We see application virtualization software emerging more and more in the enterprise with products like Microsoft Application Virtualization and Citrix Application Streaming. I think if there’s a scenario where application virtualization would be well received, it would be for home use of software. This would have few advantages for the users.
First of all, the stability of their PC would most likely increase as each applications operates in a sandboxed environment, which can avoid a lot of headaches. No more complicated setup and configuration for end users as well. Just click on the icon and there it is. Installing an application of IT pros seems like no big deal, but for users at home, it’s a risky operation. Just deploy a stable base operating system image and the user is set.
Another upside to this model, is related to SaaS, as users could only pay for their actual usage of the software. For instance, when I’m at home, I’m not using Microsoft Office 100% of the time, I might only need it a few hours per week. I’m having a hard time paying a few hundred dollars for my copy Office for the usage I have for it at home. I’d much rather pay 100$ for a bank of 10 hours of use per month.
Hopefully software vendor will get their act together as they did with full OS virtualization. As this article points out, we have a bit of way to go: http://www.news.com/Microsoft-Streaming-Office-infringes-license/2100-1012_3-6229776.html
When you have something like application virtualization, a published desktop or application via Citrix or Terminal Services, why whould you want to build web versions of application like what Google is trying to do with Google Docs?