Virtualisation, thin clients and..... Streaming
Be afraid, well, don't be afraid. Part of Virtualisation is Streaming.
Microsoft Softgrid incorporates Streaming technology licensed from Endeavors Technology. I believe Citrix uses AppStream, also using technology licensed from Edeavors (Toot Toot)
Streaming is a method by which only the bare minimum of an application, enough to get it up and running and thereafter only the bits you need, are downloaded to your computer as and when you need them. The footprint is much smaller and the applications are 'sandboxed'.
In addition maintainence, control, monitoring, access and charging can and are all done server side. However, to the end user the application appears and runs on their machine as if it were really installed locally.
Streaming is not strictly virtualisation and does not require virtualisation methods to function....
Have a look at http://www.www.stream24-7.com which was set up to demonstrate Application Streaming.
The front page blurb says....
"Welcome to Stream24-7.com – the world’s first web site to offer free software using application streaming, the latest application delivery technology. Application streaming is the powerful alternative to the traditional software download and installation methods. There are no downloads or installations – the software is streamed to your PC in much the same way as video and music. All you need is your Application Player.
Stream24-7.com was created to provide unlimited, on-demand access to best-of-breed, free software available on the Internet, without the need to download large files or install the application on your machine."
It does what it says on the tin. For example over a 5MBs ADSL it takes 5 minutes to do an 'install' of Open Office 2.2 and, unless deactivated the program comes up just as fast as if it was really there. When you do deactivate it, and the other programs on offer it is gone as in gone.
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