Microsoft's MDOP 2012, Windows Server 2012 Essentials available for download

Microsoft's newest management and virtualization tool bundle is now generally available, as is its Windows Server 2012-based SMB server.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

The Microsoft new product and service barrage is not letting up.


On November 1, Microsoft made generally available both its Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 tool bundle and its Windows Server 2012 Essentials small-business server.

MDOP 2012 is a bundle of six virtualization and management products aimed at business customers who have Software Assurance licensing contracts or Windows Intune subscriptions. Microsoft officials say they've sold 44 million licenses of MDOP to date.

New to this version of MDOP is User Experience Virtualization (UE-V). UE-V allows users switch up their devices but retain their settings without needing to reconfigure their applications or desktop settings each time they login to Windows 7 or Windows 8.

Updated versions of Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 and Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8 are also part of MDOP 2012. App-V 5.0 allows business to provide users virtual access to their apps. The new version includes new administration tools and a Web-based Admin UI, with PowerShell offered as an optional alternative. DaRT 8 is for recovering PCs that have become unusable. Version 8 supports Windows 8.

MDOP 2012 is available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing site and is compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8. It's also available via TechNet and MSDN.

On the server side of the house, Microsoft made the final version of Windows Server 2012 Essentials generally available on November 1, as well.

Microsoft released to manufacturing Windows Server 2012 Essentialsin early October. OEMs shipping preloaded servers running the new Server Essentials operating system should be out before the end of calendar 2012, Microsoft execs have said.

Windows Server 2012 Essentials is Microsoft's intended replacement for Windows Small Business Server and Windows Home Server (for those SMBs who were using WHS for business purposes). The Essentials product is a hybrid on-premises/cloud server. It will have a 25-user limit and sell for $425, Microsoft officials have said. Windows Server 2012 Essentials is one of four Windows Server 2012 flavors, with the other three being Foundation, Standard and Datacenter.

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