Ease the Move to Application Virtualization with Software Packaging
As the industry moves from the traditional PC to user-centric computing, desktop virtualization and cloud technologies are growing in popularity accelerated further by the proliferation of new and unique consumer devices and user demands for mobility. While application virtualization was initially a way to deal with application conflicts, its popularity grew because corporate IT saw it as an alternative software deployment model. IT managers like it because application delivery now takes on a strategic role as well as offers a low-cost, highly efficient way to deploy software that users need without installing and maintaining every application on each client device. Both security and control win. IT developers like it because they no longer need to struggle with the challenges of writing code that doesn't conflict with previous installed applications.
Changing the desktop model to a virtualized and separated set of resources (operating system, applications, and user data and settings) provides the benefit of independently managing each layer and applying it, where needed and as needed, across many technologies. Organizations are moving to Windows 7, virtual desktops, and session-based solutions, but they often lack the resources to transform their application portfolio into solutions that meet the needs of a constantly changing business landscape. This is where application virtualization becomes a building block of the new desktop model.
Today IT organizations are changing the desktop computing model by combining new operating system deployment with virtualization technologies to enhance the desktop infrastructure. Application virtualization enables accelerated deployment, improved support and increased flexibility, reducing the effort of implementing new technologies. Applications are the essential resource that each user needs to be productive. The problem for organizations is how to take hundreds or even thousands of applications in various formats and standardize them in a common application format. Application virtualization provides a solution, however the resources and time needed to convert applications into new formats prohibits many organizations.
Application virtualization: start with a plan
Application virtualization begins with assessing current and future requirements. The underlying technologies are so varied that each implementation can be very different. Understandably you may be hesitant to launch yet another new project that will require more time and effort for uncertain results. Advances in automated packaging technology, however, have made it possible to prepare applications for application virtualization with minimal expense and substantial time savings. That can accelerate an application virtualization project to the top of the strategic business initiative list.
As you evaluate an application virtualization strategy and create your plan, consider the following key issues:
- Don't start from scratch
Since application virtualization projects may come on the heels of other, larger initiatives, it is critical to reduce the time and effort of completing a transformation from software to application virtualization packages. Most enterprises have a large number of legacy applications already converted to MSI that will need to be converted for application virtualization. You don't want to spend additional time redoing this.
- Ensure reliable virtualized applications
You don't want to risk that moving to application virtualization will break what already works. So while you need to minimize the time required to prepare, edit, and test virtual applications, you also need to maximize the success of deployments.
- Know which applications to virtualize
Since the benefits of application virtualization increase as a greater percentage of applications are virtualized, knowing which applications make the best conversion candidates saves a lot of time. Since not all applications can be virtualized and others may require additional work, this step provides organizations with a roadmap of which applications can or should be virtualized. A pre-conversion assessment can help you make the right decision quickly. This insight can also be valuable in planning a 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) Windows 7 migration, since combining Windows 7 migrations with application virtualization projects can deliver an optimized desktop infrastructure.
- Minimize learning curves
Native sequencing or third party tools for creating virtual applications may be hard to use or limited in functionality. Since each application virtualization technology has unique tools requiring deep application-level knowledge, IT staff is required to learn additional tools and often perform parallel processes of traditional and virtual packaging. Using a familiar and automated application packaging or readiness toolset speeds migration times.
Best practices: vendor neutral solutions
If you are still undecided about your virtual platform or you have recently undergone a merger, acquisition, or consolidation, you can eliminate some of the above challenges with an application repackaging solution that supports a range of application virtualization vendors. This leaves you free to select the application virtualization technology that makes sense for your requirements today without becoming locked into that vendor's product tomorrow.
A vendor neutral application readiness solution or application packaging solution delivers flexibility on several levels. For example, if your organization has undergone, a merger or acquisition, you may have several application virtualization platforms to choose from or to consolidate. With a vendor neutral application readiness solution, you won't need to make a difficult choice between supporting one company's application virtualization technology and the other popular application virtualization technologies.
- Read: Getting Started with Application Virtualization white paper
- Learn more about Flexera Software products to enable application virtualization, application readiness and application packaging, and managing the application readiness workflow