Microsoft updates desktop management tools

MDOP 2008 R2 includes new application virtualization and asset management tools

Microsoft has released the next version of its desktop management toolset for IT that includes updates to its application virtualization and asset management tools.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2008 R2 is now available to users with volume licensing contracts and Software Assurance maintenance contracts.

MDOP is designed specifically to help IT administrators manage collections of Windows desktops, including Vista SP1.

The R2 release does not include the new license reconciliation features for MDOP's Asset Inventory Service 1.5 (AIS). That update will be available in early November. The AIS 1.5 reconciliation feature tells users if the software deployed in their infrastructure is compliant with their licensing agreements.

Early next year, Microsoft will add to MDOP its Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) software, which is the first Microsoft-branded release of the recently acquired Kidaro technology.

MED-V runs multiple versions of Windows or applications concurrently without having to open multiple virtual machine sessions. The software complements another MDOP tool called App-V.

The R2 release does include App-V 4.5 (formerly Softgrid), which introduces integration with System Center management tools, including the System Center Operations Manager 2007 Management Pack for App-V 4.5.

App-V 4.5, which was first made available individually Sept. 15, lets users package applications up into "containers," store them on a server where they can be centrally managed, and then stream those containers to desktops, devices or shared PCs.

The 4.5 version is the first developed under Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing and Secure by Default guidelines.

App-V 4.5 also features Dynamic Suite Composition (DSC), which lets virtualized applications share middleware resources; support for 11 languages; and a service provider license option called Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5 Hosting for Desktops.

In addition, Advanced Group Policy Management 3.0 (AGPM) also has been updated to include new settings to enforce the use of the Group Policy change management tool.

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