Feeds

Never mind virtual desktops - what about the apps?

When you don’t need to virtualise everything...

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Lab Conventional wisdom says that when planning an IT project, the things to get right before you start are less about ‘the thing’, and more about what the thing has to fit into, who's going to use it and who needs convincing of its value in the first place. Somewhere along the line ‘the thing’ gets some attention, but when it comes to practicalities in most real world projects, the thing comes last.

When it comes to virtualisation, though, ‘the thing’ gets a bit more attention. If we’re talking about virtualisation in the context of delivering application software then one of the choices, unsurprisingly, is to virtualise the application itself.

Application virtualisation has its own take on the virtualisation theme, but the principle is the same. Rather than having a virtual ‘bucket’ which emulates an X86 processor and runs an operating system, application stack and so on, why not just have the ‘bucket’ containing the application itself? This way, applications become the entity that can be managed, moved around and so on, rather than an entire machine.

Why might you consider virtualising a software application? There are numerous reasons usually cited, around increasing the portability of applications and improving their manageability and compatibility with other applications. Some clarification on the latter is due: application virtualisation doesn’t so much make things more compatible with each other as removes their need to fight over common services and resources.

What is equally important is the environment in which the application is being used. Existing applications may find themselves as virtualisation candidates if there is a requirement or opportunity to reduce running/ownership costs, or if another application due to be introduced is deemed an unsuitable stablemate. On the other hand, application virtualisation may offer a way of delivering a new application into an environment which, without the virtualisation capability, wouldn’t allow the application to run – for example running Windows applications in a Linux environment or vice versa.

Regardless of any of this, another case for virtualised applications is the improvement in speed of deployment, enhanced security and better tracking of actual usage. These are all compelling attributes that a service provider, or an IT shop wanting to get a handle on control and visibility of its application software portfolio, or indeed, just a specific application, may find attractive.

But what of the limitations of this approach to software delivery? For a start, you cannot make all software applications virtual, and the act of isolating an application may have implications when it comes to thinking about things such as integration or vendor support. Frankly, the more applications your organisation runs, the more likely you are to find some that are prime candidates for virtualisation, and that some are not.

All the same, application virtualisation does offer a halfway house between the current ways of installing applications and full-fat desktop-hosted virtualisation (let’s not forget that’s where virtualisation started, before it made its way onto the server), or indeed server based VDI. And for many organisations, it may be enough to satisfy their needs for flexibility and efficiency.

There are perhaps no ‘rights and wrongs’ here; more a case of ‘right for us’ or ‘right for the [technical] environment’ or ‘right for the job in hand’. This is where you come in - with all the above in mind, we’d love to hear from you about the choices you have made in this area and what the key factors were for your own organisations. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Sign off my IT project or I’ll PHONE your MUM
Honestly, it’s a piece of piss
Return of the Jedi – Apache reclaims web server crown
.london, .hamburg and .公司 - that's .com in Chinese - storm the web server charts
Chrome 38's new HTML tag support makes fatties FIT and SKINNIER
First browser to protect networks' bandwith using official spec
Admins! Never mind POODLE, there're NEW OpenSSL bugs to splat
Four new patches for open-source crypto libraries
Torvalds CONFESSES: 'I'm pretty good at alienating devs'
Admits to 'a metric ****load' of mistakes during work with Linux collaborators
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.