The Virtualization Practice

Application Virtualization

Application Virtualization covers application layering and application delivery approaches like streaming applications, and local application virtualization. Infrastructure as a Service focuses upon isolating the operating system from its underlying hardware and allowing multiple instances of operating systems to share that underlying hardware. Application Virtualization focuses upon isolating application from their underlying operating systems. ...
This make it unnecessary to install applications into operating systems, makes it easier to update new versions of applications, and breaks the dependencies between versions of applications and the specific versions of operating systems. Popular application virtualization offerings include Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp, and the XenApp Plugin for Hosted and Streaming applications.

When VMware first announced that it was going to license Teradici’s PCoIP protocol for inclusion in View 4.0, its most visible shortcoming was that VMware did not plan to update the View Security Server at the same time. Setting aside any debate as to the performance characteristics of PCoIP on the WAN, the lack of support for the View Security Server was a significant obstacle to widespread adoption of View in enterprise environments. So the inclusion of direct support for PCoIP tunneling through the View 4.6 Security Server comes as a most welcome update. Also included with View 4.6 are new USB enhancements, as well as support for Windows 7 SP1.

The right approach to monitoring a virtual or cloud based environment is to start with a clean sheet of paper, determine your requirements, and assemble a horizontally layered solution out of best of class vendor solutions that address each layer. Vendors should be evaluated on their mastery of one or more layers, their ability to keep up with the change in that layer, and their ability to integrate with adjacent layers.

While we may well be on the road towards VMware becoming the layer of software that talks to the hardware in the data center – removing Microsoft from that role, this is not the end of Windows. If Windows were just an OS, it would be severely threatened VMware insertion into the data center stack. But Windows is not just an OS. Windows is also a market leading applications platform with .NET have a far greater market share and base of developers than vFabric. Windows is also in the process of becoming a PaaS cloud – one that will be living at Microsoft, at thousands of hosting providers, and at probably every enterprise that is a significant Microsoft customer. This incarnation of Windows is at the beginning of its life, not the end.

Application Virtualization allows users to use potentially conflicting software in the same workspace. Towards the end of 2010 there was a great deal of discussion about the complexity of using application virtualization to finally let corporations end their dealings with the recalcitrant Internet Explorer 6.

In Virtualizing Internet Explorer: Microsoft takes the ball home and goes home we discussed why solving IE6 issues with Application Virtualization is difficult. Then, in December we reported that Browisum had crafted a lifeline and suggested a release date around the end of 2010.

To quote Robert Burns “The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men Gang aft agley”. Still, Browsium have announced the release candidate to their beta testers. With its release is it time to put IE8 compatibility issues to bed?

Ericom has has won the race to deliver the first new product release of the “Year of Desktop Virtualization” with the launch of Ericom PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7.

WebConnect (sorry Ericom, but “PowerTerm WebConnect 5.7″ takes too much space on the page to type out every time) is Ericom’s answer to Citrix XenApp and XenDesktop, plus or minus a few bells and whistles. On the plus side WebConnect includes mainframe and midrange terminal emulation software to provide access to legacy systems, as well as offering support for mixed environments consisting of servers running Windows Server 2003, 2008, 2008 R2 grouped together in a single farm, and manages to do all this with a single product where Citrix still requires two.

Given that vSphere provides significant benefits in terms of cost savings and business agility, those benefits are tied to and constrained by the ability of vSphere to provide backward compatibility with existing legacy enterprise systems. This backward compatibility makes it impossible for vSphere to provide infinite horizontal scalability. Moving to the same architecture as the most highly scaled out public cloud vendors provides for a more radical set of benefits, but at the cost of breaking backward compatibility for many applications.

Browsium crafts lifeline for IE 6 users

Startup Browsium, is readying a lifeline for enterprise IT organizations that moving to Windows 7 but unable to escape their addiction to Internet Explorer 6. The Washington DC-based startup staffed by ex-Microsoft employees is planning to release UniBrows an add-on for Internet Explorer 8 that lets customers access IE6 dependent web apps from the now defacto standard that is IE 8.

There is great outrage to Microsoft’s reluctance to play ball and support virtualization of IE. Without an alternative, the solutions offered by Microsoft are expensive, cumbersome and difficult to maintain. Virtualising the application may well allow different browser versions to co-exist – but the user-experience can be cumbersome with links to other applications not always launching the correct browser and users having to know which browser to choose. Unibrows offers an interesting alternative utilising isolation to support the deployment of different controls and centralisation to allow management and control and importantly wrapped up in what sounds like a very appealing cost.