Introducing the XPF File Format
For Symantec Workspace Virtualization (SWV) 6.1 SP4 we’ve changed our default file package format from VSA to the new XPF package. While VSAs will still be available as an Export option for the time being—XPFs bring numerous benefits to not just SWV but Symantec Workspace Streaming (SWS) so the whole suite as a whole.
The reason for this change in format is we wanted a single package type that could be used in SWV or SWV without any additional modifications so, in other words, if you have an XPF you can import it into SWV or load it into the streaming server as is.
What it is
XPF, or Extensible Package Format, is the new package format going forward for the Workspace Suite. It replaces VSAs and Streaming Snapshots but not VRAs, VPAs, Tracking Packages or Upgrade Packages.
From a virtualization standpoint there’s very little change over VSAs: SWVadmin and SVScmd both behave the same, regular and data layers are both supported as well. In fact the only difference you should notice is increased import and export times as we’ve changed ZIP libraries as well as improved some logic behind the scenes.
From the streaming standpoint you’re getting a package that contains a virtual layer that’s ready to be uploaded directly to the streaming server for use. No more having to convert a VSA into a format that SWS can consume.
Creating an XPF
There are two different ways to generate an XPF. The first is to use SWV as you’ve always done to create a VSA. The second is the new Wise Virtual Composer (WVC).
The main difference between the two is that when you use WVC it creates a repository where the XPF is saved that contains all the information you’ll need to create Streaming Upgrade Packages. Composer also gives you the ability to set the streamable OS and the shortcuts that appear for usage while if you use SWV to generate an XPF no such repository is created and it presets some generic settings for the streaming information (which you can override inside the streaming server settings itself for the layer).
I’m hoping to eventually have a guide up on WVC showing how you use it, Composer Templates and the XPF format so watch for it in the articles section sometime this month.
And for those of you that want to quickly jump into using XPFs but have a lot of layers you can use my VSAtoXPF conversion utility to quickly batch convert all your existing VSAs.