AppZero has announced a new version of their flagship product that is designed to make it easier to encapsulate applications for client systems. They're calling use use of this technology as the ability to create "OS-Free applications."
They would claim that this offers a number of useful benefits including isolating the application from operating system changes, isolating applications from other applications, and making installation and updating easier for the IT administrator.
How AppZero describes "Virtual Application Appliances"
VAAs decouple an application from the operating system (OS) and its underlying infrastructure. The result is a discrete object that encapsulates an application with its dependencies such as: executable libraries, files/registry, configuration settings, machine/network identity, and services.
Containing zero operating system (zeOS), VAAs assume the presence of a compatible OS on target machines. VAAs make zero change to the OS on which they run.
AppZero is available for Linux, Solaris, and Windows environments.
The AppZero product consists of three elements:
- AppZero Creator is a wizard-based tool for building VAAs. This interactive tool steps the user (typically an application specialist) through the process of defining which files should be included in the VAA file set and what properties the VAA should have. If an application is already installed, configured, and running on a machine, AppZero's intelligent discovery tool assists in the file selection process. This assistance is particularly useful in moving older -- frequently incompletely documented - applications to newer environments. Once created, a VAA is a single file which can be copied from system to system over the network, and stored anywhere; deployed at the click of a mouse; running in seconds. Hence our tagline: "Any app. Any server. Zero time"
- AppZero Director is a light-weight VAA component that provides runtime support. Acting as an intermediary between a VAA and the OS, the director governs the application's behavior to be exactly the same as it would be if installed directly to the system, with zero change to the OS. By design, AppZero's patent-pending technology ensures that the overhead cost of the director is minimal: 3% for applications deployed as VAAs; zero for non-VAA applications.
- AppZero Admin is a tool for administration of VAAs. VAAs can be managed with AppZero's console-based utility or through any management interface that is compatible with industry standard XML and SOAP calls. The AppZero Admin can be used in an interactive shell-mode or in a scriptable command-line and is most often used by developers and QA, or in the pilot phase of VAA adoption. For on-going operations, most organizations elect to fold management of VAAs under the umbrella of their existing application management solutions.
Isolated from the underlying infrastructure, VAAs move among servers - physical or virtual, on-premise or in the cloud -- in seconds, at the click of a mouse. This isolation makes it easy for both legacy and new applications to move error free from old-to-new, same-to-same, or similar-to-similar OS versions.
Snapshot AnalysisI've watched AppZero (formally Trigence) for quite some time and have always thought that the approach they offered had a number of valuable capabilities that, if used properly, could make the life of an IT administrator easier.
AppZero has really interesting technology, but yet has not become a household name. Why? The company faces a number of challengers that offer their own version of application virtualization. This includes companies such as Microsoft, VMware, Thinstall and a few others. This means that AppZero's messages often are not reaching the ears of potential customers. They're being drowned out by the messages presented by larger competitors.
Depending on a company's requirements, AppZero could be a good solution, but only if people are aware of it and know what it could do for them. AppZero, you've got the technology, now you have to get decision makers to become aware of them, become interested in them, and then try them out. Once they've experienced a demo on their own equipment, many would want what these products can do.