Cost savings is always one of the key principles of IT departments. Thus, free tools are usually considered by companies when it comes to application virtualization. But before going for this type of software, at least 6 issues should be taken into account:
1. Do you need a new OS? Many free application virtualization tools are Open Source based and therefore, they are designed to run on Linux. In theory, this shouldn't be a problem, but if you do not currently use Linux, you should evaluate a possible increase in support costs. On the other hand, if you decide to adopt a new server operating system, you should consider whether the employees have enough knowledge or if it would be necessary to provide specialized training.
2. Is it possible to move data from one app to another? Some low-cost or free application virtualization software don't support copying and pasting data from other applications and don't recognize other applications running on the desktop. This issue should be kept in mind in cases where users need to move data from one app to another.
3. How are applications transferred to desktop? It should be checked if free application virtualization software provides a mechanism for delivering applications to desktop, since some of them do not have this functionality.
4. Are there agents? There are virtualisation applications tools based on agents and others which are agentless. Agents are an additional component that must run on the system, and as any component, may cause stability or security issues. Therefore, it is recommended to analyze agents before using these tools.
5. Is it browse-based? If the application virtualization software provides apps through a web browser, this could lead to a worsening of the user experience in cases where workers are connected to virtual desktops through a remote desktop protocol session and run applications as if they were local.
6. Are there any hidden costs? Sometimes "free" is not synonymous for "completely free". Many softwares offer basic features at zero cost, but their advanced options are licensed. In other cases, the software is free but you may pay for support.
After analyzing all these issues, you may already answer this question: is it a good idea to use a free application virtualization software?