Indeed, the demand for deploying applications to mobile devices using remote access and virtualisation technology is significant. More than 2 out of 5 organisations surveyed by IDC have indicated that they rely on some form of virtualisation technology to deliver applications to the mobile devices in their organisation.
Compared to mobile apps, virtual applications are more secure because the actual software is never installed on BYO devices, and data never actually leaves the hosting server. Moreover, the link between server and client is SSL encrypted and tunneled through the well-understood RDP protocol.
Another notable advantage of application virtualisation would be the simplification of IT support. Applications are installed once on the server, where they can be made available to devices running the client. Deploying new applications and installing patches can be done with literally a few clicks, ensuring that users are always using the most updated versions of software.
Alternatives such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) do offer similar security benefits, though the usability of VDI falls short of a native app experience. And because VDI works by running a discrete desktop instance on a virtual server for each user, it is more resource expensive, as well as correspondingly more complex to setup and maintain.
What should organisations look out for when rolling out application virtualisation?
If you're ready to start off the year by grabbing enterprise mobility by the horns with application virtualization, here's a handy checklist of things to look out for in order to ensure a smooth and seamless deployment.
As with all software deployed by enterprises, the first step would be to evaluate the total cost of ownership. The price tag for the requisite hardware is relatively straightforward to work out, though CIOs should watch out for potential hidden costs on the software licensing front.
Specifically, keep an eye out for inflexible licensing schemes where client access licenses are sold in fixed bundles to compel organisations to buy more than they need. Another common technique is to offer only the most basic capabilities with the base product, and positioning more advanced features as pricey, optional add-ons.
Though not often highlighted, it may be a good idea to take a closer look at the relative ease of rolling out your application virtualisation of choice. Can the application virtualisation solution be set up by a competent administrator, or does it take a specialist to deploy and manage it? The latter could hint at underlying complexity that can increase costs due to the need for specialised skillsets.
Ensure that high availability is supported for both application servers and gateways for mission-critical workloads. For particularly large deployments, be sure to check if load balancing capabilities is included in the default package offered by your shortlisted solution - and factor in the cost of acquiring them if it is not.
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