Attachmate Emulator to Deploy Via App-V
June 22, 2010 Alex Woodie
Attachmate is expected next month to deliver a new release of its Reflection emulator that can be deployed as a virtual application using Microsoft‘s desktop application virtualization technology. The vendor says deploying Reflection 2011 as an App-V object will reduce compatibility concerns, speed the deployment, and save customers money, especially during large roll-outs or updates of emulators.
Whether it’s a first-time roll-out or a re-fresh of an existing implementation, it is a big priority of all terminal emulation vendors (not just Attachmate) to simplify the deployment of emulators. Attachmate has the biggest base of emulation customers outside of IBM, and owns some of the largest accounts, with hundreds of thousands of seats of Reflection, or EXTRA!, its other line of emulators of for accessing System i, System z, and Unix/VMS host applications from a PC or a Web browser.
Obviously, it’s in Attachmate’s interest to make the deployments go as smoothly as possible, and this is why it’s looking to Microsoft and its application virtualization software.
With next month’s launch of Reflection 2011, Attachmate will, for the first time, enable the emulator to be deployed using App-V, the line of desktop virtualization and application streaming software that allows applications to reside in protective “bubbles” that separate applications from one another and from the underlying Windows operating system.
Isolating applications in this way helps to avoid resource conflicts with the registry, file system, and other problems that commonly occur on enterprise desktops. Because the underlying operating system and file system are never changed, desktops are kept in “pristine” condition (Microsoft’s words). This approach also helps to minimize the amount of compatibility testing that is normally required in enterprise environments. And thanks to the capability to “stream” the application from a central server to a desktop, deployments and subsequent updates are faster.
Attachmate currently supports App-V (which Microsoft has been selling since its 2006 acquisition of Softricity) with Reflection 2008, which became available in January 2009. But with the launch of Reflection 2011 next month, the .NET-based emulator gets deeper integration with the Microsoft virtualization technology.
According to Attachmate, Reflection 2011 will be the first Windows application that gains “native” support for App-V. Among the benefits that native support entails is the elimination of the need to repackage the emulation bundles prior to deployment, further streamlining the roll-out process.
Customers will deploy Reflection 2011 via App-V using either desktop-based virtualization software or using server-based virtualization software. Server-based virtualization–sometimes called Virtual Desktop Infrastructure, or VDI–entails running a complete desktop image, along with the operating system and applications, on a server and streaming it down to a desktop. This approach brings big benefits in the area of deployment and management, but cannot be used in offline mode. Desktop-based virtualization retains the benefits of isolating the OS from the applications and their specific settings, but does not bring the same level of automation with deployments and upgrades.
When asked for more detail on Reflection 2011’s support for App-V, an Attachmate spokesperson elected to not elaborate, and said more information will be available next month when the product is formally launched.
Windows 7 Upgrades
Attachmate, which is based in Seattle, Washington, also announced that it has joined Microsoft’s System Center Alliance program, which should help it gain more insight and marketing support when it comes to Microsoft’s line of systems management software.
Like all emulation vendors, Attachmate is eager to link its products with Windows 7, which is expected to gain wider roll-outs in corporate environments after big companies largely skipped Windows Vista, and remained on Windows XP. Those XP desktops–along with the critical applications, like Reflection, that run on them–are getting a little long in the tooth, making Windows 7 the likely candidate to replace them.
Attachmate sells three lines of emulators, including Reflection (which it obtained in its 2005 merger with WRQ), EXTRA!, and INFOConnect. For more information see www.attachmate.com.