1. Application streaming
2. Remote Desktop Services (RDS)
3. Hosted virtual desktop (HVD)
4. Desktop as a Service (DaaS)
5. Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
6. Application Security Monitoring (ASM)
7. Application Performance Management (APM)
8. Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs)
9. Application Packaging and Virtualization
10. Application Migration and Deployment Tools

Application virtualization

Method for encapsulating computer programs
This article may be too weighty in relation to just one aspect of your subject. Please help by introducing more general information to this article. Feel free to discuss the matter at talk page. (February 2019)

application virtualization is a software technology that encapsulates computer programs of the underlying operational system on which they are executed. a totally virtualized application is not installed in the traditional sense, although it still runs as if it were. The application behaves at runtime as if it were interacting directly with the original operating system and all the resources managed by it, but it can be isolated or in sandbox in varying degrees.

In this context, the term “virtualization” refers to the artifact being encapsulated (application), which is quite different from its meaning in hardware virtualizationwhere refers to the artifact being abstracted (physical hardware).


Application virtualization diagram

Illustration of an application running in a native environment and an application virtualization environment

Full application virtualization requires a virtualization layer. Application virtualization layers replace part of the runtime environment normally provided by the operating system. The layer intercepts all disk operations from virtualized applications and transparently redirects them to a virtualized location, usually a single file. The application remains unaware that it accesses a virtual resource rather than a physical one. Since the application is now working with one file instead of many files spread across the system, it becomes easy to run the application on a different computer and previously incompatible applications can run side by side. Examples of this technology for the Windows platform include:


Application virtualization allows applications to run in environments that are not suited to the native application. For example, Wine allows some Microsoft Windows apps to run Linux.

Application virtualization reduces integration and system administration costs by maintaining a common software baseline across many diverse computers in an organization. A tighter integration protects the operating system and other applications from poorly written or buggy code. In some cases, it provides memory protection, IDE style debug resources and can even run applications that were not written correctly, for example applications that try to store user data in a read-only system-owned location. (This feature assists in implementing the principle of least privilege removing the requirement that end users have administrative privileges to run poorly written applications. It allows incompatible applications to run side by side at the same time and with minimal regression testing against each other. Isolating applications from the operating system also has security benefits, as exposing the virtualized application does not automatically expose the entire operating system.

Application virtualization also lets you simplify operational system migrations. Applications can be transferred to removable media or between computers without the need to install them, making it portable software.

Application virtualization uses less resources than a virtual machine.


Not all computer programs can be virtualized. Some examples include applications that require a device driver (a form of integration with the OS) and 16 bit applications that need to run in shared memory space. antivirus programs and applications that require heavy operating system integration, such as Blinds or StyleXP are difficult to virtualize.

Furthermore, in software licensing, application virtualization has major licensing pitfalls, mainly because both application virtualization software and virtualized applications must be properly licensed.

While application virtualization can handle files and Recordcompatibility issues between legacy applications and newer operating systems, applications that do not manage the pile up will not run correctly on Windows Vista as they still allocate memory the same regardless of whether or not they are virtualized. For this reason, specialized application compatibility fixes (shims) may still be required even if the application is virtualized.

Functional discrepancies within the multicompatibility model are an additional limitation where utility-powered access points are shared over a public network. These limitations are overcome by designating a system-level share point driver.

Related technologies

Technology categories that fall under application virtualization include:

  • application streaming. Parts of the application’s code, data, and settings are delivered when they are first needed, rather than the entire application being delivered before launch. Running the packaged application may require installing a lightweight client application. Packets are usually delivered over a protocol such as HTTP, CIFS or RTSP.[citation needed]
  • remote work services (formerly Terminal Services) is a server-based compute/presentation virtualization component of Microsoft Windows that allows a user to access applications and data hosted on a remote computer over a network. Remote Desktop Services sessions run on a single shared server operating system (for example, Windows Server 2008 R2 and later) and are accessed using the Remote Desktop Protocol.
  • desktop virtualization software technologies improve the portability, manageability, and compatibility of a personal computer’s desktop environment by separating part or all of the desktop environment and associated applications from the physical client device used to access it. A common implementation of this approach is to host multiple desktop operating system instances on a server hardware platform running a hypervisor. This is often referred to as “Virtual Desktop Infrastructure” (VDI).

See too


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