Wednesday, January 04, 2006

AppStream - Stream Apps Now Centrally controlled software distribution. AppStream's self-service software distribution and license management platform enables the fast and easy deployment and centralized administration of PC applications throughout your extended enterprise.

Quoting Sam Ramji, "AppStream has some very cool technology that streams just enough of a Windows or Java application down to the desktop that it can start up and respond to standard user flows - then pulls down more of the application dynamically as the user activates other features in the app. There's no interruption in the user experience, and the app runs locally on the client, with normal permissions, Start Menu entries, all the normal Windows app behavior you'd expect. This is cool technology because the user wouldn't even notice it was there. They combine this with robust management, provisioning, and metering for applications across large user communities. Since applications are streamed on demand, apps can be versioned automatically across a user base, without any action required from the user. What this enables is full client-side software as a service - where the definition of SaaS is 'freeing the customer from daily operation, maintenance, and upgrades of the application'. When I step back from the SaaS phenomenon what I see is a value shift in which customers want their applications to just work."

There are a number of applications for this - one that springs to mind is security policy management of application versions; NAP and NAC both require a local SHA (System Health Monitor) that reports the versions of current apps on the client back to the Health Server, which then allows access to the network or sends the client a list of remediations required; the client then goes to a remediation server for detailed instructions which typically require patching or upgrading specific applications. AppStream would allow this whole cycle to be bypassed (for managed applications) as the application would automatically stream down the latest version when the user starts it up.

I think this could be transformative as the pendulum of SaaS swings back to blended client & server implementations.

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