Archive

Posts Tagged ‘office365’

Recommendations for Ignite 2015


Better Dynamic Application Delivery through UE-V & App-V:

Aaron Ruckman and myself will be discussing recent and forthcoming innovations with App-V and UE-V as well as some general recommendations including some you may have never heard of before.

http://meme.ms/d5cdr3p

App-V 5.0 SP3: Advanced Connection Groups:

Briton Zircher and the Virtual Vibe Guy Thamim Karim will be discussing how to implement advanced Connection Groups and the recent development involving creating complex virtual environments.

http://meme.ms/d5ki5is

Fundamentals of Microsoft Azure RemoteApp Management and Administration:

You should turn out for this one as it is jammed pack full of information relating to Azure RemoteApp including some information on App-V possibilities.

http://meme.ms/d5jqcah

Microsoft Office 365 ProPlus: Have It Your Way!

Office365 offers many flexible options for deployment of the Office Client. This presentation will cover these options.

http://meme.ms/d5e74fu

Deploying Office 365 ProPlus Using System Center Configuration Manager:

This presentation outlines the pros/cons of the new Application-model versus Package-model deployment types and introduce a hybrid Application-model deployment using a Cloud DP.

http://ignite.microsoft.com/session/sessionmoreinfo/?topicid=1dd80124-2795-e411-b87f-00155d5066d7

On Office with App-V: Planning for a Virtual Office Deployment

April 16, 2015 1 comment

Microsoft Office: A flagship product suite ubiquitous within the enterprise. The average enterprise IT environment runs multiple versions of Office not only as a suite of applications for the average information worker, but also as a platform for custom and mission critical LOB applications and workflows. As Office continues to grow or evolve, the question of whether or not to virtualize all or parts of one or more versions of Office are revisited on a regular basis.

Reasons to Use App-V with Office

There are many significant reasons why you would want to deploy office through App-V. Some of the more common are:

  1. Legacy Add-in Version Isolation through Virtualization: Office is also constantly evolving. As a new version is released, applications that work with or interact with an Office application may not work on a new version of an Office application. For example, you may have a legacy Add-in that works on Excel 2007, but does not work on Excel 2013. For that reason you create an App-V package that contains Excel 2007 along with that legacy add-in (or linked through connection groups.) This allows the application add-in/plug-in to continue to be used alongside of the newer deployment.

  2. Temporary Coexistence: Multiple versions of most Office applications can run side-by-side with a few caveats smoother with App-V than with native deployments. While App-V can be used with many applications to run multiple versions of the same applications, Office has some additional guidance [which will be discussed in a later blog in much greater depth.]

  3. Package Modernization Strategy Alignment: App-V allows for Office to be delivered via streaming in a flexible, portable format and take advantage of features of App-V such as the Shared Content Store.

In many cases, the version of Office you choose to virtualize will align with the reasoning. For example, you may be involved with a deployment of Windows 8.1 with Office 2013, and to ease transition, deliver an App-V package of Office 2010 applications for temporary use. You could also deploy Office 2013 via App-V to an existing Windows 7 base running Office 2010 due to a change in packaging strategy.

A Little History

A common question asked revolves around which versions of Office can be virtualized and what specific limitations will be encountered. To answer this – even at a 50,000 foot level – involves a historical discussion to better understand how the process and guidelines evolved with customer desires. As a result, the history affects version capabilities when running under App-V.

Office 2003/2007

Back in the day, when App-V was called Softgrid, prescriptive guidance documents were published on how to sequence Office 2003 and Office 2007 with Softgrid. It was a complicated process, but the isolation allowed for the resolution of some compatibility issues. There were a few caveats:

  • Applications could not self-heal.

  • Integration was limited without disabling some virtual subsystems.

  • Volume-licensed installation media was required.

There were other limitations involving client-server capabilities as well. When App-V 4.x and 5.x were released, no additional integration was developed due to the age of these products. Still generally, in most cases, these versions of Office are virtualized primarily for legacy add-in scenarios where only specific Office applications are packaged with App-V (Excel, Access, etc.) and they can still be done with success.

