Microsoft readies new 'Park City' virtualization product

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.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

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.

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