Virtualization technology is already driving a wedge between the operating system and underlying hardware. Now the technology looks to do the same for the OS and the application.
Application virtualization systems are sprouting like weeds this year, all vowing to improve performance and enterprise flexibility by creating application on-demand environments in which users can mix and match resources that are best suited for the task at hand.
Celceo recently introduced the latest version of its Application Virtualization software development kit, aiming to allow virtual apps to integrate seamlessly with Windows. The package integrates enterprise management with endpoint security, allowing administrators to monitor performance and use through the company's SmartBox appliance.
Endeavor Technologies is mixing application virtualization and application streaming in its Application Jukebox, available in enterprise and SaaS editions. The system allows applications to be published in fully isolated, or sandboxed, mode, as fully integrated modules or in multiple combinations of the two. The enterprise edition supports Active Directory for user and group monitoring and license management. The system can stream an application for Microsoft Office 2007 in less than 12 seconds.
Another newcomer is Ceedo Technology, which is using app virtualization to create virtual desktops for Windows environments. As described here by ZDnet's Dan Kusnetzky, the system grabs calls into Windows looking to access the registry or the Windows file system. It then diverts these calls into its own stack to create a virtual workspace where applications can trade data. The system eliminates licensing costs and avoids the full footprint of a virtualized operating system.
With this much happening among third-party vendors, all eyes are turning toward the major virtualization platform vendors to see how they plan to respond. This post from VMware's Ed Albanese lays out the company's plans for Thinstall, which the company bought out in January. The system will still be made available as a standalone product or as a component of the VDI system, where it will be used to bypass local cache and stream applications directly into memory, reducing storage costs and compatibility headaches surrounding the deployment of applications into existing images.
Application virtualization has been described as the third wave of virtualization, after server/storage virtualization and network I/O virtualization. After all, if you're going to redirect and redeploy hardware-based resources according to the whim of users, it would be a shame not to offer the same courtesy to software.