You may have seen Citrix announce AppDisk at Synergy 2015 in Orlando – and wondered what is AppDisk? 

AppDisk is a technology that enables administrators to package and manage their apps independently of their golden images.  This in turn reduces the number of golden images required.  Typically different applications are required for different departments resulting in variations on the golden images for each department.  Since the applications are often baked into the golden image, when a single application needs updating, the entire golden image needs to be opened, updated and then resealed.

With AppDisks, instead of installing the application into the golden image, the application is installed (or more specifically the data is redirected) into a virtual disk – a VHD or VMDK depending on your hypervisor.  And once this AppDisk is created, it can be assigned across multiple golden images.  Yes, that means across Windows versions.  So long as the application can handle the respective Windows versions, then so will AppDisk.

This results in the benefit of having fewer golden images since combinations of AppDisk can be combined across the golden images to create the variations required for each department’s needs. 

The critical capability of any solution will not be the creation of layers but the managing of dependencies between layers and common components like .NET and JAVA.  Without such management, a given technology may look like it works great on the initial deployment but, as changes are implemented (updates etc.), these inter-dependencies will result in breakage and outages.

While AppDisk in itself will provide impressive power and capabilities for delivering applications, the even greater value Citrix brings to the customer will be the power of AppDNA. AppDNA is a solution that moves you beyond just packaging apps, to actually managing your apps over the app management lifecycle. Allowing you to not only manage the apps but also intelligently match it to a packaging method or an appropriate remediation if it does not work with your preferred packaging method. AppDNA also helps track any app dependencies or base image changes that may adversely affect an application.

Many solutions out there today make claims of 100 percent app compatibility and zero issues managing the layers as your golden images are updated and the individual layers are updated. Never any issues with inter-app interactions? Or .NET/JAVA libraries and common components? Or other app dependencies?

Well, quite honestly, app management and remediation certainly should be a base requirement for any app layering technology since I’m sure none of us want or even have the time to track down these issues and hope we find them all before we deploy into production.  In the end a packaging/layering technology will likely be no better/no worse than any other technology on the market but just with different warts.  The predictive ability to manage these apps through the entire lifecycle and change management will be the real differentiator.

The real value differentiation will be how a given solution enables and empowers you to mange issues, conflicts and collisions in the most effective way and, most importantly, in a completely predictive fashion.

This is what Citrix will deliver on.  This is where you will see things like AppDisk and App-V integration brought together under the world of AppDNA and its power to provide exactly these benefits.