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Zero-touch, web-based virtualization & streaming with Spoon.net

A colleague of mine introduced me to Spoon.net a few weeks ago, and we have been using it for cross-browser testing ever since. Instead of installing every different browser locally, or using full virtual machines or something like that, you can make use of Spoon. Basically, it’s a virtualization layer (though it’s obviously much more complicated than that):

Spoon streaming delivers applications over the web, portals, and desktops over 5 to 20 times faster than traditionally downloaded applications, with no installs or hassles. Spoon streaming works with standard web servers and does not depend on proprietary streaming protocols, device drivers, or network infrastructure. And because Spoon streamed applications execute in an isolated virtual machine environment, they are accessible even on locked down desktops, without administrative privileges, and across operating system variants, including Windows 7.

They have a very ambitious mission: “to make the world’s software available instantly, anywhere, on any device.”

I was surprised to find that Spoon had a booth at the TechEd Exhibition Hall, because they have kept a pretty low profile so far. They are planning to launch more officially in the near future. I took the opportunity to record a quick video overview with Lee Murphy, a technical account manager at Spoon:

It’s pretty simple. Go to the Spoon website, and click on an app that you want to run. If it’s the first time you’ve been to Spoon, it’ll install a browser plugin. This only happens once, and doesn’t even require a restart of the browser in most cases. After that, you can just click on an application to run it, instantly!

If you’re a web developer, you have to check out Spoon – it will definitely save you time. Right now it works on Windows machines inside IE, Firefox, and Safari, but they promise that Mac, Chrome, Opera, and support for additional platforms and browsers in on the way.

Tech·Ed North America 2010

Cross-browser testing is just one specific use of Spoon’s technology, of course. In an enterprise setting, you could deploy Spoon to quickly enable your employees to run specific applications, without having to set anything up. You do this using the Spoon Server and Spoon Studio:

The same technology that powers Spoon.net is now available to your organization. Enterprises can provide employees, partners, and vendors with access to the apps they need – instantly, reliably, anywhere – via the web, portals, or directly to desktops. Software publishers can dramatically boost conversion rates, reduce support costs, and enable new SaaS business models.

It’s very interesting technology that I suspect you’ll start to hear much more about!

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