Whew! The Microsoft® Management Summit is behind me and I can start looking forward to our 10-city bus tour. On a similar tour through Europe last year, we had a great time telling everyone we met about the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and how it can make your life much easier (and make you a hero in your organization). The tour starts in May; I’ll definitely tell you more about it as the date gets a bit closer.
In the meantime, I wanted to pick up where I left off in my last blog post. Previously, I described how Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) can help streamline the deployment process. Sequencing for App-V—a process that’s similar to packaging applications such as .msi files—is straightforward. Deploying sequenced applications can be as simple as assigning them to users. Certainly, using App-V to deploy applications is far more efficient and less painful than using traditional repackaging techniques and including them in an image or using a distribution system.
The story doesn’t end there, however. App-V continues to add value even after your deployment has been stabilized and moving to a maintenance phase. App-V can help you better manage the application inventory. For example, imagine that you need to recall an application after deployment. Without automation, you must manually remove applications from each computer. Even with automation, you can never be sure that applications were completely removed; they leave footprints on the computer.
In contrast, App-V applications have no footprint. They are virtualized, so completely removing an application is as easy as removing the assignment. Afterward, the application is no longer available to the user—as if the application was never installed in the first place.
Because virtualized applications don’t have footprints, they’re also easy to update: Simply sequence the new version, and add it. App-V seamlessly updates the application, without affecting users, requiring downtime, or demanding a reboot. From users’ perspectives, the new version appears automatically the next time they launch the application. Compare this scenario to the process of updating applications in images (time-consuming) or deploying new versions of applications by using a software distribution system (disruptive).
As if streamlining application management wasn’t enough, App-V can have a more-direct impact to your organization’s bottom line. By using metering rules in App-V, you can better understand the licenses used versus the total number of licenses purchased. Metering rules can help organizations that want to ensure compliance with their vendors avoid over-purchasing licenses.
If you haven’t looked at App-V in a while, now’s the time to do so—especially if you’re already engaged in a Windows® 7 deployment project. Microsoft recently released App-V 4.6, which has several improvements, including:
· Support for true 64-bit applications
· Support for desktops and servers running 64-bit Windows
· Integration with Windows 7 AppLocker™, BitLocker® Drive Encryption, and BranchCache™
· Thirteen new languages to support global businesses
App-V and Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) are big products, and sometimes they cast a big shadow over smaller MDOP features such as Microsoft Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) and the Microsoft Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT). Both AGPM and DaRT can help make your job as an IT pro easier, though. AGPM provides a role-based workflow to Group Policy management. DaRT provides a powerful set of troubleshooting tools that can help you diagnose and fix problems with Windows 7 offline. Both products are incredible easy to deploy and use. I’ll provide more details about them in my next post.