It’s been a busy few months for us here at Microsoft – we traveled to TechEd, released some virtualization products updates, and launched Windows 8 to the world – and today I’m happy to add one more bit of good news by announcing that the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2012 is now available for download!
As a quick refresher, MDOP includes six products. Its virtualization technologies help personalize the user experience, simplify application deployment and improve application compatibility with the Windows operating system, while its management technologies help to manage, monitor, deploy and repair key Windows features such as BitLocker and Group Policy. By using MDOP, IT departments are able to shift desktop repairs from reactive to proactive, save time and remove many challenges associated with troubleshooting and repairing system failures. And with 44 million licenses sold its clear businesses are finding value in the products.
With MDOP 2012 we are introducing an exciting new innovation for our customers – User Experience Virtualization (UE-V). UE-V provides a consistent and personal experience regardless of the device being used, meaning that employees have the option to change their device and keep their experience without needing to reconfigure their applications or desktop settings each time they login to Windows 7 or Windows 8. Key features of UE-V include:
- OS Personalization Across Devices: UE-V can roam personalized desktop settings including task bar configuration, desktop background and explorer options, thus removing the need for users to reconfigure each time they login to a new device. For organizations with multiple versions of Windows, UE-V delivers users a consistent, personal look and feel that matches their unique work style regardless if Windows is a rich desktop, a VDI session or a VDI desktop.
- Choice of Which Apps Roam: UE-V provides IT departments the flexibility to decide which applications can roam their experience between devices through the use of Settings Location Templates. The Templates tell the UE-V agents which application personalization should be made available and works for both traditional and virtual applications. This approach gives users a consistent application experience even if they have to switch devices on the fly.
- Easy Set-Up: UE-V delivers big value through simplicity – to set it up all that is needed is a file share for storing the settings that will roam and deployment of the lightweight UE-V agent. Once complete, people can roam the experience for the Windows desktop settings, Office 2010, and IE by using in box templates and IT departments can also choose to create their own templates.
In addition to UE-V, we’re also excited to share that Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 and Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 8 are complete and included in MDOP 2012.
App-V 5.0 helps businesses provide employees with access to virtually any application anywhere, without having to install the application directly on their computers. App-V 5.0 is a major release and includes many new capabilities to enhance the interaction with virtual applications as well as the administrative experience for IT departments. Improvements include:
- Integrated Platform: In App-V 5.0 virtual applications leverage Windows standards for a consistent user experience and work more like traditionally installed applications. This means that people don’t have to change the way they use an application just because it’s virtual. It also makes it easy for IT departments to work with virtual applications; this enhanced capability is called Virtual Application Extension.
- Flexible Virtualization: With App-V 5.0 businesses can connect individually packaged App-V applications and enable them to communicate with each other as well as with natively installed applications. This gives businesses the best of both worlds, providing isolation to reduce application conflicts and time spent regression testing – yet allowing applications to interact and communicate when needed. This new capability is called Virtual Application Connection.
- Reducing Storage Barriers to VDI: App-V 5.0 is designed to be easy and efficient to use in VDI environments, allowing IT departments to make the best use of expensive disk resources. They can simply choose to turn off local application storage and dramatically reduce the disk requirements for VDI while still streaming applications. This is called Shared Content Store.
- Improved Administration for IT: With App-V 5.0 IT departments will find it easier to centrally manage application interaction as well as administer App-V via the new web-based Admin UI. For those who prefer automation, PowerShell is ready for use with packaging and performing tasks on both the server and client.
DaRT 8 helps IT departments easily recover PCs that have become unusable by assisting to rapidly diagnose issues and quickly repair unbootable or locked-out systems, all without leaving their desks. Key updates to this version include:
- Windows 8 Ready: People can leverage the powerful DaRT tools not only on their existing hardware but on all Windows 8 devices with the Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI) and GUID partition tables.
- Easier to Deploy: DaRT 8 now provides native support for USB media deployments within the image creation wizard with no additional tools required.
- Automating Image Creation: The DaRT image creation wizard is now built on top of PowerShell cmdlets, allowing IT departments to mount, create, apply, dismount and burn the DaRT image via scripting – ultimately, letting the image creation process be saved and repurposed for later use.
As you can see this is an exciting time for MDOP and our customers are sharing their excitement for these new innovations as well. To show this, I wanted to share some early success stories with these products.
NTTX, a managed services provider, was looking for solutions to help with a couple issues: first, they were looking for something that would allow employees to roam personal settings and data files and keep them consistent across devices and secondly, they wanted and wanted to find a better way to deliver applications to customers. Because these two reasons they decided to implement App-V 5.0 and UE-V. They said, “With App-V 5.0, packaging is so predictable, reliable, simple, and fast, that less-skilled workers can do all our sequencing in a fraction of the time. We decreased packaging labor costs by 90 percent or about $172,000 annually, and redeployed the engineers.” Additionally, “By using UE-V to deliver reliable, fast roaming and a consistent experience from any device, we turned frustrated, dissatisfied customers into happy, loyal supporters.” Read their full cases studies on UE-V and App-V now.
Convergent Computing (CCO), an IT consultancy company, struggled to ensure a consistent experience across the many devices that workers used. By deploying UE-V to preserve user settings instead of recreating them, CCO recovered about $25,000 per month in lost consultant billings and boosted productivity. Testing and deploying new technology was simpler and faster, and employees easily changed devices while keeping user settings intact. The company said, “Getting started with UE-V was simple thanks to its standard templates and UE-V Generator. Best of all, UE-V worked great. Employees could easily change devices and keep their personal experiences.” Read their full case study here.
KPN, a Dutch telecom organization is renowned for reliable, anytime-anywhere communications. It was challenged with providing an enhanced-quality experience in its internal desktop computing environment, which included a large and complex business app landscape to its 31,000 employees. That’s when the company decided to implement App-V 5.0. By using App-V 5.0, KPN accelerated app delivery by 200 percent, boosted employee productivity, and made it easier to manage the application lifecycle. They said, “With App-V 5.0 and Virtual Application Connection, we can deliver even highly complex applications to employees in one-third of the time that was required with installed applications.” Read their full case study here.
Eastman Chemical Company, a specialty chemicals manufacturer based in Kingsport, Tenn., is known for innovative products and their employees rely on a variety of apps to produce these solutions. Issues with installed software made it hard to ensure that workers had the apps they needed and that’s when the company implemented App-V 5.0. By using this product, the company eliminated software installations, reduced app delivery time from two months to two days and made apps available whenever and wherever employees need them. They said, “With Shared Content Store in App-V 5.0, there’s no need to cache each package. We saved 50 GB in our RDS environment and expect to save 4 GB on each of 3,000 VDI images.” Read their full case study here.
On behalf of the MDOP team I’d like to thank our customers and partners who provided feedback on MDOP 2012 and I encourage everyone to continue to share their experiences. For more information on the features in MDOP 2012, please visit the MDOP page on the Windows Enterprise site and check-out the Springboard blog for a tech deep dive.
If you are interested in getting MDOP 2012, it is available from the Microsoft Volume Licensing site and works with Windows 7 and Windows 8. If you do not have access to the Volume Licensing site you can get MDOP 2012 for testing via your TechNet or MSDN subscription.