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Symantec SWV: Too little too late?

Created: 20 Oct 2010 | 15 comments
CGATX's picture

I thought I'd start the discussion point. 

I've been the biggest fan of SWV since it was Juice.  I've proposed Symantec's applicaiton virtualization technologies to many customers over the years.  I think Symantec does app virtualization right compared to Microsoft and VMware. 

Despite my love for SWC's philosophy of a true application management approach to application virtualization I have to be honest with myself and my customers.  Considering Symantec's lack of focus on development of this (and other virtualization) technologies, I'm not sure I feel comfortable recommending it to customers any more.  Case in point:  Why has it taken this long to develop a 64-bit version of SWC?  Even VMware -- who was formerly the loss leader in app virtualization product development -- has a 64-bit capable version of ThinApp.  Another point:  I'm currently testing SP6 and the experience has been less than I hoped from a supposedly RC product. 

I don't even know if Symantec has a chance to sway the market at this point.  Most of my customers have already decided on AppV and find it a reasonable solution despite the heavy toll of Software Assurance.  I just with Symantec had gotten their stuff together so customers might have seen what was really possible. 

Rationaly discussion please.  Flaming me is not going to sway anybody or make the lack of a 64-bit version go away.

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EdT's picture

Back in mainframe days, no-one ever got sacked for buying IBM.

Nowadays, it's pretty much the case that no-one gets sacked for buying Microsoft, and although App-V is much less capable than SWV, corporate IT still considers Microsoft ahead of Symantec, as the latter is very much a newcomer when it comes to servicing corporates and has yet to convince them that it is not just a supplier to end users. To stand a chance against Microsoft, it has to play the game and bring out newer and better product first.

Symantec has a huge product portfolio but appears to consider SWV as a niche product and not worthy of significant development investment - at least that is how it appears to me.

Don't get me wrong - I loved SVS at first release and still think the product is great, but the extremely pedestrian development of 64 bit SWV has not done it any favours.

Windows 7 64 bit edition is pretty much the defacto standard O/S for any new hardware, and although some companies will be downgrading to XP or Vista to meet theirb current corporate standards, most companies have Windows 7 projects under way and new hardware will inevitably end up running 64 bit sooner or later.

With Microsoft occupying much of the server room and desktop, it is hard to see how Symantec can generate any decent revenue from SWV and this no doubt influences development dollars. There is also the support angle. If you use App-V and you have a problem, then it's a Microsoft product running on Microsoft products, so a single stop shop for support. If you have an SWV problem on your Microsoft kit, then you end up in a no-man's land if a technical issue arises that cannot clearly be blamed on Microsoft or on Symantec.

It's all about the bottom line - I don't think the potential revenue from SWV can pay for the necessary development and support infrastructure that is necessary to compete with App-V, and we all know that Symantec is very concious of the bottom line.

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Tim.Jing's picture

I'm wondering, are both of you that commented on this product current user's of the SWV product.

I have seen both products at work, App-V and SWV. SWV is the hands down more mature product in a real world enviroment. Not to mention easier to configure, administer and deploy new sw. And with less infrustrure costs on top of it all.

So is the 64 bit support on the road map for SWV team?

EdT's picture

|Timanator,

The history of IT is littered with products that were technological leaders but never sold volume. 20-odd years ago, the network operating systems included Novell and Lan Manager, plus a product called Banyan Vines. Vines was a true enterprise NOS and companies such as Compaq and Intel used it - it had a directory service called StreetTalk, which I still believe remains superior to any version of Novell NDS and certainly to the original releases of Active Directory. However, it never became a mainstream NOS, as Banyan was small and Novell was big.  I see the same situation in SWV and App-V.  App-V is a pile of cack, there is no argument there, but here in the UK, if I look at the job boards to see what skills are being sought by UK corporates, it is App-V. I see no mention whatsoever of SWV skills being required.

I use SWV all the time, as I have some of my favourite tools virtualised, and I can run them on client machines without messing with the native application installs. 

The problem, I believe, is that Symantec has yet to change the perception that it is an antivirus company serving the end user market.

If you go to the Symantec website, the first thing you see is the Norton Antivirus products. No doubt this is one of the company's cash cows, but while the end user perception remains, the sell into corporates is not going to be easy.  There is also no doubt in my mind that the lack of a 64 bit SWV client that has reached RTM is also affecting user acceptance, as most corporate users are not likely to implement a 32 bit only solution at a time when 64 bit is enjoying rapid growth. Corporates was a solution that will work across their entire desktop and laptop estate - they do not want a patchwork of different solutions from different vendors as this just increases the TCO.

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CGATX's picture

Looks like we all agree.  We love the idea of SWV but it's simply not the product it should be any more. 

