Application Virtualization Overview

Last Updated:
January 22, 2024

Application Virtualization Overview

What is app virtualization?

App virtualization solutions separate the application from its operating system to allow an application to run on a device without being installed on that device.The application thinks it’s interfacing with the OS, but it’s actually interfacing with a software layer called a hypervisor. To the user, a virtualized application behaves like an application that’s installed on their device.

The most common way to virtualize applications is on a centralized server located in a corporate data center or on a cloud-based service, with virtualized apps delivered to users over a corporate network or the internet.

Benefits of Application Virtualization

Facilitates remote work: app virtualization makes it easy for an employee to work from home (or anywhere) and makes it easier for IT to support remote workers.

Extends application life: app virtualization allows legacy apps to continue being utilized, even those built on an OS version that is no longer supported by the vendor. A great example is an enterprise that wants to continue using an in-house legacy application.

Eliminates application conflict: applications virtualization lets a user to concurrently run different versions of the same software, for example in a manufacturing facility, or safely run mutually exclusive applications on the same user system.

Extends the life of end user devices: app virtualization enables a user to run a modern application on an older machine with an OS that doesn’t support the new application OS.

Enables use of mobile devices: users can run virtualized applications on mobile apps that would not support the app if installed directly on the device.

Eliminates OS conflict: since a virtual app is separated from its operating system, a Windows app (for example) can run on non-Windows devices. The exception to this rule is Microsoft® App-V—Windows® apps virtualized by App-V can only run on Windows machines.

Easy installation, updates, and support: since the application is installed only on a server, it only needs to be installed once, not on each end user device, updates are applied at the server level only, and support issues related to application functionality can usually be solved at the server level.

Regulatory compliance: because the app is not installed on the device, organizations using application virtualization can find it easier to comply with regulations like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS).

Application Virtualization Drawbacks

Internet connectivity: in order to be productive when using a virtual app, an end user must have a reliable internet connection; generally, the higher the bandwidth, the more responsive the app will be. This can be a challenge in regions that lack a modern communications infrastructure. The exception to this rule is GO-Global, which publishes Windows applications using RXP, a proprietary communications protocol that delivers great performance even over low bandwidth connections.

Graphics-intensive applications: applications that generate images can slow down as the image is being rendered over an internet connection.

Anti-virus: such programs can view a virtual or published application as a threat and prevent it from running. Check with the virtualization vendor for compatibility with anti-virus products.

Printing: Using a printer or other peripheral device with a virtual application is notoriously problematic for end users due to factors like print driver installation, network connectivity, and printer redirection configuration. GO-Global addresses this issue with its universal print driver and admin console tools that simplify the process of enabling end users to print documents as needed.

Streamline Application Virtualization with GO-Global

GO-Global enables organizations to deliver Windows applications to any device or operating system from any cloud. To learn more about GO-Global’s application publishing solution, request a demo or download a free 30-day trial.