The new SoftGrid for Microsoft SMS exploits SMSs software distribution infrastructure to deploy, but not install, virtual applications on targeted end points.
"Previously, customers used our grid console to manage their applications and the SMS console to manage installation. We got rid of need to use both," said Softricity co-founder David Greschler in Boston.
The integration allows users to select a SoftGrid tab within the SMS packaging screen to bring the tool into SMS.
At the same time, SMS asset management discovery and metering functions can track virtual applications.
SMSs reporting can include both virtualized and installed applications.
SoftGrid, which can virtualize applications, stream applications on demand and endow applications with self-provisioning functions, is intended to speed up the process and lower the cost of deploying desktop applications.
Virtual desktop applications run just like locally installed applications in a separate "sandbox" that protects the operating system and other applications.
That eliminates application conflicts and the requirement to perform labor intensive compatibility testing before deploying updates, patches or new applications.
"When an application is installed to a machine, it permanently alters the machine by [altering] certain [Dynamic Link Libraries]. But when you install other software, it may overwrite other original settings and break [existing] applications.
"With a virtualized application, all the configurations that would alter the machine are virtualized, so it doesnt affect the machine. Its like changing light bulbs. When you need to change it you do, but the machine remains clean," Greschler said.
In addition to keeping the operating system and machine pristine, the virtualization also allows damaged applications to be dynamically refreshed without requiring a technician to touch the client machine.
SoftGrid for SMS also allows applications to continue to be streamed on demand or they can be packaged as virtual applications that SMS automatically delivers to the desktop.
Existing Softricity users at Purdue Pharma LP see real value in the integration because it will simplify administration and provide a unified infrastructure to deploy packages, according to Joseph Gimigliano, associate director of architecture and security at the pharmaceutical company in Stamford, Conn.
"We can leverage our [SMS] decentralized software distribution infrastructure where I have distribution points at remote sites. I dont have to deploy Softricity distribution points there as well," he said.
Purdue Pharma is pilot testing SoftGrid now for three applications across 100 users.
"We deployed SoftGrid to improve delivery of applications and reduce the number of Citrix servers we have. Weve got applications installed manually on several Citrix servers for redundancy, but you have to make sure every single setting is the same on each server. With Softricity we can deliver one application, package it up and have it use our Citrix hardware easily. It makes hardware dependence insignificant," said Gimigliano.