John Sheehan: Inside Application Virtualization

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Application virtualization is different than machine virtualization which virtualizes the machine on which an operating system (and applications) are installed. Machine virtualization provides an abstraction layer between the hardware and the OS that's running on top of it. It also allows managing and simultaneously operating multiple environments on a single machine.

Application virtualization takes this concept and applies it to programs. The abstraction layer created by application virtualization lies between the operating system and the applications that run within it, allowing applications to be delivered dynamically as services that can be added or removed without installation.

Microsoft purchased a company named Softricity a while ago and the  application virtualization product SoftGrid was forged from the algorithms created by both Softricity and Microsoft engineers.

Marketing says:

"Microsoft SoftGrid Application Virtualization provides the most extensive virtualization on the market. In addition to virtualizing application related Windows Services, it virtualizes per user, per application instance, key application components including the Registry, file system, DLLs, COM/IPC, .INI files, fonts and more.

SoftGrid's application virtualization can work in concert with other virtualization technologies – including machine virtualization – as part of a comprehensive services-oriented architecture."

Here, John Sheehan, the primary architect of SoftGrid (formerly the chief architect of Softricity) digs into the details of how application virtualization (as implemented in SoftGrid) works. It's an incredibly interesting technology with a very promising future. There are many possibilities for using application virtualization to solve problems affecting not only the enterprise, but standard users and developers as well. Just use your imagination. This is a deep dive and John told me he'd like to go even deeper next time he's in Redmond. For now, this conversation should suffice as a technical introduction to the world of application virtualization and how Microsoft is innovating in this space.




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The Discussion

  • User profile image
    hey cool studio Smiley does c9 have like a crew now?   Smiley is this why there hasnt been many Charles videos lately?

    but youre not going formal on us right? Smiley the greatest thing about c9 about c9 for me is the informality and the talk with the real devs Smiley
    the most awsome interviews are often the ones where you (or sneeth or someone else) go down a hallway and just walk in to someones office or meet someone in the hall and talk about something Smiley

    you're a great interviewer man, i know you wont get all markety (all though youve been dropping the word inovation alot in your last few interviews Smiley) but i just wanted to give my two cents Big Smile or im just rambling like i usualy am Tongue Out

    app virutalization sounds awsome btw Smiley i wonder if it can be used to parallellize suff that usualy isnt paralellizable like if i have soem old dodgy dll that  cant work with multiple instances (like the matlab runtime Perplexed)
  • User profile image
    i agree - lets not get all formal. I much prefer the 'barge into some devs office' way of doing it - even if it was fake, it felt real. This feels waay over produced - camera angle cuts and all. THis is what happens when MS Studios gets involved I suppose
  • User profile image
    yeah i mean this interview is good thanks to charles and his awsomeness. the studio and lignting doesnt have to be a bad thing at all Smiley it cool to see charles in the shot for once too Smiley
    but i just think it would be sad if the general interviews would end up like behind the code with the cheesy nodding audience and all that.. Smiley

    not that behind the code cant be interesting to but the interviews that charles, tim, dan, brian, rory and the others do are clearly superior.
    as long as the interviews doesnt have credits (atleast not one with more than three names) or a theme song i think we're good but its a really slippery slope i think..
  • User profile image

    What a great interview and what a great technology. I can't believe I haven't heard about this before.

    I really like John's views on architecture: "Keep it loosly coupled cause every dependency you add makes it harder to Innovate". Thats gonne be my quote for the next year.

  • User profile image
    We aren't abandoning the old school style of Channel 9. Don't worry.

    We are simply trying out new things(new formats, style, etc). As I've mentioned before, the addition of new interview styles/formats does not mean the removal or replacement of the style that is at the core of Channel 9 (the Channel 9 kernel, if you will). If we lose that, then we have lost something very special. I doubt that will happen. In fact, John was surprised that we were so formal (he's a big Going Deep fan and most GDs are shot the old fashioned way). All of this said, it's still the same conversation that would have happened if I was behind the camera and further John is not located in redmond so he does not have an office to barge into (and I don't go to Boston very often...).

    What do you think about application virtualization and its potential?

    Keep on posting,

    PS: I am not, nor have I ever been, in marketing. Slap me when you sense BS please! Thanks.
  • User profile image
    I'm sure Charles would have been happy to barge into my office, if it wasn't on the other side of the country.  Smiley  Even with the more formal setting, it was still a really fun interview.  I wish I could have spent more time diving into the architecture.  But, unfortunately, most people still have no idea what app virtualization is.  So, this one ended up being a little bit more of a level-set.  I hope to do another one soon so that I can dive a little deeper into our architecture.  I'm looking forward to it.

  • User profile image

    You may find out interesting things on this page VMware ThinApp  Smiley


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