Novell Adds Application Virtualization to Portfolio

Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization does a good job of virtualizing software on Microsoft Windows desktop PCs. It is also a worthy competitor in a highly competitive field that includes Symantec Altiris SVS, Microsoft Application Virtualization and VMware ThinApp 4.

Novell ZENworks Application Virtualization makes short work of eliminating application conflicts on Windows desktops by isolating programs from the underlying operating system.

ZAV still allows applications to interact with each other to enhance user productivity, and the product is a worthy addition to Novell's virtualization portfolio. IT managers who are looking to take the next step in reducing application deployment and operational costs should put ZAV on the list of application virtualization products to consider.

However, this is far from being an empty playing field, and IT managers shouldn't shy away from playing vendors off one another to get the best deal. Symantec Altiris SVS (Software Virtualization Solution), Microsoft Application Virtualization and VMware ThinApp 4 are all vying for attention.

Symantec's tool has been around for several years and has a small but active end-user community called Juice that is a good resource for SVS users. Microsoft Applica??ítion Virtualization is based on what used to be SoftGrid from Softric??íity, and based on my recent test, IT managers will be tasked with significant packaging and setup burdens to make App-V 4.5 work correctly. VMware ThinApp hit some snags during my testing as well, but it has a neat method for keeping remotely deployed virtual??íized apps up to date.

Although this category of prod??íucts is called "application virtual??íization," it might be more apt to call it OS virtualization, because Novell's ZAV-like its competi??ítors-creates a sandbox of sorts on the desktop or laptop and isolates the application's changes to files and registry from the operating system. This effectively separates applications from each other as well, essentially eliminating com??ípatibility testing from the applica??ítion deployment test plan.