Before your VMware Identity Manager users can run their ThinApp packages that are registered to them using VMware Identity Manager, those users must have the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application installed and running on their Windows systems.

ThinApp packages are virtualized Windows applications. The ThinApp packages are distributed to Windows systems, and a user logged into the Windows system can launch and run those ThinApp packages that are registered on that Windows system. VMware Identity Manager can distribute and manage ThinApp packages that are compatible with VMware Identity Manager.

To successfully launch and run one of these virtualized applications in the user's logged-in Windows session, the following elements are required:

  • The virtualized application's ThinApp package is registered for that user's use by VMware Identity Manager.

  • A particular DLL is available on that Windows system.

  • The hws-desktop-client.exe process is running.

When a compatible ThinApp package is created, it is configured to load a particular DLL when the logged-in user launches the virtualized application in their logged-in Windows session. At that time, the virtualized application attempts to load the DLL. When the DLL is loaded, it attempts to verify with the locally installed VMware Identity Manager Desktop application whether that ThinApp package is registered on that Windows desktop for that user. The locally installed VMware Identity Manager Desktop application determines whether that application is registered for that user without communicating with VMware Identity Manager. If the application is registered on that Windows desktop for that user, the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application checks to see when it last synced with VMware Identity Manager. If the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application confirms that the time from the last sync is within the offline grace period configured for the installed client, the client allows the application to run.

Because that DLL is available on the Windows system only if the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application is installed, and because the hws-desktop-client.exe process is running if the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application is running on that system, the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application must be installed on the Windows system to run ThinApp packages that are distributed and managed by VMware Identity Manager.

Deploying the VMware Identity Manager Desktop Application To Use ThinApp Packages

The VMware Identity Manager Desktop application can be installed by either double-clicking its installer EXE file, running the executable file using the command-line options, or running a script that uses the command-line options. Local administrator privileges are required to install the application. For information about installing the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application by double-clicking its installer EXE file, see the VMware Identity Manager User Guide.

The configuration of the installed application determines how a ThinApp package that is distributed by VMware Identity Manager is deployed to that Windows system. By default, when the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application is installed by double-clicking its installer EXE file, the client is configured to deploy ThinApp packages using the COPY_TO_LOCAL deployment mode, with the AUTO_TRY_HTTP option enabled. Those default installer options result in what is called a download deployment mode. With the COPY_TO_LOCAL and AUTO_TRY_HTTP default settings, the client application first tries to download the ThinApp packages by copying them to the Windows system endpoint, and if the first attempt fails, the client application tries to download the ThinApp packages using HTTP.

If the connector is configured for account-based access to your ThinApp repository, the client application can download the ThinApp packages using HTTP. After the ThinApp packages are downloaded to the local Windows system, the user runs the virtualized applications on the local system.

To avoid having the virtualized applications downloaded to the local Windows system and using space on the Windows system, you can have users run the ThinApp packages from the network share by using what is called a streaming deployment mode. To have your users run the ThinApp packages using streaming mode, you must install the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application on the Windows systems using a command-line installation process. The installer has command-line options that you can use to set the runtime deployment mode for the ThinApp packages. To set the runtime deployment mode to stream the ThinApp packages, use the RUN_FROM_SHARE installer option.

One method for installing the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application to multiple Windows systems is to use a script to install the application silently to the Windows systems. You can install the client silently to multiple Windows systems at the same time.

Note:

A silent installation does not display messages or windows during the install process.

You set a value in the script to indicate whether the clients installed by that script deploy ThinApp packages using the ThinApp streaming mode, or RUN_FROM_SHARE option, or one of the ThinApp download modes, such as the COPY_TO_LOCAL or HTTP_DOWNLOAD option.

