Application virtualization is the technique of separating the application configuration layer from the operating system. It enables applications to run on clients – desktops, servers and laptops – without actually being installed on them, and to be administered from a central location. With applications installed on a centralized server using this method, users of application virtualization solutions can access that software from whatever particular operating system is being utilized on their computers.
When installing, accessing and utilizing applications on an everyday personal computer, the normal practice is to physically install that software onto each device. This is not always an option for businesses harnessing the power of a variety of applications across multiple computers, remote offices or mobile devices. Application virtualization allows organizations that utilize large IP networks and data centers to install widely-used programs directly onto their servers and simultaneously access those programs from individual computers. Applications accessed virtually through an organization's network retain the same functionality as they would if they were installed directly onto personal computers, while benefiting from the advanced security initiatives and traffic management employed on most data center servers. Overall, application virtualization is a method utilized by many companies to manage the availability of applications and business-critical information accessed through an expansive business network.