I was walking through the expo at the TechEd conference in Los Angeles last week and was happy to run into my friends from Acresso, makers of InstallShield and AdminStudio.

image  Acresso Software just announced that they have a new beta capability in InstallShield to develop applications in the Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) format. Companies that are rolling out application virtualization can now create applications in both traditional and virtual formats using InstallShield. Acresso’s customers are beta testing now and the general release will be later this year. My friends also tell me that from their beta survey, 50% of beta users are interested in developing applications for virtual formats. This tells me that developers are seeing the value and the direction of application formats.

The latest InstallShield beta allows users to leverage their existing InstallShield project files to build both their traditional MSI based installation, and at the same time natively build an App-V package. At build time, InstallShield is able to translate and map the App-V package format because of the intimate development relationship with Microsoft, without the use of the sequencer or clean image. All the developer needs to do is simply check a box and BANG! the build process produces the App-V SFT file. Without altering the build process, InstallShield extends both the MSI and App-V package formats. This to me is huge because so many ISV’s have seen the need to repackage their application separately using the App-V Sequencer as a gate to supporting the format.

If you are reading this blog then chances are you are well aware of InstallShield. The guys from Acresso tell me that over 71,000 developers build their applications with it. The stats on this blog put the readership at 70,000 developers per month, so some math says there are 1,000 of you who use InstallShield but don’t read this blog. So tell your friends. J

I have been addressing the subject of ISV’s supporting their applications in the App-V format for some time now. While I have had some great successes with ISV’s issuing support statements this integration from Acresso makes it possible for both the in house developer and the 3rd party ISV to embrace the App-V format as the standard virtual application platform. Allowing developers to produce the App-V SFT file natively will not only benefit the ISV because their customers will be able to deploy multiple versions of their product on one system but their customers time to deploy will be cut dramatically. Not to mention the ISV I spoke with in Raleigh NC who wanted to use App-V on their build systems to test multiple version of their software on a single box.

Acresso is one of my well managed partners in the System Center Alliance program and I have been working closely with them for the better part of a year. It is great to see our partners start building on top of App-V as a platform for virtualization. One of the benefits Acresso has leveraged through their membership in SCA is a close working relationship with our product groups. This is emphasized by last month’s announcement regarding the latest version of AdminStudio, Acresso’s enterprise application repackaging product. AdminStudio now supports App-V as well. Whether physical or virtual, applications need to be created and deployed with performance and quality in mind.

Kudos to Acresso for this killer advancement for developers everywhere. If you are an ISV and would like to know more about the System Center Alliance please visit: http://www.microsoft.com/systemcenter/en/us/default.aspx

Sean Donahue

Senior Program Manager System Center Alliances