XenApp Application Compatibility Testing Resources

31 03 2009

One of the most critical, determining factors when examining the feasibility of configuring an application for delivery in a server-based computing environment is whether or not an application will work in a multi-session OS.  There are a multitude of factors, i.e. the way an app writes to the registry, file permissions, poorly coded apps, etc, which can cause issues with trying to integrate applications within an SBC environment and therefore XenApp.  This doesn’t even scratch the surface of the complexities associated with 64 bit operating systems.

Traditionally the main way of determining whether or not an application is a candidate for server-side virtualization was to stand up a POC environment, install the app, and test.  While the advent of virtualization has made this process more efficient it can still be time and resource intensive especially if it is for a net-new environment and you have no existing Windows TS or Citrix XenApp footprint.

In an effort to alleviate some of these challenges and to enable more efficient adoption of XenApp, Citrix has introduced many avenues of testing application compatibility.  While these resources are not necessarily new, they are often overlooked and even more often underutilized.

  • Option 1: Good Old Fashion Trial and Error – As stated above the traditional method of testing compatibility has been to install the app in a XenApp environment and determine functionality through trial and error.  I won’t go into a lot of detail here due to the wealth of information available on the web regarding methods of testing but needless to say the various tools from Sysinternals, my personal favorite being Process Monitor, are indispensible for this purpose.
  • Option 2: Citrix Ready Community Verified Site – This is something all of us in the SBC world have asked for over the years…a single location where anyone can share and review experiences with integrating different applications on XenApp.  As an additional bonus the site also includes compatibility testing for XenDesktop as well.
  • Option 2: AppDNA AppTitude – The AppTitude tool, written by AppDNA, can be utilized to determine the “DNA” of applications in MSI format.  This information can then be used by the AppTitude tool to automatically analyze applications and then produce a detailed report regarding which aspects of the programs are compatible, problematic, or incompatible.  The reports can also be leveraged to determine how to remediate any compatibility issues.  This tool is free and can be downloaded from https://www.citrix.com/English/ss/downloads/details.asp?downloadId=1683165  NOTE:  You must be logged in with your MyCitrix credentials to access this resource.  Additional information can be accessed from the AppDNA site.
  • Option 4: Citrix Ready Virtual Lab – One of the coolest tools in my opinion is this web-based testing portal which contains pre-configured XenApp lab environments that can be checked out for 3-7 days at a time.  The portal also contains a SharePoint site with FAQs, Administrator Guides, Verification Assist Guides, and Discussion Forums.
  • Option 5: In-House Testing – For more complex testing scenarios Citrix makes available pre-configured virtual machines which contain the Operating System, all software components, and licensing in a self-encapsulated VM which runs on either XenServer or Hyper-V.  This can be leveraged to stand up XenApp within your internal environment when this type of approach is warranted. http://citrix.com/English/ss/downloads/details.asp?downloadId=1683361&productId=186

So regardless of the testing requirements there are many different options to determine whether or not your applications will function within a XenApp environment.  This helps to ensure a successful implementation with minimal investment upfront.

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One response

10 04 2009
Todd M

Microsoft also maintains a testing application tool

https://connect.microsoft.com/tsappcompat?wa=wsignin1.0

For those of you who are looking for more resources, do a search on Rick Mack. I met Rick two years ago at iForum by chance waiting in a line for lunch and he gave me the “elevator talk” on a number of tools that can be used to troubleshoot app compatibility issues.

He has presented at BriForum on this topic many times.

It is great to see CITRIX providing so many tools and cudo’s to the author of this article for providing the information here.

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