Software Virtualization (Thinstall/Altiris SVS)

Discussion in 'sandboxing & virtualization' started by [suave], Nov 25, 2006.

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  1. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

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    Yesterday I somehow found myself on this website -> http://www.thinstall.com

    It's really interesting.

    I want to know if anyone here has tried it?
    What are your experiences with it?
    Do you know of another software that can do the same thing?

    From my understanding, here is what thinstall does: You can create a standalone executable file of any program/software that can be used ony any PC without ever installing the program. Plus it runs the application in a virtualized sandbox so no modification to the system/registry occurs on the PC you run it on.

    Basically, it can make a "Portable" version of any software that can be used on any PC without leaving a trace that the software ever existed. No installation is needed either.

    I've been looking for something like this for a long time. Has anyone here used it? Does it really do what it claims? Is there any other software like this out there?

    :D :D :D
     
  2. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  3. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    wilbertnl! Altiris Software Virtualization Solution is really cool!

    Thanks for linking me to it!

    I played around with it for a few minutes and it seems really solid. I wonder if there is a way to make the *.vsa file (application layer) run on a different PC without needing to install anything. I'm going to dig deeper and see if I can figure it out.

    For now, it looks like it is the same thing as Thinstall (maybe even better with some extra features) but doesn't have the ability to run virtualized software on a PC that doesn't have Altiris SVS installed on it.

    I could be wrong though, I'll read the manual later tonight and see if it says anything about that. These are all a bunch of really cool software :D :D
     
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2006
  4. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Did you check their forum yet?

    I'm also getting more excited about this software...

    By the way, I'm quite sure that Thinstall needs to be installed too, before it can import and launch a packaged application.
     
  5. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Wow, I didn't even notice they had a forum! That makes it even better!

    Yeah but what I meant was that the actual "packaged application" (once it is created) can be launched on any PC even if that PC doesn't have Thinstall on it.

    Check this link: http://www.thinstall.com/sales/demo.php

    You can see a video of exactly how it works, plus you can download a "thinstalled" Firefox and OpenOffice2.04.

    From what I understand (and I could be wrong), Altiris SVS creates the virtualized software in a *.vsa file which can only be launched on a PC that has Altiris SVS on it. Whereas Thinstall creates the virtualized software in a *.exe file (and includes the thinstall software within it) letting it run as a standalone on any PC no matter if it has thinstall installed on it or not.
     
  6. Genady Prishnikov

    Genady Prishnikov Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Did you see the thinstall price? Over four grand!
     
  7. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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  8. EASTER.2010

    EASTER.2010 Guest

    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Download
    Welcome to the Altiris Download Center. Please enter your e-mail and select your product below.

    Note: Unless specified otherwise, all products listed below have a 30-day evaluation license.

    Did someone say free? Didn't have time to survey the whole site for a freeware version, so if you want to clarify the facts again, thanks.
     
  9. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Yeah there is a "free for personal use" version.

    Download Link

    Thanks wilbertnl for finding out about the free version :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
  10. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    On their website it says:
    "Pricing starts at $4,995 for the Thinstall Virtualization Suite and $39 per desktop for unlimited number of virtualized applications."

    I don't know what the $39 deal is, but if the price really is 5 thousand bucks then that's the biggest rip off I've ever seen. :blink:
     
  11. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    I looked at the websites, and I haven't figured out what I'd do with it.

    Wilbertnl, how would a single user make use of this. I understand with Virtual Machines, but didn't really see what this sites products would do for me.

    Pete
     
  12. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Yes Sir,
    I'm accountable for using that word.

    http://www.geocities.com/wilbertnl/images/altiris.png

    Peter, please download and watch the amazing demo:
    Make sure that your jaw is supported, it will drop.
     
  13. Atomas31

    Atomas31 Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Hi Wilbertnl,

    I have watch the video demo but I am not certain to clearly understand what it is suppose to do/work (kind of newbie)... What is the purpose of Altiris? Is it a security software, a recovery software, a cleaning software, etc.?

    Does Altiris conflict with Rollback Rx or any other software for that matter?

    Thank you for your explanation,
    Atomas31
     
  14. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    This is my understanding:
    Altiris Software Virtualization Solution functions almost similar to Firstdefense-ISR or eax-FIX/Rollback RX.
    The difference is that it creates snapshots on application level as opposed to OS level.

    In Firstdefense-ISR/eaz-FIX/Rollback RX you switch to a different snapshot and experience a different setup,
    with Altiris SVS you switch almost any application, including it's settings, on or off with a mouse click (no reboot required).

    So, you might have installed ms Office 2000, ms Office 2003 and ms Office 2007, and Altiris enables you to activate/deactivate any of the applications in less than no time.
     
  15. Atomas31

    Atomas31 Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    So, if I have Rollback Rx on my system can I use or need a software like Altiris ? Is there any conflict between Rollback Rx and Altiris? Will it procure some layer recovery system?

    Thanks,
    Atomas31
     
  16. lucas1985

    lucas1985 Retired Moderator

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    It´s more for testing software than a rollback solution
    You can have various versions of the same app
    Think of it as a virtualized Total Uninstall
     
  17. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Hi Wilbertnl

    You are right it was a fascinating demo. Couple of thoughts.

    1. Probably easier to set up then a virtual machine as you aren't dealing with hardware type issues.

    2. I wonder what happens if you install an app in a vsa layer and it crashes the system on reboot. With a VM you may lose the vm but your machine stays up. Wonder what happens here.

