Softricity Ships New Virtualization Software

Softricity Inc. last week announced the general availability of SoftGrid 3.0 virtualization software that will centrally manage applications for use on laptops, desktops and servers.

The new version includes support for the SoftGrid Management .Net Web Service and Microsoft Corp.'s Active Directory. The Web service enables integration of SoftGrid with third-party management tools such as the Microsoft Management Console and Microsoft Systems Management Server, said David Greschler, vice president of corporate marketing and co-founder of Boston-based Softricity.

SoftGrid deploys applications via proprietary software running on a SoftGrid Virtual Application Server, allowing the applications to run without being installed on the host computer, he said. Small portions of code are delivered in real time as needed to client machines such as desktops, laptops and Citrix Systems Inc. servers or Microsoft Terminal Services servers.

Anthony Lackey, chief technical officer at property services provider ABM Industries Inc. in San Francisco, said he has been using SoftGrid for five months and plans to upgrade to Version 3.0 to manage 3,000 Citrix thin clients. "We effectively operate as a corporate application service provider, delivering something north of 60 applications to thin clients," he said.

Installing SoftGrid 2.05 reduced the number of servers needed at ABM from 90 to 75, Lackey said, because fewer application installations take place with virtualization.

Prior to using SoftGrid, ABM was forced to preserve server space by being very selective about adding new applications. "We had the dilemma where we'd only do a new application if it was needed by 100 users, or it would [have to] run locally on a PC," he said. "And users didn't want to use PCs, frankly."

Lackey hasn't done any formal return-on-investment calculations but said the savings yielded by removing 10 servers is "well above the cost of the SoftGrid software." The starting price for SoftGrid is $15,000, Softricity officials said.

Fidelity National Financial Inc. has reduced 13 logical server farms to one by using SoftGrid 2.05 and 3.0, said Paul Little, a configuration manager at the title insurance company in Jacksonville, Fla. SoftGrid allows different versions of an in-house commercial loan application to run side by side, he said, adding that "you can offload the processing and have the application centrally managed."

Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at market research firm IDC, said Softricity is probably the largest of three vendors that take similar approaches to application virtualization. The other two are AppStream Inc. in Palo Alto, Calif., and Leostream Corp. in Burlington, Mass.

Copyright © 2003 IDG Communications, Inc.

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