Application Virtualization: Why does your organization need it?
Many organizations virtualize applications to create a unified workspace and simplify their IT needs. Application virtualization has transformed how employees access applications and IT departments manage user devices in the network.
What is Application Virtualization?
Application virtualization is a process that deceives a standard app into believing that it interfaces directly with an operating system’s capacities when, in fact, it does not.
This ruse requires a virtualization layer inserted between the app and the OS. This layer, or framework, must run an app’s subsets virtually and without impacting the subjacent OS. The virtualization layer replaces a portion of the runtime environment typically supplied by the OS, transparently diverting files and registry log changes to a single executable file.
By diverting the app’s processes into one file instead of many dispersed across the OS, the app easily operates on a different device, and formerly incompatible apps can now run adjacently.
Used in conjunction with application virtualization is desktop virtualization – the abstraction of the physical desktop environment and its related app software from the end-user device that accesses it.
How does it work?
The most common way to virtualize applications is the server-based approach. This means an IT administrator implements remote applications on a server inside an organization’s data center or via a hosting service. The IT admin then uses application virtualization software to deliver the applications to a user’s desktop or other connected devices. The user can then access and use the application as though it were locally installed on their machine, and the user’s actions are conveyed back to the server to be executed.
Application virtualization is an important part of digital workspaces and desktop virtualization.
What are the top three benefits of application virtualization?
The three most significant benefits of virtualized applications are:
- Simplified management: Application virtualization makes it much easier for IT to manage and maintain applications. Applications you want to deliver and deploy are installed on a single server. They are not installed on user devices. App virtualization does not allow you to do this because it provides applications from a server to the user. This simplifies installing and updating software and patches, but it also requires a single server to perform these operations.
- Scalability: Application virtualization lets IT admins deploy virtual applications to all connected devices, no matter what devices have their operating systems or how much storage space they offer. As a result, the organization spends less on computer hardware because employees only require basic computers to access the applications they need for work. A virtual machine, or AppVM for short, is software that allows users to run applications on a remote computer without having to install them on their device.
- Security: Application virtualization technology allows IT administrators to manage which users can access what applications centrally. First, your IT admin must change your organization’s app permissions. Then, it’s easier to revoke licenses from any user who no longer needs them. With application virtualization, the IT admin doesn’t need to uninstall an app from a user’s device since it remains resident but is only accessible by the app’s container. This central control of app access is essential if a user’s device is lost or stolen. It gives IT admins complete control over app access and means that sensitive data can no longer be accessed remotely.
Drawbacks of Application Virtualization
- Internet connectivity: to be productive when using a virtual app, an end user must have a reliable internet connection; generally, the higher the bandwidth, the more responsive the app will be. This can be a challenge in regions that lack a modern communications infrastructure. The exception to this rule is GO-Global, which publishes Windows applications using RXP, a proprietary communications protocol that delivers great performance even over low bandwidth connections.
- Graphics-intensive applications: applications that generate images can slow down as the image is being rendered over an internet connection.
- Anti-virus: such programs can view a virtual or published application as a threat and prevent it from running. Check with the virtualization vendor for compatibility with anti-virus products.
- Printing: Using a printer or other peripheral device with a virtual application is notoriously problematic for end users due to factors like print driver installation, network connectivity, and printer redirection configuration. GO-Global addresses this issue with its universal print driver and admin console tools that simplify the process of enabling end users to print documents as needed.
Use Cases for Application Virtualization
The following is a list of use cases for application virtualization.
If you have a huge number of employees or end-users, then purchasing expensive PCs for everyone can turn out to be drastically expensive. Application virtualization comes to the rescue in such a situation as it allows you to deliver critical applications to any endpoint.
Enterprise applications should be accessible from any kind of mobile device for ease of use. Application virtualization offers application mobility by allowing applications to be delivered to any endpoint.
Secure Remote Access Capabilities
Application virtualization allows employees to access critical applications from anywhere and that too in a secure manner. Application virtualization is useful for work-from-home scenarios that not only provide ease but also security.
Since application virtualization separates applications from the underlying operating system, there is no need to carry out extensive migrations from one kind of OS to the other.
Deploying In-House Applications
Another important use case of application virtualization is the deployment of in-house applications which are updated frequently by developers. The updates, installation, and delivery of these applications are made remote and quick using application virtualization. Application virtualization is equally important for organizations that deploy in-house applications.
Why do you need an Application Virtualization solution?
The list of benefits to employing application virtualization knows no bounds. App virtualization allows IT administrators to install important apps only once on a dedicated server from where they can be later distributed to end devices using virtualization. It also assists in a smooth and uncomplicated software update and patching mechanism. IT administrators can deploy virtualized applications on every connected device regardless of the operating system that’s running on it.
Application virtualization software provides centralized access and authentication management to IT administrators. Using such solutions, IT admins can manage the permissions and access to virtualized applications efficiently.
Monitoring the usage of applications also becomes a simple task and access to sensitive critical information can be easily revoked via remote means in case of device theft or loss. Moreover, it’s relatively easy to remove or delete the application completely from the server as compared to removing it from all individual devices.
Application virtualization has become a necessity for the growth of any enterprise. We live in an “Everything as a Service” world. All forms of technology are transitioning from hardware to software into a virtualized environment.
App virtualization will certainly have more impact on companies in the long run by supporting new modes of business and smoothing the transition to new services structured in the cloud. But for application virtualization to be successful, integrating an application virtualization strategy into the virtual desktop is critical for an easy transition.