How well does ThinApp work?
December 8, 2008 6:53 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone have experience in using ThinApp in a corporate environment? Does it end up being trouble or does it just work?

I've had really good luck with virtualization at every level, and played around with ThinApp was in its beta, other things came up and I kind of abandoned it. It seems great, are there wikis or other recipes somewhere on the web for packaging different programs? What about performance? How is that in reality?
posted by geoff. to Computers & Internet (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I've done a lot of research in this area, and I work at VMware. However I'm not an IT admin, so I don't do a ton of app virtualizing. Also I don't work on ThinApp, but I'll give you my $0.02.

If you're looking to deploy virtual apps on an enterprise scale, e.g. over the network on demand, it looks like MS Application Virtualization is poised to rule that space. I haven't tested it out yet, but the reviews are pretty good.

For personal / small group solutions, I've tested out Altiris SVS, Sandboxie, and of course ThinApp.

Here's my summation:

Altiris SVS is super slick because software lives in layers, and those layers can be turned on and off with the click of a button. Also the community seems very strong. However, it requires the SVS layer runtime product, and I had a lot of trouble getting important products to work. I found workarounds on the support site, but they were too messy for me, so I abandoned it.

Sandboxie is awesome. And (mostly) free. I use it a lot for testing applications, and resetting their state.

ThinApp is most compatible with apps (that I've tested), and the ThinApp creation process is much better than it was in Thinstall. Altiris SVS chooses when to stop capturing state, but ThinApp lets you choose, which is great. I think both ThinApp and Altiris SVS work best when capturing is done on a clean machine, which I find to be a hassle (though a minor one since I have tons of VMs at work). ThinApps can be passed around as executables, and you can choose how strictly to sandbox the app.

I find ThinApp just works... I can't think of a product that hasn't worked yet (though not true with Thinstall). We obviously use it a lot at VMware. Oh also you can supposedly make a ThinApp on XP, and it will run on XP, Vista, and 2003, but I haven't been brave enough to try that yet. There is also an (almost) zero performance hit running a ThinApp.

As far as community support for packaging different things, I think Altiris SVS and Sandboxie have active user groups. I'm not sure how active the ThinApp community is.

I also use Acronis True Image Home, which has this awesome feature called "Try and Decide." It lets me kind of sandbox my entire system while I test out new software or do otherwise risky things. I WISH it worked on 2003. On my 2003 systems I use Returnil, which is another great product.
posted by blahtsk at 6:00 PM on December 10, 2008

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