This lesson discusses Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization, a technology available
from Microsoft that allows applications that would otherwise conflict or not run on a terminal
server to be virtualized and served to client computers over the network. This technology differs
from the RemoteApp presentation virtualization technology covered in Chapter 7, “Planning
Terminal Services and Application Deployment,” because the application executes on the
client rather than executing on the server with the visual output being displayed on the client.
After this lesson, you will be able to:
■ Understand the benefits of application virtualization.
■ Plan the deployment of application virtualization.
■ Understand the components necessary for the deployment of Microsoft SoftGrid
Estimated lesson time: 40 minutes
Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization
Instead of creating a separate partitioned space for the entire operating system, Microsoft SoftGrid
Application Virtualization (SoftGrid) creates a separate partitioned space for a specific application
when it is run on a SoftGrid client. This allows applications that would otherwise be
incompatible with each other to execute concurrently. For example, if it was necessary in your
organization to run two versions of an application on the same Windows Vista computer at
the same time, you could use SoftGrid to ensure that there were no conflicts between them.
Similarly, if it was necessary in your environment to deploy two versions of the same application
using RemoteApp, which was covered in Chapter 7, you would need to use two separate
terminal servers and hope that the users in your organization remembered which terminal
server to connect to when they needed to run a specific version of the application. This is
because, generally speaking, if you install two versions of the same application on the same terminal
server, you will run into configuration problems and conflicts. Applications deployed
through SoftGrid can share data with locally installed applications, although they cannot perform
complex interactions beyond file associations, cut-and-paste, and OLE integration. If
your organization uses applications that require more complex integration, it will be necessary
to use SoftGrid to deploy applications within a sequenced group called a suite. In a suite configuration,
a group of applications runs within the same silo. Silos are discussed later in this lesson.
Applications deployed through SoftGrid can be executed on client computers that have the
Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Desktop agent installed. The agent functions
like VM software, although instead of locally hosting a virtualized operating system, it hosts a
virtualized application that is streamed from a computer that has Microsoft System Center
Virtual Application Server installed. It is also possible to install Microsoft SoftGrid Application
380 Chapter 8 Server and Application Virtualization
Virtualization for Terminal Services, which allows you to deploy multiple versions of the same
application, or applications, that conflict from a single terminal server or terminal server farm.
These applications are streamed to the terminal server from the computer with Microsoft System
Center Virtual Application Server installed, as shown in Figure 8-5. A big advantage of SoftGrid
is that it allows applications that cannot normally be deployed through Terminal Services to
be deployed in this manner.
Figure 8-5 Streaming applications using SoftGrid
MORE INFO Terminal Services and Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization
To learn more about how Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization works with Terminal Services,
You should deploy Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization in your environment when
you need to do the following:
■ Run multiple versions of the same application on a local client as the silos, ensuring that
the differing versions of the applications will not conflict. This is especially useful in
application development environments where different versions of the same application
need to be tested simultaneously.
■ Deploy applications that would normally conflict to the same client.
■ Deploy multiple versions of the same application from the same terminal server.
■ Deploy applications that are not compatible with Terminal Services from terminal servers.
When Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Terminal Services is
installed on a terminal server, you can deploy applications that are incompatible with
■ Exert greater control over which users can execute specific applications. Each time a user
attempts to execute an application, SoftGrid will query Active Directory Domain Services
(AD DS) to verify that the user has been authorized to use that application. Audit-based
license tracking and strict license enforcement are built into SoftGrid and can be configured
to ensure that your organization remains compliant with its application licensing
Terminal Server with
for Terminal Services
Client computer with
for Desktops installed
Lesson 2: Planning Application Virtualization 381
MORE INFO SoftGrid Application Virtualization TechCenter
You can learn more about Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization and how you can plan for
the deployment of this technology in your environment at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us
Planning the Deployment of Application Virtualization
Planning the deployment of SoftGrid for an organization requires understanding the available
components and how they interact with one another. A Microsoft Application Virtualization
deployment has the following components:
■ SoftGrid Sequencer The sequencer is used to package an existing application so it can
be deployed through SoftGrid. This component can be installed on the Virtual Application
server or deployed separately. Generally it is necessary to have only a single sequencer
because this component is used only when preparing applications for their deployment
to the Microsoft System Center Virtual Application server.
