How Does Application Streaming Stack Up?

Last Updated:
April 11, 2024

How Does Application Streaming Stack Up?

What is Application Streaming?

Application streaming is an alternative to the Virtual Desktop Interface (VDI) and Desktop as a Service (DaaS) technologies available from companies like VMware, Citrix,and Microsoft. These technologies provide end users with virtual desktops containing the applications they need to do their jobs. Those desktops appear to the user to be running on their local machine but in fact are running on a server managed by corporate IT.

Overtime—and especially after the pandemic forced many employees to work from home—it became clear that not every end user needed a virtual desktop. For some corporate users and use cases, users just needed one or two apps. Application streaming emerged as a solution for those use cases and for ISVs who want to provide customers with one or two apps from the cloud.

Application streaming enables an application stored on a remote server to be utilized on demand by an end user. Much like a streaming service (like Netflix), a user initiates a request—most often by clicking an icon on the device’ GUI—to start steaming the app, and the remote server begins to download the app to the user’s device.

Application streaming does not install the entire app. Instead, the server will transfer enough of the application’s program code and data to enable the user to perform the actions requested. As the end user uses the application, the code and data needed by the user is streamed to the user in the background.

This approach is very similar to how streaming services like Netflix deliver content. When you select a video file on Netflix, Netflix will deliver a few megabytes of the file to your buffer at a time in a constant stream (not the entire video file).

From the user perspective, application streaming appears to be faster than VDI or DaaS because the server is providing application functionality “just in time” rather than enabling full access to all program code and data.

Application streaming examples include Amazon AppStream 2.0  and Microsoft App-V. Citrix’ app streaming product, XenApp, is now part of Citrix DaaS and no longer available as a stand-alone product.

For Windows ISVs, application streaming appears to be a viable alternative to providing one or two applications to their customers from the cloud.

But is it? Is there a catch?


Application Streaming Challenges

While application streaming seems to be beneficial to users—i.e., less “heavy” and more responsive—application streaming relies on desktop virtualization technology to run. To use application streaming, the user’s device must have a dedicated client installed, and IT must make the same investment in time, money, and expertise for application streaming as they need to do for VDI.

From a user perspective, application streaming can seem as maddingly tiresome as VDI. Users have to download and install the client or ask IT to install it prior to using an application streaming solution. Users also have to authenticate with the application virtualization server before firing up the client. If the user is remote, this might mean using a VPN, which is a hassle no matter how technically savvy the user is.  

Additionally, most application streaming solutions come with usability constraints. Amazon AppStream is only available on Amazon Cloud Services. Microsoft App-V will not run on non-Windows platforms, like iOS®, Android, MacOS, and Chrome OS—and Microsoft will end-of-life App-V in April 2026.

And, because AppStream and App-V are built on Windows RDS, companies using these technologies will have to pay for Microsoft user licenses for each named user.

Faced with these challenges, many organizations will opt for VDI or DaaS, which will allow them to deliver productivity applications regardless of their choice of cloud provider or the end user’s platform—even if the end user in question needs just one or two applications.

Windows ISVs, however, don’t need to provide their customers with a desktop. Is there an alternative to VDI, DaaS,and application streaming that doesn't demand the enormous investment in time and money required by those technologies?

Why, yes!

GO-Global® was purpose-built to publish Windows applications from any cloud—simply, easily, and cost-effectively. GO-Global’s client-server architecture and highly efficient proprietary communications protocol provides customers with a great user experience, even on low-bandwidth connections.

And, when deployed on any cloud service, GO-Global leverages that cloud service’s existing infrastructure and security and scalability features to deliver high functionality with less complexity and cost.

To learn more about GO-Global, request a demo here or download a free 30-day trial.

Considering Application Streaming?

See how GO-Global’s application publishing solution delivers Windows Applications