On the road to the virtual desktop
Windows application virtualization and streaming solutions from Microsoft, Symantec, and Thinstall are laying the groundwork for a subscription-based, click 'n' run future. Imagining the possibilities, we put them through a simple SaaS performance test
An analysis of subsequent streaming requests (i.e. grabbing additional code to support functions not downloaded in the initial 50MB or more blob) showed a much more granular access pattern. All of which seems to point to an architectural tradeoff when dealing with streaming SVS packages: You need to download more of the package blocks to get the first application started, but these additional blocks help to eliminate the need for subsequent roundtrips to get additional applications loaded. To put this in perspective, you have to add up the initial startup times for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access under SoftGrid (44 seconds) before you’ve achieved the same degree of functionality that the initial SVS Pro download provides.
One area in which the SVS Pro solution outshines both SoftGrid and Thinstall is in its support for Web-based access to packaged applications. The AppStream Web portal makes it easy for users to surf up and access the desired applications in a kiosk-like, on-demand fashion. In this regard, SVS Pro provides a solution that is closer to the subscription-based delivery model that has been the holy grail of commercial developers for nearly a decade.
ThinstallVirtualization Suite 3.2
Every time I review a version of Thinstall I can’t help but remember a joke I heard about something being “a riddle wrapped in an enigma and surrounded by mystery.” Thinstall is the riddle. Or is it the enigma? One thing’s for sure: The platform’s underlying architecture continues to be a mystery to even savvy IT experts. Does it really work without a client agent and without loading anything into kernel mode? What about streaming? What does the company mean by “it delivers the benefits of streaming without the server?”
Click for larger view.