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Managing Multiple Java Versions with FSLogix Apps

 

Embracing Legacy Java Apps with Acceptance and Happiness

In 2013 one of our customers told us that they were using FSLogix to isolate versions of Java.  I was really surprised anyone was still using Java, but as it turns out, most of our customers are.  A lot of former Java apps have been converted to HTML 5 but not everything, and for those that remain, managing multiple Java versions continues to be a challenge.  To make things even more challenging, some ‘mission critical' Java apps are managed by third parties and outside the control of IT.  It's like the Perfect Storm of IT Pain.

When we first learned our image masking was being used for Java, we also learned our UI was (to put it politely) "sub-optimal" for that use case.  The same initial customer who told use they were using FSLogix Apps for Java redirection also gave us the "three click" challenge, that it shouldn't take any more than three clicks to setup Java redirection.  Sure, that shouldn't be hard, NOT.  It's actually a pretty big challenge, considering the amount of sequencing and packaging that goes with traditional application virtualization, and the volumes of package variations typically needed to support all the browser versions, Java versions, and... plugins!

Fast forward to version 2.0 of FSLogix Apps and we think we're pretty close to an amazingly simple (if I do say so myself) Java redirection solution that works without packaging or sequencing, and automatically selects the ‘admin approved' version of Java for the end user.  This works for web apps or executables that require a particular version of Java and lets everything else default to your most currently approved version.  Using our core image masking, we ‘hide' all of the versions of Java except the version your want your URL or app to see - pretty simple.

How are people addressing this today?

IT uses several methods to provide enterprise support for multiple Java versions, from Presentation Server and VDI, application virtualization, and (OMGerd!) leaving users on the older version that maintains app compatibility - the latter being a pretty serious security hole.

Presentation Server and VDI are pretty straightforward and keep the misbehaving app in its own little world, but at the cost losing interoperability with other desktop apps and wasting server resources.

More commonly, virtualized browser packages are created with products like Thinapp, AppV, and Symantec Workspace Virtualization (aka SVS).  These packages contain the application or browser, plugins, and specific version of Java.  Aside from the sometimes extensive and complex sequencing, the sheer number of packages required to support a typical enterprise should make this the least favorite approach, but it's really the primary thing most shops are doing.

Enter Java Redirection

As of version 1.3, Java redirection became a core feature of FSLogix Apps that allowed all applications and websites to run with the version of Java they need to properly operate - and all within the same client system (like Xenapp, VDI, or physical).  As of the posting of this article we're currently shipping our (award winning) version 2.0.  After administrative setup is complete, end users automatically use the right Java version without having to do anything special - just run their app or go to their normal web sites - and you can run a different version of Java in every tab.  Java redirection allows all required Java versions to be installed in the client environment, but only executed or visible as-needed.  This process is also transparent to the client operating system, and actually does integrate seamlessly with all Windows based infrastructure.

FSLogix Apps Java redirection is currently supporting Windows Vista SP1 and later, and Windows Server 2008 and later, with Internet Explorer 8 and later.  Supported Java versions are any version starting with 1.4.2.  Since FSLogix Apps uses visibility control and redirection it's much lighter weight than traditional app-virt, but will even control visibility of virtualized apps.

FSLogix Apps runs as an agent in the Windows client environment, and is fully compatible with all Windows based virtual desktop, cloud desktop, and RDSH presentation products.

Java redirection is included with all shipping versions of FSLogix Apps. You can request an evaluation copy of FSLogix Apps via the request form on FSLogix.com, or by calling (678) 871-9647.  You can also request a free customized online demo, or setup assistance from an FSLogix Tech Ninja.

If your organization is still dealing with multiple Java versions you should download our latest eval.  Aside from sequencing, server silos and security problems, all you really have to lose is wasted man-hours and unhappy users.

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About the Author

Brad Rowland is the CMO of FSLogix where he oversees all aspects of corporate marketing and communications.  Brad has over twenty-five years IT and software industry experience, from IT management and datacenter application design, to senior leadership roles in global product management and marketing.  He has a proven track record of successfully bringing new products to key markets and verticals.

Prior to to FSLogix, Brad ran product marketing for a diverse set of leading product teams at Symantec, including the Trust Services SSL and Website Security Solutions, Mobile Security and Management, and Endpoint Management and Virtualization.  At Symantec he also lead the global marketing integration for the acquisitions of AppStream, nSuite, Odyssey, Nukona, and Verisign Japan.  Before joining Symantec Brad was vice-president of marketing and product management at AppStream, Director of global product management at Wyse Technology, and Director of thin client computing at Southwestern Bell Mobile Services.

Published Wednesday, June 17, 2015 6:22 AM by David Marshall
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