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18 May 2015
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Application virtualization with Microsoft APP-V

Server virtualization has long been firmly established in our lives. Its advantages are undeniable and its widely used in a variety of business areas. However, application virtualization is new to the Russian corporate market.

Below we will list several key advantages provided by virtualization technology that substantially reduce the cost of ownership of the application, but first let’s consider the following scenario: a company transfers from one version of a critical application to another.

Such a transfer is often difficult and painful. New file formats, new interactions with the rest of the software. It may happen that some equipment supports only the old version and it cannot be quickly replaced. Mistakes connected to the introduction of a new application to the production environment are inevitable, and sometimes a company may even have to revert to an older version in order to avoid downtime. The experts from our company who provide application support these problems are all too common place. Virtualization, even of such a large and complex package as Microsoft Office, may greatly simplify the process — different versions can be launched at the same time on one user account, the configuration can be easily changed by adding or removing components — everything without long downtime.

Let’s examine how the technology works and, at the same time, list the main advantages of application virtualization.

  • Applications are not installed on a computer using an installer.

    In the process of virtualization software is installed on a clean image of the operating system and all changes in the registry and file system during the installation process are recorded in a special package. This package — which is actually a deployed application — is delivered to a user’s computer and launched in its isolated environment without leaving traces in the operating system. This environment is called a sandbox or virtual bubble. An application launched in such a bubble sees all the usual programs and can interact with them, but is invisible.

  • Isolation of applications from each other.

    Since each virtual application is launched in its own separated environment, it eliminates conflicts of overwriting registry keys or replacing files by several independent programs. Expenses for joint testing of a few sometimes very large applications are significantly reduced, or rather, become unnecessary. If necessary, virtual applications may be grouped and then communicate with each other. In this case a compatibility test needs to be carried out only once in order to be sure of a stable operation in the future.

Read more about other benefits and the technology itself on Habrahabr. This article already has more than 15 000 views.

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