You've heard the terms floating around:  virtualize this, virtualize that, that server could be using Hyper-V, that software could be deployed using App-V.  Is someone talking about a video game?  Well, not this time.

App-V is short for Application Virtualization.  That still doesn't clear the dust, so let me go into it a bit further.   Imagine taking your products and packaging them into individual "bubbles".  Each bubble would exist in its own protected environment, allowing you to manage which product it can play with, or not - depending on how well they get along.

You might be thinking... you've gone through hours of testing and all the products your company uses play well together.  You've created a Virtual Machine, Virtual Hard Disk or ghosted an image of that setup, so how can this be of any use to you?

Let me introduce, "The next product version".  Are you dreading a new product in your environment or are you hoping to just refresh all the machines with something new and get rid of the old at the same time?

Office 2010 was released last month, it's very cool, has tons of rich features that you could really use and you want your company to move to it - but there's one slight road block.  Perhaps you haven't been given the approval to move forward, because your company is worried about the time to test everything all over again, or the learning curve for both you and your end users.  This is where App-V is really useful.

With App-V, you can create the package you need to deploy the product(s) you want in a separate environment.  This would allow your end users to play with both versions of a product and not cause havoc with the tools or products that you would still need to use during the transition.  Your end users could get familiar with the new version while using the old.  The best part is that the end users won't even notice the difference between a product installed locally on their machine, or a virtualized product.  The other best part is that you can centrally manage those virtual packages.  You can deploy the virtual application(s) to specific organizational units depending on what you want each division or business group to use.

Is this still a little overwhelming?  Try playing with a PoC (Proof of Concept). The PoC Jumpstart allows you to deploy a desktop PoC with Windows 7, Office 2010, Internet Explorer 8, and Application Virtualization with Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack technology.

Once you have tried out the PoC, check out the step-by-step recipe to deploy Office 2010 using App-V.

If you would like a visual representation, download the model poster that illustrates the architectural overview of virtualization technology and the different models that are possible.