Improvements in application and user-experience virtualization have IT administrators looking forward to Microsoft's Desktop Optimization Pack 2012. A mainstay of Microsoft's client administration offerings for almost a decade, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack includes a suite of utilities designed to provide emergency recovery features and virtualization management for both desktops and applications.
The latest release includes updates aimed at supporting Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012, with the biggest changes to Application Virtualization 5.0, meant to simplify packaging of virtual applications.
Among other new capabilities, Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 now lets users and administrators run applications by streaming them to PCs without having to install or store them locally. It also provides the same user experience whether an application is virtualized or not.
"The new streaming capabilities should [perform] faster, only streaming as much [of the application] as you need at a time," said Don Retallack, research vice president at analyst firm Directions on Microsoft in Kirkland, Wash.
App-V 5.0 also includes a new administrative user interface.
User Experience Virtualization in MDOP 2012
Also, new to the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) suite in the 2012 release is User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), which lets users move from device to device without having to change their application or system settings. UE-V also enables IT pros to decide which applications can be allowed to roam from device to device.
The enhancements in UE-V can shorten the time needed to package applications for virtualization and to test application compatibility from as long as two months to as little as 30 minutes -- and can cut the associated costs by 90%, said Philip Moss, managing partner at U.K.-based IT solutions provider NTTX, an early adopter of MDOP 2012 and longtime user of the MDOP suite.
Moss also called User Experience Virtualization a godsend. "We have never had a UE-V breakdown," he said. "It just works, so you get a lot fewer support calls."
Microsoft said it has sold some 44 million licenses for MDOP since it debuted. MDOP 2012 is available for Microsoft Software Assurance customers ($10 per seat per month) and Windows Intune subscribers ($1 per seat per month).