Virtualization Updates at TechEd

Virtualization Updates at TechEd

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Throughout our ongoing conversations with customers, specifically the business executives and IT pros, we’ve recognized a common thread across all the organizations. Regardless of size or business, there is a strong need to balance the needs of the end user with the requirements of the organization to maintain strong security and reduce costs. This becomes even more significant as the world of work begins to dissolve and the Internet becomes the new corporate network and various parts of each company have different needs:

  • Employees want increased access to applications and data from anywhere and from any device.
  • Business decision makers need to grow their businesses in cost-effective ways while ensuring the productivity of employees.
  • IT wants to ensure the security and integrity of the data within the organization. 

During these customer conversations, we discussed how desktop virtualization can help resolve some of this tension by providing flexibility in the way organizations can provide their users with access to their familiar and personalized desktops, applications, and data. This means whether they log on to their laptop, a desktop PC, or even within a desktop running centrally in the data center via a Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).

Today, at TechEd, we are pleased to announce that by the end of July we will be releasing the public beta of Service Pack 1 for Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7. During our Desktop Virtualization Hour webcast in March, we introduced you to Service Pack 1. We demonstrated the two main new features in Windows Server 2008 R2 that will provide virtualization capabilities to help enhance the Windows VDI experience:

  • Microsoft RemoteFX is designed to introduce a new set of end user experience enhancements to remote desktop computing in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 that enable a rich, local-like desktop environment over the network. With RemoteFX, connected knowledge and task workers can experience their workspace in full fidelity, improving end user productivity, while their applications and data are kept highly secure and centrally managed in the data center.
  • Dynamic Memory will enable Windows Server Hyper-V to dynamically allocate more or less memory to each VM as needed, provided a more scalable and better performing VDI environment. These changes will be important for customers who are planning VDI deployments (generally about 10 percent of our user population).

While the new features for Windows Server 2008 R2 benefit Windows 7 by providing a richer VDI experience, SP1 will not contain any new features that are specific to Windows 7 itself. For Windows 7, SP1 will simply be the combination of updates already available through Windows Update and additional hotfixes based on feedback by our customers and partners. In other words, customers can feel confident about deploying Windows 7 now!

As proof to that claim, several organizations of all sizes are already in the process of deploying Windows 7 and not waiting for SP1. In fact, we’ve already sold more than 100 million licenses of Windows 7. Analysts and third-party researches agree with this:

  • IDC’s Al Gillen discusses how SP1 should not be a reason to delay your Windows 7 deployments in his new report, “Windows 7 SP1: Not the Barrier You Might Expect.”
  • A Dimensional Research/KACE study that shows 16% of IT pros are running Windows 7 and 42% are planning to start their deployment by the end of 2010. 

In addition, customers are telling us about the positive experiences they are realizing with their Windows 7 deployment:

  • When technology innovator and developer National Instruments committed to deploying Windows 7, they underwent early and extensive testing to easily make the transition. As a result, Alan Russi, Director of IT Infrastructure for National Instruments, reports that their deployment is moving quickly and they expect to reach 2,000 deployed seats by end of June. In addition, Windows 7 is now in higher demand as more end users want to experience similar productivity and usability gains as their colleagues.
  • At Expedia, Mike Peterson, IT Director, found that Windows 7 offered new features to boost productivity and security and recognized the platform as a foundational step to optimize the desktop environment. By the time the formal evaluation was finished, the executive team was excited for the new enhanced user experience and stability that will come with the rollout of Windows 7.

During the Desktop Virtualization Hour in March, we also discussed how we are taking a desktop to data center view, delivering centralized and integrated management across the Windows platform, from laptop to server, from physical to virtual. We are focused on providing a range of choices so organizations can find the right solution for their needs. This includes the hypervisor, operating system, management tools, development environment and applications, so you can do more for less.

We’ve been investing in Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), two key components of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance (MDOP) to help our customers migrate to Windows 7 with greater ease, and today we are announcing that a MED-V v2 beta will be available in CYQ4. MED-V v2 will provide a seamless user experience that will take advantage of Virtual PC 7 enabling USB support. It will also be fully manageable by System Center Configuration Manager which will simplify overhead and management for IT professionals. More information can be found at the MDOP blog post. In addition, Attachmate announced today that they will make their product Reflection 2011 available in App-V format for their customers.  They are the first vendor in market to offer this capability and have also contributed to our App-V Recipe Community on TechNet.

Previously we shared the App-V TCO study to demonstrate where organizations can realize value through our technology.  As an additional step in driving business value in our Desktop Virtualization offering we have engaged Forrester Consulting to speak with our customers directly, unfiltered, to deliver a webcast discussing the Microsoft-commissioned study, “The Total Economic Impact™ Of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V).” Sr. Analyst, Ben Gray and Principal TEI Consultant, Jeffrey North will discuss the impact of App-V on labor, server hardware, PC/desktop hardware, application management, and helpdesk costs, and they demonstrate how you can use the TEI model to determine the financial return on your IT investments.  To learn more about the benefits, including the timeframe for realizing substantial ROI with this offering, register for the webcast which will be delivered on June 29, 2010. 

We’re very excited about working with our customers to offer a wide range of desktop virtualization solutions, and we’re pleased with the positive response and the proof of the value our customers are receiving. Windows 7 SP1, App-V, and MED-V v2 furthers our commitment to invest in virtualization technology and partnerships which make the most sense for Microsoft and our customers. But we’re not stopping here – we’ll keep evaluating what is best for our customers, so please keep sending your feedback!

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  • While you are at it: could you modify Product Activation 4 Windows 7 SP1 so that I don't need 2 use Telephone Activation every time that I need 2 Reinstall it (Windows 7) and allow me 2 enter the number of computers that I am using it on Using The Online Activation Method instead of requiring me 2 call a Toll Free Number on my Cell Phone? P.S. This is my first post here.

  • frankwick
    37 Posts

    The virtualization news couldn't come soon enough.  We are a VMWare shop and growing increasingly more concerned with their complacency as the market leader. Several peer companies are making the jump to hyper-v for cost reasons alone but also seeing performance gains.  VMWare's "me too" aproach to VDI is what is killing me right now.  It is horrid and my rep doesn't crae because he knows we have a lot of $$$ invested in VMWare.  Microsoft has a chance to really ake a chunk from VMWare here; they need to message it and do it right.  No more screwing around and letting products take off on their own.  They need to go after VMWare in ads and magazines.

  • adacosta
    91 Posts

    Hey folks, if you want to test Windows 7 SP1 public BETA, I would suggest you grab an external hard disk, create a system image of your Windows 7 RTM installation. Install the SP1 beta and test it through out its duration. When SP1 goes RTW, create a Windows 7 SP1 beta Windows Easy Transfer backup of your personal files and settings (back it up to the external hard disk I told you to get), then restore back the Windows 7 RTM System Image I told you to create earlier. Then install Service Pack 1, then launch Windows Easy Transfer and restore your Windows Easy Transfer backup of your personal files and settings.

    I am recommending this because I don't want hear any complaints about Microsoft releasing software that destroyed your systems. Ok?? It is beta which means, its not final. ;)

  • Not so much a comment on SP1, but rather a question: Was TechEd intentionally scheduled at the same time as Apple's WWDC? (Or vice versa?) Just wondering if there was any strategy behind that or if it was simply a coincidence.