CloudVolumes, Mirage and ThinApp: when to use what?

Just last week VMware bought a company called CloudVolumes. CloudVolumes is a solution that uses a technique called layering to deploy application in real-time. After the news broke many customers asked what will happen to Mirage, isn’t that layering as well? And what about ThinApp? Do I need ThinApp anymore?

First of all we need to take a step back and have a look on how these products actually work.

Mirage

VMware Mirage, formerly called Wanova, was developed with physical machines in mind. Mirage completely operates inside the Windows operating system and uses core Windows technologies like VSS. Besides deploying operating system and applications, called base layer and application layers, Mirage supports additional functions like backup and recovery of end points and also Windows migration scenarios. A huge benefit of Mirage, especially in distributed environments with WAN connections, branch offices and roaming users, are the optimisation techniques included. Mirage uses file- and block-level deduplication as well as compression to reduce the amount of data transferred between the Mirage servers and end points as much as possible.

Of course Mirage will work with virtual machines and VDI environments (using full clones) because it operates purely inside the Windows operating system and therefore doesn’t care if it is run on a physical machine, a virtual desktop on top of VMware Workstation/Fusion or even a Hyper-V virtual machine. Mirage also introduced some optimisations especially for VDI environments, for example, disabling compression and block-level deduplication as well as possibility to limit concurrent operations. But still the way Mirage works isn’t really optimised for VDI environments because for each layer update a reboot is required, each deployment operation is done inside each individual desktop including the file dedupe calculation and non-persistent desktops / linked-clones are not supported. In addition VMware doesn’t support back up/recovery scenarios in virtual environments, even though it is technically possible.

While Mirage can be used in virtual desktop environments and it makes absolutely sense for some use cases, e.g. persistent full clone desktops and containerised desktops, there are some use cases where it doesn’t fit quite right and there is a better way – introducing CloudVolumes.

CloudVolumes

CloudVolumes works very different in comparison to Mirage. It uses hypervisor technologies to optimise the delivery of layers, in CloudVolume terms a layer is referred to as a CloudVolume. Because CloudVolumes uses hypervisor technologies out of the box it only works with virtual machines running on top of VMware vSphere.

A layer, or a CloudVolume, is basically a VMDK containing the application executables, registry and all supporting application data. When the application layer is deployed to a virtual desktop or user the VMDK is mounted to the corresponding virtual machine and the CloudVolume agent running inside Windows is integrating the mounted VMDK so that is not represented as an additional drive but instead integrated in the native file system and registry. For example, if you deploy Mozilla Firefox using a CloudVolume it is not represented as E:Mozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe because it is integrated in the native file system and looks like a natively installed application which is located at C:Program FileMozilla Firefoxfirefox.exe.

Because the VMDK is read-only the same VMDK can be used for a virtually unlimited number of virtual desktop. Another huge benefit is that layers can be assigned on demand without the need of a reboot.

In addition CloudVolumes supports non-persistent and persistent desktop as well as full and linked clones.

ThinApp

CloudVolumes as well as Mirage are technologies to deploy application. Simply put they are both just a way of transporting application files and registry to a Windows desktop. While ThinApp can also be used as delivery mechanism, especially in combination with Workspace portal, the true power of ThinApp is the ability to isolate an application.

An application deployed using Mirage or CloudVolumes behaves like a natively installed application. It has full access to all installed applications and operating system components and vice versa. This fact makes it simple to deploy applications and gives us a very high success rate when deploying applications this way but it also has the same limitations as any other deployment mechanism that is not application virtualization. You will not be able to run multiple version of an application (e.g. run older version of Internet Explorer in parallel to the latest one) and you won’t be able to prevent DLL conflicts, just to give you two examples.

With ThinApp, because it adds a layer of virtualization, you will be able to run applications isolated from each other and from the operating system. This allows running applications independent from other native installed and virtualized applications and therefore prevent conflicts. It also makes the virtualized applications, to a certain degree, independent from the underlying operating system.

When to use what?

First of all lets discuss when to use Mirage and when to use CloudVolumes. Currently it totally depends on the use case.

When it comes to managing physical end points and containerised desktops Mirage is the way to go. The features Mirage offers, e.g. distribute layers in a highly optimised fashion (file- and block-level dedupe, compression) and backup / recovery functionalities, are huge benefits and must have features in these environments.

