Microsoft announces Windows Thin PC and both App-V and Med-V updates

Microsoft offers desktop virtualization tools to address Windows XP and Windows Vista to Windows 7 migration issues.

Gavriella Schuster, Microsoft's general manager Windows product management, stopped by to bring me up to speed on an announcement the company was going to make at today's customer desktop virtualization roundtable.

Since Microsoft is one of the few suppliers that has entries in nearly every category of virtualization technology seen in the Kusnetzky Group model of virtualization (see Sorting Out the Different Layers of Virtualization for more information about the model), it is wise to take notice of what they're doing.

What Microsoft announced today

  • App-V 4.6 SP1 is now generally available and is designed to make the process of virtualizing applications faster and introduces package accelerators that create a way to make it easier for customers to virtualize applications and enable application delivery in their environments. This package accelerators will be available by early April, and will be provided for Project, Adobe Reader and Office 2010.
  • MED-V 2.0 is also now generally available and removes legacy application barriers so that IT professionals are able to accelerate their migration to Windows 7 and also features new integration capabilities between System Center Configuration Manager and 3rd party software solutions.
  • By the end of this month, we will be releasing the beta of Windows Thin PC (WinTPC), which is a locked down version of Windows 7 designed to repurpose existing PCs as thin clients.

Snapshot analysis

Microsoft's comprehensive offerings include desktop virtualization (access virtualization, application virtualization, and processing virtualization), server virtualization (processing virtualization, storage virtualization, network virtualization) and both management and security offerings for virtualized and cloud computing environments. The company is throwing the strength of this technology at the migration problems some Windows XP and Windows Vista users are having when migrating to Windows 7.

Before Microsoft acted to address the migration issues, other suppliers, such as Parallels and VMware, moved to remove the pain people were feeling. Many Microsoft customers, however, have waited for Microsoft to move before committing to a solution.

The technology announced today appears to address migration issues and is certainly worthy of serious consideration.