Remove reliance on Windows 7 on Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop

“Windows Virtual Desktop is a comprehensive desktop and app virtualisation service running in the cloud. It’s the only virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that delivers simplified management, multi-session Windows 10, optimisations for Office 365 ProPlus and support for Remote Desktop Services (RDS) environments. Deploy and scale your Windows desktops and apps on Azure in minutes, and get built-in security and compliance features.

[Source: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-gb/services/virtual-desktop/]

 

Summary

Cloudhouse’s application compatibility packaging solution removes any reliance on Windows 7 by migrating all Windows desktop applications so that they can be deployed today to Windows 10 on Microsoft Windows Virtual Desktop without any change to code, and then maintained forever regardless of any changes introduced by Windows Servicing.

 

Why Cloudhouse for Windows Virtual Desktop?

Enterprises considering Windows Virtual Desktop will inevitably have applications that simply won’t migrate to Windows 10 in their current state.  Consequently, if the migration programme can’t move these applications to Windows 10, it will be unable to move some users, resulting in the full benefits of Windows 10 simply not being realised.

One of the most common reasons why an application won’t port to Windows 10 is that it is old and in its existing state incompatible with, or not supported on Windows 10. Typically, this is either because they depend upon old runtimes like Java 1.3 or .Net 2.0, have hard coded dependencies on the old Operating System, or lack install media.

In many cases the obvious solution is to upgrade the application to the latest Windows 10 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 Windows 10 on Windows Virtual Desktop 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 Windows 10 on Windows Virtual Desktop. And when they get there, they’re guaranteed ‘Evergreen’, able to operate regardless of any updates made to the underlying Operating System, and removing any reliance on Windows 7.

 

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.

Compatibility 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, eg Windows 7. The redirection and compatibility engine, included in the Container, 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 7 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.

 

Recap

There are many benefits from packaging applications using Cloudhouse and deploying them to Windows 10 on Windows Virtual Desktop:

  • Removes the need for extended support
  • Eliminates expensive and time-consuming application refactoring costs
  • Accelerates migrations
  • Retains existing proven business systems
  • De-risks migration and transformation programmes

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The Magic of Compound Application Virtualization

I am Priya Saxena, a supermom, virtualization enthusiast and a developer by heart. I started my career 11 years ago as a passionate engineering graduate

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