Office 2010

With Office 2010 came a few changes that would affect how Office would be deployed with App-V. First, Office moved over to the software protection platform that previously only used for operating system product activation. As with previous versions of Office, only volume-licensed media was supported for sequencing. In addition, a special component needed to be laid down natively in order to allow the activation of Office through either MAK (Multiple Activation Keys) keys or through a KMS (Key Management Server) Server. Hosts activated via a KMS have to report back to that key server once every 180 days. Like with the native Office format, you could also verify activation status with the OSPP.VBS script.

In addition to the software protection platform, the native component (which would become known as the ODK – Office Deployment Kit) included special virtualization handlers (or proxies) that would allow for better Office integration than we had before (MAPI, Search, SharePoint, OneNote) with previous versions of Office with App-V. This special integration allowed for the base applications to remain isolated but have better native integration with enterprise components. This would become a fine line to walk. Isolation is the opposite of integration. It is impossible to fully have both. The ODK would become the best solution.

2010 – App-V was not Click-2-Run

Beginning with Office 2010, a new format that was based on App-V technology was introduced for only Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010, Microsoft Office Home and Business 2010, and Microsoft Office Starter 2010. This was a portable streaming solution called Click-2-Run or Click-to-Run. Click-to-Run was not available in the Enterprise initially and was not to be confused with the enterprise deployment of Office using App-V. Click-to-Run behaved like a native Office installation to the introduction of dynamic virtualization technologies thus, in essence, it was simply an alternative installation format that allowed for speedy quick deployment and/or upgrades to Office 2010 for consumer users.

2013 – App-V IS Click-2-Run

Well, kind of. It comes from Click-2-Run. With the success of Office 2010 Click-to-Run, the birth of Office 365 and subscription-based deployments, and the desire for better virtual integration within the Windows shell on top of the existing integration components brought forth the solution for Office 2013 – flattened Click-to-Run.

The ODT

Instead of having to manually sequence the Office package, you will use the ODT (Office Deployment Toolkit) to download and create (flatten) the APPV package. The Click-to-Run download from Microsoft will serve as the APPV package once it has been flattened. The packaging process with flattening involves converted the STREAM.DAT file into the AppV package format alongside of generating the registries and manifests. Finally an INTEGRATOR.EXE component is embedded into the package and configure to deploy automatically via a package script when the APPV package is deployed. This integrator is the next generation of the virtualization handlers that were introduced with App-V 4 and Office 2010 integration.

The Office Deployment Toolkit is periodically updated and is also the primary tool for updating the App-V package. The flattener component puts in a permanent package GUID that simplifies updating and allows for updating with the Office 365 update cycle which is in line with patch Tuesday. The Office Deployment Toolkit is also the mechanism for determining which Office applications are part of your overall Office package.

While the Office 2013 AppV package originates with Click-to-Run from the Office365 CDN, starting with Service Pack 2 of App-V 5, the App-V package can also be activated via Volume Licensing as well as Office 365 subscription licensing. This means that the Office AppV package is now the most flexible option for licensing as it is the only package format that can be activated through either subscription or volume licensing. Bear in mind the activation method will be embedded into the package upon flattening.

Dynamic Virtualization

The Office 2013 APPV package was also the first introduction to JITV (Just-in-Time Virtualization) or what is known as “dynamic virtualization.” This allowed for better shell integration and enhanced the behavior of the virtualization handler components through tighter integrated extension points. This would be available for other AppV applications beginning with App-V 5 Service Pack 2.

In Essence, the newer the version of Office is, the tighter the integration options are. This allows for Office to be incorporated into your overall App-V application factory where the new Office can be leveraged for primary use under App-V while legacy versions can be leveraged (and) isolated for special circumstances.

Free Office 2013 App-V Deployment Training now Available on Microsoft Virtual Academy

December 11, 2014 Leave a comment

This week, we have released more guidance on deploying Office 2013 with App-V 5.0 through MVA. In this 4 module course, I discuss licensing, planning, package Creation, deployment, and caveats when delivering Office 2013 through App-V 5.

The full course content can be found here:

http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/training-courses/deploying-office-2013-with-app-v

If you want to bypass the course and just view the videos, you can do that on Channel 9 directly using the links below:

App-V @ #msTechEd 2014 – View the recordings in case you missed it!

