Application Virtualization

Definition of Application Virtualization

Application virtualization is a software technology that encapsulates computer programs from the underlying operating system on which they are executed. This encapsulation allows applications to run in isolated environments, preventing conflicts with other system resources or applications. The key benefit is streamlined software deployment, improved system compatibility, and reduced maintenance or management costs.


The phonetic pronunciation of the keyword “Application Virtualization” is:æplɪˈkeɪʃən ˌvɜrtʃuəlaɪˈzeɪʃənThis breaks down to:- Application: ˈæplɪˈkeɪʃən (ap-li-KAY-shun)- Virtualization: ˌvɜrtʃuəlaɪˈzeɪʃən (vur-chu-uh-lai-ZAY-shun)

Key Takeaways

  1. Application virtualization enables the isolation and centralization of applications, reducing compatibility issues and simplifying management.
  2. It allows multiple applications to run side by side without interfering with each other, improving system performance and stability.
  3. Application virtualization supports remote access, allowing users to run applications on any device without full installation, leading to increased flexibility and mobility.

Importance of Application Virtualization

Application Virtualization is important because it allows multiple users to access and run applications on a shared computing infrastructure without requiring these applications to be installed locally on each user’s device.

This technology isolates the applications from the underlying system, enhancing security, manageability, and reducing IT administration efforts.

By providing remote access to resources and software, application virtualization fosters a flexible work environment, improves collaboration, and reduces hardware costs.

Additionally, it streamlines software updates by managing them centrally, ensuring that all users have access to the most current version of the application and minimizing compatibility issues.

Overall, application virtualization contributes to significant efficiency improvements, cost savings, and ease of use for both end-users and IT administrators.


Application Virtualization serves the main purpose of facilitating the deployment, management, and use of software applications in a more accessible and efficient manner. Primarily, it allows users to access applications from remote locations without requiring the application to be fully installed on their own devices.

By hosting applications on a central server or in the cloud, numerous users can access these applications simultaneously, enabling them to work collaboratively and even collectively from different locations. Application virtualization simplifies application management by allowing IT departments to easily install, maintain, and update applications, ensuring that multiple versions of a single application do not cause conflict within the system.

Moreover, application virtualization enhances security and reduces system-related issues since the applications effectively run in a controlled and isolated environment. Consequently, the risk of system conflicts, file corruption, and application vulnerabilities is minimized.

This technology plays a key role in reducing the cost of managing software distribution for organizations, as it enables quicker software deployment, more effective troubleshooting, and swift rollback of software updates that may cause issues. In doing so, application virtualization significantly improves the overall user experience and productivity.

Examples of Application Virtualization

Application virtualization allows users to access applications without having to physically install them on their local machines, as the applications run on a virtual environment from a remote server. Here are three real-world examples of application virtualization:

Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops: Citrix Virtual Apps and Desktops (formerly known as Citrix XenApp) is a popular application virtualization solution that enables users to access Windows and Linux applications and desktops from any device, including desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. This provides users with a consistent and high-performance experience, while enabling IT departments to centrally manage and secure the applications and data.

Microsoft App-V: Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) is a part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance and allows users to access applications without having to install them locally. App-V applications are hosted on a central server and are streamed to the end user’s device when needed. This approach helps improve management, reduce disk space consumption, and enables faster application deployment.

VMware ThinApp: VMware ThinApp is an application virtualization technology that packages applications and their dependencies into a single executable file. This enables users to run applications on various operating systems without installation or conflict. ThinApp allows IT administrators to centrally manage applications, reduce application conflicts, and simplify software updates, thus minimizing support and maintenance costs.

Application Virtualization FAQ

1. What is Application Virtualization?

Application Virtualization is a technology that allows applications to run on a computer without being installed locally. Instead, applications are stored and executed on a remote server, and delivered to the user’s device when requested. This helps to reduce hardware, software, and management costs while improving accessibility and compatibility between different systems.

2. How does Application Virtualization work?

Application Virtualization works by encapsulating the software and its required resources into a virtual environment, separate from the operating system. This virtual environment is then streamed to the user’s device and executed locally without the need for a traditional installation. The application runs within the isolated environment, making it easier to manage and maintain.

3. What are the benefits of Application Virtualization?

Some of the key benefits of Application Virtualization include: reduced hardware/software costs, simplified application management, increased security by isolating applications from the OS, improved compatibility with existing systems, and the ability to access applications from any device with an internet connection.

4. What are some popular Application Virtualization platforms?

Some popular Application Virtualization platforms include Microsoft App-V, VMware ThinApp, Citrix XenApp, and Parallels Remote Application Server (RAS).

5. Is Application Virtualization suitable for all types of applications?

While Application Virtualization can be beneficial for many types of applications, some may not be well-suited for virtualization. Examples of applications that may not work well with virtualization include those that require kernel-level access, require hardware acceleration, or have complex licensing restrictions. It’s important to assess the compatibility and requirements of each application before implementing virtualization.

Related Technology Terms

  • Containerization
  • App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization)
  • Virtualized Application Delivery
  • ThinApp (VMWare ThinApp)
  • Application Isolation

Sources for More Information


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