■ Microsoft System Center Virtual Application Server This server maintains application
packages and streams parts of the application to the client using Real-Time Transport
Protocol (RTP) as needed. After parts of the application are transmitted to the client, the
components are cached and do not need to be retransmitted when the application is
used again. This server also handles authentication and licensing. High availability
should be achieved by load balancing identical Microsoft System Center Virtual Application
servers. This server must be a member of an AD DS forest.
MORE INFO Application virtualization white paper
To learn about application virtualization, consult the application virtualization white paper at
■ SoftGrid Data Store This component maintains application information in a SQL Server
database. It is possible to use SQL Server 2005 Express to support the SoftGrid data
store, although enterprise organizations will want to use SQL Server 2005 or 2008 to store
this data. This component can be located on the same server as the Virtual Application
Server component or located on another computer.
■ SoftGrid Management console This component manages the SoftGrid infrastructure.
Like other consoles, it can be used to remotely manage SoftGrid from an administrator’s
workstation or used directly when logged on to the System Center Virtual Application
■ SoftGrid Client for Desktops Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Desktops
client can be installed on Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional, Windows XP Professional,
and Windows Vista. This software is necessary if the client computer is going to execute
382 Chapter 8 Server and Application Virtualization
a SoftGrid application directly. This client software can be deployed to client operating
systems using traditional application deployment methods. Microsoft SoftGrid Application
Virtualization for Terminal Services can be installed on Windows 2000 Server/Advanced
Server, Windows Server 2003 with Terminal Services installed, or Windows Server 2008
with the Terminal Services role installed. When client computers access SoftGrid applications
using a terminal server, they need only RDP client software. It is not necessary to
install the SoftGrid desktop client in this situation.
MORE INFO SoftGrid server capacity
To determine the number of Virtual Application servers required for an enterprise environment
that uses SoftGrid, consult the following TechNet article: http://technet.microsoft.com
SoftGrid Branch Office Deployments
When planning the deployment of SoftGrid in branch office environments, you should ensure
that each branch office has its own Virtual Application server. This is primarily because WAN
links are too slow to support the streaming of application data to client computers. In some
cases, there will be enough bandwidth from a central location to a branch office to support a
Terminal Services session, and using the SoftGrid Terminal Services component on a local terminal
server might be the best application deployment solution. Alternatively, if there are only
a few clients, you might Cthem to access terminal servers across the Internet by connecting
to a TS Gateway server located on the screened subnet at your organization’s datacenter
In most branch office deployment scenarios, SQL Server Express should be deployed on the
computer hosting the Virtual Application Server role unless an existing SQL Server 2005 or
SQL Server 2008 instance is also present in the branch office environment.
SoftGrid is not currently able to distribute packages intelligently across WAN links. Plans for
the rollout of newly sequenced to branch office Virtual Application servers should leverage
existing Windows Server 2008 replication tools like DFS. Once they are replicated out to the
branch offices, the SoftGrid administrator can configure the local Virtual Application servers
with the new SoftGrid packages.
MORE INFO Branch office configuration guide
To learn more about the deployment of SoftGrid in branch office environments, consult the following
TechNet Web page: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-au/library/bb608287.aspx.
Lesson 2: Planning Application Virtualization 383
MORE INFO SoftGrid virtual lab
To learn more about Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization, you should take the following
TechNet Virtual Lab that is available on Microsoft’s Web site: http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI
PRACTICE Planning Application Virtualization
You are being retained as a consultant for the development of an application virtualization
strategy for Contoso, Ltd. Contoso is a large corporation with offices located throughout Australia.