May 17, 2014 3 comments

We had quite a few breakout sessions on App-V at TechEd North America this year! If you were there and were not able to attend all of them or missed TechEd altogether, you can view the recorded sessions here on Channel 9:

My Presentation 🙂

Sizing App-V 5.0: Planning and Designing a Highly Available, Scalable, and Resilient Management and Delivery System

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/WIN-B360#fbid=

Then we have an excellent presentation by Briton Zircher on deploying Office 2013 with App-V 5:

Everything You Need to Know for a Successful Microsoft Office 2013 App-V Deployment

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/WIN-B330#fbid=

You also will want to see Project VRC's presentation on their independent performance analysis of App-V 5.

Project Virtual Reality Check: Microsoft App-V 5.0 Performance, Tuning, and Optimization (App-V PTO)

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/WIN-B362#fbid=

Are you thinking about or planning to deploy App-V 5 with Citrix XenDesktop and studio integration? You will want to see this:

Deploying Microsoft App-V 5.0 and Citrix XenDesktop 7

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/WIN-B215#fbid=

New to Intune? Want to understand how applications are managed with Intune? Want to know your App-V options with Intune, check out this presentation:

Application Management with Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager and Windows Intune

https://channel9.msdn.com/Events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/PCIT-B323#fbid=

Finally, my favorite of the event – done by the Virtual Vibe guy himself -Thamim Karim:

The Circle of Life for an App-V 5.0 Package: From Sequence to Termination

https://channel9.msdn.com/events/TechEd/NorthAmerica/2014/WIN-B355#fbid=

Building Azure Web Sites


Normally I do not use this space to advertise books except in the case of two exceptions: If it is a free e-book and is relevant, I will definitely recommend it – otherwise – it had better be good. After reading his first book on the Windows Azure platform, I was very happy to hear that Tejaswi Redkar has come out with a book on rapidly ramping on and deploying Windows Azure Websites – especially given the fact that this is one of the top use cases for moving to the cloud with Windows Azure. Yes, I am using this space to give a shameless plug for this fantastic book.

Do you want to know everything about the fastest growing service in Windows Azure? Do you want to build your own websites in minutes in literally automate EVERYTHING! Are you building a mobile application and need to ensure availability and reliability by implementing an always-on web service? Is your organization working on a cloud strategy?

The book is available in both 21st (e-book) and 20th century (paper) formats!

I first met Tejaswi during the Fall of 2010. He was an Architect and I was a Support Escalation Engineer. I was wading through future private cloud scenarios and he was educating us all on public cloud scenarios. We were both at an internal Microsoft conference up in Bellevue and he was taking me to school left and right on Microsoft Cloud technologies as he was already deep inside many things that neither of us could talk publicly about at the time. As more of a user of Azure (for my personal and day-to-day operations) I find myself on the end of many questions relating to Azure where I can shed light on my personal experiences, but not actually claim to be an expert. I reference Tejaswi's books often as great starting points.

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Windows-Azure-Web-Sites-Building/dp/1491003545/

Barnes and Noble Link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/windows-azure-web-sites-tejaswi-redkar/1117494730

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

App-V: Still More on Those Office Add-ins

August 7, 2013 4 comments

As you can tell, I have been obsessed with Office Add-ins lately. Shifting gears from troubleshooting, I would like to address the different approaches to virtualizing add-ins with App-V. While the last two articles on the subject could easily be applied to both App-V 4.x and 5.x, my focus today will be specifically on App-V 5 because it offers more options and flexibility in the virtualization of add-ins. As I discuss each method, I will give my thoughts on the advantages and disadvantages of each method.

The Most Obvious: Sequence the Application and Add-in Together

While this method may seem to be the easiest, this method is only viable from a servicing standpoint if you:

  • Have only one deployment of the application.
  • In the case of Office, everybody will use the same group of Office applications.
  • Everybody needs and/or is allowed access to the included add-in(s).
  • For App-V 5, all add-ins will use the same COM settings inside the dynamic configuration files.

With this method, we do not likely run into issues with user state data and we do not have to involve any complicated sequencing recipes (other than the ones you would be using anyway – as the case with Office.)

