What is application virtualization?

Application virtualization is technology that allows users to access and use an application from a separate computer than the one on which the application is installed. Using application virtualization software, IT admins can set up remote applications on a server and deliver the apps to an end user’s computer. For the user, the experience of the virtualized app is the same as using the installed app on a physical machine.

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How does application virtualization work?

The most common way to virtualize applications is the server-based approach. This means an IT administrator implements remote applications on a server inside an organization’s datacenter or via a hosting service. The IT admin then uses application virtualization software to deliver the applications to a user’s desktop or other connected device. The user can then access and use the application as though it were locally installed on their machine, and the user’s actions are conveyed back to the server to be executed

Application virtualization is an important part of digital workspaces and desktop virtualization.

What are the top three benefits of application virtualization?

The three biggest benefits of virtualized applications are:

  • Simplified management: Application virtualization makes it much easier for IT to manage and maintain applications across an organization. Rather than manually installing applications to every users’ machine, app virtualization lets IT admins install an app once on a central server and then deploy the app as needed on user devices. In addition to saving installation time, this also makes it simpler to update or patch applications because IT only has to do so on a single server.
  • Scalability: Application virtualization lets IT admins deploy virtual applications to all kinds of connected devices, regardless of those devices’ operating systems or storage space. This allows thin client provisioning, where users access an application on a low-cost machine while centralized servers handle all the computing power necessary to run that application. As a result, the organization spends less on computing hardware because employees only require basic machines to access the apps they need for work. App virtualization also allows users to access applications that normally would not work on their machines’ operating system, because the app is actually running on the centralized server. This is commonly used to virtually run a Windows application on a Linux operating system.
  • Security: Application virtualization software gives IT admins central control over which users can access what applications. If a user’s app permissions within an organization change, the IT admin can simply remove that user’s access to an application. Without app virtualization, the IT admin would have to physically uninstall the app from the user’s device. This central control over app access is especially important if a user’s device is lost or stolen, because the IT admin can revoke remote access to sensitive data without having to track down the missing device.

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