Application Virtualization with Thinstall

Application Virtualization is the solution in which Windows applications can be made available in a quick, simple and cost effective way.

Application Virtualization is the solution in which Windows applications can be made available in a quick, simple and cost effective way on desktops, laptops, VDI as well as on Server Based Computing infrastructures.

In an article which appeared earlier, the virtualization solutions Microsoft Application Virtualization (SoftGrid), Citrix Application Streaming Feature and Altiris SVS were compared to each other. In addition to these three solutions, Thinstall Virtualization Suite is also an important solution in the Application Virtualization market. Thinstall offers functions that other solutions cannot offer.

It is no problem for Thinstalled applications to be executed within a few seconds on a workstation, where no client is installed and where there is no back end infrastructure present. In this article, Ruben Spruijt will make it clear that Thinstall Virtualization Suite has interesting properties and offers a serious Application Virtualization solution for everyone.

What is application virtualization?

Thinstall is a supplier that makes the virtualization of applications possible. Before we describe what Thinstall offers and what the advantages, disadvantages and the application scenarios of Thinstall are, we go back to the beginning: “What is the definition of Application Virtualization?”

With the aid of application streaming and virtualization, windows applications can be used without any changes to the local operating system, let alone that application software is installed on a workstation. In other words, the application is implemented, saves data and prints as if it is locally present, without anything being changed on the local client. Sources such as CPU, memory, hard disks and network cards are used for the execution of this application.

It is interesting to read what Application Virtualization is. In practice we see that various organizations chose this virtualization application years ago and that many companies and software suppliers see this form of virtualization as THE application delivery platform.

What does Thinstall offer?

Now the word “Thinstall” has been used a few times. Some people have difficulty with the name of the supplier and call it “thin-install”, but it is Thinstall, one word ;-). Cool name spelling, but what does it offer me? Thinstall offers a solution by which Windows applications can be deployed on a client workstation without a local client/agent and without back end infrastructure. The applications are completely virtualized and can be, where necessary, even used from a removable storage medium. Thinstall offers an Application Virtualization platform with which
Windows applications are offered as ‘self-contained” EXE files. These EXE files can be executed without any installation, Administrator or PowerUser rights.

Continued...

I have created an article about this solution. This article is published in LanVision, a Dutch IT-Pro Magazine. Both the translated,English version, and the original Dutch article can be downloaded.

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Also another play in this emerging market that appears to do more than Thinstall. http://www.installfree.com/pageload.aspx?page=tech_application_virtualization.html#tier3

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InstallFree is a small player that just started. Thinstall has been around since ’99 and is deployed on more than 50 Million PC’s worldwide. Maturity in this business is going to be important as more folks start to look at application virtualization and the role it can play. Not to mention, the article written talks about a lack of application management. Well, I saw a demo of their new license manager the other week and it was cool. Also, I don’t want to be forced to use a management environment when I already have one in place (Marimba). I think this is a HUGE advantage for Thinstall. They are the only ones who are instantly compatible with what we all use right now.
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Come on Thinstall sales guy, this is a technical forum so you can stop drinking the OJ for a bit. Innovation in this space and better competition with a better potential product is good for this space, since the big boys MS are not doing much, and you have little chance to survive there in the first place. Overstating how widely and you really are used is also a joke, without also stating how effectively. Can you even run across multiple OS's with a single package like go to x64 for example. I think not, I know and have tested it with a download. InstallFree is demonstrating a technology leapfrog so that is good. How well they do will remain to be seen. If Marimba is dumb enough to marry Thinstall alone then that shows just shows how the innovation left that company with Arther Van Hoft moving on and the BMC purchase. That new chick from BMC at Thinstall has no clue either. There is no reason at this point for any of the big Systems Management vendors to not partner with any of the emerging Application Virtualization vendors. Just look at Appstream, they work with a variety of products, so that's great as it gives folks flexibility. Why would anybody want to buy a product that locks you into a solution one way or the other. The Marimba comment is just dumb sales guy. InstallFree from what I understand can be delivered as a standalone EXE. Any software distrubtion system can deploy that, including Marimba. So no HUGE advantage, just rhetoric from a SALES guy who has no clue.
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Innovation is the key for successes, about the only thing you said that is worth mentioning. As for the effectiveness of Thinstall, well, you obviously haven’t sat down and really worked with any app virt products than and tried to compare them. But wait, some folks actually have! Thinstall Wins Bake-off: Application Virtualization “http://www.crn.com/software/204803425?pgno=1”. As for your failed attempts to run on an x64 platform, I can’t help you. It works just fine for me. BMC Marimba supports Citrix, Thinstall and as I understand it, SoftGrid is in the works. Before you make rash judgments on what another vendor is doing, you should get your facts in line. There are a lot of existing and emerging players in the app virt market and they all have something of value. The plays being made into the VDI space will undoubtedly shake loose the technology tree to see what makes a good fit. You obviously have some strong feelings about all of this but I don’t sense where they are coming from. Are you a disgruntled packager or IT guy who hasn’t kept up. Application Virtualization along with VDI and Saas is something that we all here want to talk about. With all of the technology and products it makes sense to discuss how to marry the best options together for our needs. I’ve implemented a 10K seat Citrix environment, deployed SoftGrid and managed some large IT shops. To just attempt to call me out as a “sales guy” is kind of naive on your part. If you want o talk “tech” on virtualization technology, than please repost and let’s have an open conversation on that so everyone here can benefit.
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I've taken a close look at Softricity and Thinstall both.  SoftGrid has such an enormous infrastructure requirement that it really drives the cost and complexity of virtualization/streaming through the roof (if you don't believe me about the infrastructure requirement, read their own "Server Sizing Doc", http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb608286.aspx).  Also with Softricity you have a client...well what if you have 10 apps virtualized on a machine and the client stops working?  Yep, those 10 apps stop working too.  Thinstall has absolutely no infrastracture to install/manage/buy and no client to worry about as a single-point of failure...simply put the files into single-file EXEs, wrap them as MSIs if you want, and move on to other projects with your newfound spare time!  :)     As far as InstallFree I've never heard of them, so I can't comment. 
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MS - Softgrid - This is a cludgy offering from MS. The management wizards are very bizare and non-logical. You cannot stream from branch site based servers but only from the central deployment.  The biggest disadvantage is that you have to be on the "Software Assurance" program before you can buy this for $10 per client. This means you are paying a lot more. This is a great manipulation by MS to force you to have to pay annual software assurance fees. THIS IS A MAJOR ABUSE OF THE CUSTOMER. I am really dissapointed on the awkward way this product works. MS has done little in the past year+ since buying this product.  However I do know that several companies are pleased with this product.


