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Intel & Symantec tout app virtualization

Intel Corp. and Symantec Corp. executives touted the benefits of application virtualization in a roundtable discussion with reporters Thursday in San Francisco.

Virtualization at the application level separates the application from the operating system, preventing applications from modifying system files and avoiding DLL conflicts, said Mike Ferron-Jones, marketing manager at Intel. The technology allows applications to run on clients and be administered from a central location.

“It’s a great way to deploy applications in a way that eliminates the root cause of many helpdesk calls,” he said.

Application virtualization offers IT organizations the ability to save money and maintain control over licensing and patching while giving end users the mobility and performance they need, Ferron-Jones and Brian Duckering, senior product marketing manager in the Endpoint Virtualization Group at Symantec said.

“You can strike a balance between the user and IT needs,” Duckering said.

Virtualization, however, doesn’t eliminate security problems, the executives said.

“An unpatched virtual application is just as vulnerable as an unpatched local application,” Ferron-Jones said.

Duckering cautioned that companies shouldn’t deploy virtualization just for the sake of it. “Understand why you’re doing it and what you’re trying to accomplish.”

Symantec is working on a virtualized security system for Intel’s vPro platform, but a published report last summer said licensing issues were delaying its release. The system will be isolated from the primary OS with the goal of making it tamper resistant.

In a statement Friday, Symantec said customers have been beta testing the first version of the virtual security system and “that customer input will be used for virtual security solutions going forward, but we do not have any dates set for a product release yet.” The company said it’s continuing to work with Intel and its vPro platform from an endpoint management standpoint.

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