Microsoft MDOP


MDOP AKA the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack is one of the least well known Microsoft products, and that’s a shame as it’s packed full of goodness!

It’s only available to customers who have Software Assurance on Windows Desktop OS licences (Vista, Windows 7 etc) and contains the following:

Application Virtualization (App-V)

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V)

Diagnostics & Recovery Toolset (DaRT)

Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM)

Asset Inventory Services (AIS)

System Center Desktop Error Monitoring (SCDEM)

These tools can help make managing systems so much easier in so many ways!

They are licensed on a per user per month basis which means they’re not available on all licensing programmes-namely MDOP is missing from Open licensing. If MDOP is attractive to you, you should look at the Open Value Program to get MDOP and other benefits too.

There’s a whole host of MDOP videos from Tech-Ed available here. Be warned though-they require a TechEd Online subscription.

MED-V: More info


MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and has come to the fore somewhat recently, along with Windows 7’s XP Mode.

A number of people had heard of MED-V and knew that it let you run older apps in a virtual environment on new OS’s (such as Windows 7). Then, when MS announced XP Mode for Windows 7 the question became “Why do we need MED-V?”. In short we need MED-V because it’s excellent-so let’s look at why 🙂

XP Mode allows single users to run an app in a local XP VM, and that’s it. It’s a local instance which needs to be looked after by that user/helpdesk but individually on that machine…MED-V however, gives numerous central management controls and that is where it comes into it’s own.

The four key points it offers are:

  • Virtual Image Repository
  • Centralized Management and Monitoring
  • User Policy and Data Control
  • Seamless user experience

Virtual Image Repository: This gives a company a central repository to store all the different virtual images they need (XP, Mac OS, Linux etc) which can then be retrieved by end users and/or automatically deployed. There is also an automated process for keeping the VM’s updated with any changes to the build image. Med-V also allows for automated first-time setup such as:

  • specifying computer name
  • setting up the network
  • joining the domain.

Centralized Management and Monitoring: MED-V can be integrated into Active Directory (AD) to enable VM provisioning based on group policies. There are features aimed at helping Helpdesk too including a central database of all client activity and the ability to easily revert a VM back to it’s original state.

User Policy and Data Control: One of the cool features MED-V offers here is the ability to automatically re-direct specified websites to the Virtual Machine, so if a certain site only runs in IE6 and corporate standard is IE 8, the VM will handle it.

Seamless user experience: Virtual Machine applications are available via the host OS Start menu and apps published via MED-V are still available when offline.

So MED-V is a grown up version of XP Mode that gives corporates the ability to easily, safely and centrally manage a Virtual environment for application compatibility.

All this information is from the awesome free MS e-book “Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions” and there’s a whole lot more in there too…go download it here.

Microsoft Virtualization Questions


Hi!

Through the awesomeness that is Twitter, I’ve managed to connect with some of the Virtualization experts who work at Microsoft HQ in Redmond. They’ve very kindly offered to answer any and all questions that you guys can think of…as long as it related to Microsoft virtualization 😉

The main thing people think of with this is Hyper-V and, while that will be a big part of this, there are other elements too. Things such as:

  • Application Virtualization (App-V)
  • Presentation Virtualization (TS/RDS)
  • Desktop Virtualization (VDI)
  • XP Mode
  • MED-V
  • Virtual PC

However, as well as product/feature specific questions, if you’re wondering about Microsoft’s long term strategy etc-please ask too.

This is a great chance to get your feedback directly to MS HQ and to get those burning questions answered straight from the horses’ mouth 🙂 We’re hoping to get this Q & A done by the end of this month (August) so please, add your questions in the comments below and we’ll get started!!!

Cheers

Rich

MED-V


MED-V or Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization is like SUPER XP mode 🙂

As great as XP Mode is, it has caused a few problems where people are now wondering if MED-V has been replaced-it hasn’t.

