Sorry but I am really curious as to the current state of the industry. The engergy sector here seems to be getting on the band wagon very quickly. So far I view Softricity and Altiris to be the industry leaders but I am open to any of the application level virtualization technologies.
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We (Fund Asset Manager) are building a proof of concept platform, using softricity,
Using a virtual server and a virtual workstation, for testing on critical business applications,
And will then be deploying the big deal to the 1200 users world wide.
Answered 03/17/2006 by: jojo moto
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What I am really curious to see is how far app level virtualization will go. There is talk of using these technologies in the server realm as an alternative to VMWare but I don't really see how much penetration they'll get into that market. For DRP of a server environment it would be kind of useful but for server consolidation I don't know how well this technology would work except for consolidating those odd utility servers.
Answered 03/17/2006 by: kkaminsk
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I am looking at SVS primarily for desktop applications, but for servers I am most interested in how SVS will work on Citrix. It could help achieve quick turnaround when troubleshooting (with application reset).

I have been a SVS beta tester for a couple of months and IMHO SVS is one of the best offerings from Altiris in a long time.

Just to be clear, SVS is nothing at all like VMWare. Different concept altogether. Only the software itself is virtualized. It's also a standalone offering (no need for a huge investment in Altiris Servers).

Check out this post for links and whatnot.
Answered 03/17/2006 by: BobTheBuilder
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I am primarily working with Softgrid and being able to reset applications in seconds is just wonderful for the desktop. Most of the Softgrid enagements I am a part of is to consolidate the Citrix environment by putting all their applications in Softgrid so that they will co-exist nicely on fewer Citrix servers. I see Altiris making inroads on the desktop environment because it is simply cheaper and infrastructure independant (i.e. no need to thow out ZEN, SMS, Altiris etc...). Softgrid I find is currently a better fit for Citrix because their virtualization is more extensive and that is a big sell to get it into Citrix because you need to get as many applications as you can virtualized and also make sure the applications are for the most part unaware of each other. Also what I like about virtualization is that I have to deal with less MSI issues. The last engagement I was at I was packaging about 3.5 applications a day!!! (including the tough ones)
Answered 03/20/2006 by: kkaminsk
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For the lucky 2 (according to current poll results) who are using SVS, what's the admin experience?
I haven't seen proof of concept yet, but it does seem to make a lot of sense. What I am not sold on yet is application interop. Say Application A requires Application B and Application C to work properly. Is it a supported arrangement, or do you have to throw A, B and C together into a single package?
Are there any tricks to work with apps that install services?
Answered 03/20/2006 by: revizor
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revizor, In my testing of SVS so far, services work fine but hardware (printers ect.) are a problem. For example Adobe Acrobat Pro is a problem due to the Adobe printer.

Application integration is also one of my concerns with the SVS product and I am just now starting to test that.

I have a client with over twenty tightly integrated apps on the core image (all currently loaded via intellimirror). This includes stuff like Document management and several document automation apps tied to MS Office, so maintaining integration is a critical requirement.
Answered 03/21/2006 by: BobTheBuilder
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Sorry for the delay but I had a chance to be on vacation!!!

With Softgrid the application interoperability is something you have to plan for. The applications that need tight integration are often installed together into a virtual environment or you can very common applications fat installed because if the application cannot find what it needs in the virtual environment it will look to the fat installed environment to find what it needs. Also it is important to note that the virtual applications for the most part are not aware of each other and that does provide significant advantages. Office is a common application I usually leave fat installed because of it's size, number of dependencies and frequency of patches. Softricity is working on making it so that you can tell which virtual environments depend on each other so that you don't need to bundle applications together and manage the applications as if they were independant of each other. Unfortunately this feature did not make the 4.0 release but I think they still intend on releasing that feature later this year.
Answered 03/28/2006 by: kkaminsk
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I was just on a seminar, and got a demonstration of SVS.
It seems that SVS is not quite ready for a terminal server environment yet. They said that it is implemented, they just want to do a little more testing before it is released.
As for application interoperability, it looks like SVS will be much better than Softgrid. In softgrid, you have to pack the applications into the same virtual layer. In SVS however, the interaction between a virtualised application and the OS/other apps is much more like that you get with a normal installation. In the demonstration, they showed that the only way to tell if an application was virtual, was with a management console. You could se all files, registry keys etc on the system, even though the really were just virtual.
As for overhead, SVS just needed a driver of about 160KB, and tests had shown that a virtualised application would have less than 1MB of kernel memory overhead. I don't know how much Softgrid got, but those numbers are sweet:)
If you want to test this, you can download a "free for personal use" edition from www.download.com. Just search for "Altiris". I think you need Wise Package Studio 6 in order to pack the application though.
Answered 03/29/2006 by: sikkert
Orange Senior Belt

