TECH BRIEF

Microsoft releases desktop virtualization beta

Microsoft has released a beta of Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), a solution that lets users run older operating systems and applications on newer Windows-based systems. The MED-V 1.0 Beta is Microsoft's first release incorporating technology from Kidaro, a company Microsoft acquired last May.

MED-V gives companies more time to use legacy software applications while they upgrade Windows across the network. Microsoft's scenario is an information technology shop's migration to Windows Vista.

A video explaining the technology on Microsoft's MED-V Web site suggests that IT professionals could upgrade their networks to Vista while still running Windows XP-based applications through the use of Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 and MED-V.

The product aims to smooth upgrade challenges for IT teams, Ran Oelgiesser, Microsoft's senior product manager for MED-V,  said in an announcement.

"With MED-V 1.0, you can easily create, deliver and centrally manage virtual Windows XP or 2000 environments (based on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007), and help your users to run legacy applications on their Windows Vista desktops," Oelgiesser said. "No need to wait for the testing and migration of those incompatible applications to complete."

What MED-V does is not the same as application virtualization. By virtualizing the desktop, MED-V lets the user create virtual machines of an operating system that can run on either a server or an individual PC. Those VMs could be used to provide a Windows XP desktop environment for the end user, even though the system runs on Vista.

MED-V is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), which includes various "virtualization and management technologies" for Windows-based platforms, according to Microsoft's announcement. Microsoft plans to release the first version of the MED-V product "in the second quarter of this year" as a part of MDOP, Oelgiesser explained.

The company may also make it easier to run VMs on equipment outside the company as part of Microsoft's Vista Enterprise Centralized Desktop (VECD) licensing.

"It is our intention that in future releases, MED-V in conjunction with the new VECD licensing, may be used to deliver a corporate virtual image to 'unmanaged' PCs, and reduce the tension between IT control and user flexibility," the Microsoft's MED-V home page states.

Microsoft offered up changes to VECD licensing in September, as analyzed here. The licensing is part of Microsoft's Software Assurance plan.

MED-V, which works with Virtual PC 2007, may not be supported on the Windows 7 Beta, which Microsoft unveiled this past week. A Windows 7 TechNet Forum comment stated that Virtual PC 2007 isn't officially supported by the Windows 7 Beta. Still, some testers have reported success in using Virtual PC 2007 with the OS beta release (Build 7000).

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is the online news editor for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group sites, including Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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