EUC3605 – CloudVolumes: Simplifying App Delivery (VMworld Europe 2014)

By | October 17, 2014

Session Overview (by VMware)

End-users expect a personal desktop (aka persistent desktop) while IT wants a non-persistant world. Join us in this session to learn how VMware is revolutionizing how applications and data can be delivered to virtual desktops with CloudVolumes and VMware Horizon 6. With powerful, yet simple technology, IT can now deliver or upgrade application workloads in seconds. End users are greeted with the persistent user experience they covet. IT leverages non-persistant architecture and on-demand layering to drive down compute, network, and storage costs. We enter an era where cost and performance don’t have to be compromised anymore. See a live demo that showcases our new technology which helps IT become more agile, while keeping end users as productive as ever

My notes

  • How do you deliver 1000’s of applications to 1000’s of desktops in seconds?
  • Address issues of other application delivery mechanisms
  • Application virtualization, streaming, packaging, all have constraints.  How do we solve that problem?
  • Lifecycle management of applications in real-time = being able to attach applications and remove\update with a few clicks, in seconds
  • Only have to change specific set of applications, not all
  • Disaggregate IT managed applications and user installed applications from OS
  • Second layer of virtualization above the OS layer, organising apps into different VMDKs or VHDs
    • VMDK is read only volume, only need to install applications
    • VMDK write volume, used for profile data, app settings etc


  • No packaging required, no sequencing and no streaming
  • No snapshots taken.  Install MSI package, and agent sitting on template machine will capture registry and files
    • App Volumes, abstraction layer, intelligently watches install via in guest agent
    • This wasn’t straightforward or simple to accomplish, took 3 years to build and get right
  • App Volumes is provisioning applications, instead of packaging
  • Application services delivered to user quickly
  • Provisioning occurs using Active Directory targets – Groups, Machines and OU etc.
  • Can deliver to VDI, physical and RDSH
    • Attach VMDK for VDI or VHD to RDSH server
  • Existing Cloud Volumes customer for VDI project – Goal was to isolate OS, apps and data layers. Cloud (App) Volumes is very easy to implement, good user experience\performance was key and quick implementation.  All achieved!
  • In guest option for physical machines. Engine\agent installed plus VHD mount
  • Potential Physical PC use case, whereby machine needs to be read-only and can apply Cloud Volumes on top with a writeable volume for app\profile settings
  • Writeable volume is optional
  • Can put VMDK file for read only and writable volumes in separate locations (datastores), to spread workload and IOPS
    • Read volumes = SSD or cache
    • Write volumes = cheaper spindles
  • Datastore1 = OS, Datastore2 = read volume, Datastore3 = write volume
  • 03.11.14 – Early Access program (limited).  Expected to release to wider audience before end of year
  • Continue to install agents and anti-virus in base image, separate from app stacks
  • Existing Cloud Volumes customer rolling out to 260,000 seats with one gold image! Plus app stacks created for relevant departments or business unit.  Because of this provides enormous de-duplication, with only one base image in use
  • App Volumes works fine with guest driver level and printer mapping
  • Technology is different from ThinApp (isolation), as App Volumes is a native install
  • Applications that are problematic, solve by using ThinApp and placing these into your application stacks.  Then use App Volumes to manage\provision app stacks
  • Key to deployment is understand applications first, knowing how to group them, application characteristics, and then planning around creating application stacks per department or business unit
  • Creating a disk or volume, per application, is a no, no! Logical grouping of applications should apply, this typically is around 2-7 applications per app stack (sweet spot)
  • Use App Volumes for 80-90% of applications and 20-30% ThinApp (problematic applications).  App Volumes covers a broader range of applications
  • Doesn’t replace Mirage, as can build full image via Mirage and deploy to physical endpoints, in addition Mirage has many other use cases
  • Writeable volumes can be configured in different ways and are entirely optional.  These volumes perform read\write operations
  • App Volumes doesn’t manage persona settings and extensions, like persona solutions. App Volumes just provides a location to store person settings
  • App Volumes will ship in two ways
    • Included with Horizon Enterprise license and will integrate with View broker
    • Standalone product which can be used with physical and other technologies (Citrix), not just limited to VMware
  • Open API to certain extent – Attach App stack and entitle users, all API driven.  Will enable control outside of App Volumes management console, to enable large enterprises to continue using existing workflows and tools
  • App Volumes is targeted for non-persistent environments – VDI and physical
  • Architecture of App Volumes works across the board, doesn’t have to be virtual
  • App Volumes is targeting the connected space (data centre), which provides big opportunity



  • Mirage integration hopefully to be discussed moving forwards, in order for technologies and cloud, mobile, VDI and physical worlds to complement each other more closely.  Mirage is still very much key for physical environments.
  • Version control on applications stacks, i.e. V1 running with users logged in and using apps, App Volumes will copy\clone off V2, which can be updated, then users log off and back in to receive V2
  • Offline space or use case, not focused for data (writeable) persona and synchronisation, may look at additional use cases in future.

Note:  The above is my understanding and interpretation of the information presented, whilst scribbling down these notes quickly through the session.  The usual VMware disclaimer also applies from the session.  I encourage you to either watch the session if you have access, alongside performing your own research on the technology.

I hope the above proves useful and provides further clarity into App (formely Cloud) Volumes.

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