Windows 7 has been a home run for Microsoft, becoming the fastest selling operating system of all time. But, there are still many organisations that can't seem to make the switch from Windows XP due to reliance on legacy applications that aren't compatible with Windows 7. Microsoft has a tool to help IT admins with the transition, though: MED-V.
MED-V is short for Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualisation. MED-V, along with APP-V (Application Virtualisation), makes up the virtualisation framework of the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP). This week, Microsoft announced the availability of the public beta for MED-V 2.0.
The traditional approach to upgrading to a new operating system platform doesn't work when there are incompatible applications or devices. A post on The Windows Blog explains that desktop deployments typically rely on, "using methods that they have fine tuned over the years with large all-inclusive system images containing applications and hardware dependencies."
Desktop virtualisation with MED-V provides a bridge between the legacy OS and the new desktop platform. It allows the majority of the infrastructure to migrate to Windows 7 and take advantage of the features and benefits of the latest flagship OS from Microsoft, while providing a lifeline allowing business critical applications that are incompatible with Windows 7 to continue running in a virtual Windows XP environment.
With the updates in MED-V 2.0, Microsoft makes the integration between the host Windows 7 desktop and the virtual Windows XP platform more seamless. USB devices and smartcards can be shared between the host and virtual environments and access to My Documents is redirected from within the virtual desktop so applications behave exactly as they do in the host system. Legacy web apps that require Internet Explorer 6 or 7 can be automatically redirected to the virtualised environment using wildcards, sites, at the individual web page level, or by specifying a specific port.
For IT admins, MED-V provides the tools needed to deploy, provision, control, and monitor virtual desktops throughout the company. Usage permissions and Virtual PC settings can be configured centrally, and tools are provided to facilitate troubleshooting and diagnosis of virtual PCs.
The Med-V Blog says, "If you have legacy Windows XP or Internet Explorer 6/7 applications that are slowing down your Windows 7 deployment plans, don't let them stand in your way. The MED-V team has worked hard to ensure MED-V 2.0 is easy for IT professionals to deploy and manage and seamless for end users to use."
IT admins should be familiar with the tools and applications in the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack, and organisations struggling to transition from Windows XP to Windows 7 should take a look at what MED-V 2.0 has to offer.