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Developing your Application Virtualization Strategy – What you need to know… (Part 3)

In the previous posts we have discussed six common parameters to determine if an application is well-suited for virtualization and we have already derived three usage scenarios based on this information. In today’s post, we will look at the second set of use cases for Application Virtualization[1].


Four additional scenarios

IT organizations are tasked to maintain an up-to-date client environment by upgrading to the latest operating system. Not all applications are already available in a compatible version shortly after a new operating system has been released. Time and investment spent for re-packaging and re-testing applications packages can be saved if the existing virtualized packages can be used on the new operating system with little or no modifications. This enables IT to get a head start for an early operating system migration and migrating standard applications become a lesser concern.
The operating system migration team need to clarify if or when vendor support will be available and whether legacy applications are required to run on the new operating system at all.
Software for supporting project management or desktop publishing tasks is expensive and mostly just required for the duration of a project or a short period of time by the end-users. By virtualizing applications, IT can establish software rental offerings for end-users through self-service application stores. Saving costs for delivery and maintenance as well as limiting the impact on the client configuration (as only minimal leftovers remain on the target system) are the key aspects of this scenario. In addition, the virtual package can be removed easily.
This third scenario is all about service expansion and designing your virtual packages to be used on different platforms. By using the same package across various platforms, IT can create a consistent user experience and identical application configurations. Centrally troubleshooting and updating the virtual application package are just two additional benefits to help IT to save further costs.
Often times, IT needs to set up multiple Terminal Servers to isolate conflicting applications or to enable running single-user applications in a multi-user environment. The result: server silos. Application Virtualization allows isolating applications (see Parallel Installation scenario), reducing server silos, and reducing additional costs. Virtual environments present the opportunity to stream the virtual applications from a central source which allows IT to save disk space and hardware investments.
AppV_LimitedUsage.jpg The software packaging group within IT usually sets certain thresholds for the minimum amount of users a package will be distributed to. Based on the scale of your environment, this number might be a few hundred systems. Besides Standard Software and project-based applications, IT may be asked to centrally manage and deploy department- or division-specific products that typically don’t meet this threshold.
Depending on the virtualization candidate, creating a virtual package can be quite simple and quick. This enables IT to virtualize software for a smaller target audience when the aspect of a centrally managed package is desirable.

This post concludes the mini-series about developing your Application Virtualization strategy. Stay tuned for more information about how we use this virtualization technology at SAP and how you can benefit from using it in your environment. But now I’m curious…

How did you develop the Application Virtualization strategy in your environment? What has worked for?

[1] Andreas Welsch – Applikationsvirtualisierung – Untersuchung geeigneter Einsatzbereiche als Ergänzung oder Alternative bestehender Softwareverteilungs- und -installationsverfahren sowie prototypische Umsetzung (“Application Virtualization – Evaluation of potential usage scenarios as an addition or alternative to existing software deployment and installation procedures, and prototypical implementation”) – August 2010

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