Application and User Session Virtualization
Application virtualization is a technology that allows you to separate the software from the operating system on which it operates. Fully virtualized software is not installed in the traditional sense, although the end-user at first glance can not see it, because the virtualized software works just as normal. The software in the execution process works just as if it interacted with the operating system directly and with all its resources, but can be isolated or executed in a sandbox with different levels of restriction.
Modern operating systems, such as Microsoft Windows and Linux, can include limited software virtualization. For example, Windows 7 has Windows XP mode that allows you to run Windows XP software on Windows 7 without any changes.
User session virtualization is a newer version of desktop virtualization that works at the operating system level. While normal virtualization of the desktop allows an operating system to be run by virtualizing the hardware of the desktop, RDS and App-V allow for the virtualization of the applications. User session virtualization lies between the two.
A desktop has an operating system loaded on the base hardware. This can be either physical or virtual. The user session virtualization keeps track of all changes to the operating system that a user might make by encapsulating the configuration changes and associating them to the user account. This allows the specific changes to be applied to the underlying operating system without actually changing it. This allows several users to have completely different operating system configurations applied to base operating system installation.
If you are in a distributed desktop environment and there are local file servers available at each location, you can deploy virtualized user sessions in the form of redirected folders and roaming profiles.
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F.A.Q about Application and User Session Virtualization
Understanding application virtualization
Application virtualization technology isolates applications from the underlying operating system and from other applications to increase compatibility and manageability. This application virtualization technology enables applications to be streamed from a centralized location into an isolation environment on the target device where they will execute. The application files, configuration, and settings are copied to the target device and the application execution at run time is controlled by the application virtualization layer. When executed, the application run time believes that it is interfacing directly with the operating system when, in fact, it is interfacing with a virtualization environment that proxies all requests to the operating system.
Understanding session virtualization
Session virtualization uses application streaming to deliver applications to hosting servers in the datacenter. The Application then connects the user to the server. The application then executes entirely on the server. The user interacts with the application remotely by sending mouse-clicks and keystrokes to the server. The server then responds by sending screen updates back to the user’s device. Whereas application virtualization is limited to Windows-based operating systems, session virtualization allows any user on any operating system to access any application delivered by IT. As a result, the application enables Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS and Android devices to run any applications using session virtualization. Furthermore, session virtualization leverages server-side processing power which liberates IT from the endless cycle of PC hardware refreshes which are typically needed to support application upgrades when using traditional application deployment methods.