Application virtualization represents a shift from traditional approaches to application delivery. By converting applications into virtual services that are managed and hosted centrally but run on demand locally, application virtualization reduces the complexity and IT labor involved in deploying, updating, and managing applications.
Application management comprises a significant portion of overall IT costs. Traditional approaches involving locally installed application packages introduce many challenges:
- Inter-application compatibility issues
- Shared application dependencies such as Oracle client, Java Runtime, Adobe Flash
- Application sprawl
- Unused applications consuming costly licenses
- Complex, highly customized applications that require manual installation
- Inability to deliver applications to user or group targets
- Bloated images containing many locally installed applications
- Significant end-user impact associated with application upgrades/patches and terminations
- Complex, ineffecient application lifecycle
- Unable to provision side-by-side versions of apps
Application Virtualization is the solution to these and many other challenges associated with application delivery in an enterprise environment. There are many options currently available for Application Virtualization, each with its own unique advantages and disadvantages.
At RedShift, we have a long history with designing and implementing Application Virtualization solutions using Microsoft App-V. The management capabilities, scalable infrastructure, flexibility, user-based targeting, 64-bit support, Office 2010 virtualization support, and integration into existing Microsoft technologies make it an attractive solution amongst its competitors. For many enterprises, App-V is included in their Enterprise Agreement with Software Assurance, making it a key part of any IT strategy to maximize existing infrastructure. Simply put, chances are if your organization has a volume licensing agreement with Microsoft that includes Software Assurance, you already own App-V so it only makes sense to begin leveraging it.
App-V enables applications to run without the need to visit a desktop, laptop, or terminal server. Applications are no longer installed on the client—and there is minimal impact on the host operating system or other applications. The most extensive virtualization technology on the market, App-V virtualizes per user, per application instance, as well as key application components. As a result, application conflicts and the need for regression testing are dramatically reduced.
App-V enables dynamic streaming delivery. Applications are rapidly delivered, when needed, to laptops, desktops, and terminal servers. In most cases only a small percentage of the application is needed to launch the application. Additional components are delivered when transparently requested by the application. This results in faster delivery of the application when needed.
App-V enables centralized, policy-based management. Virtual Application deployments, patches, updates, and terminations are more easily managed via policies, and administered through the App-V console or via your ESD system (such as Microsoft SCCM). App-V will reduce the complexities inherent in enterprise application management, transforming your computing environment into a dynamic, services-oriented infrastructure.
How it works
Standard Operating System Environment:
In standard OS environments, applications install their settings onto the host operating system, hard-coding the entire system to fit that application’s needs. Other applications’ settings can be overwritten, possibly causing them to malfunction or break.
The Virtual Application Environment:
With application virtualization, each application brings down its own set of configurations on-demand, and executes in a way so that only it sees its own settings.
Each App-V enabled application brings down its own set of configurations and can run side by side without the settings conflicting with each other—or the host operating system. Despite this separation, inter-application communication with other App-V applications and those installed locally is preserved, allowing for cut and paste, OLE, and all other standard operations.