Application virtualization: The Terminal Services killer?

Danielle Ruest and Nelson Ruest, Contributors

Application virtualization on the server offers several benefits: It can support the consolidation of application servers. It can replace large terminal servers in your network.

But application virtualization could also be the Terminal Services 'killer' because it provides a much simpler application management model: Applications do not need to be installed in shared mode and it reduces server costs because streaming servers require fewer resources.

Today, there are several reasons why organizations deploy Terminal Services (TS) but the main one is usually because it is easier to centralize applications and update them in only one location.

Consider this. Users relying on TS must be connected to a network in order to access their applications. Sure, you can use Web access to provide applications over Internet and wireless connections. But if the connection is not there, there is no application. In addition, Terminal Service servers must be massive servers that include lots of resources—resources such as multiple processors and huge amounts of RAM.

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How to use app virtualization for server consolidation

Application virtualization presents a tremendous advantage during operating system migrations or server consolidation projects. It vastly reduces your system and application preparation time while ensuring that applications that are known to cause conflicts with each other will operate together on the same system.

Application virtualization does away with both problems:

Reason 1: Virtualized applications are cached locally, in the true sense of a client-server system, so that users always have access to them whether they are connected or not.

Reason 2: Virtualized applications are managed centrally, like TS applications, since you only need to update the application on the streaming server to have them automatically restreamed to any endpoint.

Reason 3: Streaming servers do not have to be powerful machines since they are mostly a glorified file server that streams data only when needed. In fact, unlike TS servers, application virtualization streaming servers are ideal candidates for Guest OS Virtualization because they do not require massive resources.

Reason 4: Costs even out -- you can use the money you save from TS licenses to pay for the application virtualization licenses.

Bottom line: Even though application virtualization, to date, has focused primarily on the desktop, the technology can also provide help to reduce the number of servers in your organization.

More on server consolidation:
- A five-step approach to server consolidation for IT administrators
- The first step in server consolidation: Cost control
- Multi-core CPUs, x64 servers advance server consolidation efforts
- Guest OS virtualization furthers cause of server consolidation
- How to use app virtualization for server consolidation
- Application virtualization: The Terminal Services killer?

Danielle Ruest and Nelson Ruest are IT professionals specializing in systems administration, migration planning, software management and architecture design. They have written several books and are currently working on the Definitive Guide to Vista Migration for Realtime Publishers as well as the Complete Reference to Windows Server Codenamed "Longhorn" for McGraw-Hill Osborne. They have extensive experience in systems management and operating system migration projects. For more tips, write to them at info@reso-net.com.

This was first published in October 2007

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