The use of virtualization technologies is growing in popularity due to the advantages in terms of productivity and performance and can help customers to achieve significant cost savings and operational efficiency.
At this moment we distinguish the following types of virtualization:
Desktop virtualization means running a virtual desktop (virtual machine) on a server. The idea behind virtual desktop is to no longer run business applications on a physical desktop, but on a (central managed and controlled) server, known as remote desktop server (RDS).
Desktop virtualization only applies to desktop applications, thus Exact Globe Next. When creating virtual desktops with Exact Globe Next at least also MS Excel must be installed so certain reports based on Excel are accessible.
In case Exact Globe Next Add-ons are used, like MS Offices and Scansys document scanning, these add-ons need to be installed on the virtual machine as well.
To be able to connect with local or network printers and other devices the remote desktop client should support access to these devices. For instance VMWare player and Citrix receiver support this.
Important to realize is that Exact Globe Next stores information in the registry of a machine and (application) directory folders of the machine. When deleting the virtual machine (file) this information is lost, also when a user is assigned to another virtual machine information stored before on another virtual machine is not accessible.
Server virtualization means running one or more virtual servers on a physical server. The idea behind server virtualization is to disconnect hardware from applications so hardware usage can be optimized/ scaled and applications can be better managed.
Exact Synergy Enterprise and Exact Event Manager run on various virtual server solutions like Microsoft Hyper-V. This can be combined with virtualizing the Microsoft SQL Server if the conditions mentioned in the corporate statement on virtualized Microsoft SQL Servers are met. When using Hyper-V it might be useful to also virtualize the RDS in case desktop virtualization is used. For instance Citrix Xenapp can be used to implement the RDS as a virtual server supporting virtual desktops.
Both Exact Globe Next and Exact Synergy Enterprise make use of background jobs which can run on designated application (virtual) servers or on the same (virtual) server Exact Synergy Enterprise is running on. When using the Exact Integrator it is recommended to install Exact Globe Next on the same (virtual) server as the integrator services.
With regards to the Exact Synergy Enterprise / Exact Globe Next back office connectivity there is a point of attention when running in a virtual server environment. The back office connectivity requires the mac address of the Exact Synergy Enterprise server to be known. In a virtual server environment running MS Hyper-V the mac address is static, the mac address of the physical machine/server. In a virtual server environment running HP Virtual solutions (likeHP Converged Storage and virtual connect on Blade severs) the mac address is dynamic allocated each time the virtual server is rebooted.
Application virtualization means encapsulating an application to make it independent from the operating system of the machine it is running on. The application is not installed in the traditional way, but can be executed as if it was.
Application virtualization only applies to Exact Globe Next in case customers want to sandbox the applications used on a (virtual) machine. For instance for security reasons or to regular (daily) cleanup machines without requiring to re-install applications.
It makes no sense to virtualize Exact Synergy Enterprise since this is a web application which can be installed as multiple instances on one (virtual) server and access as virtual application using IIS.
Virtualizing Exact Globe Next is not easy and requires extensive knowledge of the virtualization solution (like Microsoft App-V) as well as knowledge of all components and 3rd party Add-ons to be recorded within the virtualized application. For instance MS Excel must be included to be able to run reports.
As mentioned Exact Globe Next stores information in the application directory folders. When closing the virtual application this information is lost. A partial solution can be provided by using RES software to manage user profiles and machine registries.
At this moment application virtualization is not supported by Exact, however, we do know from several of our customers it runs without problems. Exact is currently investigating and testing the use of application virtualization with Exact Globe Next and Exact Synergy Enterprise. Running Exact Globe Next as a virtual application requires extensive knowledge of the virtualization solution (like Microsoft App-V) to implement, update and manage the virtualized application and the required infrastructure.
Based on the test results in our QA labs our corporate statement is therefore as follows:
We are aware that, at this moment, several of our customers already run Exact Globe Next and Exact Synergy Enterprise using application virtualization. At this moment, there are no indications that application virtualization has a negative influence on the operation of our products. On the other hand, Exact has not tested Exact Globe Next or Exact Synergy Enterprise using application virtualization thoroughly in its QA labs.
As long as application virtualization has not been thoroughly tested in our QA labs to prepare for the official support of other scenarios, we collaborate with our customers to jointly solve issues that might arise. In case customers use application virtualization and report problems to Exact which seem related to application virtualization, Exact Software will try, in close cooperation and together with the customer, to find a solution.
This announcement applies to Exact Globe Next and Exact Synergy Enterprise.
Note: This document also applies to Exact Lightweight Integration Server (ELIS). For more information, see System requirements for Exact Lightweight Integration Server (ELIS).