If you've ever considered application virtualization, desktop virtualization, or any kind of protected resource publishing, you might have run across 2X Software in your journey. If you haven't, you're in for a real treat. 2X Software's new ApplicationServer XG product might be what you're looking for. The following is my review of version 11 of the 2X ApplicationServer XG product.
The Product Overview
2X ApplicationServer XG version 11
The 2X ApplicationServer is an application and desktop delivery system, similar to Citrix XenApp or Microsoft's App-V and RemoteApp solutions.
Pricing: $75/concurrent user/1 year subscription; $93/concurrent user/2 year subscription; $109/concurrent user/3 year subscription. Licensing available in 15 user packs. Support at various levels available at additional cost.
For this review, I used my lab server which is a 2.0GHz dual-core AMD, 4GB RAM, 300GB SATA II HDD, 100MB switched Ethernet physical system. Optionally, you can use a virtual machine for testing instead of a physical server.
Download and Installation
To download the 2X ApplicationServer, you'll have to fill out the online form. The evaluation license provides you with the capability of testing 25 concurrent users for two terminal servers or virtual hosts. You can also manage ten devices with the 2X ClientManager application.
After the initial 30 day trial, the software scales back to three concurrent users and three devices for the ClientManager.
The XG product is small (approximately 95MB) and arrives ready to install to your Windows system. You must have a Terminal Server in your environment or configure your 2X server as such before you're able to publish and use resources.
Launch, by double-clicking, the MSI file to begin your installation. The installation only requires a few clicks including accepting the license agreement and takes less than five minutes to complete.
Once installed, you're ready to publish applications, desktops, folders, documents, and other resources.
I only focused on publishing applications in this review but publishing any resource follows the same steps and methods.
Publishing an application is a three-step process.
Open the 2X Console and click the Application icon on the toolbar to begin.
"Never before has centralized resource publishing been so easy to do."
This launches the new application wizard for you. On the first screen, you select which type of server you want to publish from. Your options are Teminal Server, Virtual Guest, or Remote PC.
The next step is to choose the application type from Single Application, Installed Application, or Predefined Application. A single application is something like Internet Explorer. An installed application is an application such as Microsoft Word and predefined applications are those from the Windows Control Panel or Windows Explorer. The point being that you can publish just about anything and 2X is just making it easy for you.
For example, you can publish Microsoft Word from Single Application or from Installed Applications.
The third and final screen allows you to browse for your application executable. The optional parameters fill in automatically for you. A word of caution here. When you browse for an application and use the default settings, the application Name (first field) defaults to the name of the executable. For Internet Explorer, it appears as iexplore.exe. Change the name to something that your users recognize, such as Internet Explorer. This name is what the user sees in her list of published resources, so you want it to be friendly.
Never before has centralized resource publishing been so easy to do.
Go to your device's app store or to the 2X Client Download page to download and install a 2X client to your system.
Setup the client software to connect to your 2X server by entering an alias (familiar name) for your connection, the server name or IP address of the 2X server, the connection port (default is 80), a username, a password, and the servers "mode." The mode can be Gateway, Direct, Gateway SSL, or Direct SSL. If you don't know, try Gateway first. If you aren't the 2X system administrator, ask the administrator which type you use.
Use the default settings for everything else while you're testing. There's no need to unnecessarily complicate things at this stage. When you connect to the 2X server, you'll see a list of published resources from which to choose.
I'm especially impressed with the multiple security levels available in the 2X ApplicationServer product. You can limit access by several different means. If you use Active Directory, you can require domain authentication, you can use second level authentication, and you can limit access by client type. In other words, you can only allow iOS, Mac, and Windows devices to connect to published resources. And you can add client access at any time in the future. If you have a BYOD program, you could begin by excluding everything but Windows clients and then later add access to iOS, Blackberry, and Android-based devices with a simple click of your mouse.
You can exclude clients by IP address, MAC address, and client type. Additionally, you can direct certain types of client connections to specific gateway servers. The 2X developers have put a lot of thought into security.
2X maintains a variety of client software that covers 99 percent of all devices that might require access to published resources. I'd go so far as to say that you can connect any currently available device to 2X published resources. But for clarification, here's the list of available clients:
- 2X Windows client
- 2X Cloud Portal
- 2X Java client
- 2X Android client
- 2X iOS client
- 2X Linux client
- 2X Mac client
- 2X HTML5 client
- 2X Blackberry client
- 2X Wyse client
- 2XOS client
I suggest that if you have a device that you want connected to a resource and you can't use any of these listed clients, ask the 2X folks what to do. I'm sure they have a solution for you.
2X's pricing is inexpensive and fairly liberal, meaning that you get a lot of service for very little money. If you don't believe me, compare to competitive technologies for yourself.
As you saw in the introduction, licensing is very reasonable: $75/concurrent user/1 year subscription; $93/concurrent user/2 year subscription; $109/concurrent user/3 year subscription. Licensing available in 15 user packs. Support at various levels available at additional cost.
The three-year option is obviously the most economical and makes the most sense for those of you who can commit to a particular technology solution for the next three years.
I genuinely like 2X Software's ApplicationServer XG product. To me, there's nothing better at any price. The ease of use is the greatest selling point. The price is also very good. Dealing with the complexity of other solutions is a problem for me. I like simplicity. It took me less than 15 minutes to download, install, and publish my first application (Notepad) with XG. That must be some kind of record for this type of application.
My experience with competitive products has not been as positive. They feel complex and heavy compared to 2X's XG. At only 95MB for the download, I'm pretty sure that I'm correct in my assessment.
My review is an overall 10/10 for the 2X ApplicationServer XG product. Its price, its ease of use, its rapid deployment capability, and its many security options make it a must have for any company or department wanting to publish resources to make life easier for BYODers or for users in general.
You don't have to take my word for it though. Download the product and try it out for yourself. If you disagree with anything I've said, let me know where I've gone wrong.