Virtualisation provider AppSense has developed a new technology that allows employees to manage their personal productivity applications independently in a corporate environment, relieving pressure on the IT department.

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The idea of StrataApps is to create a secure, virtualised and isolated space known as a DataStore, where users can install apps such as PDF readers, GoToMeeting, iTunes, Skype and Tweetdeck, without affecting the base operating system. The burden of management is shifted to the end user, allowing IT managers to focus on delivering reliable corporate applications.

Should a user try to install an app that is not compatible with the user’s environment, IT managers are shielded from any verification or provisioning requirements, and a report is generated regarding installation success or failure. If necessary, the operating system can be quickly restored to a “pristine” state by turning StrataApps off and deleting the DataStore.

StrataApps can also be configured so the application DataStore is on a USB drive, according to AppSense. This means that applications can be made portable so as to follow the user from one machine to the next.

“StrataApps enables an organisation to focus on the delivery of core business applications while at the same time enabling users to become more productive by managing their own personal productivity applications,” said Ian Cawson, technical architect for the Co-operative, which has tested the technology.

“By the very nature of application virtualisation, as IT consumerisation continues to grow, this solution could pave the way for future initiatives and strategies.”

StrataApps is the second product to emerge from AppSense Labs, which was recently announced as the innovation arm of the AppSense global research and development group. It is available today via a free download.

The company warned that StrataApps is not a replacement for malware protection, isolating applications at runtime or traditional software distribution, but can compliment and accelerate enterprise application virtualisation implementations by allowing users to manage their own applications.

“As we further develop the product, there are unique monitoring, governance and roaming capabilities that may further support both users and IT demands,” said Harry Labana, CTO and VP of product management at AppSense.

The first AppSense Labs product, DataLocker, has reportedly been downloaded by more than 14,000 users since it launched in late February. DataLocker enables users to encrypt sensitive information in their Dropbox account, meaning they can carry on using the service they know while still adhering to compliance regulations.