Microsoft readies new 'Park City' virtualization product

Microsoft readies new 'Park City' virtualization product

Summary: Microsoft is believed to be adding a new virtualization component, which may go to beta this week, to its MDOP bundle of Windows business tools.


Not too surprisingly, Microsoft is working on the next version of its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), the bundle of add-on tools f.or Windows for its Software Assurance volume licensees.

I'm hearing from my contacts that the next MDOP release will include a brand-new addition codenamed "Park City." One of my contacts described Park City as a "User Experience Virtualization" (UE-V) deliverable. Exactly what that means, I am not sure, but I'm hearing we may found out as soon as this week and maybe even today, April 4, when the beta UE-V may be announced officially.

Update: And indeed, Microsoft has announced the availability of the UE-V beta this morning, as well as the availability of the new App-V 5 beta. "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," according to today's blog post. The post also notes that another current MDOP component, Asset Information Services, will be dropped from the next MDOP release due to customer disuse. AIS will be discontinued as of April, 2013.

More technical info on UE-V and download information for the beta is in a new Microsoft Springboard Series blog post.

Park City seems to be the handiwork of the MDOP team, based in Lehi, Utah. And Park City -- yet another of Microsoft's city-themed codenames -- also is a city in Utah.

Microsoft officials declined to comment on what's in the next version of MDOP. But lately, we've learned via Microsoft blog posts, that the company already is beta testing the next version of another piece of MDOP, known as the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT). DaRT 8 went to beta in late March, and is optimized for Windows 8 and Windows Server 8 compatibility.

Microsoft delivered to its volume licensees with Software Assurance MDOP 2011 R2, the most recent release of the MDOP bundle, in August 2011. Windows Intune service customers who pay an extra $1 per user for MDOP, also got the R2 release last summer.

In addition to DaRT, MDOP 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) and Microsoft Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM) 3.5. Microsoft uses MDOP as a carrot to try to get more of its business users to subscribe to Software Assurance.

One of my Twitter buddies, IT Systems Engineer Daniel Gut, had an interesting thought as to what UE-V may be. He wondered whether UE-V might be "user virtualization," i.e., the "missing link" between Hyper-V and App-V in a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) scenario. If he's right, this could enable IT to manage a single instance of a user, rather than many instances depending on what type of device those users are employing.

Update No. 2: Looks like Gut wasn't far off the mark, based on Microsoft's new post.

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


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Not sure about Software Assurance anymore

    Some customers see that Intune is just a better deal. Management servers aren't always a necessity anymore, and an IT support firm can do well offering Intune along with additional pay-per-incident tech support to pad their revenues.

    Intune gives you Windows 7 Enterprise, and MDOP is just $1 more per PC.

    I think the next thing that Microsoft should focus on for Intune is to offer allowances for more PC's per account, and more policy management. Server management would be nice, but would involve a lot more work. The other options are easily doable, considering that they are already partially implemented.
  • Just announced

  • Slightly off-topic

    The new release of App-V 5.0 announced along with UE-V comes with a new Silverlight-based management portal. I've noticed that Microsoft teams, who you'd think would know whether or not Silverlight is a dying platform, often choose it over the currently hyped Javascript+HTML. Of course, the reason is that Silverlight is more powerful, and maybe isn't a dying platform, but that's beating a dead (or dying) horse (or not).
  • needed for home users

    I don't see any need for these apps for a home user that does not work for a company. Being retired i don't have any work clients to communicate with, so I don't think I'll be implementing these apps. But for someone that works for a company I can see these would be very useful.