Citrix -Streaming App Server. The major problem with this is that you have to have a Citrix Presentation Server environment for this to work. Why do I have to be married to other products a company sells to have a single solution? Citrix wants you to buy their "Enterprise" or "Platenum" level licenses along with their annual Software Subscription service. THIS IS A MAJOR ABUSE OF THE CUSTOMER! I have used this product but was never impressed with the Citrix application isolation that they offer. It has only been released for 1 year with version 1.1. I do not know anyone using this in production.


Make sure you have some solid test environments and solid customer references. Visit these sites. Do not jump into this just because the sales people promote it.


I don't know anything about Thinstall but based on this artical and the customer comments - I will be learning more about this.

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If you think it's that good, run a Thinstall package and move it around from OS to OS and see how good they are. Simple file and registry redirection that does not go deep enough into the virtualization stack. Much like SVS. Softgrid more powerful in this area today. Great they are innovating but so far to go. Suggest you play with the other emerging vendors as well. Forget about CRN they are way behind the people in the know.
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SoftGrid definately has some market space but the MS aquisition has slowed them down on the devlopment end. 4.5 will be a much anticipated release but the branch configuration isn't quite what my client's would like to see. Thinstall is still a small and nimble company with what I consider to be an innovative approach to virtualization (clientless). What my client's like is not being tied to a monolithic client that has to be managed as a major upgrade, lack of required tie in to a specific systems management product (you can implement Thinstall with almost anything), ease of application publishing (way to easy to screw up in SoftGrid) and x64 support for Terminal server.


No product is perfect in this arena but I see these guys as a valid competitor in this space with an aggressive development strategy. This space needs healthy competition in order evolve and I'm glad to see the progress that I have out of this small company. You still have to marry the product to your infrastructure, business requirements and in the case of SoftGrid business relationship. So there is no technology that will rule them all at this point but I do urge people to put the time and effort in to properly evaluate your technology decision before implementing.

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"Citrix -Streaming App Server. The major problem with this is that you have to have a Citrix Presentation Server environment for this to work. Why do I have to be married to other products a company sells to have a single solution? Citrix wants you to buy their "Enterprise" or "Platenum" level licenses along with their annual Software Subscription service. THIS IS A MAJOR ABUSE OF THE CUSTOMER! I have used this product but was never impressed with the Citrix application isolation that they offer. It has only been released for 1 year with version 1.1. I do not know anyone using this in production."


Citrix obviously doesn't advertise this fact very heavily, but you can actually buy streaming-only licenses for a reasonable price of about $60 per user.  All you need to do is buy a 5-user pack of PS Enterprise Edition first (around $2500), then add as many $60 user licenses as you need.  We've been doing this for several of our customers.  I would like to see this solution work with services and allow communication between bubbles, but overall we're happy with it.  It gives you pretty nice control over the isolation environments (ignore/pass-through rules) and works well with AdminStudio.


 

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I don't know if they overcome what I think is a huge security risk, You can create a set with thinstall to connect to a citrix server and save your username and password. If you loose the stick any morron can connect to your environment without having to type in username and password. I mailt thinstall about this about 2 years ago and never heard from it again..... So I guess it's still possible to save username and password and thus a huge reliability although the product itself is sweet.
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Sorry Dude, Ive used Thinstall for about 6 months and tried the usual suspects, I choose Thinstall.  (Just a Lurker)
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