Release: VMware ThinApp 4.0

After a blazing fast acquisition and integration of Thinstall, today VMware officially launches ThinApp (formerly project North Star), its first application virtualization product.

With this release VMware starts a transformation process, morphing its identity of hardware virtualization vendor in something new.
Last month VMware unveiled how its vision contemplates cloud computing but to go there the company must be able to offer an unprecedented level of flexibility and automation.

At we call such flexibility liquid computing and we believe that it requires nested layers of virtualization to further abstract the traditional architectures.
The launch of ThinApp seems the first step in this direction for VMware.

As it was not enough, with this release VMware further exacerbates the competition with Microsoft and Citrix.

ThinApp 4.0 (build 2200) is the next major release of the former Thinstall Application Virtualization Suite 3.2, released in September 2007, which already included a nice set of capabilities:

  • Zero-runtime execution (no agent installation required)
  • User Mode execution (no need of administrative privileges)
  • Block-by-block application streaming (served by SMB shares or iSCSI targets)
  • Execution from USB key with portable profiles/user settings
  • 64bit OS support
  • MSI packages support
  • Active Directory integration

Additionally, this new build introduces a couple of new features:

  • Application Sync
    This feature enables you to deploy application updates. Application Sync automatically checks for and installs updates to your packaged applications. Updates might include changes such as a new version, service pack updates, or configuration changes in the package.ini file
  • Application Link
    This feature connects deployed applications. For example, you can establish a relationship between a deployed instance of Microsoft Office 2003 and a new Microsoft Office plug-in. Application Link enables you to establish a link between applications without having to encapsulate them into the same executable package

ThinApp is offered in bundle with VMware Workstation under the name of ThinApp Suite.
The reason behind this choice is to simplify the creation of the virtual packages: the user is required to save a snapshot of a clean OS before installing the application that he wants to virtualize. After that ThinApp can analyze the changes in the environment and generate a proper virtual EXE or MSI.
The whole process is much smoother and safer in a VMware Workstation guest OS where the virtual machine snapshot capabilities can be used to keep the environment unmodified.


This lets suppose that future versions of the product may further integrate with Workstation to streamline the virtual packages production.

VMware only targets enterprises for this product, offering a starting package for 50 concurrent clients at $6,050 (including a 12×5 Gold Support yearly subscription).
Any additional client starts at $47.19 (including a 12×5 Gold Support yearly subscription).

Download a trial here.

The Virtualization Industry Roadmap has been updated accordingly.