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Symantec Steps Into Streaming

Symantec fleshed out its application virtualization story this week, overhauling the desktop management technology it acquired when it bought Altiris earlier this year. (See Symantec Picks Up Altiris.)

Specifically, Symantec has added support for Vista and an application management feature called "streaming" to the Altiris Software Virtualization Solution (SVS). With users wrestling with the challenge of juggling licenses from multiple software vendors within their infrastructure, streaming aims to quickly install and remove virtual applications from individual desktops.

The idea here is that users can avoid the costs of permanently installing multiple applications. "I think that streaming is going to become very important," says Andi Mann, senior analyst at Enterprise Management Associates (EMA). "This works out cheaper than permanently installing software on hundreds of desktops."

Symantec's streaming feature, which is built on technology from AppSteam, works by installing an agent on desktop devices, and is responsible for running an application only when it is requested by an end user. When the end user closes Microsoft Office, for example, the agent quickly removes the application from the device, although the relevant icon remains available on the desktop.

Users have already cited lengthy deployment cycles and hefty levels of maintenance as major hurdles in the path of their virtualization projects, despite the apparent popularity of the technology. (See Users Talk Virtual Troubles.)

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