Microsoft beefing up app virtualization program

Microsoft's Application Virtualization scales to more users, has enhanced security and more language support, and comes bundled with other software management tools

Microsoft is improving its popular Application Virtualization program while also bundling it with beta versions of other new software management tools.

Microsoft acquired Application Virtualization when it bought Softricity in May 2006. The technology lets administrators stream applications to other PCs where they run in a virtual space that prevents them from conflicting with one another. The technology reduces deployment and management costs, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft has now made available a 4.5 beta release that adds more language support for Application Virtualization. It lets someone run an English version of Application Virtualization on a non-English operating system, said Winni Verhoef, senior product manager for Windows product management, who spoke on the sidelines of IT Forum, Microsoft's European customer event running this week in Barcelona.

Other improvements have been made to let Application Virtualization scale to more users better. The program's code has also undergone a thorough security check. The final version will be ready by the second half of 2008, Verhoef said.

Microsoft has put Application Virtualization in a package of software called the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP). When it was introduced in January, the package contained only Application Virtualization. In July, Microsoft stuck in three other components: Advanced Group Policy Management, the Diagnostic, and Recovery Toolset and System Center Desktop Error Monitoring.

Microsoft is beta testing two other components that will end up in MDOP. One is the Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset 6.0, which is used to remove viruses and spyware from offline systems. That tool is in a private beta now and will be incorporated into MDOP next year. Also in testing is Asset Inventory Service 1.0, which compiles an inventory of software used on a network.

MDOP costs $10 per PC per year if users subscribe to Microsoft's Software Assurance maintenance program. Verhoef said the product has been selling very fast: 3 million licenses since January.

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