work?
Cloudhouse application compatibility packaging relies on three key principles:
- Packaging on the operating system on which the application is supported.
- Runtime analysis to detect additional resources the application requires after install.
- The Redirection and Compatibility Engines (AAV) included in the Package.
Packages include all the application files, required runtimes, components, deployment tools, and the embedded redirection and compatibility engine the application requires to run on the target Operating System.
The Cloudhouse Auto Packager creates the application compatibility package by packaging the application on the OS that is currently supported by the application e.g. Windows XP. The redirection and compatibility engine, included in the Package, will run in user mode. As the Package is deployed to the target machine, the file type associations are registered, and short cuts created to enable the user to run the application.
The Auto Packager captures the resources the application’s installer/MSI reads from, and writes to, when it is installed on the operating system it is compatible with. At the end of the install capture process, the Auto Packager performs runtime analysis to capture additional application resources that are unknown at install time, for example changes to configuration files or components that are created at run time.
The Redirection and Compatibility Engine intercepts the Windows API calls as the application interacts with the local operating system. The redirected calls abstract the application’s files and registry, stored in the Package, from the local resources and the operating system (NOTE: the Package does not include the legacy operating system, which means you are not running all, or part of Windows XP on Windows 10).
This means that, regardless of what modern Windows returns from a system call, the application always gets the resources it expected on the Windows version it was packaged on (e.g. Windows XP). This lightweight approach means that the target application can “see” a combination of the redirected and local file system and registry with negligible performance impact on the application.
How Cloudhouse and Amazon AppStream 2.0 and AWS Workspaces works
There are many benefits from packaging applications using Cloudhouse and deploying them onto Amazon Workspaces or to end users via Amazon Appstream 2.0.
- Lowers costs by removing the need for extended support for legacy applications
- Eliminates expensive and time-consuming application refactoring costs
- Accelerates migrations
- Retains existing proven business systems
- De-risks migration and transformation programmes
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Cloudhouse costs are split into two elements – the licensing required to deploy application compatibility packages, and the professional services needed to create the application compatibility packages.
Licensing is offered on a per user basis for desktop applications and a per server basis for server applications. There are discounts available based on volumes.
Professional Services costs are dependent on the nature and complexity of the application. We quote a cost for packaging once we have been able to see the application, or portfolio of applications.
Contact us here with your requirements and we will provide you with a quote.
Packaging and Maintaining Applications
Cloudhouse provide the Professional Services to package applications.
Cloudhouse recommend packaged applications are tested in the standard UAT environments used for natively installed applications, or applications packaged in App-V. The more representative the test environment is of the live environment, the greater the chance of finding any issues prior to go-live.
Service packs and updates can be applied to the applications in a package using the Editor, refer to Updating, Editing and Maintaining Containers which describes how a new snapshot is created for the update, and how it is then applied to the package.
Cloudhouse recommends the same team who manage the operations of native apps.
Applications running in Application Compatibility Packages can be deployed, and managed with same tools, or scripts used to deploy natively installed applications e.g. SCCM, InTune, LAN Desk. Please refer to Supported 3rd Party Products and Versions for details.
The Cloudhouse Package does not include OS components, it only contains the packaged application plus Cloudhouse components. Cloudhouse recommend the same team that is responsible for supporting applications packaged with App-V, or delivered as natively installed applications, support Cloudhouse Application Compatibility Containers.
Full documentation is made available to Cloudhouse partners and customers as required.
Cloudhouse offers a full packaging service that can scale to meet any requirement. In the event, however, that a partner wishes to offer application compatibility packaging as part of a wider solution, Cloudhouse will work with that partner. Please contact us here for details.