In VDI environments, especially in environments in which linked-clones are used, CloudVolumes is the perfect fit. It allows us, in a best case scenario, to use just one golden master and add all user and department specific application using layers. In addition adding an application to a desktop is simply put just a mount of a VMDK the overhead from a performance point of view is negligible especially in comparison to Mirage.

What about full clone, persistent VDI environments? In this case Mirage as well as CloudVolumes offer great functionality and need to be evaluated. But what if I tell you that CloudVolumes enables you to have a persistent desktop experience on top of a non-persistent linked-clone using CloudVolumes. CloudVolumes allows users to install their own applications. All changes are dynamically redirected to a user-specific writable CloudVolume. This volume is automatically mounted when a user logs on to a non-persistent desktop. This makes CloudVolumes a rather nice fitting solution for persistent desktop environments because you can still efficiently manage your master image using linked-clones (View composer) and add user/department specific application using CloudVolumes and optionally even support user-installed application using writable CloudVolumes.

Last but not least there is server-based computing. While Mirage does not support managing server-based operating systems this can be done with CloudVolumes today.

Did I forget ThinApp? No, I didn’t. ThinApp can and should be used complementary on top Mirage and/or CloudVolumes. If you require the benefits of isolating an application, e.g. running an old version Java for a specific application, you can just add this package to a Mirage application layer or a CloudVolume. Because, as I already said, CloudVolumes and Mirage are both just a way to deliver an application, and an application virtualized using ThinApp is still an application that needs to be delivered.

Virtualize Internet Explorer with VMware ThinApp

For many years now application virtualization solutions and especially ThinApp support the virtualization of Internet Explorer.

A lot of companies need to run old or even multiple versions of Internet Explorer for several reasons, for example:

  • Web applications only work within a specific Internet Explorer version
  • A browser plug-in (Active X, Java, etc.) requires a specific Internet Explorer version

ThinApp allows you to run multiple versions of Internet Explorer and also to run old IE versions on different Windows operating systems, i.e. running Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 8.1.

ThinAppIE6onWin81

All supported scenarios can be found in the following knowledge base article: Support Policy for Internet Explorer virtualized with VMware ThinApp

While virtualizing Internet Explorer is somewhat straight forward please follow the procedures outlined in the KB article. If you want to virtualize IE10 you should also have a look at another article of mine: Virtualizing Internet Explorer 10 with ThinApp 5.0. You should also make sure to always use the stand-alone installer of Internet Explorer and not Windows Update to virtualize it.

The last thing to consider is the way virtual instances of Internet Explorer are supported by Microsoft. Officially Microsoft does not support running multiple instance of Internet Explorer on a single instance of Windows.  Also Microsoft will probably not support a virtualized version of IE using ThinApp as Microsoft suggest the following solutions to virtualize Internet Explorer: Med-V, Windows XP Mode or Terminal Services.

While these solutions of course do all work it is a massive effort to build up a terminal services environment to just run Internet Explorer. Also running a virtual machine (Med-V, Windows XP Mode) to run a single version of IE is just a waste of resources.

Virtualizing Internet Explorer using ThinApp is a much leaner way and adding ThinDirect into the mix makes it much more user friendly. But is this a feasible solution if it is not supported by Microsoft? Of course it is. First of all you will still get support from Microsoft if your IE problem can be recreated with a native installation. So if there is a problem with your web application or browser plug-in in a virtualized IE instance just try to recreate it in a native one. If the problem still exist just contact Microsoft Support.

But what happen when the problem only exist in the virtual Internet Explorer instance? This is also not problem at all. Just contact the VMware Technical Support. As long as you have virtualized Internet Explorer according to the Support Policy for Internet Explorer virtualized with VMware ThinApp you will get support from VMware.

For more information about support and licensing of ThinApp’s virtualized Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows have a look at the following knowledgeable article: Support and licensing of ThinApp’s virtualized Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 7.

ThinApp 5.0 and support for Horizon View and Workspace

In ThinApp 5.0 some major changes we’re incorporated and therefore broke the interoperability with Horizon View 5.2 and Horizon Workspace 1.5.

Officially only the following scenarios are supported and do work:

  • Horizon View up to 5.2: Only 32-bit ThinApp 5.0 packages are supported
  • Horizon View 5.3 and later: ThinApp 5.0 is fully supported (32-bit and 64-bit packages)
  • Horizon Workspace 1.5: ThinApp 5.0 is not supported at all, wether 32-bit nor 64-bit packages.