First up-MED-V is used for virtualizing legacy applications so they can be run on new OS’s like Vista and Windows 7. Yes that sounds a lot like XP Mode but MED-V introduces a whole extra management layer for use in the corporate world-specifically:

“MED-V provides important centralized management, policy-based provisioning and virtual image delivery to reduce the cost of Virtual PC deployment”

Stephen L Rose has got a great post over on the Windows Team Blog about the differences between these 2 technologies so, rather than re-invent the wheel I’m going to respectfully copy & paste 😉

How does MED-V adds management to Windows Virtual PC?

To provide a managed, scalable solution for running virtual Windows XP applications, MED-V addresses many of the IT challenges around deployment and management including:

  • Deployment – deliver virtual Windows images and customize per user and device settings
    • Automate first-time virtual PC setup based on an IT customized script – including assignment of a unique computer name, joining to AD domain
      (for instance: assign the virtual PC a name that is derived from the physical device name or the username to simplify identification and management)
    • Adjust virtual PC memory allocation based on available RAM on host, so that the virtual PC does not take significant resources from the user
  • Provisioning – define which applications and websites are available to different users
    • Assign virtual PC images according to users and groups
    • Define which Windows XP applications will be available to the user through the start menu
    • Define which websites (e.g. internal sites that requires a previous version of Internet Explorer) are redirected automatically to Windows XP
  • Control – assign and expire usage permissions and Virtual PC settings
    • Control the network settings of the Virtual PC (e.g. whether it connects through NAT or DHCP, whether its DNS is synchronized with host)
    • Authenticate user before granting access to the Virtual PC
    • Set expiration date, after which the Virtual PC is not accessible to the end user
  • Maintenance and Support – update images, monitor users and remotely troubleshoot
    • Update images using TrimTransfer network image delivery – update a master Virtual PC image, and MED-V will automatically distribute and apply the changes to all endpoints
    • Centralized database aggregates events from all users, and provides troubleshooting information on malfunctioning virtual PCs
    • Administrator diagnostics mode allows faster resolution of Virtual PC issues
    • Run on multiple platforms – MED-V will work on both Windows 7 and Windows Vista, and will not require processor-based virtualization support

MED-V is available only as part of MDOP and thus is only available to certain volume licence customers with active Software Assurance.

This technology builds on Microsoft Virtual PC and the new version has got some great new features including:

USB Support: Access USB devices connected to your Windows 7 machine directly from the Virtual Machine.

Clip Board Sharing: Copy and paste between your Windows 7 desktop and your Virtual desktop.

Printer Redirection: Print directly from your Virtual PC.

More can be found over at The Windows Team Blog.

Microsoft MED-V & AntiVirus Exclusions


MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualisation) is their program that allows legacy app use on an enterprise wide basis and is based on Virtual PC technology.

It seems that some anti-virus programs have a habit of interfering with parts of the virtualisation if not properly configured. Steve Thomas, a Senior support escalation engineer at Microsoft, has drawn up a list of file extensions that should be masked to co-exist wth Anti-Virus on the network:

*.VHD – These represent the Virtual Hard Disk Image files. These will appear on test workstations when test images are being used to finalize workspace policies.
*.VUD – These represent Virtual PC Undo Disk Files. These will appear on test workstations when test images are being used to finalize workspace policies.
*.VSV – These represent Virtual PC Saved State files. These will be on all MED-V clients running Workspaces.
*.CKM – This is the packed image format used by MED-V (Kidaro Compressed Machine.) These will be present on MED-V Servers, Image Distribution Servers, locally packed images on MED-V Administration workstations, and as pre-staged images on clients.
*.VMC – These represent the Base Virtual Machine Settings File. Will be found on all MED-V Clients and Test Workstations.
*.INDEX – These are index files used by the TrimTransfer Feature. These will be found on both clients and servers.
*.EVHD – These are the encrypted virtual hard disk files used on MED-V Clients running workspaces.”

Info from SoftPedia.

%d bloggers like this: