Application Virtualization

What is Application Virtualization?

Application virtualization is the process of communication between an application and an operating system as if they are directly interfaced, when they are not.

Why does application virtualization work?

Virtualizing applications occurs when they run without any dependency or limitation on the physical hardware of an operating system (OS). The app thinks that it is interfacing directly with the OS; however, it is actually interfacing with a software layer, called a hypervisor, that is installed between the app and the OS. This process of virtualization safely enables remote work. The software pulls from the OS resources and allocates specifically where the bandwidth, storage, or compute is needed. 

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Why are organizations using application virtualization?

Organizations must shift to Desktop as a Service (DaaS) in order to increase productivity and operational efficiency as workforces become increasingly distributed. Desktop virtualization, which falls under the same umbrella as application virtualization, affects the overall architecture of a network, data transfer, and the internal structure of the data center.

Through the resources that application virtualization makes available, applications based on older technology are accessible again. For instance, legacy apps that were developed years before and may be incompatible with the current OS but are still required for operational purposes within an organization are now able to be utilized with application virtualization. 

How does application virtualization help developers?

Software and app developers are able to utilize virtualization to decrease costs and simplify development, as the process makes resources more accessible. Multiple applications and environments can be virtualized on the same system, enabling dev teams to test and iterate based on multiple OS versions at the same time and on the same hardware.

Virtualization is a safe and secure way of accessing potentially contaminated or suspect files, as the software and application are separate and so make it nearly impossible for threats to propagate through the system. This functionality also assists with application development and testing, as any issues encountered in one development environment cannot create issues in the rest of the system.

What are the benefits of application virtualization?

The benefits of utilizing application virtualization are vast, as it enables the secure communication and storage of data:

  • Application virtualization allows apps to comply with strict governance and privacy regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS). This helps keep private information safe from any malware or attempts at compromise.
  • Despite legacy apps being developed prior to technological advancements, application virtualization allows them to continue running. This is a major benefit to information systems professionals, as there are many legacy apps that are critical in organizations’ operational infrastructure.
  • Application virtualization also manages incident resolution. This occurs through the process of the virtualization layer restoring desktop settings to the original settings, which effectively wipes any virtualized images from the desktop and resaves them as a new image. This keeps all data safe and available for continued use and diverts any negative event from corrupting the data.
  • Another significant benefit is that application virtualization supports operations across varying platforms. Most devices have compatible applications that are native to the device. With application virtualization, the option to run a Windows app on macOS, for example, becomes available. This interchangeably also applies to Linux, Chrome OS, iOS, and Android.

What’s the difference between server, desktop, and application virtualization?

The process of virtualization can occur on the server, desktop, or application level, individually or in combination. While the foundation of the process remains the same, the optimization and benefits vary. 

Server virtualization

Server virtualization is the most commonly applied type of virtualization in the technology industry today. Organizations can deeply benefit from utilizing server virtualization, as the system effectively separates the components of the host system to more effectively process high-volume data, which promotes efficiency within the functions of the system.

Desktop virtualization

Desktop virtualization promotes efficiency in any remote setting. If a user switches physical desktop environments, they can still remotely access their virtual system via the Internet and have the same functionality as they had previously. The display is mirrored, reflecting the exact experience they would have regardless of which device is in use. This is because the user’s data exists on a host server and is only accessed via the user’s device.

Application virtualization

Application virtualization separates the OS, and the hardware that it runs on, from the app. This separation makes it possible to run applications from data center hardware, rather than having to have individual instances stored on and run from individual devices. In these environments, users typically access their applications and associated data through a connection to the data center server via the Internet.

How does application virtualization work?

Application virtualization is a process that duplicates an interfaced style of communication between an application and an operating system. This process makes the application believe that it is directly interfacing with the OS’s capacity. It occurs through a virtualization layer that exists between the OS and the app, the hypervisor, which runs the app’s processes and alleviates the subsequent workload from the OS. An OS would typically support this process; however, the hypervisor now takes on this responsibility. The diversion of processes is possible due to the virtualization layer, which diverts all application-related files and saves these to a single data file.

This data file is stored within a server as an image, effectively removing any risk to the information’s safety. Endpoint devices are not exposed to vulnerabilities, malware, or security threats because the data is not administered or saved on the actual endpoint devices. The endpoint device simply acts as a display.

The process of application virtualization also allows previously incompatible apps to run contiguously. This is due to transferring the app’s processes into one file, instead of several files within the OS.

HPE application virtualization services and solutions

With HPE offerings, virtualization becomes accessible and sustainable. The resources HPE provides simulates multiple computing locations from a singular pool of organization resources. Providing resources that were once only physical, data storage and transfer become available anywhere with virtualization.

One of the main challenges that organizations with virtualized infrastructures face is avoiding disruptions. Industry-leading virtualization technology is available through HPE Infosight, as it provides support for virtual machines that protect against application disruption. Optimizing performance through cloud-based machine learning (ML), HPE Infosight enables virtual machines to efficiently reallocate resources as needed.

HPE SimpliVity systems provide speed, efficiency, and resiliency in application performance. This allows for quick back-ups and restores on virtual machines. Concerning operational and business-critical needs, HPE Nimble Storage dHCI delivers an intelligent platform. With the world’s best intelligent storage, HPE Primera delivers maximum resiliency and agility.

Offering intelligent cloud solutions as-a-service, the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform combines the cloud experience with on-site servers for the ultimate virtual machine infrastructure.