Getting Started with Application Virtualization and Streaming
The purpose of this getting started guide is to help Symantec partners and customers have a good understanding on things that should be considered and prepared for when implementing Symantec Workspace Virtualization and Streaming either as a standalone, integrated into Symantec Management Platform or other 3rd Party vendor product.
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- VDI and Application Virtualization/Streaming Architect
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With Application Virtualization and Streaming it helps solve many business problems in which it is likely that when you are reading this guide you may have only set out to solve one or two of those business problems though it is important to know all the potential value that could be achieved with application virtualization and streaming so when designing and implementing you could ensure that if you decide to extend the business value and get a higher ROI that you consider the other potential use cases in the design.
Description on Application Virtualization and Streaming
These are the end-user focused windows and web programs, executed on a Windows Operating System Platform.
Virtualization is a software layer that improves portability, manageability and compatibility of applications by encapsulating them from the underlying operating system on which they are executed. A virtualized application is not “installed” in the traditional sense, although it’s still executed and behaves as if it were. Virtualization isn’t emulation.
Streaming is the process of transporting the application specific data/content as quickly as possible to the end-point. The application is quick-up-and-running where ultimately the required resources to run and use the application is being delivered to the user while the remaining data is transferred in the background.
Some example Use Cases for Application Virtualization
- Windows OS Migrations for e.g. Windows XP to Windows 7
- Solve Application Compatibility and Conflicts
- Resetting Applications Quickly and restore End Users productivity
- Application Isolation
- Run two versions of same applications side by side
- Application simplified packaging, delivery and updates
- Enable and Disable Applications like a light switch instantly
Some example Use Cases for Application Virtualization and Streaming
- Enable VDI and reduce costs
- Deliver to Traditional, Thin or Virtual Environments
- Applications On-Demand
- Applications as a Service
- Application Rental
- Application Self Service for improved End User Productivity
- Real-Time Application License Compliance
- Centralized Application updates, upgrades and patching
More Use Cases and ROI information can be found in the Symantec Workspace Virtualization and Streaming Admin Guide:
Now where to start?
Of course the goal here is to first virtualize your applications and prepare them for streaming so an important area to start is depending on the use cases selected is which applications to virtualize, what applications cannot be virtualized and why.
OK so here is my theory on this.
What can you virtualize and what you cannot virtualize and is it complex?
A few applications will be impossible to virtualize as they have low level kernal drivers or modify the MBR and have BIOS level functions for example Hard Drive Encryption software like Symantec Endpoint Encryption or Remote Control software.
Once you have identified those applications that you cannot virtualize you can now move onto those applications that you can.
I have found that most applications that can be virtualized will fit into one of three categories, easily virtualized which normally represents approximately 60% of software that don’t require any customization or configuration, then custom virtualized which typically represents about 30% of software which requires some customization and configuration etc… Then finally Complex Virtualized, this where the remaining 10% of applications that are very difficult to virtualize because they have possibly drivers, has client and server side connectivity and reboots required.
Category 1 (Easily Virtualized) – Approx. 60% Applications
Category 2 (Custom Virtualized) – Approx. 30% Applications
Category 3 (Complex Virtualized) – Approx. 10% Applications
What way to deliver Virtual Applications (Traditional, Thin, VDI or Stream), do they require licenses.
Once you determine which applications to virtualize based on your use case plans then the next step to determine is the delivery model and this depends on a couple of items, whether you want to delivery the virtual application via traditional methods for e.g. Altiris or SCCM, using Active Directory Policies or Advertising them on a Software Portal or Self Service Portals. What license types and entitlement do you have for those applications whether you have site licenses, volume licenses or have limited Device Licenses or User based Licenses and various other combinations and application cost? Deliver them to Traditional, Thin or VDI etc…
If you have a site license or the software does not require a license then it would be practical to deliver those Applications via traditional methods like Altiris CMS/SMS to the Endpoints, this means that application can be made quickly available to the user online or offline. It can be deactivated until a time the user requires to use the application.
If the application is costly and you have limited licenses then it would be more suitable to use the streaming server to deliver those applications as this was you can better control the metering, removal and license controls related to those applications. This way you can also easily publish the application for On Demand, Self Service or BYOD scenarios. Application Streaming is also great for version control and reducing security risk, so for example 1 time execution only use cases, the user access the application and then once the application is closed then it will be automatically removed from the device meaning the license is reclaimed, if that application poses a potential security threat due to vulnerabilities this process simplifies the patching and software update process so the end user always has the latest patched version.