As an enterprise administrator, it is your role to design an operating system virtualization
strategy. Contoso’s head office is in Melbourne and has 15,000 employees. Contoso has
remote offices in Sydney, Adelaide, and Brisbane, each with approximately 5,000 employees.
Each remote office is connected to the head office through a leased line WAN.
Approximately 75 percent of the client computers at Contoso have Windows XP Professional
SP3 installed. The rest of the client computers at Contoso have Windows Vista Enterprise with
SP1 installed. All servers at Contoso have been upgraded to Windows Server 2008.
Contoso is dependent on four line-of-business applications. After these applications were
recently patched to deal with several important security issues, it was found that when two or
more of these applications run concurrently on a Windows XP or Windows Vista computer,
a conflict occurs that causes the computer to experience a STOP error. After further testing of
these applications, you have found that two of these applications cannot be installed on a
Windows Server 2008 computer with the Terminal Services role deployed. The other two
applications can be installed on a terminal server, but the server will encounter a STOP error
if any single user executes these applications concurrently.
Almost all users in the Contoso environment will need access to two or more of these applications
to perform their daily tasks, and the company’s compliance auditors consider rolling
back to the unpatched versions of the applications unacceptable. At present, users have been
instructed to execute only one application at a time, but there is a growing need to be able to
run them concurrently and to cut and paste data between these programs.
Additionally, several groups of users in the organization telecommute. Management wants
these users to be able to access these applications while telecommuting, but it will be necessary
to ensure that these users’ computer updates and antivirus and spyware definitions are
up-to-date before they are granted access to the organizational network. Management would
prefer any proposed solution to work without deploying a virtual private network (VPN) or
dial-up–based remote access solution.
Finally, any solution that you plan to deploy at Contoso should be fault-tolerant and should be
able to survive the loss of a single server.
384 Chapter 8 Server and Application Virtualization
Exercise Planning a Virtualized Application Deployment
In this exercise, you will review the business and technical requirements to plan a virtualized
application deployment for Contoso, Ltd.
1. What aspects of Contoso’s operation strongly indicate a necessity to use an application
deployment strategy that leverages Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization over
other application deployment alternatives?
❑ Several line-of-business applications conflict and cause STOP errors when they are
run concurrently on a terminal server or on a client computer.
❑ Several applications cannot be installed on a terminal server using the standard
application deployment method.
❑ Using Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization allows these applications to
be installed and execute concurrently on a Windows Server 2008 computer with
the Terminal Services role installed without conflicts arising due to the virtualized
nature of the execution environment.
2. What plans should you make to ensure that Contoso staff at the head and branch offices
are able to access important line-of-business applications if a server and WAN links fail
completely during a peak business period?
❑ At each branch office, plan the installation of the following:
● A network load-balanced Microsoft System Center Virtual Application cluster
so that SoftGrid applications can be delivered to local terminal servers.
These servers need to be local because SoftGrid applications shouldn’t be
streamed over WAN links. A load-balanced cluster is necessary to meet the
availability requirements. SQL Server Express should be deployed on each
● Configure a two-node network load-balanced terminal server farm. Install
Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Terminal Services on each
terminal server. Load balanced terminal servers are necessary to meet availability
● Client computers at each branch office need to be able to connect only to the
terminal server; they do not require the deployment of Microsoft SoftGrid
Application Virtualization for Desktops.
3. What plans should you make to allow for the Contoso managers who are telecommuting?
❑ Plan the installation of a TS Gateway server on the screened subnet at Contoso
HQ. Instruct telecommuting managers to connect to this server over the Internet.
❑ Plan the configuration of a TS Gateway server NAP policy to ensure that connecting
computers’ System Health Validators (SHVs) report on the compliance level of
software updates and antivirus and anti-spyware definitions. Configure the TS
Gateway server to allow access to only the terminal servers at the HQ site.
