Thinstall removes barriers to application virtualization
Self-contained virtualization solution makes for clean, quick deployment
Have you heard? Thin is “in” again. From VDI (virtual desktop infrastructure) to RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) to SVS (Software Virtualization Service), the ghosts of thin client computing are being resurrected like a scene out of “Field of Dreams.” Only this time they’re looking to ride the virtualization bandwagon and recapture some of their former glory.
But like specters of Ruth or DiMaggio, many of these solutions are stuck in the past, out of touch with the realities of today’s computing landscape. How fortuitous it is, then, that one of the pioneers of Windows application virtualization in the OEM space -- Thinstall -- decided to step up to the plate in the broader enterprise application deployment competition.
The timing couldn’t be better. With the market’s two major players (Altiris and Softricity) now acquired by venerable industry franchises (Symantec and Microsoft, respectively), there’s a real need for a small-town team with “everyman” appeal to shake up the league and keep the big guys innovating.
Thinstall Virtualization Suite 3.0 -- the first version to be targeted at the broader enterprise IT audience -- brings some fresh ideas to the Windows application virtualization game. For starters, Thinstall boasts one of the “cleanest” architectures around. No messy client agents or device drivers required: The entire Thinstall virtualization runtime is embedded directly into the repackaged application executables.
The resulting file image runs entirely in user mode, making it virtually impossible for a Thinstall packaged application to crash the system. By contrast, both SoftGrid and Altiris SVS require at least some kernel mode interaction, potentially exposing the OS underpinnings to errors or attacks.
Another benefit of executing in user mode is that Thinstall packaged applications can run under almost any security context, including “locked down” (i.e., nonadministrator) desktops. With Windows Vista and its UAC (User Account Control) mechanism now a reality, the capability to run “cleanly” in user mode is a real advantage.
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