Improving your organization’s security and performance with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack

Today, we are excited to announce that Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2014 is now available for download. For those of you who aren’t familiar with MDOP, it’s a suite of virtualization, management and security technologies available as a subscription for Software Assurance customers that helps maximize the benefits offered by Windows.

MDOP 2014 includes Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring tool (MBAM) 2.5, which represents a substantial update to our BitLocker management solution. MBAM is leveraged by organizations to simplify BitLocker deployment, key recovery, and compliance reporting. With this version, MBAM offers a series of improvements that will give businesses better control and help them achieve the highest level of compliance. It includes:

  • Enhanced support for FIPS 140-2. For the very first time, MBAM now includes support for organizations that must adhere to Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS). MBAM 2.5 takes advantage of Windows 8.1’s new FIPS-compliant recovery key password or the Data Recovery Agent (DRA) protector, a capability also supported for Windows 7 devices.
  • Improved compliance and enforcement policies. MBAM 2.5 gives IT greater control with the ability to better enforce compliance with company policies. While the previous version gave IT the ability to drive devices into a complaint state, IT lacked the ability control or enforce the encryption process as users had the ability to postpone the process. MBAM 2.5 now includes automatic encryption enforcement, provides grace periods for encryption postponement, and it can now enforce the use of strong PINs (i.e. prevents the use of 1234 or 1111).
  • Support for enterprise scenarios and topologies. MBAM can now be deployed on Windows Server in a high availability configuration. MBAM supports load balancing of its web components, and its databases can be deployed to SQL Server failover clusters.

In coordination with the MDOP 2014 release, we are also delighted to announce a significant spring update for Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 SP2. This update is available for download here and includes a number of significant product innovations focusing on virtualized desktop scenarios. We have also published new guidance on tuning and sizing your virtualized application infrastructure along with detailed descriptions of the App-V client internals.

  • Innovations to application publishing and launch. App-V now has a number of enhancements to application publishing/refresh and launch performance. These include new capabilities that leverage existing user profile management technology (like MDOP’s UE-V) during application publish and launch.
  • Support of parallel deployment and execution of application upgrades. Improvements to App-V, allowing you to simplify the test and execution of your upgraded virtualized applications while retaining user access to the original virtualized application running on the same device.
  • Improvements to existing capabilities. Based on your feedback, we have also made a number of other updates to App-V, including: enhancements to the package conversion engine and sequencer, improving package conversion rates; and, support for a VFS write mode sequencer setting – which simplifies the virtualization of applications that require this capability
  • More deployment guidance and how-to guides. To help you learn, test, deploy and optimize App-V in your environment, there are now a number of how-to guides available here. These include a new App-V performance guide, a publishing guide and updates to our administration and sequencing guides.

MDOP 2014 includes some great new capabilities for one of its headlining products and represents another instance of how MDOP delivers new and easily deployable capabilities at a faster and more predictable cadence. To learn more about the latest updates to MBAM and App-V – along with details on other Windows products – including helpful guidance on how you can deploy these tools in your organization – please visit the Springboard blog.