Can App Virtualization Get Any Simpler?

Yes, claims Xenocode, which aims to rival the big players in application virtualization with a solution that promises easier distribution and management.

Provisioning new desktops with applications has always been a headache for IT administrators, even when done from a server over the LAN, because the process can consume both time and bandwidth.

That's one of the reasons enterprises are moving to virtualization, which speeds up provisioning while reducing network overhead.

Xenocode, which focuses solely on application virtualization, takes things one step further by making the process even more lightweight: enabling system administrators to create files that encompass the entire setup of an application, its content, configuration and customization.

"If you're an IT administrator and use LANDesk or Microsoft SMS or a desktop management system, you can deploy a Xenocode application instead of the full application," Kenji Obata, Xenocode's founder and CEO, told

"The applications run right away with no delay, and they can run on locked-down desktops for security."

The new product at the heart of these capabilities, the Xenocode Virtual Application Studio, marks a change in direction for the six-year-old company. Xenocode earlier had focused on virtualization for the .NET area with a product called PostBuild, which ran .NET-based runtime in a virtual machine (VM).

With what it described as a significant customer base for its .NET solution, the company decided to "generalize this virtualization technology outwards to support all Windows applications and not just .NET applications," Obata said.

Based around its own VM, the company's new flagship Virtual Application Studio offering uses lightweight app virtualization technology that emulates core operating system features required for executing applications.

Applications are also isolated from external DLL (define) and dependency conflicts, often the cause of crashes in desktops running Microsoft Windows.

One way that Xenocode is aiming to set itself apart from other players in application virtualization is through a simpler architecture.

Unlike many other virtualization products, Xenocode does not need specialized servers or other infrastructure. VMware, for example, requires an ESX hypervisor at the back end.

Using Xenocode enables enterprises to run Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007 side-by-side on the same machine, or run Internet Explorer (IE) 6 on Windows Vista -- a feat that normally would crash the system.

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