Packaging Methodology

Cloudhouse’s five stage packaging methodology is designed to minimize  the time and effort spent creating a Compatibility Container to enable  an application that is unable to run on one or more versions of Windows  e.g. Windows 10, 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-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. Win XP;
  4. Compatibility configuration explores and resolves any incompatibilities 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.

Requirements

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

Stage 1 Pre-Packaging

Expected outcome is a working instance of the application running on the supported OS.

Cloudhouse knowledge level = None required.

  1. Require a Reference Machine  with a known working instance of the application - this can be a clone,  a restored back up, or production machine that the Customer wishes to  create a Container for.
  2. Confirmed that 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.
    The  ONLY time you can use an x64 machine is if the application, and all its  components, are known to be a native x64 bit app IF in doubt use x86.
  4. The install media and documentation required to install the application so 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 that there are problems, or unknowns in the application discovery process.

Stage 2 Install Capture

Expected outcome is 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 & install the Cloudhouse Auto Packager.
  3. Create a Container using Install Capture and the media & installation described at Stage 1 - Step 3. 

Problems  completing this stage suggest incomplete packaging, or 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 Test (Supported OS)

Expected outcome is a Container that is known to work on OS that is it 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 that it is running under the AAV process.
  2. If the application fails to start,
    1. Take a snapshot of the Packaging VM, this may be useful for referring to later.
  3. Revert to base snapshot, and 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 start up  issues and ensure the required process runs under AAV before proceeding  to Stage 4.

Advisory

While  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 up in this  configuration will help ensure the application will start up on a clean  VM - for this reason Cloudhouse recommend spending time resolving  application start up issues on the clean Packaging VM and using the knowledge  of start up success, or failure as a guide to resolving application  issues on the clean VM. If you have problems resolving start up problems  then it may be helpful to revert to the snapshot taken at Step 2a).

Stage 4 Compatibility Configuration

Objective  is to take a Container that is known to work on the existing OS and  enable it to run on an incompatible OS e.g. Win 10. Note, Step 1 does  not require specialist Cloudhouse skills, if the Application just runs  in the Container then proceed directly to Step 5

Cloudhouse knowledge level = Advanced diagnostic and troubleshooting skills, includes familiarity of 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.

Step 5 Compatibility Testing

Expected outcome is 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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