I have the wonderful opportunity in my roles to talk to senior people at customers, partners and prospects, and a really hot topic is the one around virtualization at the desktop level. As you would expect the definition of what that “is”, the business case justifications, the timeline and the target base varies enormously.
No matter what route is being addressed or considered there are some very consistent outcomes that can in fact be addressed today through Application Virtualization, specifically ZENworks Application Virtualization. And, no this is not coincidental timing because as I write this we’ve just released V7.1 of this fabulous tool.
We still see challenges every day related to software version incompatibility, “DLL hell”, time consumed with cross testing and application rollouts, and calls to the Help Desk on application issues. Wouldn’t it be great if we could really do lockdown at an application level so the app didn’t create conflicts, or modify the registry or be able to run alongside a different version of itself or run on an OS version that won’t natively run the application?
Well it is great because you can. What we all have to do is make sure that folks know about this capability, that it exists and that it is extremely cost effective.
A virtualized application is isolated from the underlying operating system where it runs. It makes no changes to the registry or to the hosting OS. The virtual apps is not actually installed on the host, it’s installed in a secured runtime environment. Building a virtualized application is simple and can result in an executable file that can be distributed to the workstations, run from a central repository or even deployed on a USB stick. Gartner says that the cost of application deployment, packaging and support can be reduced by 60% and that TCO savings of up to 7% are easily achievable.
The really cool parts of the solution means that the builder decides how much integration with local resources on the workstation takes place. Maybe it’s just screens and keyboards, maybe it includes ports or disk storage. The packaged application delivers what is necessary without what is not. Best of all, the end user doesn’t see a difference between a virtualized application and one that is locally installed. Performance looks the same, no admin rights are needed on the local OS, so the user gets on with his or her work and doesn’t need to learn and adopt new processes.
With ZENworks Application Virtualization there are some new functions added that we have already heard are in demand, including support for Windows 7, improvements in the support of IE6 and coexistence with local installs of IE7 or IE8 and the ability to make the virtualized application “expire”. Other new functions are improvements to leveraging .Net 3.5 and the addition of the ability to support SQL Server 2005 Express. We’ve also made the process to publish the virtualized application to a USB drive even simpler.
Customers can expect higher productivity for users and simplified rollouts, coupled with lower operational costs and improved security. There’s also promotional pricing through October 31, 2009 with user or instance licensing available.
So please, while we think about desktop virtualization in depth, let’s not forget that many problems can be solved right now.
Product Information is at : http://www.novell.com/products/zenworks/applicationvirtualization/
Licensing Information is at : http://www.novell.com/licensing