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An organization looking to migrate to a new OS can be stopped in its tracks if newer operating systems don't support even one or two business-critical apps. This scenario is especially common for shops trying to move from Windows XP to Windows 10. Luckily, Glassware 2.0 from Sphere 3D can help.
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Even though Microsoft stopped supporting Windows XP almost a year ago, some organizations still use the dead OS, and many struggle with migrating to another operating system. Hardware upgrades may be necessary for many businesses that run XP on older PCs, but migrating legacy applications is the true hardship of upgrading an operating system.
Glassware 2.0 from Sphere 3D is a container-based alternative to application virtualization products such as Citrix XenApp and VMware ThinApp. It helps IT administrators virtualize and containerize problem applications, which takes them off desktops and puts them onto a shared server where users can access them.
How Sphere 3D Glassware 2.0 works
Glassware's microvisors -- which are tiny hypervisors -- give software direct access to the hardware on the underlying system. The Glassware Microvisor only grabs the elements of the operating system that a particular piece of software needs to run. This eliminates the overhead of running a virtual machine with a guest operating system. IT can package an application that depends on a certain operating system, include only the elements of the operating system the application needs and exclude the rest.
This lets IT create containers of virtualized applications without having to virtualize the entire desktop, and it lets them deliver an application that needs XP to a Windows 10 desktop. Companies don't have to budget a whole fleet of servers to run virtual desktop infrastructure. Rather, IT can simply put the problem applications in a container, lift them onto the server and then upgrade users' desktops.
A Glassware 2.0-enabled server runs the containers that hold the problem app. Each container runs a single instance of an application. The server can share binaries, libraries or the Glassware 2.0 Microvisor among the containers. Because each application instance lives in a distinct container, Sphere 3D can grant granular access to the pieces of the operating system the application requires. So if an application uses specific Windows XP features, those features and the app run within the Glassware container, and IT can then upgrade the desktop OS.
Users can launch the applications from their desktops the same way they access any other app. They can also use other platforms such as smartphones and tablets that run Apple iOS or Google Android to access the apps.
Putting applications in the cloud
Sphere 3D teamed up with Microsoft to create Exosphere, which brings Glassware to Azure. Exosphere moves compute-intensive applications and other software to the cloud. From there, IT can manage the apps with a single console and deliver them to any endpoint.
The Glassware model also means IT can move applications that are not a good fit for the cloud -- such as healthcare industry software, 3D or graphics-intensive applications -- to Microsoft Azure. As a result, enterprise desktops remain simple, secure and clean.
Exosphere is unique because it containerizes components of the XP OS to the cloud without having to actually deploy XP virtual machines in Azure. The offering is designed for environments with 100 to 100,000 users. For shops with fewer than a couple hundred users, there's Glassware G-Series, which is a scaled-down version of Exosphere.
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