Microsoft releases updated Windows 7 deployment tools

Summary:Microsoft has made available for download Windows-7-friendly versions of two of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) tools as part of its campaign to get more businesses to move to Windows 7, and soon, Office 2010.

Microsoft has made available for download Windows-7-friendly versions of two of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) tools as part of its campaign to get more businesses to move to Windows 7, and soon, Office 2010.

Released on February 22 is the final version of Application Virtualization (App-V) 4.6, as well as the near-final Release Candidate of the Service Pack 1 build of Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V). These two tools ultimately will be part of MDOP 2010, the first of two MDOP releases that Microsoft officials are expecting to roll out in calendar 2010. (Today, MED-V 1.0 SP1 is being released simultaneously with MDOP 2010, as it is not yet in final form.)

MDOP is a bundle of various deployment tools that Microsoft sells to Software Assurance customers only. At the end of last year, when it added a previously-unscheduled MDOP 2009 R2 release to its line-up, Microsoft announced its intention to release MDOP 2010 in the first calendar quarter of this year.

App-V enables application streaming, making it quicker and easier for users/admins to deploy applications on a new operating system by allowing customers to download/use programs when they need them. App-V is the technology that will enable the "Click-to-Run" distribution option for Office 2010, by the way. MED-V enables users to run applications -- such as line-of-business apps that require Internet Explorer 6, for example -- in a virtualized desktop environment.

Any of the existing 25 million MDOP licensees can download MDOP 2010 from Microsoft's Volume Licensing Site. The MED-V 1.0 SP1 RC is available for immediate download and evaluation via the Microsoft Connect site. Evaluation versions of MDOP 10 also are available for download from MSDN and TechNet, according to Microsoft.

The 4.6 release will be the first version of App-V developed entirely by Microsoft, said Gavriella Schuster, General Manager of Windows Commercial Product Management. Based on the SoftGrid technology Microsoft purchased a couple of years back -- App-V 4.6 provides 64-bit support for Windows 7 client and Windows Server 2008 R2 customers for the first time. It also adds support for Windows 7 users who want to stream applications on mobile devices and access those applications offline. The 4.6 version is more tightly integrated with Microsoft's System Center Configuration Manager product, so that users/admins don't need to wait for policy refreshes before applications install. The new release also adds support for Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) scenarios by providing a shared cache on a server for delivering applications.

MED-V is application virtualization software based on technology Microsoft acquired from Kidaro in 2008. The RC of SP1 is out today; the final version of this tool is expected to hit in April. SP1  of MED-V support 32- and 64-bit Windows 7.

Microsoft's message in getting the latest virtualization technologies out to its business customers is there's no need to wait to deploy Windows 7 and Office 2010 (which is slated for availability by June 2010).  While acknowledging that most corporate customers will wait for Microsoft to release to manufacturing the final Office 2010 bits before deploying them in a production setting, Schuster said the new MDOP tools will mean that Windows 7 enterprise customers "don't need to wait for Office 2010," even if they want to minimize the number of times they need to touch users' desktops.

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Microsoft, Software, Virtualization, Windows

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Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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