Application Virtualization/Thin Client Comparison


Published on

Published in: Technology
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Application Virtualization/Thin Client Comparison

  1. 1. Softricity Product Comparison- ver 1.2 “There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things.” –Niccolo Machiavelli APPLICATION VIRTUALISATION COMPARISON Current system: 1. Minimal ESD (Electronic Software Distribution) through Ghost images and Novell network application volumes. 2. 8-10 different application sets (images for use) 3. 3 different user groups (some overlap): Academic, Administrative and Technology. 4. Approximately 300 applications across those user groups (200+ in Academic) 5. 25,000 total users (approximate) 6. 2000-2500 total Windows Workstations Current Issues: 1. Application sets produce a large number of images, and large images themselves a. Current Academic Image- 18GB on local workstation; 24GB on network volume b. Time to upload a new image (required for any changes to the workstation/ applications loaded locally)- 2.5 hours c. Time to download (install) a new image onto a workstation- 2.5-3 hours (and may vary according to network usage, thus imaging during the class day, due to the volume of data being transferred, is unmanageable. This also limits the images availability to the GCC North campus. d. For many applications, only one version of a given application may be installed at a time on the current system. This makes transitioning to newer versions (such as from Office XP to Office 2003) difficult, and requires support for multiple versions of the software image. Additionally, OE/OE courses traditionally may take longer to complete, requiring the usage of software potentially out of date with the rest of the system. We have developed a number of ‘hacks’ that allow this to occur, but it is a band-aid to the problem at best, and not ‘future-proof’ e. The development timeframe for the image falls within the academic semester cycle. Thus we have a very limited amount of time (and indeed sometimes none at all) in which to regression test a new application to see what conflicts it brings to the overall system, or to completely product test a new application to ensure that all aspects of the program work. This has led to significant losses in class time and application availability over the past few years. f. Limited licensing and no real audit capabilities- we currently support 3 different license servers on campus, but have no real method for determining application usage or location, other than the rudimentary aspects of the license server software. This obviously leads to the further Roger Siggs/Amber Medrano Page 1 6/16/2010
  2. 2. Softricity Product Comparison- ver 1.2 issue of forecasting overall needs for student and staff usage of a given, expensive, software package. g. Applications on the workstation cannot be easily updated or changed. Because of the method that applications are delivered on the network, it is difficult to modify or update packages on the local workstation, and almost impossible to actually remove software entirely- the windows registry leaves entries based on virtually any application ever installed on the workstation. h. Updating the Operating System and Anti-virus software requires a virtual re-installation of EVERY application installed on the system- both local and network. Thus, with few notable exceptions, we are still effectively using a patched copy of the original operating system installed for the Palette 4.5 years ago. i. Currently many applications require a higher level of user account rights than is secure for our enterprise. This results in students having access to system resources that leave the entire network vulnerable to internal damage (intentional and unintentional) Needs: 1. Eliminate or significantly compress the required testing and development cycle for new images (this includes regression testing, application conflict management and workstation customization. 2. Minimise the time needed for deployment, updating and support overhead for new software images 3. Enable dynamic application provisioning and last minute changes to class and instructional needs with a minimum of Administrator input. 4. Enable the same level of service at GCC North, with a minimum increase in currently available resources (specifically manpower) 5. Audit Application licenses and usage 6. Eliminate all application conflicts, while retaining the ability to utilize multiple versions of an application for different user needs (such as the 3 different versions of FileMaker Pro currently in use by administrative users) 7. Limit user account rights for better security management. Possible Solutions: Altiris SVS: 1. Uses a ‘layered’ registry to ‘eliminate’ application conflicts. 2. Each application is installed on the local workstation (all 200+) but only visible when ‘activated’ by the System Administrator. This would require multiple, large images 3. All applications run with the same user rights and in the same ‘container’ as the other applications on the workstation, so any interaction is using those user rights (such as requiring power user account rights for Adobe applications ) Roger Siggs/Amber Medrano Page 2 6/16/2010
  3. 3. Softricity Product Comparison- ver 1.2 4. Since applications are running in the same container, conflicts are still possible and require the same extensive regression testing the current system needs. Citrix ‘Tarpon’- Currently unreleased (slated to be available in Q4 2006) 1. Packages applications using a ‘snapshot’ method of the workstation both before and after application installation. 2. Applications are published through the Citrix Management Console (not Active directory- requires a separate Citrix directory) 3. Client workstations has the ICA client installed on it, with the application is ‘run’ the entire application is delivered to the workstation (the entirety of the application, ie, all 200MB of Microsoft Word) and opened for launch. 4. Registry keys are added to the workstation for the requested applications, and then run. 5. Applications that require a reboot are not supported. 