Unfortunately there is a bug in the knowledge base article which states that ThinApp 5.0 is, at least for 32-bit packages, supported in Horizon Workspace 1.5. This however is not true and will technically not work. If you want to use ThinApp with Horizon Workspace please use the version 4.7.3 of ThinApp.

Update (29/11/2014): The knowledge base article was updated and now states the correct and supported scenarios.

Source: Horizon View and Horizon Workspace support for ThinApp 5.0 applications

Virtualizing Internet Explorer 10 with ThinApp 5.0

With ThinApp 5.0 support for virtualizing Internet Explorer 10 was introduced.

Virtualizing Internet Explorer 10 is pretty easy.

  1. Fire up your Windows 7 capture’n’build machine
  2. Start ThinApp Setup Capture
  3. Do a prescan
  4. Install Internet Explorer 10 using the standalone installer
  5. Do a post scan
  6. Build your project
  7. Finish

Unfortunately in some cases the virtualized instance of IE10 crashes on launch displaying an error message like “initialze_plugins failed” or “Missing import” or some other strange message.

IE10ErrorThinApp
IE10ErrorThinApp2

To solve this issue just add the following line to the [BuildOptions] section of your Package.ini file:

ExternalDLLs=kernelbase.dll;kernel32.dll

This issue mainly occures when Internet Explorer 10 is installed using Windows update. This is the reason I recommend installing Internet Explorer 10, and by the way any other version Internet Explorer you want to virtualize, by using the standalone installer.

ThinApp Link List

With the general availability of ThinApp 5.0 today many new articles are floating around the internet. Therefore I tough it might be a good idea to create a link list which contains the most interesting and important collateral about ThinApp 5.0 and ThinApp in general.

Just click the ThinApp section in the menu above or head over to www.horizonflux.com/thinapp to find the list.

If you think you have a good article about ThinApp or I missed an essential one just contact me (@timarenz) and I add it as soon as possible.

What’s new in VMware ThinApp 5.0 (Tech Edit)

Today VMware made ThinApp 5.0 generally available. While there is a lot of information out there on what’s new spread across multiple announcements, release notes and blogs I want to summarize the most critical information on what’s new in VMware ThinApp 5.0 from a technical point of view.

End-of-availability canceled

Even if this isn’t a technical point it is still pretty important to know. With the announcement of the VMware Horizon Suite it was also announced that after December 15th, 2013 ThinApp would not be available as standalone product anymore. Shortly after this announcement was made is was pretty clear that our customers where not amused and VMware clearly had underestimated on how many customer count on ThinApp – one of the leading application virtualization products – as a standalone product.

Therefore with the announcement of ThinApp 5.0 VMware also announced that the end-of-availability is canceled. This means VMware will continue to offer ThinApp as a standalone product and you will be able to get at least five more years of service and support for ThinApp.

Re-architecture

In version 5.0 much was changed on the internal plumbing of ThinApp. From a very technical point of view VMware is moving away from import address table hooking of Win32 API to inline hooking of the Windows Native API (NTDLL.dll). As you can see in the figure below this hooking takes place in a much earlier stage and therefore increases the overall application compatibility.

Image source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc768129.aspx
Image source: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/cc768129.aspx

Also it greatly reduces the number of hooked API. Because instead of hooking all the high-level Win32 API functions ThinApp now hooks low-level functions of the Windows Native API, which are also used internally by all the Win32 API functions.

The following screenshots are showing the DLLs used by a virtualized instance of Notepad++. As you can see there are a lot more DLLs in play with ThinApp 4.7.3 as  there are with ThinApp 5.0.

HookedDLLsThinApp

All in all the number of of hooked APIs are reduced from about 600 to 200. Which results in a much smaller code base of ThinApp 5.0 and therefore decreases the number of potential bugs. Also, as already mentioned, it should boost the already very good application compatibility of ThinApp to a new level.

64-bit support

ThinApp always supported 64-bit operating systems and was always able to run virtualized 32-bit applications on top of Windows 64-bit versions. But with ThinApp 5.0 finally the virtualization of 64-bit applications is  possible. This was one of the most requested feature by our customers.

The ability to virtualize 64-bit applications opens up many new use cases, i.e. the virtualization of 64-bit version of Office and Internet Explorer but also the virtualization extensive CAD/CAM applications.

The following tables shows the supported capture and deployment scenarios of ThinApp 5.0.

