There are a variety of virtualization options to discuss in reference to web application compatibility, including multi-user terminal servers, server-based or client-side virtual operating systems, and application virtualization. These can be simplified into two categories: operating system virtualization and application virtualization.
With operating system virtualization, it’s important to remember the virtualized infrastructure needed to achieve legacy application compatibility needs to run legacy versions of Internet Explorer which will reach end of life by January 2016. Therefore, the virtual environment will be unsupported. There are several other considerations as well. Server-based virtualization does not scale cost effectively for browser-based applications which involve a high memory footprint and large bandwidth, increasing costs. Expensive server hardware must be purchased, powered, cooled, and maintained over many years. Client virtualization is resource intensive, often requiring RAM upgrades and multiple core CPUs, increasing hardware costs. Overall, the expense and technical challenges of operating system virtualization are not viable if this solution is used simply for web application compatibility.
While application virtualization may seem attractive, it is not a viable option for web browsers, as the Microsoft’s Windows license does not allow components such as Internet Explorer to be virtualized. In addition, with this approach, challenges are often found while printing and interfacing with hardware.
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