The Benefits of ZENworks Application Virtualization

By Donna Moyer

Virtualization is one of the buzzwords in IT today. You have probably already worked with virtualizing servers and desktops; now your opportunities have expanded again with the potential of virtualizing applications. The question is, what are the benefits to virtualizing applications, and how does the process work?

We all know the issues around deploying applications to Windows desktops: overwriting common files and libraries, conflicts with differing versions of prerequisites like Java and .NET, and applications breaking after ‘Patch Tuesday.’ Application virtualization takes care of many of these issues by providing a “wrapper” around the application. The application is packaged with all necessary libraries and files so that it can be run on a workstation without actually being installed on the workstation.

How is this accomplished? ZAV provides three ways:

  1. Templates for certified applications. Novell has an ever-growing list of applications that have been certified. This means that the application vendor will support the application being run in a virtualized environment. You can select this option to quickly build an app: you only need the software directories and license keys.
  2. Snapshot. If you have been working with ZENworks for a long time, you are probably familiar with snapshots. First, ZAV takes a snapshot of your test workstation environment prior to the application installation. Next, you install and configure the application on your test machine. Finally, you prompt the wizard and it will take the after-snapshot and set up the virtualized app that you can then deploy to your production workstations.
  3. Custom build. This is the most advanced option available, and is generally used for home-grown applications. Here, you will need to manually add the necessary files and registry settings to the virtual environment.

So how can you use this tool? Here are just a few ways:

  1. Use ZAV to quickly build applications to be deployed to desktops via ZENworks. Actual installation on the desktop is not necessary, but shortcuts to each program can be created. With ZAV, it is no longer necessary to extensively test applications installed on desktops for compatibility issues!
  2. Run programs that use differing versions of .NET or JAVA without conflict.
  3. Provide end-users with USB keys loaded with any application they need, such as a VPN client. By supplying the necessary applications on USB keys, users don’t have to install the applications on their home PCs … and you don’t need to
    provide the support that all too often goes along with these PC installations!

© Copyright 2009, Uptime NetManagement, Inc.

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About the Author:
Donna Moyer is Principal/Senior Network Consultant of Uptime NetManagement, Inc. ( Uptime is a Novell Gold Solutions partner providing technology solutions, customized training, and consulting services. If you are interested in finding out exactly what Novell can do for your business, or are seeking to maximize the benefits from your current Novell systems, call us today at 610-621-1244!