As you can see ThinApp supports pretty much every available scenario with the exception of the following two:

  1. ThinApp 5.0 does support capturing 32-bit applications on top of 64-bit operating systems but only if you build and deploy it to 64-bit machines only. If you want to run a 32-bit package on top of 32 and 64-bit operating systems you need to create the package on top of a 32-bit operating system.
  2. ThinApp still supports the virtualization of 16-bit applications on top of 32-bit operating systems but does not and never will support 16-bit applications on top of Windows 64-bit. You can blame – or in my opinion thank – Microsoft for that. See 64-bit versions of Windows do not support 16-bit components, 16-bit processes, or 16-bit applications

VMware supports the following operating systems for running virtualized 64-bit applications:

  • Windows 7 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2008 R2
  • Windows 8 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2012
  • Windows 8.1 64bit
  • Windows Server 2012 R2

Not supported are:

  • Windows XP 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2003 64-bit
  • Windows Vista 64-bit
  • Windows Server 2008 64-bit

ThinApp 5.0 of course still support these platforms for running virtualized 32-bit applications on top of them. And of course all other 32-bit platforms (like Windows XP, Vista, 7 and so on) are still supported.

Office 2013 and Internet Explorer 10 support

With ThinApp 5.0 you can virtualize the latest Microsoft applications like Office 2013 and Internet Explorer 10. While Office 2010 was a pain to virtualize in prior version of ThinApp, ThinApp 5.0 includes many fixes to make packaging much more reliable. Also VMware provides official packaging guidelines for Office 2010 (See KB 1022287) and 2013 (See KB 2062691).

Unfortunately support for both products is limited at the moment. While virtualizing Internet Explorer 10 with ThinApp 5.0 is supported up to Windows 8 (but not 8.1), virtualizing Office 2013 is only supported up to Windows 7 (but not Windows 8 / 8.1).

This is likely to change within a future version of ThinApp.

Compatibility

One big advantage of ThinApp’s agent- and client-less architecture is that you are able to run multiple versions of the ThinApp runtime at the same time. Therefore integrating a new version of ThinApp is easy as pie. Still there are some things to consider when bringing ThinApp packages in version 5.0 in to an existing ThinApp environment.

AppLink: with ThinApp 5.0 we support linking ThinApp 5.0 packages with ThinApp 4.5 (and later) packages. There is only one gotcha: The parent package always has to be packaged with ThinApp 5.0. So if you for example have Mozilla Firefox virtualized and several AppLink packages like Flash and Java connected you first have to update the Mozilla Firefox package to ThinApp 5.0 in order to update any linked package (Flash or Java) to ThinApp version 5.0.

In-place update: With ThinApp it was always possible to update current ThinApp packages to a newer version of the runtime or the application it self by copying the new package side-by-side with the old package and adding integer at the end of the package.

For example: If the user is currently using Notepad++ 6.0 as a ThinApp package called Notepad++.exe and you want to deploy Notepad++ 6.5. Just copy the new ThinApp package as Notepad++.exe.1 side-by-side to the original Notepad++.exe ThinApp package and as soon as the user launches or relaunches (yes, you can do this while the user is using the application) he will get the new Notepad++ 6.5 package.

When doing an in-place update to a 5.0 package that contains the new .alt file this file should be named as *.n.alt where n is the integer you choose for the base .dat or .exe file. In this case it would be Notepad++.exe.1.alt.

AppSync: Of course you can also update your applications using the AppSync mechanism but only 32-bit packages. Also see the following article: When you perform Appsync from 4.7.2 to 4.7.3. AppSync displays the following error message “The operating system cannot run”.

MSI: Updating ThinApp packages from prior versions of ThinApp to version 5.0 is done the normal way. (See Upgrade a deployed ThinApp package with the help of MSI) There are no special considerations necessary.

Sandbox: It it worth mentioning that the sandbox (if the sandbox names are identical) will be reused during an upgrade. So if you updating your packages to ThinApp 5.0 all application settings are available after the update. Please keep in mind that updating to a newer version of an application or even a different application bitness (32-bit vs. 64-bit) may result in loss of the application settings as they are probably  saved in a different location in the registry. In this scenario it would be advisable to use a new sandbox and not to reuse the existing sandbox.

ThinDirect enhancements

ThinDirect in ThinApp 5.0 was update to support newer browsers like Internet Explorer 10 and also 64-bit versions of Internet Explorer.

