I'm a bleeding edge kind of person. You know the type. I'm running Vista SP1, and XP sp3, System Center Everything (no that isn't yet another product under that brand, I just can't keep them all straight) and Visual Studeio 2008 tools. And I'm getting ready to release an application based on .NET 3.5! So what else am I playing with? Well the SoftGrid 4.5 Beta, of course.
Microsoft makes some important changes in 4.5 of SoftGrid. The Beta period will be something like 6 months or more, so we have time to take a deep look at it before the release. So I am starting slowly, by looking at changes at the server end. To that end, I have released a video on my site through this link:
That shows the steps to install the beta of the server components using a SqlExpress database so that you can play with this beta too. I also talk a bit about changes in the release. So what is new?
First, and I describe this in the video rather than show it, we have the ability break the permiability between virtualized applciations. We used to call this "bubble to bubble interaction" when we were asking for it. What Microsoft is delivering is different than what we asked for, but it looks like it might be exactly what we need. (OK. What we need for now. I'm sure we'll want more once this hits production). In essence, it allows us to package up a major application in one package, and a slew of other "dependent" applicaitons each in their own package. In publishing, we assign the base package to everyone that needs it and publish the dependent packages to only people that need that "plug-in". The client then makes what I call a "mash-up" of the virtual environments (not unlike how it makes a mashup of the environment from the package plus the user preferences pkg) for the set of packages assigned to that user.
Second, Microsoft has cleaned up a bit of loose programing that made the servers potentially less secure. I use that word potentially because we always make sure administrators know to cover over those bare spots in our GridMasterTraining courses. But the servers now use Windows Credentials to communicate with the Sql database (which means no more unencrypted passwords laying around AND you can get rid of Mixed mode on your Sql Server). This change actually complicates the install for "old hands" which is why I created the video. They also improved the RTSPS security, making you actually install a cert into the store on the server so that (brace yourself) the client will actually authticate the server.
Third, and this will be the focus of a future video, there is a second version of the Virtual Application Server intended for deployment at branch sites. In the release they call it the Virtual Application Streaming Server, which is really confusing since both do streaming! Most folks call the original server the "heavyweight" server and the new server for the branch office the "lightweight" server. Microsoft has made a significant step for improving the branch office deployment with this server - but time will tell if it actually works any better for customers.
Some folks had problems with the "online" video, so at the bottom of the page at that link look for the "NEW" link that allows you to save off the full avi as a file on your pc and watch off-line. The video is about 30 minutes in length.