Lesson 2: Planning Application Virtualization 385
■ Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization allows applications to be virtualized. This
has the advantage of allowing applications that might conflict with each other to be run
■ Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization differs from Terminal Services in that
applications execute on the client rather than on the server.
■ You prepare applications for deployment through SoftGrid by using a SoftGrid sequencer.
■ A server with Microsoft System Center Virtual Application Server installed is used to
stream applications to clients using RTP. High availability should be provided through
the use of Network Load Balancing.
■ The SoftGrid datastore is a SQL Server database. If no SQL Server 2005 or SQL Server
2008 database is present in the network environment during the installation of
Microsoft System Center Virtual Application Server, it is possible to deploy SQL Server
Express from the Microsoft System Center Virtual Application Server installation media.
■ You can deploy SoftGrid applications to Terminal Services clients by installing Microsoft
SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Terminal Services on a terminal server computer.
When configured in this way, the application is streamed to the terminal server, which
then presents it in a traditional way to the client.
You can use the following questions to test your knowledge of the information in Lesson 2,
“Planning Application Virtualization.” The questions are also available on the companion CD
if you prefer to review them in electronic form.
Answers to these questions and explanations of why each answer choice is correct or incorrect are
located in the “Answers” section at the end of the book.
1. Which of the following high-availability solutions should you plan to deploy to ensure
that the Microsoft System Center Virtual Application Server component of your application
virtualization is still available if a critical failure occurs in the hardware hosting the
A. Deploy two servers in DNS round robin configuration.
B. Deploy two servers in failover cluster configuration.
C. Deploy two servers in Network Load Balancing configuration.
D. Deploy two servers in a terminal server farm configuration.
386 Chapter 8 Server and Application Virtualization
2. Which of the following SoftGrid components is used to convert conventional applications
so that they can be deployed through Microsoft System Center Virtual Application
Server as SoftGrid applications for desktop client computers?
A. SoftGrid data store
B. SoftGrid sequencer
C. SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Terminal Services
D. SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Desktops
3. Your organization is about to open a branch office location in a suburb on the other side
of the city from where the HQ site is located. You already use SoftGrid to deploy several
mission-critical applications to desktop computers at the HQ site. You plan to do the
same for the new branch office location. Which of the following plans should you make
to extend the existing Application Virtualization infrastructure to the new branch office?
(Choose two. Each correct answer forms a part of the solution.)
A. Plan to deploy the Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Clients software
to all client computers at the new branch office.
B. Plan to deploy Hyper-V at the new branch office.
C. Plan to deploy SCVMM at the new branch office.
D. Plan to deploy a Microsoft System Center Virtual Application Server at the branch
E. Plan to deploy Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization for Terminal Services
at the branch office site.
4. In which of the following situations must you plan to deploy Microsoft SoftGrid Application
Virtualization for Terminal Services?
A. You want to deploy Microsoft Office 2007 applications using RemoteApp from a
single terminal server.
B. You want to deploy both Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office XP to Windows
Vista client computers.
C. You want to deploy Microsoft Office 2007 applications using RemoteApp from a
terminal server farm.
D. You want to deploy Microsoft Office 2007 and Microsoft Office XP from a terminal
Lesson 2: Planning Application Virtualization 387
5. You work as a systems administrator for a software development company. During the
application development phase, it is necessary to deploy several versions of the same
software from the same terminal server. When you attempt to install the applications
side by side, a conflict arises. Which of the following solutions should you plan to use?
A. Deploy the applications using TS RemoteApp.
B. Deploy a TS Gateway Server.
C. Deploy Microsoft Application Virtualization.
D. Deploy the applications using TS Web Access.
388 Chapter 8 Review
To further practice and reinforce the skills you learned in this chapter, you can perform the following
■ Review the chapter summary.
■ Complete the case scenarios. These scenarios set up real-world situations involving the
topics of this chapter and ask you to create a solution.
■ Complete the suggested practices.
■ Take a practice test.