Also the ThinDirect policies – that controls which URL should be opened in which virtual browser – are now available as ADMX template.

Updated SDK

The ThinApp SDK was also updated with version 5.0. It now includes a separate 64-bit DLL (ThinAppSDK64.dll) and therefore eliminates the need of the ThinAppSDKSrv.exe on 64-bit operating systems.

You can use the new SDK and all your scripts/programs without any change with existing ThinApp packages prior version 5.0. If you want to enable your scripts/programs to support ThinApp 5.0 packages you actually have to change them.

Have a look at the release notes to get more details on this particular point.

VMware Horizon View and Workspace integration

ThinApp is an integral part of VMware Horizon View, Workspace and Mirage. While you can start using ThinApp 5.0 in your Mirage deployments right away as there is no direct link between Mirage and ThinApp you have to be aware of some limitations when it comes to the View and Workspace integration.

The current releases of Horizon View will support ThinApp 5.0 32-bit packages out of the box. Support for 64-bit ThinApp 5.0 packages will be introduced in future version of Horizon View. Horizon Workspace 1.5 does not support ThinApp 5.0, neither 32-bit nor 64-bit.

In regards to Horizon View you of course have always the possibility to use ThinReg or the SDK to register ThinApp 5.0 64-bit packages using a logon script or deploy them via MSI. This is fully supported and this way you can enjoy 64-bit ThinApps from day one.

For more information see the official knowledge base article: Horizon View and Horizon Workspace support for ThinApp 5.0 applications

AppSense Environment Manager integration

While it was always possible to manage the personality of a ThinApp package using Environment Manager from AppSense by copying the sandbox at logon and logoff. With VMware ThinApp 5.0 the Environment Manager from AppSense can actually look into the sandbox and therefore do all the amazing cross-application personalization stuff. So you can for example configure your local Office 2010 on your laptop and when you connect to your virtual VMware View desktop you have the same settings in your Office 2010 ThinApp package.

More information on the integration can be found in the following blog post by AppSense: AppSense Environment Manager Integrates with VMware ThinApp 5.0

As you can ThinApp 5.0 contains many major improvements and new features. I hope you will enjoy working with ThinApp 5.0 as much as I do.

Release Notes | Documentation | Download

Release: VMware Horizon Workspace Agent 1.5.1

With VMworld Europe 2013 just around the corner VMware just release an update to the VMware Horizon Workspace agent.

While the new version indicates that it is just a minor upgrade it is in fact a complete rewrite and contains major improvements on how ThinApp packages are handled.

Here a short list of the updates:

  • Command line support – sync of new ThinApp entitlements can be done by command line.
  • Full self-service support – User now can add and remove ThinApp packages and the actually get installed and uninstalled on-demand.
  • Better handling of ThinApp updates deployed via Horizon Workspace
  • Enhanced Kerberos Single-Sign In

Much more information about this new release can be found in the following article by Peter Björk (@thepeb) on the official VMware ThinApp blogThe new VMware Horizon Agent are now available.

Download

Endless ThinDirect loop

Last week one of my colleagues discovered a very strange behaviour when using ThinApp and ThinDirect. He created a new ThinApp package with a virtual Internet Explorer within and configured ThinDirect to redirect a single page to the virtual browser.

While at first everything seemed to work okay as ThinApp redirected the site to the virtual browser correctly but after this point ThinDirect entered a loop and new instances of the browser were created indefinitely. To get a better understanding of this error and how to solve it have a look at the following video.

To solve the issue of the endless loop you have to make sure a ThinDirect.txt with an reference to your browser entry point is baked into your ThinApp package.

For example: if your entry point is called “Internet Explorer.exe” your ThinDirect.txt placed in the root of the project folder should contain at least the following content:

[Internet Explorer.exe]

I have seen this issue only with Internet Explorer as this is the only browser supporting the ThinDirect browser add-in.

Mirage application layering 4.0 vs. ThinApp 4.7 – the differences

With Horizon Mirage application layering and ThinApp VMware has now two options to deploy applications to endpoints. The big difference between both products is that ThinApp is an application virtualization solution and Mirage Application Layering is not.

While this is the main difference there are still many, many differences between both products in terms of functionality and deployment options. In the following table I tried summarizes most of the differences.