    3. Other than play, I am not sure I see a practical application in my particular setup. I have 3 machines, with an identical setup business software wise. True the vsa concept would make deploying easier, but for me the real critical issue was data. I only use one machine actively at any one time, but at the end of the day, I sychronize to a mobile drive. Then the next day if I chose I can switch to another machine. This has saved me with hardware issues.

    This software does look very interesting though, and I may have a play.

    Pete
     
  18. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Peter,

    I have used Firstdefense-ISR or eaz-FIX for purpose of evaluating and beta testing software.
    Both solutions provide me with a solid uninstall or rollback function.

    Altiris SVS might offer similar functionality, I install software in a layer and delete the layer when I'm finished.
    Also data can be layered, so you could have a layer containing ms Office 2007 with it's documents.
    I vision a system in which I "change to a different snapshot by disabling/enabling sets of layers".
    Only tests will tell if that approach is feasible.

    The developers are working on a concept where layers are user based: you login and your own layer of applications/data is presented to you.
    You wife logs in and she is presented with a different setup.
    Fascinating!
     
  19. Peter2150

    Peter2150 Global Moderator

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    I agree. I have a new machine coming which means uninstalling one machine, doing a swap and setting up a new machine. Once all that is done, I am going to give this and VM a play. It is without a doubt an interesting concept. Between it and the rollback type programs, one could have a ball.
     
  20. Kapiti

    Kapiti Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Hello Wilbert,
    Thanks for another great free programme.
    I've been playing around with the software for the last few hours and just love it. :)
    Installed numerous programmes creating a new layer for each one. I can run the new programmes individually, or just activate the whole lot and run them as if the software is permanently installed. Deleting is easy, I deactivate then click on delete, all done within seconds. The installation of a layer is child's play with the programme running you though each step in an easy to understand manner.
    At this stage I haven't tried creating a Data or Empty layer but can't see it being any more difficult than just making a new layer.
    I'll keep playing for a few days but at this stage I'm convinced it's a keeper.

    John.
     
  21. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    John, you make me feel like Santa Clause... ;)

    I'm very excited, but haven't had the time yet to acquaint myself with SVS. Your report sounds very promising.
    There seems to be quite a community of users offering in depth resources:
    http://wiki.altiris.com/index.php/SVS_Application_Best_Practices

    I wouldn't be surprised if Altiris SVS has the potential to replace both Firstdefense-ISR and eax-FIX/Rollback RX. (are you reading, ErikAlbert?)
    If I understand correctly, then any disk imaging solution would support SVS flawlessly.
     
  22. LOB

    LOB Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Hi, I am also having an interesting time experimenting with this software. Looks really excellent and easy-ish to comprehend.

    I use Opera 9, but just installed Firefox 2.0 (inc extensions and themes) and Spyware Terminator and all working great. Gonna try something a bit more adventureous, Office 2003 next.

    Thanks for the inital link and comments!
     
  23. [suave]

    [suave] Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    I just installed Trinket for use with Altiris SVS. It makes activating/deactivating layers really easy (from a system tray icon).

    Thinstall is cool and all because you don't ever have to install anything on the host PC, but for the extra features that Altiris SVS gives you, I think it is worth the installation so it's a better choice (plus it's FREE :) )

    It's like having hot-swappable software that you only use when you need it. And uninstalling the software is a breeze. Like the software never existed. I love it.

    I'm going to set up a clean windows installation for creating vsa files from all the software I use. Then import them to my main machine. I think that's the best way to do it. I don't need the SVSAdmin application, I can comfortably manage the software through the command line. Or I might install Trinket on the main PC as well to make life easier. :)

    As for Thinstall, I still think its awesome, but I hope the price really isn't five-thousand bucks.

    One thing I like about Thinstall is that when you run the "thinstalled" software, it is vitualized and isolated/sandboxed from the rest of the system so no changes are made. I don't know if Altiris SVS also does that o_O

    And here ( http://thinstall.com/downloads/firefox_autoplay.exe ) you can download a thinstalled firefox. Notice how you can run it on any system (even though thinstall isn't installed on the PC). That's what I like about it. I can make my own software packages that can be run on any PC and leave no traces behind :)

    And here is a thinstalled OpenOffice: http://thinstall.com/examples/OpenOffice.2.0.4.zip (100MB)
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2006
  24. Kapiti

    Kapiti Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    At this stage I haven't restored a TI backup, but can't see why there should be a problem.

    I've noticed that there are certain software programmes that are not recommended to be used by Altiris but these are clearly marked within the great manual that comes with the software.

    For general information if you haven't installed yet, the programme makes a folder on the C:\ drive fsirdr, this folder holds the information on each programme installed in a layer and each layer has two folders named numerically (?) 1 and 2 3 and 4 and so on. I've noticed that when a layer is deleted, depending on the order of installation those numbers are removed, so the order of the folders could become 1 and 2 5 and 6 with the folders 3 and 4 missing because of the deletion. (hope that's clear enough).

    Another thing I've noticed, if a layer is still activated on a reboot, the layer is deactivated on load up. This means the programmes need to be reactivated to be used, for me this is a plus as normally I wouldn't want these test programmes activated until I wanted them loaded.

    Major benefit as far as I'm concerned is the programme doesn't change the MBR so any problems associated with a image programme will be a thing of the past. (That should please everyone :) )

    John.
     
  25. wilbertnl

    wilbertnl Registered Member

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    Re: Thinstall - Anyone try it?

    Thank you for your information, actually all posters provide great readings here!
    -> If desired, it's possible to auto activate a layer at boot time.
     
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