Application Virtualization

In the common client/server model used in most organizations, each desktop PC has to have its own operating system and a number of applications installed. Each application needs its own license and must be updated as required. As more applications are installed or as existing applications or the operating system are patched and updated, problems can begin to occur.

One application may start to misbehave or no longer "play nice" with the other applications. This makes the user unhappy and adds to the workload of the IT support personnel as they try to troubleshoot these problems.

Application virtualization can help you avoid this problem by having each application virtualized onto a central location and served or streamed to the desktop computer when needed. Application virtualization is similar to server virtualization, but instead of having separate isolated copies of operating systems sharing resources, separate isolated copies of an application share resources. Just as in server virtualization, the hardware is hidden from the application, but, in addition, the operating system on the host machine is also hidden.

A virtualized application is not installed on the host machine in the way a traditional application is, but runs as if it were. A virtualized application package is created, which is then copied to the machine on which you want to run the application. Application virtualization also allows the virtualized applications to be moved from one host system to another without disturbing other applications running on the machine. Advantages of virtualized applications include:

▲ Applications can be executed from portable media, such as USB drives on any machine, even if the operating is system different from what the application normally requires (e.g., running a Windows application on a Linux machine).

▲ Because no device drivers are installed or registry entries made, applications can be deployed without having administrative rights.

▲ Because the virtual application exists as a single file, it can be easily removed from a system when no longer needed.

▲ Fewer resources are required than when creating an entire virtual machine.

▲ Applications that are incompatible can be safely run on the same physical machine.

▲ Security is improved because the application is isolated from the underlying operating system.

A few issues should be considered when virtualizing an application. Some older applications, especially those that require special device drivers or that use memory in unsupported ways, may not work in virtual mode. Applications must be packaged using a virtualization tool, such as Microsoft Application Virtualization and VMware ThinApp. Your network must be

Figure 10-2

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