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How VMware ThinApp differs from a Horizon 6 hosted app

VMware supports hosted apps in some editions of Horizon 6 to ensure compatibility with certain legacy applications.

VMware now offers application virtualization in the Horizon 6 end-user computing platform. How is this different from ThinApp, which also virtualizes applications?

A new feature in Horizon 6, available in the advanced and enterprise versions, is Remote Desktop Session Host (RDSH) applications, or, hosted apps. This feature allows administrators to configure and deliver applications, such Microsoft Outlook, from an RDSH-based farm -- formerly Terminal Services -- to the device the user is working on.

This means workers can work on their iPads or Android smartphones. For companies that rely on legacy applications for specific business needs, using hosted apps with RDSH can be one way to deliver that outdated -- but necessary -- program that still runs on Internet Explorer 6.

But VMware also provides application virtualization with its ThinApp offering, which has been available since 2008. So what's the difference between ThinApp and Horizon 6 RDS hosted apps?

"We have ThinApp, our application virtualization tool, which allows us to take an application, package it into a container and make it available over deployment for different endpoints.  But one of the limitations of ThinApp is it has to run against an endpoint that is capable of running that application," said Andrew Zychek, a senior systems engineer at VMware, during his presentation on Horizon 6 best practices at the Boston VMUG User Conference on June 24.

"So, if it's a Windows application, it has to run against a Windows endpoint. I can't deploy a [Windows-based] ThinApp to an iPad, for example. I can deploy a ThinApp to a virtual machine that I access through an iPad, but the ThinApp itself has to execute against a Windows-based operating system."

Zychek further explained that a Horizon 6 hosted application "looks and feels" as if it were a native program on the user's device, but in actuality is being run on the RDSH farm in the data center.

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