Cloudhouse Packaging Methodology

25/05/2019 Cliff Hobbs

Cloudhouse’s five-stage packaging methodology is designed to minimise the time and effort spent creating a Cloudhouse Compatibility Container™ to enable an application unable to run on one or more older versions of Windows (such as Windows 10 or Server 2016), to run successfully on those platforms. 

The five-stage process is;

  1. Pre-packaging to ensure you have everything required to recreate a working instance of the application.
  2. Install and capture to create a Container that matches a reference machine running the application.
  3. Container testing on the supported OS to confirm the packaged application works as expected on the currently supported OS e.g. Windows XP.
  4. Compatibility configuration explores and resolves any incompatibilities in moving the application to the new OS e.g. Win 10.
  5. Compatibility testing to confirm the packaged application works on the unsupported OS e.g. Win 10.


  1. Auto Packager Pre-requisites have been met.
  2. The ability to create snapshots (requires a virtual packaging environment), or to be able to back up Virtual Machines.

Stage 1: Pre-packaging

Expected outcome: A working instance of the application running on the supported OS.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = None required.

  1. Requires a Reference Machine with a known working instance of the application. This can be a clone,  a restored back up, or a production machine the Customer wishes to create a Container for.
  2. Confirm the Packaging Requirements have been satisfied.
  3. A Packaging VM with an identical x86 version of the OS to the Reference Machine currently running the application. Use Windows XP instead of Windows Vista.
  4. The installation media and documentation required to install the application so that it matches the Reference Application.
  5. Install the application on the Packaging VM, noting any procedural or configuration differences from the documentation.
  6. Test the application installed during Step 4 to ensure it behaves correctly and in the same way as the Reference Application Step 1.

Problems completing this stage suggest there are problems or unknowns in the application discovery process.

Stage 2: Install and capture

Expected outcome: A Container for the application that matches the reference application.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = Basic, read documentation referenced in this Stage.

  1. Restore the Packaging VM to the base snapshot, or use a backup and restore to a known clean state.
  2. Download and install the Cloudhouse Auto Packager.
  3. Create a Container using Install Capture and the media and installation described in Step 3 of Stage 1.

Problems completing this stage suggest incomplete packaging or App Accelerator (AAV) features need to be enabled in configuration files which will increase the level of Cloudhouse knowledge required.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = Intermediate diagnostic and packaging skills including knowledge of the How to Articles on AAV feature switches.

Stage 3: Container testing (supported OS)

Expected outcome: A Container that is known to work on the OS it is currently supported on today.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = Basic, read documentation referenced in this Stage.

  1. Test the Container with the local application installed
    1. Launch the application under AAV.
    2. Confirm the application starts successfully, use Procmon (or similar) to confirm it is running under the AAV process.
  2. If the application fails to start, take a snapshot of the Packaging VM, which may be useful to refer to later on.
  3. Revert to base snapshot, then Deploy the Container to a clean Packaging VM to test the Container without the local application installed.
  4. Confirm the application starts successfully, resolve application startup issues and ensure the required process runs under AAV before proceeding to Stage 4.


Whilst it is helpful to establish whether or not the application works with the local application still installed (Step 1b), there is no guarantee that resolving problems with the application starting in this configuration will help ensure the application will start up on a clean VM.

For this reason, Cloudhouse recommends spending time resolving application startup issues on the clean Packaging VM and using the knowledge of startup success, or failure as a guide to resolving application issues on the clean VM. If you have problems resolving startup problems, it may be helpful to revert to the snapshot taken at Step 2a.

Stage 4: Compatibility configuration

Expected outcome: To take a Container known to work on the existing OS and enable it to run on an incompatible OS e.g. Win 10.


Step 1 does not require specialist Cloudhouse skills. If the Application just runs in the Container, proceed directly to Stage 5.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = Advanced diagnostic and troubleshooting skills, including familiarity with tools and utilities.

  1. Deploy and test the Container onto the new target OS e.g. Win 10.
  2. Troubleshoot and resolve startup problems by editing the XML configuration files.

Stage 5: Compatibility testing

Expected outcome: A Compatibility Container that has been tested on the target OS (e.g. Win 10) and can be passed to UAT.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = Basic, same as Stage 3.

  1. Restore the Packaging VM and retest the Container until compatibility issues have been resolved.
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