Functionality / Product Mirage application layering 4.0 ThinApp 4.7
Application isolation (running multiple version of the same application, prevent DLL conflicts, etc.) No Yes
OS independency (possibility to build a package on another OS version than it runs on) No Yes
Run different versions of the same application No, only if application supports this natively. Yes
Supports Internet Explorer virtualization / running multiple Version of IE No Yes
Supports application with (kernel) drivers Yes No
Supports applications with native shell extensions Yes No
Support for 64-bit applications Yes No
Require agent on the end point Yes No
Requires additional components on the end point Yes, Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 No
Endpoint is required to be managed by Mirage Yes No
Optimized deployment method for WAN environments Yes, dedupe, compression and so on No
Methods to deploy application updates Yes, create new applayer with newest application build. Yes, multiple options.
Change application after capturing No Yes
Deploy updates without user interruption Yes Yes
Application updates need reboot Yes No, but you need to restart the application for the update to be applied
Optimized deployment method for applicaliton updates for WAN environments Yes, dedupe, compression and so on Yes, when using AppSync (only block level delta are transfered)
Easy application rollback Yes Yes, but depends on the used update method
Easy application break fix Yes Yes, delete sandbox
User-based application deployment No Yes
Machine-based applicaton deployment Yes Yes
Restrict application access based on Active Directory groups No Yes
Sandboxes user settings No Yes
Run scripts on application start and stop? No Yes
Run script after application is deployed on the system? Yes No

This table only compares Mirage application layer version 4.0 and ThinApp version 4.7.x.

I hope this table may give you a better understanding on the differences between both products. If you found another point in which these products work or behave different you’re welcome to post a comment and I will update the table with your feedback.

If you want to learn more about Mirage application layering and ThinApp and how they compare please vote for our VMworld US 2013 session: 4863 Dare to compare: Mirage application layering and ThinApp

Does ThinApp run on Windows RT?

The short answer: No, ThinApp doesn’t work on Windows RT.

The long answer: It depends on the version of Windows the particular tablet is running.

Source: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/ImageDetail.aspx?id=B763681267E9CED7F6D7E962E9306C02A1106B80
Source: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/ImageDetail.aspx?id=B763681267E9CED7F6D7E962E9306C02A1106B80

The Microsoft Surface RT or Windows tablets like the Dell XPS 10, Lenovo Yoga 11 are sporting Microsoft’s new operating system called Windows RT. While Windows RT seems to be very similar to Windows 8 it isn’t. In fact Windows RT is specially developed to run on mobile platforms and therefore is using a completely different architecture called ARM. ThinApp doesn’t work on this platform.

On the other hand there are tablets running Windows 8 like Microsoft Surface Pro, Dell Latitude 10 or the HP ElitePad 900. These tablets are running a full blown version of Windows 8. This is possible as all these tablets are based on the Intel x86 platform. As this platform isn’t different from any installation of Windows 8 on a classical desktop PC and ThinApp officially supports Windows 8, ThinApp will just run fine on these tablets.

Why does ThinApp doesn’t work on Windows RT?

Both platforms are using different instructions sets and therefore application code may be interpreted different on each platform. While it would be possible to port x86 applications to the ARM platform by optimizing the code so that it behave the same on each platform this isn’t the cause why ThinApp does not work on Windows RT.

The problem with Windows RT is that Microsoft only supports a subset of the Win32 API on this platform and most of the Windows applications out there relying on this API, ThinApp does too. Also Microsoft doesn’t support porting x86 desktops apps to Windows RT.

Metro style apps in the Windows Store can support both WOA and Windows 8 on x86/64.
Developers wishing to target WOA do so by writing applications for the WinRT (Windows APIs for building Metro style apps) using the new Visual Studio 11 tools in a variety of languages, including C#/VB/XAML and Jscript/ HTML5. Native code targeting WinRT is also supported using C and C++, which can be targeted across architectures and distributed through the Windows Store. WOA does not support running, emulating, or porting existing x86/64 desktop apps. Code that uses only system or OS services from WinRT can be used within an app and distributed through the Windows Store for both WOA and x86/64. Consumers obtain all software, including device drivers, through the Windows Store and Microsoft Update or Windows Update.
Source: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/b8/archive/2012/02/09/building-windows-for-the-arm-processor-architecture.aspx

Thats the cause why ThinApp isn’t supported and will not work on Windows RT and probably never will. Even if ThinApp would work on Windows RT most of the applications you want to virtualize wouldn’t work, as these applications simply don’t work on Windows RT. They have the same problems ThinApp has, the lack of Win 32 API functionality and support on part of Microsoft.