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Many ways to deliver applications

I deal with a multitude of application delivery approaches all the time.  Brian Madden provides an interesting list and comments but he misses out a few options:

  • Web delivery
  • Java
  • Web delivery supplemented by Active X controls or other plug-in technologies
  • Client side virtualization
  • Click-once .NET applications

I am sure there are even more.  Brian provides a pro’s and con’s assessment of the options.  Here is Brian’s list:

  1. The old way. Install each application on the end user’s computer.
  2. Automated Software Distribution. Use a tool like SMS or Altiris to remotely install and update applications on end users’ computers.
  3. Citrix / Server-Based Computing. Install the application centrally on a terminal server and provide RDP or ICA access from the client device.
  4. Application Streaming. Use something like Softricity to stream the application to the user’s device on demand.
  5. Operating System Streaming. Use something like Ardence to stream the entire disk image (OS and all) to the user’s client device.
  6. Bladed PC. Install Windows XP on a server blade and then provide 1-to-1 remote access via XP’s built-in RDP remote desktop functionality.
  7. VMware PC. Build a huge VMware server and divide it into multiple VMs, with each VM running Windows XP. Provide remote access via XP’s built-in remote desktop.
  8. VMware Clients within Terminal Server / Citrix Sessions. Build a server and install terminal services and Citrix. Install VMware Workstation (or Microsoft Virtual PC) as a publish application in Citrix. Then “publish” a VMware disk image for each user. Users connect to the published VM via ICA.
  9. The Future. Application execution components can execute on whichever backend systems they need (in a grid-like way), and presentation components can be displayed and consumed wherever they are needed.

2 Comments

  1. Anonymous wrote:

    Inside the old way, I think there are at least two subsets — things that require an install (i.e., most big things) and things that just run (e.g., capslock utility; pure text utility). I really like the things that just run, don’t kludge up the various parts of windoze, and can be gotten rid off with a plain old delete. Sigh, shouldn’t everything be like that. There is proabably a third subset of things that install and can’t be rooted out — for all intents and purposes — without a reinstall of the OS like McAfee. Hope this aids in the taxonomy.

    Friday, March 17, 2006 at 8:59 AM | Permalink
  2. Anonymous wrote:

    Thats a great point, in fact years ago I thought that this would be the dominat way in which applications would be delivered, ie just run them from a file server or copy them to your PC. However with the registry and DLL issues it never panned out. Now however we see many modern XP applications that run just fine without installation, like maxthon. I did a search on google hoping to find a list of examples, but could not find a good source.

    I was thinking of a number of possible sources, applications that people are running from a USB stick, applications people are running from their ipod etc. It’s also worth noting that “applications that just run” is what platforms like SoftGrid do for legacy applications that would otherwise need to be “installed”.

    Sunday, March 19, 2006 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

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