When I read EdT's comments it came to me that I have exactly the same gripe about the other former juggernaut Ghost.  18 months ago when I was struggling to learn MSFT WAIK I couldn't help but imaging a world where somebody much smarter than me finally puts a GUI on WAIK so I can use it without the manual *every* *single* *time* I open it up.  It then struck me that this version 1.5 product has already eclipsed Ghost in that it gives my customers a way to MANAGE their images rather than simply making it about a snapshot.  It then struck me that Ghost is nothing more than a fancy schmancy file copy program with some bells and whistles which has not fundamentally changed AT ALL in the last 8 years.  All of this when our mutual customers were begging for real solutions.  Seems like Symantec should have build a universal imaging capability into Ghost 10 years ago rather than letting their customers wander the desert. 

More revelation: 

  • Altiris isn't nearly what it should be today considering the years of presumed development.  Sure, it's getting better but now trails SCCM in features (that actually work). 
  • WISE Packaging Studio.  __EVERY__ one of my customers is dissatisfied with the lack of innovation in WISE and are moving to Flexera.  To a man!

I think there's a parallel here.  Symantec seems to be a place where products go to wither and/or die. 

I refuse to believe that it's solely a product MSFT stifling these products.  Other manufacturers develop products that customers purchase despite MSFT being in the game.  If your product is good enough, customers will buy it.  Hell, customers buy AppV and they have to purchase Software Assurance to get it.  VMware has all but killed HyperV and VMware is hardly cheap.  Definitely not free.  Citrix is still around despite the fact they are a fancy-fication of Terminal Services (and MSFT removed the differentiator of application publication with RDS).

Timinator:  Don't be a jackass.  I didn't come here to be insulted.  I've implemented every app virtualization product in production, at scale for various customers.  I also use the product personally.  I've proclaimed my love for the product and the philosophies espoused in the product.  I stated pretty clearly that SWV is by far the better (idea of a) product.  With its waning support I will be forced to move on soon. 

Jordan's picture

Lets lay off the name calling.

I don't have problems with customer's have an honest debate about our products but I do take issue with insults or anything else that would turn this into a fight instead of a discussion.

If a forum post solves your problem please flag is as the solution

erikw's picture

I was reading this discussion and the comments, and I want to join the debate.

In 2005 I met Andre de Meijer, and after almost an hour of talking about application Virtualization and software deployment he got me turned over. I saw so many features and possibilities with SWV.

I did Wyse packaging for over years at that time, and my main job was deploying applications into Citrix environments.

Altiris did a great Job, and with Juice, Altiris gave us our own portal to the community where like minded people could talk about SVS and every body was helping each other, and Altiris even paid all of us for doing so.

After that I did more then 5 comparisons between Softgrid ( the current App-V), Thinstall ( the current Vmware Thinapp) and SVS (yep, the current SWV). And in every comparison SVS won.

The reason is very simple. SVS allowed us to Virtualize drivers and services. The other solutions didn't. As a kind of an ambassador I sold the story to our customers and I talked about SVS worldwide on conventions, tradeshows and I was even hired by big company's to tell the story. Mots intreaging part was explaining the customer what application interactions are and why you need them.

With App-V and Thinapp that was very difficult, if not impossible.

When companies decide to do Application Virtualization, they should not listen to what ever big vendor. The vendors alway's tell their own story and why their product is so great, and yes I do the same thing.

The customer should do a very well evaluation without having anybody who is telling the story to interfere. I see people like Brian Madden and Ruben Spruit talking about Application Virtualization and creating documents, posts and blogs about why you should choose this and wh yyou should do so. And they do a great job. But at the end the customer makes the decision and they have to pay and work with the solution they choose.

And even I am very preset on SWV as it allows me to do stuff that others can't do.

Symantec came with a brilliant idea. They bought Altiris. That was big news, and i am still not happy with that decision. Symantec is great in security and they also do a good job with backup solutions, but Altiris is a total different story. It's like Wallmart going to sell cars. Yes they will sell, but why should you buy a car at the same place where you buy your bread?

Altiris was, is and will be a big part of the application packaging, provisioning and monitoring world. That's something totally different then selling antivirus.

The first major change Symantec did was taking our precious and beloved Juice away. Juice was'nt the best website, and everybody sometimes struggled with it, but Kevin and Cheryll did a tremendously great job in facilitating us. I'm still very proud I hat the oppertunity to meet with both juice master on one of the events.

Symantec took it, and rebuilded it into connect, and althouigh the current website works out great, ieverybody knows I still like Juice. It was ours.

When I go to www.symantec.com, I see big story's on Norton. Why?????

Norton is never used in company environments, and I would not even use it at home. I run Symantec endpoint protection at home. I never got a clear answer why I should run Norton at home or in my company.

