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Application Virtualization?


eagle63
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Hey guys, I'm wondering if anyone here uses or knows anything about application virtualization?  Here's the basis for my question:  I'm going to start using Quicken for home finance stuff.  It's a **Windows only product, and I use Macs as my client machines - though I do use WHS 2011 and separately run a windows server 2008 R2 machine with a bunch of VM's on Hyper-V.  So, my options seem to be:

 

1.  Run win7/win8 in a desktop VM program like Parallels on one of my Mac's, and then install Quicken on that VM.

 

2.  Install Quicken on a win7 VM on my Hyper-V server and then RDP into it.  

 

Pros/Cons of option 1:

- no network lag if away from home since it's installed locally on the machine.  

- Parallels and VMware Fusion are pretty nice and have a "unity" mode which makes it appear as though you're just running that application in a window, even though you're (obviously) running a full windows OS behind it.

- Seems like a heavyweight option just to run a single app..

- Only works on 1 machine.  If I'm on a different machine I'm out of luck.

 

Pros/Cons of option 2

- easily used by multiple machines.  (or anything that has an RDP client)

- some latency, though hopefully not much when on the LAN.  

 

 

So all that brings me to application virtualization.  I really don't know anything about it, other than conceptually it allows you to run a single (virtualized) application in a window.  This sounds really appealing for my use-case, though I don't know if Hyper-V can even do that?  Alternatively, I've seen people use RDP in some pretty fancy ways that seems to give the illusion of application virtualization.  Thanks in advance to anyone who has any ideas for me, or can let me know if I'm barking up the wrong tree!

 

 

 

 

** Yes I realize there is a Mac version of Quicken, but it's even worse than the Windows version - plus it's neutered in the sense that it contains a subset of features.

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I tend to lean toward Option 2.

 

Microsoft, VMware and Citrix all have products for Application Virtualization. Here is a free product that we considered using before IT went with ZenApp:

http://www.cameyo.com/

It appears to be more for portability of apps.

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The best option would be to install Windows on the mac's and then your problem is solved. That would also save you money on future purchases and you would still get a faster machine. If you aren't willing to install Windows, then dual boot.

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I was sort of in the same boat when it came to Quickbooks.

 

After thinking of options (as outlined by you) I opted for the following:

  1. Put Quickbooks Pro directly on my WHS2011.
  2. Installed Office Maven's Quickbooks 2011.

This gives me:

  1. Access to Quickbooks from any WHS2011 client.
    1. Be wary of any file access conflict / sharing that Quicken must support.
    2. Quickbooks supports a multiple client / server mode.
  2. Access to Quickbooks remotely via server login.
  3. Quickbooks installation backed up as part of server backup.
  4. Quickbooks data backed up via Cloudberry to Amazon S3.

It seems you can do the same with Mac connectors, Quicken and Office Maven's products.

 

Everything has worked perfectly.

 

I would never propose to pollute your server with gads of applications (I only have Quickbooks) but you can be the judge of that.

 

An option for you to consider and try out...

 

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Thanks all for the suggestions.  I was doing some reading today about "Remote Desktop Services", which is a role you can install on Windows Server.  (maybe WHS too, not sure)  It looks like this might be exactly what I need as the purpose of it is to virtualize an application..  sort of a thin-client scenario I think.  Anyway, the one fly in the ointment is that it appears as though you need to have a CAL license to do this, at least if you want to play by the rules.  

 

CAL's, along with most other enterprise'y things in the world of Microsoft technologies is pretty foreign to me.  Has anyone out there tried the RD Services method of hosting an application?  

 

@ITTOG

Turns out I have an older copy of VMWare Fusion for Mac, which I think will be my fallback plan.  I could use that to spin-up win7 in a window and run Quicken within it.  I think you're right that this is probably the "right" solution, but the inner geek in me is curious about this application hosting stuff.  :)  

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