Frequently Asked Questions About AppZero


What is AppZero?

AppZero is an application migration tool that facilitates moving applications from one host (server) to another. AppZero identifies and copies all executables, settings, and data associated with production applications from one Windows Server to another. AppZero can also "up-level" applications to a newer Windows Server Operating System.

How does AppZero differ from P2V or V2V (physical to virtual or virtual to virtual machine) migrations?

AppZero treats the application, rather than the whole machine, as the unit of measure. Instead of migrating whole server images, AppZero allows you to migrate applications and their data. This approach allows for migration and modernization in the one step.

What apps are supported by AppZero?

Given the tens of thousands of custom and COTS apps installed in the enterprise today, no AppZero supported list exists. However, AppZero is a general purpose Windows server application migration tool capable of migrating the vast majority of apps installed in the enterprise today.

Can I migrate an application from an older Windows OS to a newer, more modern one, for example from WS2003?

Yes. Operating system modernization is a key advantage of AppZero. AppZero will identify and migrate applications from Windows 2000, 2003, and 2008 to 2012, and any combination in an up-level direction therein.

Are there applications that cannot be migrated with AppZero?
Not supported:
  •      LDAP (network services)
  •      16 bit apps 
  •      Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint 
  •      Windows to Linux 
  •      System level tools (debuggers)
  •      IE migrations
  •      .NET 1.1
 A challenge, but not impossible:
  •      Security Agents
  •      Applications with hardware device drivers
 ISV appellation, homegrown/bespoke and all others are great candidates for AppZero.
How are 32-bit applications handled when migrating to a 64-bit operating system such as Windows Server 2012?

Every Windows Server operating system has 32-bit functionality as well, even the 64-bit operating systems. AppZero simply leverages that subsystem of the destination OS.

How are specific identity related characteristics (server name, IP address, etc.) that an app may "internalize" (config files, registry, etc.) handled via migration?

AppZero leverages a feature called "Config On The Fly" to monitor for occurrences of this kind of data and change it to values suitable for the destination host. This can happen either at the time of first migration, or whenever you would like to re-host an application on an additional machine.

What is "dissolve" and why is it important?

When you first migrate an application with AppZero it is self-contained within a Virtual Application Appliance (VAA). The application is "virtualized" allowing it to remain very portable from one to host to another, or for VAAs to be self-contained for troublesome application that may conflict with one another. If these things aren't important in your situation, dissolve will install the application back to the underlying operating system in a one-way fashion. This will break the reliance on the AppZero virtualization runtime and the application will appear as your traditionally installed applications.

How does AppZero compare to Microsoft App-V?

While AppZero does virtualize applications through the migration process, it is not a standalone virtualization platform. AppZero discovers and migrates production applications in your datacenter. Once migrated, applications can be "dissolved" and AppZero can be uninstalled from the target machine.

How does AppZero compare to VMware Thinapp?

While AppZero does virtualize applications through the migration process, it is not a standalone virtualization platform. AppZero discovers and migrates production applications in the datacenter. Once migrated, applications can be "dissolved" and AppZero can be uninstalled.

How much of an app do you need to exercise for it to migrate successfully?

A high level understanding of application functionality is beneficial when migrating an application, but not necessary. Exercising the services and the entry points of an application (shortcuts present on the source server) is generally sufficient.

How do you migrate applications at scale?

AppZero has a toolset and methodology for application migration at scale.  The PACE (Predictive Application CE) is a tool that will automate the process of creating Virtual Application Appliances (VAAs) across many hosts in a single operation.  

How is the AppZero licensed?

AppZero is licensed per source server per year.  Talk to sales to find out more!

 
Do I have to install AppZero on my source machine?

No. AppZero has no agent or software to install on the source server.  AppZero gets installed on the destination host and the process is driven from there.  If you’re migrating an application workload that involves MS Internet Information Services then MS Web Deploy is required on the source and destination servers and is the only exception to the rule.

 
What firewall / port requirements does AppZero have?

AppZero uses the SMB protocol (Windows File Sharing), which runs over port 445.

 
Can AppZero be used in a Citrix / Terminal Server environment?

Yes.  As long as applications on the source server are traditionally installed and not already encapsulated in a virtualization or redirection layer, AppZero can be used to migrate those to other Citrix environments or to standalone servers.

 
What versions of Windows Server are supported by AppZero?