Best thing that could happen to us, is that Symantec finally does what they should do when they bought Altiris. Make a big product out of it. Do the right things or sell Altiris to a company that knows how valuable the solutions are and can be.

Now development goes slow, they set the wrong expectations and there is still a lack on developing what we need. YES WE NEED 64BIT SUPPORT AND WE NEED IT YESTERDAY.

Last week I did an installation with App-V because Symantec still has no 64Bit supported versions. Yes non supported, not GA available, versions. they are great. Do the job, still encounter some smaller issues, but not GA.

I'm not sure if it's worth anything, but I really hope Symantec reads this discussion (No Jordan, I don't mean you, but the people who make decisions) and that they act in listening to the people who are selling, implementing and troubleshooting their products.

My deepest appologies if anybody feels offended by this post.

Regards Erik www.DinamiQs.com Dinamiqs is the home of VirtualStorm (www.virtualstorm.org)

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ManelR's picture

Hi Erikw,

I agree with you. SVS was a very good product. SWV probably was good in XP but is not a final product for actual environments like Windows 7.

We've working with the produt during 4 months and we have still many issues with applications in Windows 7. The idea is great, the product is great (when it works) but we can deploy it massively without an assurance that it won't create more problems than the ones we want to solve using virtualization.

I hope, as you, that the people who make decisions read this post ...

Regards,

IT Systems Manager
LCFIB - Computing Lab
Barcelona School of Informatics
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech
numishra's picture

I am trying to evaluate SWV but having very hard time to understand and depoying it. Documentation is not very clear. I am able to created the packages from SWV admin console and exported the XPF/VSA of the application layer.

Now I am not able to understad how I deploy that application to the clients. I have SCCM as a software deployment tool.

Could some one please help me to understand:

1. How to deploy virtual applications created by SWV?

2. Is it mandatory to have Symantec Virtualization Streaming server for the same?

3. Can we deploy these packages from SCCM?

I must say Symantec in not very serious in making SWV a product of choice for It pros.

SK's picture

Yes, SCCM as well as any other software deployment tool can be used to deploy our virtual packages.

For the packages command line, you will need to call svscmd.exe including its relevant switches which are documented.

SWV also has a SDK that you can utilise.

SK.

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ManelR's picture

Hello,

SWV is the technology for creating virtual applications.

Then you can deploy these applications (they are only XPF files) to your workstations with your favourite method:

- A share

- PSExec commands

- Your SCCM

- By hand

etc.

Deploy a virtual application is basically:

- Use the agent svscmd command to import the file and activate the layer

So the answers to your questions are:

1 - Answered before

2 - No, is not mandatory but is very flexible tool (you have a web portal with applications so the user can run them on demand)

3 - Of course (you must have the agent in your workstations)

I disagree with your with SWV and IT Pros. Is a very good product but you need to play with it for some time to see all their features ;-)

See you.

IT Systems Manager
LCFIB - Computing Lab
Barcelona School of Informatics
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya - Barcelona Tech
richard_artes's picture

Replying to the original point (not the questions after which should be in a new post).

Microsoft has better marketing and Symantec doesn't compete on the price front.

My manager has decided to drop SVS (Sorry Symantec Workspace Virtualisation) purely based on price comparison, nothing to do with functionality. Symantec can't/don't compete with Microsoft on price, so they loose by default.

App-V will be implemented with SCCM in place of Altiris Deployment Solution. Shame!

Richard Artes.

erikw's picture

Its the story of our live.
Although Novell was much better, Microsoft won.
And to bad to see that often although swv is better Microsoft wins.

Regards Erik www.DinamiQs.com Dinamiqs is the home of VirtualStorm (www.virtualstorm.org)

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richard_artes's picture

Hi Erik, I just saw you response. Novell lost the battle and also the war!

(By the way, "It's the story of our life". Live means "now, direct". Don't worry, a common mistake in Dutch translations!)

Groetjes,

Richard.

EdT's picture

Novell was arrogant and provided little support to developers, so it was difficult to add value writing NLMs for example.  Microsoft produced an inferior networking product, but it had a GUI that everyone understood, and it was supported by extensive SDKs and documentation. Novell also thought it could compete with Microsoft on the Office suite front, and we all know what happened there. Had Novell stuck to its area of expertise and engaged with developers, then the shape of the server landscape would be substantially different today.  Had Novell thought to buy Banyan, then we would have had a vastly superior directory naming service to NDS or Active Directory. But that, as they say, is history.

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erikw's picture

Thanxs for correcting me Richard.

I speak multiple languages, but writing is pretty difficult. But everybody knows what i mean. :-)

That's also the story of our Life.

Cheers

Regards Erik www.DinamiQs.com Dinamiqs is the home of VirtualStorm (www.virtualstorm.org)

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