Application Publishing Overview

Last Updated:
April 11, 2024

Application Publishing Overview

Published applications are virtual software programs that look and act like local applications but are actually running on a server. IT can set up published application access on the user’s device so that the user accesses and launches a published application the same way that they would a local application. In many cases, the end user can’t tell the difference between a published application and an application installed on the end user’s device.

Both Microsoft® Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) and Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) technologies can publish applications, but published applications are more common with RDSH. As an example, VMware Horizon® is a VDI product, but VMware Horizon Apps leverages Microsoft Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) to deliver published applications.

Why Use Application Publishing Software?

The primary application publishing use case is ISVs that want to deliver virtually any type of Windows application to their customers from the cloud to use on a wide variety of devices. Self-publishing using an application publishing solution gives an ISV complete publishing control and optimal visibility into how the application is being utilized and allows the ISV to update software centrally on the server. Also, using application publishing software requires considerably less investment and overhead than VDI, which adds to an ISV's bottom line.

Other applications include an enterprise with a legacy Windows application intended for internal use that may want to keep that application and related data separate from more modern productivity applications and their data. Or, if a legacy application runs on an older version of Windows and will no longer run on users’ modern devices, application publishing will allow IT to extend the app’s useful life since published apps run on a server, not the device (this use case can also apply to a Windows ISV).

Another example is an organization that needs to support employees working in the field without access to a modern internet infrastructure. VDI can become almost unusable on low-bandwidth connections; app publishing requires fewer resources. GO-Global customer Sibelco, a global material solutions company, uses GO-Global to publish applications for employees working in very remote locations like the Atacama Desert in Chile,where high-speed connections are unavailable.

Additionally, some organizations may not want to implement VDI or DaaS due to budgetary, timing, or personnel concerns, but still want to provide employees with the applications they need to do their jobs. For this use case, IT can publish a folder of applications and make it available from the cloud for less time, effort, and IT management investment than VDI.


What are the Application Publishing Alternatives to VDI?

As noted above, some VDI products also offer application publishing capabilities. But, if you want application publishing capabilities without VDI, your choices are limited. Here is a list of application publishing tools that do not utilize VDI technology.

Microsoft Remote Desktop Services (RDS)

Remote Desktop Services is a component of Windows® that allows a user to initiate and control an interactive session on a remote computer or virtual machine over a network connection. RDS lets IT deliver individual virtualized applications and provide end users with the ability to run their applications from the cloud. RDS is Microsoft's implementation of thin client architecture, where Windows software, and the entire desktop of the computer running RDS, are made accessible to any remote client machine that supports Microsoft Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). 

VMware Horizon® Apps

Horizon Apps offers published applications and session-based desktops without VDI. Horizon Apps leverages Microsoft® Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) servers to deliver published applications or desktops, and VM-hosted apps on Horizon 7.9 or later to deliver published applications. Data, applications, and desktops are centrally managed and secured; users access their published applications and desktops from a single digital workspace.


An application publishing solution providing multi-user access to Windows applications from any location, device, and operating system. Unlike the products described above that leverage RDS, GO-Global fully replaces that functionality including multi-session kernel, Remote Desktop clients, display driver, protocol, internet gateway and management tools.

Because GO-Global does not use Windows, applications published using GO-Global require less IT implementation and management effort, scale more economically, and provide users with a web-native experience on any device with a browser. Browser-based user access does not require installation of a client on a user’s device, making it easier to enable and support users with non-Windows devices.

For organizations that want to publish Windows applications easily, quickly, and inexpensively, consider GO-Global.

To learn more about GO-Global’s application publishing solution, request a demo here or download a free 30-day trial.

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