6. Applications are delivered using SMB (server message block) protocol- SMB is not a streaming protocol. The SMB protocol requires server authentication of users before file accesses are allowed, and each server authenticates its own users. A client system must send authentication information to the server before the server will allow access. 7. Applications may still conflict due to the fact that Tarpon is primarily a delivery system, not an application virtualization system. 8. Price- Citrix application systems are generally very expensive, and have extensive hardware requirements. Tarpon is no exception. AppStream.NOW- 1. Stream full applications based on ‘predictive modeling’ to re-order ‘streamlets’ for more efficient streaming over the network. 2. Enables streaming without packaging the application (ie, no compression or change to the application, and requires the whole app to be resident on the workstation before it could be run) 3. Applications still require regression testing, since there are no changes made to the application so any conflicts would still be experienced on the workstation. 4. Applications cannot co-exist (ie only one version of Word is allowed- either on the workstation or streamed. An error message is presented when another application with the same executable name is found either on the machine or when attempting to stream it) Aurema- 1. Unable to test the software at all. Attempting to view their ‘demo’ of the software on a P4 3.2Ghz machine with 2Gb of RAM resulted in an error message of “Error was that the requested workstation does not have enough physical memory” 2. Primarily for resource management on the workstation, not application virtualization or streaming. Roger Siggs/Amber Medrano Page 3 6/16/2010
  4. 4. Softricity Product Comparison- ver 1.2 3. Works by grouping applications by general purpose, and optimizing the workstation for a browser-based environment for those applications (ie. Running Word within the java-capable browser). Softricity- 1. Applications are ‘sequenced’ (packaged with all aspects of the system (registry, DLLs, ini files, COM objects, etc) being monitoried and changes being tracked) for streaming and customization. 2. During the sequencing process the application is run to verify execution and any further changes and to establish baseline software behaviour 3. Application is broken down into ‘blocks’ to maximize streaming efficiency and minimize the amount of time data requires to travel down to the workstation. 4. Applications are streamed using RTP/RTSP (Real-Time Protocol/Real-Time Streaming Protocol- designed for high-speed, low-bandwidth video transport) 5. As part of the Sequencing process, the application is broken down into ‘feature blocks’ and only the required code for the application (usually 10-20% of the total code for the application) is streamed to the desktop, allowing faster execution of the application and limiting network traffic. 6. Provisioning and administration of applications is through an Active Directory MMC snap-in 7. Fully integrated with Active Directory (Softricity is a Microsoft Gold Partner) 8. Applications are easily enabled and disabled through User groups in Active directory 9. Applications streamed to the desktop run in a protected ‘sandbox’ with Administrative equivalent rights (despite the actual user rights) allowing applications to run in a full mode (such as Adobe products), and since this ‘sandbox’ has all the registry, user configuration and customization within it- there are NO application conflicts. 10. No regression testing is required since the application registry does not interact with any others 11. Modifications to applications (such as upgrades, patches, etc) are done easily and quickly without affecting current users usage of the application (ie, updates are done ‘offline’, and then ‘published’ to the desktop the next time the user logs in or refreshes the desktop) 12. No need to re-image the machines for anything other than workstation based (OS or Anti-Virus) concerns. 13. Because applications are all streamed to the desktop, the workstation image is small and tailored to hardware, rather than large and unwieldy. 14. 20,000 applications sequenced so far. 15. Technical support and online knowledgebase is the best seen for software vendor support. Roger Siggs/Amber Medrano Page 4 6/16/2010
  5. 5. Softricity Product Comparison- ver 1.2 Citrix AppStream Altiris GCC Workstation NEEDS Softricity Aurema Tarpon .NOW SVS Compress testing & development cycle (Satisfies Change Management; X Reimaging Issues) Minimize time for deployment (includes updating, imaging, support) (Satisfies Reimaging Issues; X Flexibility Issues; Supports Shorter Log-In Times) Streamline application provisioning (Assists Complexity of Network Structure Issues and Reduces Demand X X* X X on Network Resources; Supports Shorter Log-In Times) Establish service level @ GCC North X X* Audit application licenses and usage/metering X X* X X Eliminate all application conflicts (Assists Complexity of Network Structure Issues and Reduces Demand X on Network Resources; Supports Shorter Log-In Times) Limit user account rights for security management (Assists Complexity of Network Administration and Reduces Demand X X on Network Resources; Supports Shorter Log-In Times) *Citrix needs its own back end as it is proprietary; does not streamline network structure because of additional system/metaframe requirements; application conflicts will still Roger Siggs/Amber Medrano Page 5 6/16/2010
  6. 6. Softricity Product Comparison- ver 1.2 occur; generally very expensive and does not allow lean application provisioning without Citrix platform in place. CONCLUSION After comparing a number of options, it became apparent that the Softricity ‘SoftGrid’ solution meets all of the workstation based needs determined by GCIS, as discussed in the December presentation at the CTC. Further testing is being done continually on SoftGrid, and from all aspects of the network (bandwidth considerations, workstation imaging requirements, filesystem compatibility and the like) without noticeable failure. Thus is it the opinion of the authors that SoftGrid is the only viable solution to the requirements for the Palette 2.0. Roger Siggs/Amber Medrano Page 6 6/16/2010