It is more important than ever to manage your applications effectively in today’s business world. Application virtualization can help you do just that. This article will explore what application virtualization is and how it can help you.
We will also discuss the benefits of using application virtualization and some of the key features that make it so valuable. Finally, we will look at some of the challenges of implementing application virtualization in your organisation.
So, what is application virtualization and can it help you?
What is Application Virtualization?
Application virtualization is a technology that allows you to run software applications on a remote server instead of on the local computer. This can be useful for several reasons:
- It can allow you to access your applications from any computer, regardless of whether or not they are installed on that computer.
- It can make it easier to manage your applications. For example, you can install a new version of an application without uninstalling and then reinstalling the old version.
- It can help you protect your applications from changes made to your computer’s operating system or other software applications.
Application virtualization is accomplished using special solutions called a “virtualization engine” or “desktop virtualization software“. When you launch an application that has been virtualized, the virtualization engine creates a “virtual environment” in which the application can run.
This virtual environment is entirely separate from the computer’s operating system and other applications.
The Benefits of Application Virtualization
- Easier Application Management: One of the key benefits of application virtualization is that it makes it easier to manage your applications. For example, you can install a new version of an application without uninstalling and then reinstalling the old version. You can also run multiple versions of an application on the same computer simultaneously.
- Improved Performance: Applications running in a virtual environment often perform better than those running on the local computer. This is because the local computer resources are not shared with the applications running in the virtual environment.
- Improved Security: When an application is running in a virtual environment, it is isolated from the rest of the computer. This can help protect the application from changes made to the computer’s operating system or other software applications.
- Reduced Hardware Requirements: Because multiple applications can be run on a single server using application virtualization, you can reduce the amount of hardware needed. This can save you money and make your computing environment more efficient.
- Scalability: Application virtualization can be scaled up or down as needed, based on the number of users and the required resources.
Some of the Key Features of Application Virtualization
Several key features make application virtualization so valuable:
- Application Isolation: When an application is running in a virtual environment, it is isolated from the rest of the computer. This can help protect the application from changes made to the computer’s operating system or other software applications.
- Application Compatibility: Application virtualization can allow you to run multiple versions of an application on the same computer simultaneously. This can be useful if you need to use an older version of an application for compatibility reasons.
- Streaming Applications: One of the application virtualization features is the ability to stream applications. This means that you do not have to download and install an application in its entirety before you can start using it. The application is streamed as needed, which can save time and bandwidth.
- Centralised Management: All of your applications are stored in a single location when you use application virtualization. This can make it easier to find and manage them.
The Difference Between Virtual Machines and Containers
A Virtual Machine (VM) is an emulation of a computer system. A container shares part of its operating system with other containers, while VMs have their own complete copy of an operating system. Containers are faster to start up than VMs because they don’t need to boot an entire OS.
- Setup: VMs are more isolated than containers, meaning that if one VM goes down, the others are not affected. Containers are less isolated because they share an operating system. This can be both an advantage (if you want your containers to be able to communicate with each other) and a disadvantage (if one container fails, it can affect the others).
- Disk Space: VMs take up more disk space than containers because each VM has its complete copy of an operating system. Containers take up less disk space because they share the operating system with other containers.
- Resources: Both VMs and containers have their own set of resources (CPU, memory, etc.) that they can use. However, VMs can be given more resources than containers. This is because VMs are isolated from each other and don’t need to share resources. On the other hand, containers share the operating system and might need to compete for resources with other containers.
VMs are better suited for larger applications that need to be highly isolated, while containers are better suited for smaller applications that don’t need much isolation.
Challenges Associated with Implementing Application Virtualization
Although there are many benefits to using application virtualization, there are also some challenges that you should be aware of:
- Increased Complexity: Using application virtualization can add complexity to your computing environment. This can make it difficult to troubleshoot problems and increase its time to deploy new applications.
- Compatibility Issues: Not all applications are compatible with application virtualization. In some cases, you may need to modify the application to make it compatible.
- Increased Network Traffic: When an application runs in a virtual environment, it sends data back and forth between the computer and the remote server. This can create a significant load on your network and may require you to upgrade your network infrastructure.
- Licensing Issues: Many software vendors have different licensing requirements for applications running in a virtual environment. You may need to contact the vendor to determine what is required.
- Technical Support: To get the most out of application virtualization, you must understand how it works. You may need to train your staff or hire a consultant to help you get started.
The Bottom Line
Application virtualization can offer many advantages to your organisation, including reduced hardware costs, improved performance, and increased security. However, there are also some challenges that you should be aware of, such as increased complexity and compatibility issues. By understanding these challenges, you can be better prepared to overcome them and make the most of application virtualization in your organisation.