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Microsoft boosts virtualisation capabilities in desktop management suite

Microsoft is boosting the virtualisation components of its Desktop Optimization Pack suite of IT management tools.

The suite, known as MDOP, is gaining a new desktop virtualisation tool, while an existing one is getting upgraded.

The new product, called User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), is designed to establish user preferences and settings in a central server location and have those settings and preferences automatically applied to the multiple devices a user employs, so that applications don’t need to be reconfigured manually in each one.

The goal is for UE-V to deliver a personal, consistent Windows experience across devices, said Karri Alexion-Tiernan, Windows product marketing director. UE-V works with Windows 7 and will work with Windows 8, which is now in beta testing.

Meanwhile, the upgraded product, App-V, which lets IT departments store applications in a central server and stream them on demand to multiple user devices, features in this latest 5.0 version what Alexion-Tiernan describes as a “deeper platform integration,” which lets the virtualised applications perform more like traditionally installed applications.

App-V 5.0 also comes with a new Web-based management interface, so that IT administrators can perform management tasks via a browser, as opposed to being limited to the machine where the management console is installed. Like UE-V, App-V 5.0 will work on Windows 7 and Windows 8 machines.

Both UE-V and App-V will be available for beta testing on Wednesday. Once they exit the beta stage, they will be added to the MDOP suite at no extra cost to existing customers. MDOP is available only as an add-on option to the Software Assurance volume licensing program subscribers. Almost 40 million licenses of MDOP have been sold so far.

In addition, Microsoft has decided to phase out an MDOP component called Asset Inventory Service (AIS), which will be discontinued as of April 3, 2013. AIS gives IT staffers a snapshot of their organisation’s desktop software and hardware products. A similar function is performed by Microsoft’s Intune PC management and security tool.

The other components of the MDOP suite are Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) and Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM).

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