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I have to disagree with you as to the interoperability. Softgrid highly isolates applications which is a wonderful thing in a Terminal Server environment. Imaging running Oracle 7, 8, 9 and 10 all on the same Terminal Server. To me that is a good thing even on the desktop that is a good thing. I find constant Oracle conflicts in the Energy sector so being able to package apps and not care about the final integration is a big feature for me.
Answered 03/29/2006 by: kkaminsk
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SVS is also isolating applications. In the demonstration, several versions of office vere startet simultaneously without a problem. The applications, system files, registry etc. is virtualised and separate for each different application, just like Softgrid.
However, with Softgrid (and I might be wrong here) it is a lot of work to get one application to interact with another, for example for one application to use java. You have to pack them together in the same virtualisation layer to get them to interoperate (am I right here?).
With SVS this is simpler, since the virtualised application get access to java (which is also virtualised in this example) through the OS. And you can STILL have 2 different applications running simultaneously, and both accessing the same (or different) versions of java.
Answered 03/29/2006 by: sikkert
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That is the packaging overhead with Softgrid which does need to go away. Version 4.0 was supposed to fix things by allowing you to spevify the application interaction but they held that feature back till later this year. Services support was supposed to happen last year but they held it back until 4.0. That can be a bit disappointing when anticipating features but I have found their code to be very stable.
Answered 03/29/2006 by: kkaminsk
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I should add that there is the packaging overhead but my packaging average was 3.5 apps a day. If you made me do MSIs I would set the metric at one a day. I am not trying to say SVS is a bad product but take a close look at the solutions out there because there are some subtle differences.
Answered 03/29/2006 by: kkaminsk
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Yes, I agree with you there. There are defenitely differences, and you have to consider where you want to use it before you choose one.
Right now it seems to me that Softgrid is better for server applications and "heavier" system, whereas SVS is better for client computers. With SVS you can utilise the virtualisation without being connected to a network, since the entire software is stored locally. Softgrid on the other hand uses streaming to read the application from servers, and might have a few problems when they have no network.

As for packaging times with SVS, I have no idea. But Altiris claims it to be a lot faster than normal MSI packaging, so I would expect you should be able to do 2-3 applications a day, at least. I hope to test this out soon though :)

Also, having 2 virtualisation solutions to choose from can only be a good thing for admins and people busy with application packaging!
Answered 03/29/2006 by: sikkert
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Softgrid does support disconnected users but if they are going to be disconnected you should ensure that the client cache has the entire application. Softgrid 4.0 best handles remote users with new features to support extended disconnected operation but you can manually load the application off a CD into the client cache if need be. I currently see Softgrid being the Terminal services champion for now and Altiris making its entry via the desktop market.

I personally think the release of the Altiris solution prompted Microsoft to partner with Softricity and develop the SMS integration. It is difficult to see at this point if there will be a clear winner but there will be some other solutions coming along such as Tarpon from Citrix. The more competition the more that this market space will be validated as a solution for application deployment. To me this is the biggest thing to happen to this market space since MSI.
Answered 03/29/2006 by: kkaminsk
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ORIGINAL: kkaminsk

Softgrid does support disconnected users but if they are going to be disconnected you should ensure that the client cache has the entire application. Softgrid 4.0 best handles remote users with new features to support extended disconnected operation but you can manually load the application off a CD into the client cache if need be. I currently see Softgrid being the Terminal services champion for now and Altiris making its entry via the desktop market.

That is what I was thinking about. SVS will by default have the entire application stored locally, so you won't have to worry about this.


I personally think the release of the Altiris solution prompted Microsoft to partner with Softricity and develop the SMS integration. It is difficult to see at this point if there will be a clear winner but there will be some other solutions coming along such as Tarpon from Citrix. The more competition the more that this market space will be validated as a solution for application deployment. To me this is the biggest thing to happen to this market space since MSI.


Absolutely! Having worked with packaging for a few years now, I can se a lot of common problems that virtualisation can solve, and I'm definitely going to take a part in it, no mather what system I end up using :)
Answered 03/29/2006 by: sikkert
Orange Senior Belt

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