Altiris SVS vs Softricity SoftGrid impressions

Devil Mountain Software CTO provided his personal experience in using his own technology, Clarity Suite 2006, with both Altiris Software Virtualization Solution and Softricity SoftGrid:

As a developer of performance management and load testing software for the financial services industry, I was intrigued by the possibilities of application virtualization. After hearing good things about both SVS and SoftGrid, I took it upon myself to become familiar with both products and their implications for my own solutions.

Several installations and a whole lot of testing later, I’ve come to the conclusion that SVS has the superior implementation of a “pure” virtualization model. Its “layered” architecture is more reliable and compatible than the “virtual environments” model used by SoftGrid.

During testing with SVS we found the application “recording” phase to be incredibly simple. Both of our applications – Studio and Tracker – installed cleanly and ran correctly when enabled in their respective SVS layers.

By contrast, SoftGrid’s sequencing process was a real nightmare for us. In the beginning, we couldn’t get Tracker to install at all during the recording phase. Later, after providing the MSI (Microsoft Installer) package to Softricity for analysis, we were provided with a working OSD. Still, there was the matter of how to launch our services. Tracker is headless – it runs as a Windows service and has no local UI. Fortunately, we were able to tie the service startup to the launching of our tray control applet (cfwtray). Still, it’s not a perfect solution since the user will need to log in to the system before our services will be enabled.

Bottom Line: You can’t deploy agents/headless services reliably with SoftGrid…

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