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Q&A with AppSense CTO Harry Labana, Digging Deeper into AppSense Strata

AppSense has been in the news lately, with the most recent announcement around their AppSense User Virtualization Platform integrating with the Citrix CloudPortal Services Manager to deliver policy-based desktop control for service providers.  But they've also released a new component technology called AppSense Strata.  And to find out more about it, I spoke with Harry Labana, CTO of AppSense.  Here's our conversation.

VMblog.com:  We've been hearing about AppSense Strata, can you tell us more about it?

Harry Labana:  AppSense Strata gives users the freedom to install and manage their own applications into an isolated environment separate from their desktop assets. It then re-delivers the applications back to their desktop providing a seamless user experience. When a user starts an application installation, they are given the option to either install the application natively, or install it into Strata. We’re essentially giving users more freedom and flexibility without compromising desktop security. Appsense Strata technology is applicable to both physical desktop/laptop environments and for VDI use cases.
 
VMblog.com:  Can you explain what you mean by 'user managed applications'?

Labana:  Each user has their own personal productivity applications that they require on their desktop. At AppSense, we believe it is vital that corporate desktops allow the user to access such applications and does not strip them of their personal requirements.

VMblog.com:  You’ve mentioned that AppSense Strata extends the AppSense User Virtualization Platform.  Can you explain how?

Labana:  AppSense Strata extends the AppSense User Virtualization Platform by taking the control users have over their desktop one step further. A true user virtualization platform must provide this capability of managing the user apps layer, but does so at a balance. At AppSense, we are wired in to both the needs of users and IT. This is why we deliver new technology that gives more flexibility to the user but does so without IT relinquishing any control over the desktop. With this new technology, users can now install and manage their personal productivity applications.

VMblog.com:  What is the cost savings benefit to user managed applications?

Labana:  AppSense Strata maximizes end user productivity while also reducing IT management costs. Users are delivered the freedom they need to do their job better, but this freedom does not come at a cost for IT. In fact, empowering the user shifts the cost to the end user thus enabling self reliance and service. If IT needs more control, AppSense has other portfolio solutions that work in conjunction with Strata.

VMblog.com:  And are there any security benefits to using AppSense Strata?  If so, what are they?

Labana:  When the user chooses to have Strata capture an application, the AppSense Virtualization Engine intercepts all file and registry operations, capturing every change and persisting them in a Strata Application Store. Every aspect of the application, including the required Windows services and operating system objects, are captured and stored in the Strata virtualization layer which is completely isolated from the base operating system. AppSense Strata elevates standard user rights for application installations requiring local administrator privileges while segregating the application installation away from the local drive and virtualizing it into a central network store.
 
VMblog.com:  Ok, I have to ask.  What was behind the decision to make the AppSense Strata free of cost?

Labana:  We see this release as a key part of our user virtualization technology; not something that should be sold separately. It is a result of our dedication to making our User Virtualization Platform a necessity to enterprises.

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Thanks again to Harry Labana, CTO of AppSense, for taking time out to speak with VMblog.com.

Published Wednesday, October 26, 2011 5:53 AM by David Marshall
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