Using ThinApp Packages Streamed from the Network
Any network storage device can serve as a streaming server for hundreds or thousands of client computers. See Data Block Streaming over a Network Share.
Data Block Streaming over a Network Share
On the end-user desktop, you can create shortcuts that point to the centrally hosted executable file packages. When the user clicks the shortcut, the application begins streaming to the client computer. During the initial streaming startup process, the ThinApp status bar informs the user of the progress.
How ThinApp Application Streaming Works
When you place compressed ThinApp executable files on a network share or USB flash drive, the contents from the executable file stream to client computers in a block-based fashion. As an application requests specific parts of data files, ThinApp reads this information in the compressed format over the network using standard Windows file sharing protocol. For a view of the process, see Application Streaming.
After a client computer receives data, ThinApp decompresses the data directly to memory. Because ThinApp does not write data to the disk, the process is fast. A large package does not necessarily take a long time to load over the network and the package size does not affect the startup time of an application. If you add an extra 20GB file to a package that is not in use at runtime, the package loads at the same speed. If the application opens and reads 32KB of data from the 20GB file, ThinApp only requests 32KB of data.
The ThinApp runtime client is a small part of the executable file package. When ThinApp loads the runtime client, it sets up the environment and starts the target executable file. The target executable file accesses other parts of the application stored in the virtual operating system. The runtime client intercepts such requests and serves them by loading DLLs from the virtual operating system.
The load time of the runtime client across a network is a few milliseconds. After ThinApp loads the runtime client to memory on the client computer, the end-user computer calculates which blocks of data are required from the server and reads them based on application activity.
When the application makes subsequent read requests for the same data, the Windows disk cache provides data without requiring a network read operation. If the client computer runs low on memory, Windows discards some of its disk cache and provides the memory resource to other applications.
Application Streaming
Requirements and Recommendations for Streaming Packages
ThinApp does not require specific server software to provide streaming capability. Any Windows file share, NAS device, or SMB share can provide this capability. The amount of data that needs to transfer before the application can begin running varies for each application. Microsoft Office requires that only a fraction of the package contents stream before an application can run.
VMware recommends that you use ThinApp streaming in a LAN-based environment with a minimum of 100MB networks. For WAN and Internet deployments that involve frequent or unexpected disconnections, VMware recommends one of the following solutions:
These solutions reduce failures and eliminate situations in which the application requires unstreamed portions during a network outage. A company with many branch offices typically designates one application repository that mirrors a central shared folder at each branch office. This setup optimizes local performance for client machines located at each branch office.
Security Recommendations for Streaming Packages
VMware recommends that you make a central shared directory for the package read-only. Users can read the package contents but not change the executable file contents. When a package streams from a shared location, ThinApp stores application changes in the user sandbox. The default sandbox location is %AppData%\Thinstall\<application_name>. You can configure the sandbox location at runtime or at package time.
A common configuration is to place the user sandbox on another central storage device. The user can use any computer and keep individual application settings at a central share. When packages stream from a central share, they remain locked until all users exit the application.
Stream ThinApp Packages from the Network
Users can access packaged applications through the network.
Stream packages from the network