Local Office Brought into Virtual Add-in Package during Sequencing

In this scenario, the add-in is totally virtualized but the parent application (Office App) is native. During sequencing, shortcut extension points were added to the package (dynamic configuration and FB0) so these shortcuts will launch inside the same virtual environment as the add-in. This scenario works best when there is a desire to keep the parent application native to the operating system.

 

The extension point format in the Deployment_Config.XML points to the local instance using a tokenized path. In the example below, here is a local shortcut extension point for Excel 2010 that is labeled as “Contoso Processing” because it will launch inside the virtual environment of the virtualized Contoso Processing add-in.

        <Extension Category=”AppV.Shortcut”>

          <Shortcut>

            <File>[{Start Menu}]Microsoft OfficeExcel (ContosoProcessing).lnk</File>

            <Target>[{ProgramFilesx86}]Microsoft OfficeOffice14excel.exe</Target>

            <Icon>[{ProgramFilesx86}]Microsoft OfficeOffice14excel.exe.0.ico</Icon>

            <Arguments />

            <WorkingDirectory>[{ProgramFilesx86}]Microsoft OfficeOffice14</WorkingDirectory>

            <ApplicationId>[{ProgramFilesx86}]Microsoft OfficeOffice14excel.exe</ApplicationId>

          </Shortcut>

        </Extension>

 

The problem you may run into when using this deals with user workflow. This particular shortcut will launch this specific instance of Excel, but a regular shortcut to the local Excel will only launch the native Excel (with whatever native Excel customizations are in place.) You will not be able to share user state across the two instances of Excel unless you leverage UE-V or another user state solution.

 

Local Office Brought into Virtual Environment using “On-the-Fly” Shortcut

Yes, it’s a long name, but it was the best I could come up with! What happens here is very similar to the previous method where the local/native installation of Office is brought into the virtual environment but not using an embedded shortcut. Instead, we are using an “on-the-fly” shortcut solution where the shortcut leverages the following syntax:

 

<AppName.EXE /appve:<GUID>_<GUID>

This is convenient and quick way to link a local application with a virtual plug-in or add-in. Before you jump to this option, understand there are a few potential issues that could arise. The first will be the provisioning and management of these “out-of-band” shortcuts. Delivery of these shortcuts would have to come outside of the normal publishing block. You also will have to modify these shortcuts whenever a package version has changed. Also user state, registry opacity, and other configuration-relation issues could arise as you have similar issues with this method as you did with the previous one if you are moving back and forth between a local instance and one that has been brought into the virtual environment of the add-in.

Virtual Office Linked with Virtual Package using a Connection Group.

With the introduction of Connection Groups in App-V 5, we now have more flexibility in linking different packages together into a single virtual environment. The most common way of using connection groups to link Office applications with Add-ins is to create one that links Office as a virtual application with the virtual add-in applications.

Once you introduce connection groups into the mix, the order of packages in the connection group is important. This is regardless of how you are deploying these groups (publishing server, configuration manager, or stand-alone.) The connection group order specifies the order in which registry and file system data of individual packages are merged. What this means if Office is first in the connection group and the Add-in package is second, the Office application will take precedence in terms of registry opacity.

Local Office Application Brought into Virtual Package Using Empty package/Connection Group Solution

This is very similar to the above scenario except the assets for the local Office applications are local.

 

In this scenario, Office is installed locally/natively but there is an empty virtual package that contains local shortcuts to the Office applications. This virtual package is linked with the virtual add-in package through a connection group. The ramifications are combined in that you may encounter workflow issues for users. Connection group order will also be important in terms of user state and registry opacity.

Local Office application brought into the Virtual Add-in Package using “Run Virtual”

If you are working within RDS environments, and have a package that is published globally, you can also take advantage of the “Run Virtual” feature. You basically add process executable names as subkeys of the following key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftAppVClientRunVirtual

For example, if I have a locally installed application called MyApp.exe and I would like this application to run within the virtual environment, I would create a subkey called MyApp.exe (perhaps a helper application like Adobe Acrobat that may need to be called from a virtualized web application.) I would then put in as the default entry a REG_SZ value that contains the package GUID and the version GUID separated by an underscore (i.e. <GUID>_<GUID>.