Determining the Appropriate Deployment Mode for ThinApp Packages on Windows Endpoints

The configuration of the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application on the Windows endpoint determines whether a ThinApp package that is distributed using VMware Identity Manager is deployed using ThinApp streaming mode, RUN_FROM_SHARE, or one of the ThinApp download modes, COPY_TO_LOCAL or HTTP_DOWNLOAD. When you create the script to silently install the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application to Windows endpoints, such as desktop and laptop computers, you set the options that set the ThinApp package deployment mode. Choose the deployment mode that best fits the network environment for the selected endpoints, considering details such as network latency.

With streaming mode, when the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application synchronizes with VMware Identity Manager, the client downloads application shortcuts for the ThinApp packages' virtualized Windows applications to the Windows desktop, and when the user launches the ThinApp packages, the virtualized Windows applications run from the file share on which the ThinApp packages reside.

Therefore, streaming mode is appropriate for systems that will always be connected to the network share, such as Windows desktops that are shared by multiple users.

With download mode, at the first use or update of a ThinApp package, the user must wait for the ThinApp package to download to the Windows system first, and shortcuts to be created. After the initial download, the user launches and runs the virtualized Windows application on the local Windows system.

Important:

HTTP_DOWNLOAD mode requires the IDP URL to be reachable from the user's Windows machine. RUN_FROM_SHARE and COPY_TO_LOCAL modes require the ThinApp share to be reachable from the user's Windows machine.

Table 1. ThinApp Deployment Mode for the Virtualized Applications Captured as ThinApp Packages

Mode

Description

ThinApp streaming mode

In ThinApp streaming mode, the virtualized applications are streamed each time they are started. This method avoids using disk space in the desktop that would be used when copying the virtualized applications to the desktop. The desktop must be connected to the ThinApp packages' network share for the applications to run.

The following environment might provide the consistency and stability required:

Users with Windows desktops that are shared by multiple users. This situation avoids the accumulation on disk of downloaded user-specific applications and also provides quick access to applications without causing a delay for downloads specific to a user.

The account that the user uses to log in to the Windows system is used to obtain the ThinApp packages from the network share. That account must have the appropriate permissions on the network share to read and execute files on the network share.

ThinApp download mode

In ThinApp download mode, applications are downloaded to the Windows endpoint. The user runs the virtualized application locally on the endpoint. You might prefer ThinApp download mode for the following situations:

  • LAN-connected desktops that are periodically offline

  • A LAN with poor network latency

VMware Identity Manager provides two flavors of the ThinApp download mode: COPY_TO_LOCAL and HTTP_DOWNLOAD. If the client is configured for COPY_TO_LOCAL, the Windows endpoint must be joined to the same domain as the file share unless the AUTO_TRY_HTTP option is enabled and the connector is configured for account-based access to the ThinApp packages' network share.

When the AUTO_TRY_HTTP option is enabled and the connector is configured for account-based access, if the Windows endpoint is not joined to the same domain and the first attempt to download the ThinApp packages fails, the VMware Identity Manager Desktop application will automatically try to download the ThinApp packages using the HTTP protocol as for the HTTP_DOWNLOAD mode. With HTTP_DOWNLOAD, the Windows endpoint does not have to be joined to the same domain as the file share. However, the copy and sync times when using HTTP_DOWNLOAD are significantly longer than when using COPY_TO_LOCAL.

Important:

If VMware Identity Manager is not enabled for account-based access, downloading using the HTTP protocol does not work, even if AUTO_TRY_HTTP is enabled or the client is configured with the HTTP_DOWNLOAD option.

When using COPY_TO_LOCAL, the account that the user uses to log in to the Windows system is used to obtain the ThinApp packages from the network share. That account must have the appropriate permissions on the network share to read and copy files from the network share. When using HTTP_DOWNLOAD, the share user account that you enter in the administration console when you configure access from the connector to the ThinApp packages' network share is the account that is used to download the ThinApp packages. That share user account needs to have read permission on the ThinApp packages' network share to copy the files from the network share.

The ThinApp packages' network share must meet the appropriate requirements for the deployment mode that you set for the Windows endpoints. See VMware Identity Manager Installation and Configuration.