Windows Access Goes Mobile

Softricity's SoftGrid 3.0 lets offline users access Windows applications.

Softricity Inc. is extending the reach of its application virtualization technology to mobile and offline users. The Boston-based company last week rolled out SoftGrid 3.0, a platform that officials said enables IT administrators to bring the benefits of utility computing—flexible deployment of resources, reduced IT costs, on-demand computing and increased management capabilities—to the application level.

SoftGrid 3.0 lets users who are not on the network gain access to Windows applications, a key feature given the increasing mobility of workers, said Softricity CEO Harry Ruda. Application code can be delivered and cached as a service to a laptop, Ruda said. License compliance is maintained even when a user is disconnected from the network by setting a time limit after which the application stops working.

Softricity uses a sequencer that virtualizes the application within a SoftGrid server. Then using SoftGrid Management Console, IT administrators can send portions of application code as a service to users who order them. From the console, administrators can determine who gets what level of access to which applications. In addition, when applications are replaced or updated, they need to be dealt with only once and then distributed to users.

Softricitys SystemGuard technology ensures that there are no conflicts among applications running on computers and authenticates users when they request application code. Support for Microsoft Corp.s Active Directory in SoftGrid 3.0 makes it easier to send application code in real time and provides the ability to add patches to existing SoftGrid-enabled applications without having to repackage them.

Calvin Wright, director of technology solutions at University of Illinois Medical Center, said having the SoftGrid system at the medical center has enabled him to reduce the time needed to deploy new and upgraded applications from four weeks to about 4 hours. Before, when changes were made to an application, it was necessary for all the Chicago hospitals application vendors to come in and ensure the changes didnt affect their software, said Wright.

Now "we can go straight to market [with new or updated software] because it doesnt interfere or interact with applications that are working beside it," Wright said.