Back in July 2006, Microsoft acquired Softricity, provider of an application virtualization and dynamic streaming system. Seen as a key technology for reducing the cost and complexity of IT management, application virtualization reduced the amount of application compatibility testing typically needed when deploying new applications, upgrades and patches. Softricity’s offer was that applications could be served centrally and delivered directly to the user’s desktop in an isolated, virtualized image, minimizing application-related alterations to the operating system and compatibility challenges with other applications.
Softricity had a good solution for delivering these apps and there was an ecosystem of companies offering similar services. When Microsoft purchased Softricity though, the industry mostly decided that problem was fixed. It turns out, it wasn’t.
After about five years, following the Softricity acquisition (re-launched by Microsoft as App-V), the industry started to realize there was still a problem. Complex business applications were challenging. They had interoperability, integrations, and plug-ins and compatibility issues. The result? Around 40% of apps simply couldn’t be virtualized. Solutions to this problem came from all sorts of perspectives. Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) was a cheaper and more secure way to deliver desktops for example. However, the reality is it’s never that simple. In fact, even with VDI, app delivery wasn’t solved.
Fast-forward 10 years to the App Renaissance
Today, the reality is that application delivery, deployment and management is having a come-back. A renaissance if you will. Industry experts, evangelists, bloggers, etc. have realized that delivering apps onto the latest Azure and supported Windows platforms is hard. Especially because the majority are legacy (we prefer the term “classic”) apps, which are fundamentally incompatible with 64bit operating systems. Since many apps cannot easily be replaced because they are critical to the daily operating systems for many large enterprise organizations and, frankly, because they are actually really rather good at what they do, this poses a significant challenge for corporate IT.
Consider that at last year’s 2015 BriForum desktop virtualization conference, there was almost nothing on the agenda about app delivery, the focus was very much on VDI and Citrix. The story was somewhat different at the BriForum London event in London, with a significant increase in app deployment and management sponsors.
Application compatibility management is the elephant in the room, the ‘boring dirty problem’ that still needs solving for many organizations. But, why is it a problem? Mostly because IT puts these apps in three buckets – first its cloud native, so it works. Next, with some tinkering, the app works. Finally, the worst – the ‘I don’t want to touch it because when I do, it breaks’ bucket. It can be a difficult problem to solve, but it’s a dirty problem that, if ignored, leaves an organisation open to security and operating risks.
App Delivery and Deployment Just Got Independent
The great news for organisations focused on this issue is that there is a solution.
Cloudhouse makes it simple. Take any rich web or fat client apps, package them once and deploy onto Microsoft Azure RemoteApp or Windows 10 and Citrix XenApp. Then access from any device.
It’s time the renaissance got its solutions. Have an app that you’re struggling to deliver and deploy to the cloud? Get a demo of Cloudhouse today.
Author: Mat Clothier, CTO and Co-Founder, Cloudhouse Technologies