■ Servers that do not have large hardware footprints can be virtualized and hosted on a
Windows Server 2008 64-bit computer running the Hyper-V role.
■ SCVMM should be deployed when an administrator must manage large numbers of VMs.
■ Microsoft Application Virtualization allows applications that could not otherwise be
installed on a terminal server, or coexist on a terminal server, to be streamed to clients.
This is achieved through application virtualization.
In the following case scenario, you will apply what you have learned about Terminal Services
and application and server virtualization. You can find answers to these questions in the
“Answers” section at the end of this book.
Case Scenario: Tailspin Toys Server Consolidation
Tailspin Toys has an aging deployment of computers running Windows 2000 Server. Management
has decided to transition to a Windows Server 2008 infrastructure. One goal of the transition
project is to reduce the number of physical servers and to retire all existing server
hardware, which is now more than five years old. You have been brought in as a consultant to
assist in the development of plans for server consolidation at a Tailspin Toys branch office. Each
site has a unique set of needs and applications. The characteristics of each site are as follows:
1. The Wangaratta site currently hosts a Windows 2000 Server domain controller that also
hosts the DHCP and DNS services. A Windows 2000 Server computer hosts a SQL
Server 2000 database and two other servers, each of which hosts custom business applications.
These applications cannot be co-located with each other or with the SQL Server
2000 database. How could you minimize the number of physical servers using virtualization,
and what would the configuration of these servers be?
Chapter 8 Review 389
2. The Yarragon site currently hosts six terminal servers, each of which hosts a separate
business application. One of these applications uses a SQL Server 2005 database. These
applications cannot be co-located without causing problems on the host terminal servers.
Because the Yarragon site has only a small number of users, the hardware resources
of the terminal servers are underutilized. How can you minimize the number of terminal
servers required to support the staff at the Yarragon site?
To help you successfully master the exam objectives presented in this chapter, complete the
Windows Server Virtualization
Perform the following practice exercise.
■ Practice Obtain a 64-bit evaluation version of Windows Server 2008, and install it on a
computer and not within a virtual environment. Join this computer to the contoso.internal
domain. Install the Hyper-V role. Install a 64-bit evaluation version of Windows Server
2008 as a guest VM.
Download and install the System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2007 VHD file, and
join it to the contoso.internal domain. Use it to manage the newly installed Windows
Server 2008 computer that has the Hyper-V role installed. Use SCVMM 2007 to virtualize
MORE INFO Obtaining the SCVMM VHD
You can get the System Center Virtual Machine Manager VHD from the following Web site:
Plan Application Virtualization
Perform the following practice exercise.
■ Practice Tailspin Toys has its head office in Sydney, Australia, and branch offices in
Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, and Melbourne. All client computers at Tailspin Toys have
Windows XP Professional installed, and all domain controllers have Windows Server
2008 installed. Tailspin Toys uses five locally produced off-the-shelf software applications,
three of which are no longer actively maintained by the respective vendors but
which are still mission-critical to Tailspin Toys’ operations. Two of these applications
have recently been updated to deal with publicly disclosed security vulnerabilities.
These updates have caused problems on the client computers when these applications
390 Chapter 8 Review
were run concurrently with the three applications that are no longer actively maintained.
All applications need to run locally on users’ Windows XP Professional computers. Plan a
SoftGrid deployment. Include in your plans the necessary server infrastructure and
roles, client software deployment required at each site, and planned method of rolling
out updates. Your plan should minimize the number of virtualized applications.
Take a Practice Test
The practice tests on this book’s companion CD offer many options. For example, you can test
yourself on just one exam objective, or you can test yourself on all the 70-647 certification
exam content. You can set up the test so that it closely simulates the experience of taking a certification
exam, or you can set it up in study mode so that you can look at the correct answers
and explanations after you answer each question.
MORE INFO Practice tests
For details about all the practice test options available, see “How to Use the Practice Tests” in this