Application layering arrives on IT’s radar

ORLANDO, Fla. — Application layering adoption remains low, but more IT professionals are coming around to the technology.

Layering products all work in different ways. At their core, they allow IT to package and deliver different combinations of applications and their components to different groups of users. Nearly three-quarters of VDI shops use nothing to manage applications, according to a new survey by VDI Like a Pro. But moves by VMware, which acquired CloudVolumes in 2014, and Citrix, which acquired Unidesk this year, have piqued IT’s interest.

“There’s a lot of really cool things that app layering can do, and there’s some things it can’t do,” said Chris O’Hara, Citrix architect at HCL Technologies, a global IT consulting and outsourcing firm. “Elasticity is good, but I [have questions] about the performance impact of the more layers you [add].”

Unidesk boosts Citrix’s capabilities

Citrix showcased App Layering, its new tool based on Unidesk, here at its annual user conference, Synergy. The product’s aim is to simplify the complexity of delivering customized virtual desktops to users, said Chris Midgley, senior director of product strategy at Citrix and the founder of Unidesk.

“As we go around and we try to customize these desktops to meet the needs of every user and every department, we have exceptions and customizations and changes,” Midgley said in a session. “Different laptops and desktops have different information on them and worse — service packs, updates, patches.”

Unidesk’s technology far outpaces Citrix’s previous homegrown application layering offering, AppDisk, said consultant Theresa Miller, CEO and founder of 24×7 IT Connection.

“One of the challenges that I’ve seen companies be faced with is how to package and handle their apps,” she said. “So this tool does a lot of that very well.”

How Citrix App Layering works

Citrix’s approach to application layering allows IT to separate all components of application delivery — the operating…

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