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Problem Notification and Automated Best Practices in the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer (Part 1)

Problem Notification and Automated Best Practices in the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer (Part 1)

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GrayAndYellowGearsIn previous versions of the Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) Sequencer, there was little to no built-in guidance from the Sequencer around potential problems or following best practices. With the new Microsoft App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer, automated best practices and problem notification throughout the sequencing process help ensure a higher rate of successful sequencing.

In part 1 of this series we will explore the new Problem Notification features of the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer.

In addition to notifying the Sequencing Engineers of potential problems, the Sequencer also provides guidance to resolve the issues detected.

 

Report.xml

Beginning with the Prepare Computer phase, the Sequencer records any problem notifications in the file "Report.xml." The Sequencer writes to this file in the Prepare Computer, Installation Report, and Completion Report phases and is included in the final package by default. All Problem Notifications, their details, and the recommended actions are included in the Report.xml. If a package does not work as expected after delivery to the client, refer back to this file to begin troubleshooting.

The Completion Report is the final Report.xml that contains all the information written during the Prepare Computer phase, Installation Report, and any final issues detected after configuring the software.

Prepare Computer detects:

  • Pending reboots
  • VM not reverted
  • Services (Defender, Indexing, Defrag, SCCM)
  • Applications (MMC, Anti-Virus, etc)

Installation Report records and detects:

  • Excluded files
  • Drivers
  • COM+
  • System Differences
  • SxS Conflicts
  • Shell Extensions

 

Prepare Computer Phase

In the Prepare Computer phase, the Sequencer notifies the Engineer of any running programs or services that may interfere with Sequencing or corrupt the resulting package. Detectors are run for services such as Windows Defender and Windows Search. Additionally, Detectors are run for programs like Anti-Virus.

The Sequencer will attempt to stop some services on its own, and list any that it cannot on the Prepare Computer phase screen. In the SFT-SEQ-LOG.TXT file, services that are stopped by the Sequencer will appear as below:

[10/15/2010 16:46:38 VRB CORE] successfully stopped service: Defragsvc
[10/15/2010 16:46:40 VRB CORE] successfully stopped service: wsearch

Anything detected in the Prepare Computer phase is listed with additional details and/or guidance to stop the listed item. Security related programs, such as Windows Defender or Microsoft Forefront are not stopped automatically and require user interaction.

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Clicking the REFRESH button will run another check for running programs or services. If there is nothing running that will interfere with successful sequencing, then instead of a list of programs and services, the message "Your system is ready to create a virtual package, no issues were detected. Click Next to Continue."

Below is an example from "Report.xml " for the Problem Notification of Windows Defender detection.

</ISSUE>
- <ISSUE CODE="196609" SEVERITY="WRN" MODULE="Front-End Component">
<DESCRIPTION SHORT="Windows Defender™ is active." FULL="Windows defender can interfere with creation of a package by accessing files that need to be added to the virtual package or adding extraneous data to the virtual package." />
<RESOLUTION SHORT="Stop this before continuing." FULL="Stop Windows Defender by opening Services from the Start Menu, clicking 'Windows Defender', and clicking 'Stop'." />
<MOREINFO DESCRIPTION="The process name associated with this service is 'WinDefend.exe'." />
</ISSUE>

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The logging of the detectors and results are preceded with the <AUTO BP> tag in the SFT-SEQ-LOG.TXT file.

 

Installation Report

The Installation Report is provided after the Configure Software phase is complete. Information provided in the Installation Report will also be included in report made during the Completion phase.

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Files Excluded from Package

The most common message from the Installation Report is the informational message that files were excluded from the package. Double-clicking on this message will provide greater detail on the files excluded from the package. Listed paths usually match paths set in TOOLS>OPTIONS>EXCLUSION ITEMS.

The resolution for this message is always verify package functionality. If a package does not function correctly, there may be excluded paths or files that that may need to be included. This can be modified before another sequencing attempt in TOOLS>OPTIONS>EXCLUSION ITEMS.

The details of the "Files excluded from package" message, as well as any other messages that appear here will be in REPORT.XML

Below is an example from "Report.xml " for Excluded Files.

<ISSUE CODE="65538" SEVERITY="INF" MODULE="Sequencer">
<DESCRIPTION SHORT="Files excluded from package." FULL="One or more files were excluded from the package because they are located in excluded paths. Missing files can cause unexpected application failures." />
<RESOLUTION SHORT="Verify package functionality." FULL="To add an excluded file to the package, do the following: 1) Remove the path from the exclusion list using the Sequencer options page. 2) Add the file using the Virtual File System Tab in the sequencer and resave the package." />
- <MOREINFO DESCRIPTION="The following files were excluded:">
<ITEM DESCRIPTION="C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\GatherLogs\SystemIndex\SystemIndex.3.gthr" />
<ITEM DESCRIPTION="C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\MSS.log" />
<ITEM DESCRIPTION="C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Search\Data\Applications\Windows\tmp.edb" />

The Problem Notification and resolution is similar for other issues listed in the bullet points near the top of this article. Overall, the new Sequencer greatly enhances the ability to detect and resolve sequencing related issues.  Stay tuned for part 2 where we take a look at the Automated Best Practices throughout the new App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer.

Steve Bucci | Support Escalation Engineer

The App-V Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/appv/
The WSUS Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/sus/
The SCMDM Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/mdm/
The ConfigMgr Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/configurationmgr/
The SCOM 2007 Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/operationsmgr/
The SCVMM Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/scvmm/
The MED-V Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/medv/
The DPM Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/dpm/
The OOB Support Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/oob/
The Opalis Team blog: http://blogs.technet.com/opalis
The Service Manager Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/servicemanager
The AVIcode Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/avicode
The System Center Essentials Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/systemcenteressentials
The Server App-V Team blog: http: http://blogs.technet.com/b/serverappv

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Comments
  • hi,

     i am asked a same question   by my custom!

    the question is what the server perfomance and the bindwith is .i don't find the app-v_Performance_WhitePaper,can you tell me the link or email the WhitePaper to me .thanks

    my email address is sujita@etomorrow.com.cn. thanks very much.

  • Hi, I think what you are looking for is the App-V 4.5 Server Sizing Guide and it can be found here: technet.microsoft.com/.../cc843994.aspx.

  • thanks for your replying,that's just my need. thanks again.

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