This post is the first in a series in which I will explore the advantages, the disadvantages, and the essential features of application virtualization solutions. I will also review some products which will make you realize how different the approaches to application virtualization are. You’ll find the links to all articles in this series at the end of each post. German speaking readers might also be interested in my introduction to application virtualization in the magazine Computerwoche.
- Pip install Boto3 - Thu, Mar 24 2022
- Install Boto3 (AWS SDK for Python) in Visual Studio Code (VS Code) on Windows - Wed, Feb 23 2022
- Automatically mount an NVMe EBS volume in an EC2 Linux instance using fstab - Mon, Feb 21 2022
Wikipedia defines it application virtualization as “an umbrella term that describes technologies that improve application compatibility and manageability by encapsulating applications from the underlying operating system on which they are executed.” The main idea is to run programs in a virtualized environment on a desktop system.
The difference between hardware virtualization solutions, such as VMware Workstation or Virtual PC, and application virtualization is that in the latter case the underlying operating system, the host if you will, is executing the program. But it seems to me that there is no clear dividing line between the different virtualization solutions. For example, you could say that Vista supports application virtualization as well, because it can virtualize folder structures and the registry for legacy apps. Hence the virtualization solutions differ only with respect to the objects they virtualize. Some virtualize a full-blown computer and others only the programs folder.
Most reports I’ve read sound quite promising, but in my experience every new technology also has its downsides. On the one hand, it sounds great to install software on desktops without making changes to the underlying OS. On the other hand, I have doubts, because running programs in an environment for which they were not explicitly designed invites problems. Instinctively I try to avoid anything that deviates from the norm when it comes to IT. Anyway, application virtualization is a hot topic.
I am interested in this technology because we would like to deploy a large number of different applications to student PCs (Elearning, dictionaries, etc.). Many of these applications are from small vendors and are often buggy. Usually they have to be updated frequently. I am afraid that we mess up our desktops this way sooner or later. Application virtualization might be the solution for this problem.
Subscribe to 4sysops newsletter!
In the next post of this series I will publish a list of all application virtualization solutions with a short introduction of all products.