It’s been a long time since my last post, because we’ve been hard at work on lots of new products. Let me introduce you to the first of those, ZENworks Application Virtualization 11, the latest and greatest version of this innovative product. With this release we have both the traditional ZENworks Application Virtualization product that includes the Studio and Server features, you’ve come to know and love, plus a few new favorites and a Professional Edition version that is available as both a standalone product and as an add-on for customers with the Novell ZENworks Suite.
Let’s take a look at what’s new in these releases:
Introducing Professional Edition and Desktop Containers
ZENworks Application Virtualization 11 Professional Edition introduces the first of many new enterprise grade features planned for our ZENworks Application Virtualization customers – Desktop Containers. Desktop Containers are a feature of the ZENworks Application Virtualization Server component of the product that allows you to create encrypted sandboxes that can house both data and applications. The contents of these sandboxes can be seen and accessed only by users that have been assigned access to the container. Additionally, end users can create their own containers to keep things separated if they desire.
This is a great way to help prevent accidental data leakage on both corporate owned devices and personal owned devices. When containers are used a user must first unlock the container and can then access the applications within that container. They can then make changes to files or create new files with only the applications that are assigned to the container. When saving files from the applications, all files are always saved to the container. Additionally, when files are saved to the My Documents folder of the sandbox, those files are made available to all users assigned to the sandbox so that the users can collaborate with each other.
For a demonstration of how Desktop Containers work, check out this video I created:
You can also see how shared files in the containers work here:
Best of all if you own ZENworks Application Virtualization today, you may already be entitled to the Professional Edition. Check out the Novell Customer Center to find out. Probably worth noting that ZENworks Suite customers aren’t entitled, and will need to purchase the relatively inexpensive suite add-on to get access to these features.
Other Updates in ZENworks Application Virtualization 11
In addition to the Desktop Containers feature introduced in Professional Edition, there’s several additional enhancements for both Professional Edition and standard ZAV customers. These include:
- Startup Applications One of the things I’ve heard from a lot of you, is that you don’t want the user to have to launch the applications before they register, or have to manually register them. So with Startup Applications you can make it so that as soon as the user logs in to the ZAV plug-in, a certain set of applications will be automatically registered. This means that after the initial login those applications act just like a locally installed application, allowing double-click of registered file types to launch the app, placing desktop and start menu shortcuts where the user expects them, and even adding add/remove programs entries. For a demo of Startup Applications check out the video here:
- Shutdown Shims Shutdown shims allow you to execute a DLL as part of closing down the application, just like Startup shims do for startup. This was based on feedback from customers that want to integrate the lifecycle of the application more tightly with profile management, license management, and other tools.
- Clipboard Isolation Another really great feature of ZENworks Application Virtualization 11 is clipboard isolation. This capability can be enabled when using the Studio tool to package applications as virtual apps. When this capability is turned on, there is a virtualized clipboard for the application which makes it impossible for the user to cut and paste to or from the application. This can be an important security enhancement for some of the applications you may be build. Check out the demo here:
- File Synchronization This version of ZENworks Application Virtualization also enables basic File Synchronization capabilities. With it you can simply drag files into a set of folders in a shell extension on your desktop or manually upload those files and then you’ll have access to those files from any other machine that you access ZAV applications from. While this has some overlap with Filr, we decided to include this so that users can always have access to the files they need to work on from anywhere they have the app. My end goal is to integrate the capabilities with Filr, but it’s going to take a little while. For a demo on File Sharing, check out this link:
- Improved end user experience Finally we’ve overhauled the end user experience to make it easier to find applications, work with containers, and synchronize data. For instance, the screen shot below shows the new app browser.
This browser makes it easy to search for apps, and can search both locally installed applications and served applications. It also allows you to right click and mark certain applications (inside or outside containers) as favorites for easy access. As indicated in the File Synchronization discussion, there’s also a shell extension that makes it easy to access files stored in the ZAV system, as shown below:
Finally we’ve refresh the web portal to give the user access to all of the new features as shown below:
I hope you like what you see, and I’m excited about where we’re going with ZENworks Application Virtualization. Let me know if you’ve got great ideas on how we can make the product even better. Hopefully you’ll hear from me again soon, as I’ve got a lot more exciting things coming to the web soon.