Windows 2000 (source only), Windows 2003, Windows 2008/2008 R2, Windows 2012/2012 R2 - all 32 and 64 bit versions.

 
Does AppZero have a similar product for Linux?

AppZero does not currently ship a Linux product equivalent to the Windows product.  Watch this space for more news on that front soon.

 
How does AppZero know where to put application components coming from a much older operating system?

AppZero understands fundamental windows application concepts like DCOM and Windows side-by-side, and knows how the implementation of these concepts varies for each Windows Server release.  In this way AppZero can discover and copy an application component in the way that the target or destination OS expects.

Is there performance overhead associated with running an application in a virtualized state?

There is.  That overhead is somewhere between 1% and 15%.  Applications that are compute-orientated would be closer to 1%; applications with heavy file IO will be closer to 15%.  Think of applications such as a compiler that creates, deletes lots of files as being closer to 15%.  Applications with more modest file IO like most business applications will be closer to 5%.  Remember - the choice to run virtualized or native (via the dissolve functionality) is always yours.

What functions are available on the Command Line Interface (CLI?)

All creation and administrative functions are fully scriptable.  We support complete automation that allows you to do any do any of our operations and all functionality through a command line interface.  So you can integrate with solutions for release and configuration management using any deployment methodology you have in place.  All can talk to AppZero on the command line for automation without any manual intervention.  We didn’t invent the language – it’s the normal command line of the OS so all of your tools will work for ease of integration with your existing management tools and processes.

Is AppZero product documentation available online?

Yes - please find AppZero documentation at http://docs.appzero.com

 
Can I automate actions done through the GUI of AppZero? I'd like to integrate it into my automation framework.

Yes.  Everything you do through a graphical user interface with AppZero you can also do on the command line.  All command line utilities can be run by themselves.  For a full list of options, see the AppZero product documentation which outlines the command line tool usage in detail - http://docs.appzero.com

 
Could I migrate two tiers that are co-located on a single host (source server) to two independent destination servers?

Yes.  Building independent Virtual Application Appliances (VAAs) for each tier of an application affords you the flexibility to migrate those to two different hosts. Config On The Fly functionality will allow you to ensure that identity related application settings are resolved appropriately on each destination machine.

 
When an application is running in the context of a virtual application appliance (VAA), are the changes that it is making from a file system perspective self-contained in that VAA or are they present on the Server OS itself?

The VAA not only contains the application but also its associated data files. Therefore, all changes made by the application are contained within the VAA.

Which hypervisors and/or cloud service provider APIs does AppZero support?

AppZero is a Windows application that is hypervisor-agnostic and cloud independent.   The usage of AppZero is driven from the destination machine using the AppZero software suite.  No ties to hypervisors or service APIs means that the approach is appropriate and valuable anywhere the Windows Server operating system exists.

What is the difference between a Virtual Application Appliance (VAA) and a Virtual Machine (VM)?

An AppZero VAA contains only an application and its related settings and data.  VAAs can be moved from host to host.  A virtual machine is a complete host (OS + all apps + full event logs, etc.) expressed as software.  A VAA is much smaller and more agile than a whole VM.

 
How does AppZero address the challenge of scaling applications in cloud environments?

The encapsulation of an application inside a Virtual Application Appliance (VAA) affords app portability since a VAA is simply a directory of files that the AppZero runtime interprets.  This makes it simple to provision additional cloud instances and to re-host an AppZero-prepared application.  Scaling out a web-serving tier, for example, is as easy as provisioning new instances and hosting your VAA multiple times.

Does AppZero address the challenge of application standardization?

Yes.  When an application is migrated from one machine to another - the resulting VAA or Virtual Application Appliance can be rolled out to additional hosts very simply.  This provides application consistency across multiple environments (think production to test/dev to QA).

 
When migrating IIS workloads do you copy IIS binaries (for example version 6 to version 8)?

No.  We leverage MS Web Deploy to aid in the provisioning of IIS itself and migrate all configuration, web content, security, and 3rd party plugins.  This allows the binaries to be appropriate for whatever server platform you are working with but to migrate everything else from one host to another - even in an up-level scenario.

 
How long does it take to migrate an application with AppZero?

Like any other migration method, AppZero depends on the speed of the network between the source and destination servers. Calculating time-to-migrate is always a factor of app size and network speed.  Fortunately with AppZero, we are copying only data specific to the selected application, rather than the entirety of all apps and the operating system.  Migrating applications with AppZero is significantly faster than moving VMs.