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This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights. The opinions expressed within are my own and should not be attributed to any other Individual, Company or the one I work for. I just happen to be a classic techie who is passionate about getting things to work as they should do (and are sometimes advertised and marketed as being able to?) and when I can I drop notes here to help others falling in to the same traps that I have fallen in to. If this has helped then please pass it on - if you feel that I have commented in error or disagree then please feel free to discuss with me either publically or privately? Cheers, Dave
Thin Clients, VDI and Linux integration from the front lines.... Raw and sometimes unedited notes based on my experiences with VMware, Thin Clients, Linux etc.

I’ve spotted this post from Martin Banks at TheRegister and I guess it’s because he has recently interviewed David Greschler, of Softricity due to the (upcoming) release of SoftGrid 4.0 

I have reproduced it here in full, but I think it is of particular note because it very accurately gets to the heart of why this particular technology and SoftGrid in particular is growing at 100% year on year (in some ways I’m surprised it’s not a higher number?)

"Virtualised applications can have a greater impact than machine virtualization," he said. "There are more desktops than servers, and the rate of change is faster, so virtualizing applications has greater cost implications in areas such as management and maintenance."

Already we have Citrix well down the path with AIE (Application Isolation Environments) included in their Presentation Server, with Project Tarpon intended to bring that to the Desktop shortly. Altiris have also released SVS 2.0 to enable to have Applications running in separate virtual *layers* (This is also a free download here and you can download sample applications ready to run)

The main differentiator there was between the three was that Altiris’s SVS and Citrix’s AIE both relied simply on redirection of the File/Folder and Registry components at each Application Install, where as SoftGrid went a little further by using something called a SystemGuard that is shell-like to ensure the Application behaves itself.

So now Softgrid have upped the ante considerably by enabling the virtualization of Windows Services – now this is a real leap for Applications that require this.

Death of the apps installer? - TheRegister.co.uk

One of the great bugbears for developers is the issue of fitting their splendid new applications code to the requirements demanded by applications installers. But could this be about to disappear as a problem? According to David Greschler, co-founder and VP of corporate marketing with Softricity, the answer is a soundly political “maybe”.

He would prefer the word 'transformation' to be applied, for he sees a role for installation-oriented technologies for some time to come yet, but it is also possible to see a wall with writing writ large upon it.

The writing he has in mind is that the general trend towards virtualisation is helping to create an environment where there is no longer any need to install applications on client workstations. "Virtualised applications can have a greater impact than machine virtualistion," he said. "There are more desktops than servers, and the rate of change is faster, so virtualising applications has greater cost implications in areas such as management and maintenance."

The specifics concern the launch of Version 4.0 of Softricity's applications virtualisation environment, SoftGrid. The company has concentrated on three areas of the technology to make additions that could create an environment in which there is no real reason to install applications on individual workstations - certainly for business users.

To make it easier to virtualise just about any PC application, the company has virtualised Windows Services. The relationship between several applications and Windows Services has, till now, made them difficult to virtualise. Now a virtual version of the application will be able to turn on the virtual version of Windows Services when needed, and turn it off when not running.

The Sequencer, the tool which virtualises and packages up applications, has been accelerated and has also had a batch process added. This allows new or upgraded versions of applications to be grouped together for virtualisation at a convenient moment. Virtualisation is a one-off process for an application and only needs to be repeated if it is upgraded - and quite often now the upgrade can be directly applied to the virtualised version.

The streaming capability, which feeds out applications functionality as it is required by clients, has been speeded up and given additional administration management capabilities. In particular, admin can now pre-cache virtualised applications onto client systems where access rights pertain. There is also a remote Help module, which allows IT staff to connect to any SoftGrid client and manage it.

The need for installers is specifically reduced with the addition of Active Upgrade, which automatically routes users to the latest version of an application, subject to policy and compliance issues. This bypasses the traditional issues of upgrade roll-out and what Greschler calls "the miserable part of IT".

The advantage for users and developers is that each application is installed on the server once only, and only has to test against the operating system in isolation.

The recent move to integrate SoftGrid with Microsoft's SMS sees further fruit with the ability to use SMS to push virtual applications to clients. There is no Streaming or Active Upgrade available with this, but it is cheaper and aimed at work places where users have a fixed, regular set of applications to work with.®

Posted on Monday, April 24, 2006 11:26 AM Citrix , IT Management , Real Cool Stuff , Microsoft Tips , VMware and other Virtualization tools | Back to top


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