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No, App-V is not EOL in April 2026

App-V-in-a-glas

No, App-V is not EOL in April 2026

a few weeks ago, a customer wrote to me saying that App-V is to go out of support in 2026 after all. 2026? Where did the new date come from? There was the problem that many thought App-V was going out of support in 2025 because the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) had been announced for that date. The MDOP includes, among other things, the App-V infrastructure for distributing App-V packages to endpoints. But the App-V client itself was integrated into the operating system starting with Windows 10 1607 (at that time also in Windows Server 2016). App-V packages can also be distributed by other means (PowerShell) or another deployment method like Endpoint Configuration Manager. So nothing to worry about.

Sebastian Gernert has already written a blog post on the App-V topic in 2019, in which he addresses some of the points raised. In his blog post "But what about App-V?": Sebastians Blog

Sebastian explains the importance of App-V and its integration into the operating system. He emphasizes that the App-V client has been integrated into the operating system since Windows 10 1607 and is therefore subject to the Windows lifecycle. This means that support for the App-V client will continue to be provided in accordance with the respective Windows lifecycle. Sebastian also emphasizes that despite the end of MDOP and the shift in focus to MSIX, App-V remains an important technology for application virtualization and many customers continue to rely on it. 

App-V EOL

Now a new current "end date" for the MDOP has been announced somewhat unattractively:

This text says that "Application Virtualization" (App-V) will reach its End-of-Life (EOL) in April 2026. This means that no more updates, patches or support for this technology will be offered after that date. Instead, the author recommends looking at Azure Virtual Desktop with MSIX App Attach as a possible alternative to application virtualization. Clicking on that very link, however, again lands us at MDOP: Link

I've been working in the App-V environment since the beginning and this misconception in particular has killed many a project. When an "expert" at a customer says App-V is EOL and you should rather do it with MSIX, that is simply wrong. MSIX may be suitable for many things, but it still has compatibility issues that have long been solved in App-V.

Still, I wanted to get some clarity. So I checked with Sebastian, with whom we have organized several "Modern Application Deployment" (M.A.D.) events together. He confirmed that the App-V client, for example, will be supported in Windows Server 2022 until October 2031 (Windows Lifecycle). The April 2026 date refers only to the MDOP components. However, Sebastian also said that after 2026 there may be other operating systems from Microsoft that no longer support App-V. I personally don't like to believe in this, because many big customers use App-V. So in my opinion, they can't get out until MSIX becomes much more compatible. For compatibility issues with MSIX, see MSIX_Report_Card_22H2 by Tim Mangan.
Sebastian further pointed out that there is no official clarification from Microsoft yet, which leads to uncertainty among customers. Some customers are deciding to move to MSIX or other solutions, while others are more relaxed and don't want to make decisions for several years. Sebastian recommends customers to act prudently and only invest resources and money in alternative solutions when it is really necessary.  

App-V and Azure

 It is important for me to emphasize that App-V is also useful for Azure. However, it is confusing that Microsoft refers to Azure Virtual Desktop and MSIX App Attach rather than continuing with the App-V client. For example, in the case that a package doesn't work with MSIX, perhaps a workaround "package" can be built with App-V.

Summary

Questions around the support of the App-V client should now be somewhat resolved. It is important that customers understand Microsoft's actual plans and act accordingly. The App-V Client will not be taken out of support in 2026, but will be subject to the Windows Lifecycle, which applies until 2031 for Windows Server 2022, for example. Customers should act prudently and only invest in alternative solutions when it is really necessary.
In the meantime, it is advisable to keep an eye on the progress of MSIX and other technologies and pay attention to how the market develops. As long as App-V continues to be supported and compatibility is guaranteed, there is no need to rush. I hope Microsoft will issue an official clarification on this matter to avoid confusion and uncertainty among customers. It remains to be seen whether Microsoft will do so.
Finally, customers should also keep an eye on possible compatibility issues with App-V and share available resources and community to find best possible solutions. Sebastian Gernert's blog post is a helpful starting point here to dive deeper into the topic and gain a better understanding of the actual situation around the App-V client and its support.
For my part, I cannot look into the future. We are already successfully running MSIX trainings and projects. There remains a heterogeneous landscape in application virtualisation. Ultimately, when Day X comes, we can confidently look to new solutions like MSIX to support our customers.

It is important that we, as experts in application virtualisation, are open to new developments and are always aware of the latest trends and technologies. At the same time, it is essential that we provide honest and objective advice to our customers so that they can make informed decisions about their IT infrastructure.
In the coming years, it will be interesting to see how MSIX evolves and whether it will be able to adopt the features and compatibility solutions proven in App-V. Until then, organisations should continue to maintain and optimise their existing App-V implementations while following developments in MSIX and other application virtualisation technologies.
Collaboration and knowledge transfer within the community is also critical to finding the best possible solutions and workarounds to known issues. Participating in events such as the Modern Application Deployment (M.A.D.) events organised by Sebastian Gernert and other experts is an excellent way to share the latest knowledge and best practices.

Ultimately, the responsibility lies with all of us, both experts and customers, to stay informed and make the right decisions for our respective IT environments. This is the only way we can ensure that the future of application virtualisation is successful and sustainable.

Andreas 

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Saturday, February 24, 2024

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