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Inside the SoftGrid – Part 2

The SoftGrid Client (SGC)

A tongue in cheek saying we used to use at Softricity went something like this; “With SoftGrid you NEVER have to install an application again, (cough), except our client”. While this may be true, the SoftGrid client does in fact need to be installed on any Windows 2000 professional or greater system that is going to stream and run SoftGrid enabled applications.

At present there are two clients, Windows Desktop (Windows 2000 Pro, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, Windows Vista) and the Terminal Services client (Windows 2000 or greater with T/S installed). Each has their own separate installer executable which is also available in .MSI format to make distributing the client with an ESD easier.

Just like we said before regarding the VAS minimum requirements, the overhead of the SoftGrid client is very small. As such, I will not insult you by listing the minimum hardware requirements here since they do not differ from the specs of the Operating System.

Once the client is installed, it lays down the SoftGrid client service and several executables that allow the client to stream SoftGrid enabled applications and run them inside their isolated virtual environment (SystemGuard). In addition to this, the client will also now have a virtual drive that takes the letter Q:\ by default. It also creates a single system wide cache file that will be used to store the package’s .SFT files that users stream and launch their applications from.

Go Deep

Note that the Q:\ drive is not a real drive, it has no space and is not accessible from Windows Explorer or “My Computer”. It is in fact a mount point and the SoftGrid enabled applications “run” from this Q:\ drive. If Q:\ is already assigned at the time the client is installed, it will select the next available drive letter by default. This drive letter can be selected during or after the client’s installation as well.

The name of the Softricity File System Cache is SFTFS.FSD and can be found in the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users by default. It is where all of the .SFT files stream to and get cached by every user of the client. It has a maximum size of 64 GB which can be set at anytime during or after the install.

The SoftGrid Launch Process

Now that we have the concepts and a grasp of all of the necessary components that make up the SoftGrid System, let’s explore what happens when the user logs in. The following is a conceptual explanation of the SoftGrid Launch Process.

  1. The user Sean starts his Windows Vista laptop while he is in his office in Boston. He is prompted for Windows Authentication and enters his alias and password.
  2. Conceptually the SoftGrid Client Service starts and sends the user name to the preconfigured SoftGrid Server.
  3. The SoftGrid Server turns around and uses a standard user account with Read Property Rights to the AD tree and reads the “Member Of” group information for Sean.
  4. The SoftGrid Server takes those groups and parses the Data Store over an ODBC connection for all of the applications that Sean’s groups have permissions to.
  5. The SoftGrid Server sends the location of the .ICO and .OSD files to the client so that it can retrieve them.

Full Article

Microsoft, SoftGrid, Knowledgebase

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