Symantec jumped into the virtualization game with both feet and put together a nice suite offering called Symantec Endpoint Virtualization Suite. The cornerstone technology in this suite comes from the solution formerly known as Symantec Software Virtualization Solution (SVS). To complete the suite, Symantec added in technology from the AppStream and nSuite acquisitions.
One of the areas within Symantec Workspace Virtualization (SWV) 6.1 that deserves some attention is the new Layer Patch feature.
[ Listen to this InfoWorld Virtualization Report podcast to find out more about what Symantec is doing with endpoint virtualization | And find out what Symantec is doing in their R&D lab with the virtualized browser ]
When exploring the new Layer Patch feature of SWV 6.1, Symantec developer Karl Bunnell explains it best:
Symantec Workspace Virtualization 6.1 contains a new "Layer Patch" feature that makes updating an existing virtual application (a.k.a. "layer") much more efficient than previous methods. Prior to the introduction of this feature, the process of updating an existing layer involved updating the layer, exporting it as a VSA, then redeploying the entire package application to all client nodes. The down-side of this approach is obvious - Small, incremental, updates to a large application such as Microsoft Office requires that the entire application package, plus updates, be deployed. For an application package that approaches 600-700 MB or greater in size this is a expensive proposition given the cost in bandwidth utilization and storage, not to mention the time involved for the layer packager.
The "Layer Patch" feature allows only the binary difference between an original and updated layer to be packaged into a virtual patch archive (VPA) file and applied to the original layer on client nodes. This greatly reduces the size of the package deployed to the client node to provide an update to an existing virtual layer. Rather than deploying an updated VSA some 700 MB+ in size, a VPA containing only the binary difference between layers may only be a tenth the size (70 MB or less).
Bunnell goes on to describe how layer patching works, the process for creating and applying a Layer Patch, the best practices associated with the new feature, and then concludes his discussion with a list of frequently asked questions.