Fast, Intelligent Streaming and other
Virtual Application Enhancements in
Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization 8
Written by Jason Blackett
Whether you want to eliminate application conflicts, deliver applications faster, reduce helpdesk calls, make your desktops more secure and manageable, control application deployment costs, or ensure user productivity, there are a lot of compelling reasons to take advantage of Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization. But if that wasn’t enough, this month’s release of ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 adds powerful new features to the equation.
Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization lets you quickly and easily convert Windows-compatible applications into self-contained virtual applications that can run in their own isolated environments (sandboxes) to eliminate software conflicts, OS dependencies and manual installation processes. Version 8 of the product builds on these capabilities with a new streaming feature and greater 64-bit support, so you can better leverage your infrastructure investments, more efficiently deliver virtualized applications to users and take advantage of the latest hardware improvements on the desktop.
With Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization 8, you can virtualize 64-bit applications, just as you could their 32-bit counterparts.
When Microsoft delivered 64-bit Windows for the desktop, it opened the door for the creation of higher-performing applications that can better meet the needs of power-hungry users. Now that more and more vendors have had the time to rewrite their applications to take advantage of 64-bit capabilities, the market is seeing a steady increase in the number of 64-bit applications available. With ZENworks Application Virtualization 8, you can virtualize 64-bit applications, just as you could their 32-bit counterparts.
While previous versions of ZENworks Application Virtualization let you package 32-bit applications for execution on 64-bit devices, they didn’t allow you to package 64-bit applications. Additionally, they didn’t let you create snapshot packages on 64-bit machines. ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 lets you virtualize 64-bit applications by taking a snapshot of their installation on a 64-bit Windows operating system and then building the application for virtual deployment. Once built, you can use your favorite software deployment tool to deliver it to any 64-bit Windows platform, where it will have full access to the operating system’s 64-bit capabilities.
In addition to support for 64-bit applications, ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 gives you greater control and flexibility in targeting the CPU type where you want your 32-bit virtual applications to run. This means you can build a virtual 32-bit application so it can only run on 32-bit machines, 64-bit machines or both CPU types. (See Figure 1.) This enables you to build virtualized applications that can take greater advantage of the native characteristics of the machines to which they will be deployed.
One of the most exciting new enhancements delivered in ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 is application streaming, which lets you rapidly and efficiently deliver your virtual applications through a Web browser or your existing software delivery service. With this function, you can place your virtual applications on network shares or Web sites, where they can be accessed for execution by your users. When the virtual application executes, the streaming capability enables the application to launch five to 20 times faster than it would otherwise.
Streaming in ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 uses a predictive algorithm to intelligently determine what pieces of the application the user will need for application launch—and then brings down only those pieces. The product then streams the other pieces of the application based upon the anticipated needs of the user. It can also dynamically adjust what is streamed based upon application use. Leveraging a tree model, this predictive streaming process in ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 prevents the significant latency that you find in other application virtualization solutions that use a page-call system for streaming.
One of the most exciting new enhancements delivered in Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 is the ability to use streaming as a means to rapidly and efficiently deliver your virtual applications through a Web browser or your existing software delivery service.
Additionally, Novell has designed the streaming function in ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 so that it doesn’t require any additional infrastructure investments. You can use an existing Web server to stream your virtual applications, or place them on a Windows file share, NFS share or other client-accessible file share.
Streaming in Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization 8 also has a Register Local mode that allows the streamed application to persist on a user's client device even after it's been shut down. This allows the user to continue to access the application even when there is no longer an Internet connection, such as on an airplane.