I just completed a fascinating conversation with Neil Gardner, VP of Marketing, and Jan Tarzia, Director of Corporate Communications, of Endeavors Technologies concerning the roll application virtualization and streaming has in a future "cloud computing" based environment. It appears that the catch phrase du jour is cloud or mesh computing. It is also clear that many in the industry don't remember service bureaus or application service providers making it impossible for them to see that, in the words of Yogi Berra, "It's deja vu all over again."
While it is possible that new applications will be built to use Web 2.0 tools and will be hosted on some service provider's systems, it is very unlikely that current applications will be rewritten just for the joy of rewriting them. This means that IT administrators are going to face the challenge of dealing with client-based applications, server-based applications and an increasing array of virtualized applications.
Part of the challenge, of course, is how various software suppliers license their products. Microsoft, for example, prefers to license software to a specific client or server. The company has had to make changes to their licensing to deal with virtual clients and virtual servers but, has a long way to go to create a licensing and pricing architecture that everyone feels is reasonable.
Endeavors Technologies has been offering ways to encapsulate and then deliver software to remote systems in a safe, secure way. It is quite possible to encapsulate an application, such as Microsoft Office, deliver it to a remote device and then remove it totally when that application is no longer is use. The key question is will Microsoft offer a way for hosting companies to license products such as Office to be delivered to remote systems in this way.
As an aside, it's not clear to me how this is all that much different from offering remote access using either Microsoft's Terminal Services or Citrix's XenApp. Wouldn't it be nice if companies, such as Microsoft, really embraced virtualization at all levels and made it easy for organizations to chose what to run locally, what to stream down to machines and what should run in the cloud?