Numecent, a new application virtualisation company, sprang out stealth mode brandishing a whole new lexicon. The “end device” is the “start device”. The future of application delivery lies with “Cloudpaging”.
You’ll be regularly assailed with marketing claiming to be the new brave generation and paradigm shift in computing. Mainframe veterans smile politely at the server virtualisation guys, possibly quite rightly pointing out that they were indeed doing all this stuff before some people were born and when 640K was properly more than you could ever dream of. What this tends to result in is the standard setting for the BS meter to be “stun”.
And yet, the difficulty in having become accustomed to the wolf rarely being present is that you believe the wolf will never show up.
Never say never.
Numecent believe Cloudpaging has the potential to impact all connected devices where software needs to be delivered rapidly and securely. Is Cloudpaging just a fancy marketing term for a re-branded application virtualisation or have Numecent delivered a ground breaking new application delivery technology?
With a little over 28 months left until Microsoft ends all support for Windows XP and with Internet Explorer 6, the time to consider their replacements is long overdue. While Microsoft and others have acted to deliver tools to assist with Windows 7 migration activities little effort has been made to address the challenge of IE 6. One of the others, Quest, has released an IE 6 rescue package. However, if anything, Microsoft’s only visible response has been to act stymie the actions of those withing to offer a solution.
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.
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.
Browsers are the user workspace of the future. The issue with “traditional” applications are many and complex covering topics like deployment, updates, security and management. If you can move all of that headache to a centralized service and have users access that by firing up their device’s web browser then your troubles will be over. But an issue with web-based applications is, as with any application, the capabilities of the service grow to accommodate new functions and additional requirements. Applications may move to be hosted in “the cloud”, but there is will always be a need to ensure that the end device has an environment to run that web service in a secure, consistent and productive way. Browsers may well be the workspace of the future – but that future will still browsers to be updated, managed and maintained.
It is likely your business is moving to a post Windows XP environment. Perhaps you are updating traditional desktops or migrating to virtual desktop environment on Windows 7, or even a presentation virtualization environment based on Windows 2008 R2. Moving operating systems, means moving browser version. Microsoft would say this is a “Good Thing” – as they consider Internet Explorer (IE) 8 to be their best browser yet although to be fair, they’re hardly likely to say IE8 is bloated and overly complex.
There are still a good number of companies who have found that they cannot standardize on one browser for all users en masse without impacting on business functions. One application, or even a critical component of one application may not work if the browser for IE8 or IE7. At the same time, as users become more web aware, there is the demand of users to have more than just one browser available.
Can you support multiple browsers in your environment? How can you run IE6 in a Windows 7 or Windows 2008 environment? Will moving to a VDI infrastructure allow you to look back while moving forward and indeed, is the lack of support for different browsers – specifically different versions of IE – simply a temporary issue, resolved by focusing on changing the web delivery services so that they support the most recent browser? Ultimately, is one browser enough?