In my last blog I talked about how ZENworks Application Virtualization saved me a lot of grief when presenting with Impress on a customer site. However I have now spent a couple of weeks meeting and talking with other customers, and it's clear that we have features in the product which are not getting enough airtime — something I plan to start putting right with this entry.
When we talk about Application Virtualization the product story fits very nicely to our core product values:
This is all great, but the normal conversation only takes us as far as the normal product use cases which are:
Deployment of packaged applications for simple installation and repair
Providing applications that can be installed to a locked-down and managed environment
Allowing people to run versions of applications either alongside incompatible versions (testing), or on non-compatible operating systems (Vista/IE6).
Outside of this there is actually a great way that ZENworks Application Virtualization can benefit your business with feature which you probably use all the time in packaging automatically, but when used as a custom feature can really assist in application and version control.
So what is an XLayer?
These are quite simply a type of file that can be used to package components that are then available to be used with applications. Each XLayer contains all of the virtual registry and files that a component needs, meaning that they can be installed to a virtual application very simply.
Why do I want to use XLayers?
The most common use case for ZENworks Application that we discuss is to deploy a browser. How many of you have (for example) requirements for multiple JAVA versions to access applications? This is very common.
Using an XLayer you can create a common version of the browser, and then separate JAVA XLayer instances that can be automatically by the build as required.
If you then combine this with ZENworks Configuration Management Application Deployment the result is an incredibly slick way of not only deploying virtual applications, but also having version control abilities around the different plug-ins and web-methods that are used.
So how difficult are they to build?
XLayers are very simple to build.
In the ZENworks Application Virtualization console configure your settings exactly as you would for a normal application
On the settings pane, select Component from the Project Type menu
Press the Build button
The difference is that having selected Component from the project type your output will now be an XLayer file rather than an executable. This means that the XLayer cannot be run as a separate piece of code, only as part of a virtualized application.
Next time I plan to discuss some of the new ZENworks Configuration Management features which we have introduced with the ZENworks Application Virtualization 7.0 release this year.