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Application virtualization, also called application service virtualization, is a term under the larger umbrella of virtualization. It refers to running an application on a thin client; a terminal or a network workstation with few resident programs and accessing most programs residing on a connected server. The thin client runs in an environment separate from, sometimes referred to as being encapsulated from, the operating system where the application is located.
Application virtualization fools the computer into working as if the application is running on the local machine, while in fact it is running on a virtual machine (such as a server) in another location, using its operating system (OS), and being accessed by the local machine. Incompatibility problems with the local machine’s OS, or even bugs or poor quality code in the application, may be overcome by running virtual applications.
Application virtualization attempts to separate application programs from an OS with which it has conflicts, even causing systems to halt or crash. Other benefits to application virtualization include:
However, there are limitations to application virtualization. Not all applications can be virtualized, like applications requiring device drivers and 16-bit applications running in shared memory space. Some applications must become closely integrated with the local OS, such as anti-virus programs, as they are very difficult to run with application virtualization.
Application virtualization is used in a wide variety of applications, including banking, business scenario simulations, e-commerce, stock trading, and insurance sales and marketing.
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