If the package is a standalone package, the process will be launched in that package’s virtual environment. If the package is in a connection group, the process will be launched in the virtual environment of the connection group for which the package belongs.

 

 

 

 

Office 2013: Deployment and Migration Resources

February 1, 2013 4 comments

Now that Office 2013 is generally available, it is time for many organizations who are currently using a virtualized instance of Office to start considering a move to Office 2013. As you may have read in the following Microsoft KB article http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2772509 (Supported scenarios for deploying Microsoft Office as a sequenced App-V Package) Office 365 ProPlus will be leveraging the Office Deployment Tool for Click-to-Run so administrators will be importing the Office ProPlus (Click-To-Run) .APPV package right into App-V 5.0. No sequencing is required because App-V 5.0 provides integration with local applications natively through native Virtual Application Extensions.

UPDATE: As of App-V 5 SP2 – This is extended to Volume License ProPlus as well.

I have compiled the following resources into one simple location so you can proceed to read up on getting to migrate and deploy the new version of Office in the Enterprise whether you decide to install it locally or virtual through Click-to-Run. I've been using the new Office for a year now and I love it!

UPDATE: This page has been updated as new resources come available. I'm now almost two years into it and I still love it!

Description of Microsoft Office 2013 Service Pack 1 (SP1)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2817430

Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Office 2013 (KB2817430) 32-Bit Edition
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42017

Service Pack 1 for Microsoft Office 2013 (KB2817430) 64-Bit Edition
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=42006

App-V 5.0 SP2 Support for Office 2013 Volume Licensing Editions
http://blogs.technet.com/b/office_resource_kit/archive/2013/12/02/announcing-app-v-5-0-sp2-support-for-office-2013-volume-licensing-editions.aspx

What’s New in Office Professional Plus 2013?
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36191

What's New in Lync 2013?
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36181

What's New in Excel 2013?
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36185

What's New in PowerPoint 2013?
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36193

What’s New in Access 2013?
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36189

What's New in Outlook 2013?
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36187

Office 2013 Technical Library in Compiled Help
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30389

Changes in Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/library/cc178954(v=office.15)

Setup properties in Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179018.aspx

Configuring a Silent Install of Office 2013
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/subscriptions/dd630736.aspx

Office 2013 Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) and Office Customization Tool
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35554

Office Customization Tool (OCT) in Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179097(office.15).aspx

Planning for Group Policy in Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc179077.aspx

Integrating additional cloud storage services in Office 2013
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35474

Downloadable eBook: Deployment guide for Office 2013
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30388

Telemetry in Office 2013: A new way to Assess Office Compatibility
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=34991

Microsoft Office 2013 Discovery and Risk Assessment Preview
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30444

Office Migration Planning Manager (OMPM): Office Compatibility
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=11454

Configure user settings for Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc178990.aspx

Microsoft Office 2013 Volume License Pack
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=35584

Deployment Options for Office 2013
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee624360.aspx#Virtualization

Download: Office Customization Tool for Click-to-Run
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=36778

Customizing Office 2013 using the Office Click-to-Run Deployment Tool
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219424(v=office.15)

Customization Overview for Click-to-Run
http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj219428(v=office.15)

Identity and Authentication in the cloud: Office 2013 and Office 365 (Poster)
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=38193

Supported scenarios for deploying Microsoft Office as a sequenced App-V Package
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2772509

Microsoft Office Support in Microsoft User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)
http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2841206

Office 365

Managing Updates for Office 365 ProPlus – Part 1
http://blogs.technet.com/b/office_resource_kit/archive/2014/01/21/managing-updates-for-office-365-proplus-part-1.aspx

Managing Updates for Office 365 ProPlus – Part 2
http://blogs.technet.com/b/office_resource_kit/archive/2014/01/28/managing-updates-for-office-365-proplus-part-2.aspx

Test Lab Guide: Configuring and Office 365 Subscription
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41548

FastTrack Office 365 Deployment Guide
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=41678

SkyDrive Pro for Windows Download
http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=39050

 Office Scrub – Cleaning Up Older Versions of Office and Remnants
http://blogs.technet.com/b/odsupport/archive/2011/04/08/how-to-obtain-and-use-offscrub-to-automate-the-uninstallation-of-office-products.aspx