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Desktop virtualization is an increasingly popular option for organizations that want to ensure their employees and contractors have access to the applications they need anytime, anywhere, from any device. With the rise of BYOD and the increasing prevalence of remote workers using their own devices or less robust company-issued hardware like tablets or thin/zero clients, the complexity of application compatibility increases.
Virtual desktops can solve this issue, masking the device’s native operating system with a virtual OS that’s capable with the applications needed. However, not every end user needs a full virtual desktop. In some cases, app streaming can solve many of the same issues in a much simpler manner.
Application streaming is the process of installing applications on a pool of servers and configuring them identically a few times, rather than deploying them to 100s or even 1000s of endpoints. This approach also has a great advantage over typical VPN solutions as screen pixels are the only thing being transferred to the endpoint when the app is in use – no actual data is stored on the vulnerable device.
At Dizzion, our solution engineers work with clients to make sure that virtualized apps are configured correctly for proper streaming to make this a viable solution. Among other things, Dizzion Engineers ensure the load balancers, security brokers and connection servers are properly configured for streaming the applications. Dizzion deploys virtualized apps via an Application Streaming Server in High Availability (HA) configuration to ensure your apps are still available in case of a failure.
Apps can be streamed to a wide variety of endpoint devices, including Android and iOS devices (again, regardless of compatibility with the native OS).
If you need to push an update or patch an application, IT teams can easily make the change and simply update the application for the next time users log in. Implementing new applications or granting a new user access to apps is equally as easy because the apps and IT management are now centralized.
Accessing virtualized apps works much the same way as accessing virtual desktops. End users download a virtualization client to their endpoint and log in with their company-supplied credentials or integrated SSO credentials.
Within this window, they’ll see icons for all their available apps. Simply double clicking will launch the application. To return to the native desktop or to launch another virtual app, users simply minimize the app they’re working in and open another one. This gives them access to all the business applications they need, without requiring a more resource intensive virtual desktop (which may not be necessary for every user).
Application streaming is ideal for employees (particularly remote employees or contractors) that only use a few select apps for their job. For these employees, a full feature desktop is not necessary because they spend all of their time in one or two applications. For example, a contractor who needs secure access to one of your databases (such as for data cleanup or auditing purposes) or a contact center agent who works exclusively within a single contact center software platform. Streaming select apps to specific users makes it easier to manage your virtual desktop Golden Images (by limiting the number of custom built images needed) and elevates the discussion of whether to provide users with a persistent or concurrent virtual desktop when a robust use case isn’t present.
App streaming also makes it easier for organizations to confidently support bring your own device (BYOD) programs without worrying about application compatibility issues – another ideal use case for remote workers.
App streaming and virtual desktops are two viable solutions for similar challenges: how to provide your end users with access to the apps they need without running into compatibility and IT management challenges. The choice comes down to what users need access to and whether or not that access can be satisfied by one or two applications or requires a more customized desktop environment. Application streaming can be delivered in conjunction with virtual desktops for a better end user experience and easier IT management, or can be a standalone solution for simpler use cases.
If you’re interested in virtualization but aren’t sure which approach is best for your needs, Dizzion’s Solution Engineers are happy to discuss your needs and use cases and recommend the best solutions.