Microsoft is planning to release its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 -- the latest collection of enterprise virtualization and management tools -- in the fourth quarter of this calendar year.
Microsoft officials shared the due date, as well as a near-final release-release candidate build of one of those tools, User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) this week. UE-V is a user-state virtualization product that allows individuals to change devices without reconfiguring applications or settings in Windows 7 or Windows 8.
MDOP currently includes Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), Asset Inventory Service (AIS), BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM), Diagnostics And Recovery Toolset (DART) and Microsoft Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM). UE-V (code-named Park City) is a new addition coming this year. Microsoft is phasing out support for AIS and is not going to enable MED-V to support Windows 8, officials have acknowledged.
Microsoft uses MDOP as a carrot to entice users to sign up for Software Assurance, its annuity licensing program. Microsoft also makes MDOP available (for an extra $1 per user per month) to users who sign up for its Windows Intune PC security and management service.
In a new blog post this week, Microsoft officials said they were tweaking some of the UE-V features based on beta feedback. Among those tweaks will be the ability to control UE-V on a per-user basis; refinements to settings templates for Office 2010; and support for the final versions of Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012.
In that same post, Microsoft execs also noted that Windows Server 2012 is now powering the back-end of Microsoft's virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution.
"The combination of Windows (Windows 7 or Windows 8), RemoteFX and Windows Server 2012 brings VDI together, providing a single platform that delivers a common experience across three deployment options: sessions, pooled or personal VMs (virtual machines), blogged Karri Alexion-Tiernan, Director of Product Management.
Alexion-Tiernan also noted that in "late Q4" Microsoft plans to deliver, via download, the Remote Desktop Protocol 8.0 Update for Windows 7, which can be applied to Windows 7 SP1 access devices, "allowing them to benefit from the same great enhancements in RemoteFX with Windows Server 2012."
Virtualization products and services are increasingly important to Microsoft, with VDI services now "close to a billion dollar business" for the company, as Server and Tools President Satya Nadella acknowledged in a conference speech this week.