In Part IV we discussed the challenges of Application Delivery, and how Application Virtualization could offer alternatives.
Application Delivery can present difficulties in ensuring applications are installed in different environments, can be complex to manage and introduce compatibility issues that delay deployment and increase costs. Application Virtualization offers a number of advantages for providing access to applications over traditional Application Deployment; but it is not without caveats. Application Virtualization process of creating a virtualized application can be complex; it can require an infrastructure to be in place and there is also an interesting consideration as to whether application can adversely impact a hosted virtual desktop implementation.
Perhaps, those weren’t the answers you were looking for. Perhaps, you considered it a boring conversation anyway.
In this conclusion of the two-part trilogy, we’ll discuss Application Virtualization solutions, and what they can offer you. We look at solutions from Citrix, Endeavours Technologies, InstallFree, Microsoft, Spoon, Symantec, UniDesk and VMWare. We’ll also consider the question “is it a choice between Application Delivery vs Application Virtualization?” to reduce the cost to your business of application deployment.
For all the benefits of improved security and reliability in Internet Explorer (IE) 8, many business still have a critical need to support IE6. IE6 may well be over 10 years old, it may well be two versions behind the most current release; the fact remains many businesses still have critical applications that rely on IE6’s cumbersome standards implementation and more relaxed security requirements.
In a previous article, Running Internet Explorer Beyond Windows XP I suggested that Microsoft reconsider its policy on supporting IE as a virtualized application. And Microsoft did reconsider. Go me. But, rather than allow it, Microsoft have actively sought to prevent IE virtualization: stopping one application virtualization company from promoting their offer of delivering virtualised versions of IE from their website and restating their support options for virtualised IE.
What will the impact be to your business you if you need to continue to support IE6 on Windows Vista or Windows 7. Are Microsoft’s recommended solutions the only option now? Is it possible to have a seamless, simple, fast and importantly low cost solution to allow users gain the benefits of the latest IE release while maintaining access to legacy web applications?
The ‘desktop’ is changing. The desktop is becoming a portal for users to access services they choose to complete their tasks, rather than providing a way to be given a fixed range of pre-determined applications. This portal is no-longer accessed from the top of a desk. The re-branded presence of externally hosted services as “cloud computing”, is and will have an impact on how organisations access and use software.
On his twitter account Harry Labana (@harrylabana), Citrix’s VP and CTO Desktop and Application Virtualization, posed the question “Are User Installed Applications A Compliance Nightmare Waiting To Happen“. User Installed Applications do indeed empower the user – but is there truly a business gain to allowing users greater freedom to control their workspace.
Virtualised desktops give organisations greater flexibility and agility in delivering a user workspace to users. Workspaces don’t need to be delivered on a company supplied device, user’s own laptops or even publicly available devices can be used. Citrix’s CEO Mark Templeton believes this greater agility will lead to IT being consumerised – users not only working where they want to work, but choosing and managing the tools that help them work effectively.
While server virtualization has largely settled down into a slugfest between VMware (vSphere), Microsoft (Hyper-V) and to a lesser extent Citrix (XenServer), and Red Hat (KVM), the desktop virtualization field remains wide open, and is being targeted by numerous startups with highly creative and appealing solutions. While VMware (View and ThinApp), Microsoft (App-V and MED-V), and Citrix (XenDesktop) certainly represent the large players in the field, startups like Install Free, MokaFive, Virtual Computer, SlickAccess, Unidesk, Kaviza, and Ringcube all bring unique and differentiated solutions to the table.