This week Microsoft opened up a public beta of Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) 2.0.
The MED-V technology comes from Microsoft's acquisition of Kidaro back in March 2008. What seemed to grab Microsoft's attention was Kidaro's Managed Workspace technology -- a platform wrapper around a transparent virtual machine layer that provided enterprise-class management and deployment for desktop virtualization with added security, policies, and encryption. It competed with the likes of VMware ACE, MokaFive, and RingCube.
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Since the acquisition, Microsoft hasn't really set the world on fire with its version of Kidaro's software. The Kidaro product was quickly rebranded a few months after the acquisition, but Microsoft took an entire year to release a 1.0 version of the software. MED-V 1.0 SP1 was released earlier this year and was quickly followed by a private beta of MED-V 2.0 this past summer.
MED-V 2.0 is one of a number of tools that Microsoft offers to its Software Assurance customers. It is delivered as part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP), so if you are searching for how to purchase the software separately, stop. It isn't offered as a stand-alone product.
So what exactly is MED-V? It's an enterprise management solution that uses Microsoft Virtual PC as a platform in order to provide a localized strategy for desktop virtualization, but with centralized management. It helps to create, deploy, manage, monitor, and control Virtual PC virtual machines in a corporate environment.
Microsoft touts MED-V as a Windows 7 migration tool. The Redmond giant says MED-V removes the barriers to Windows upgrades by resolving application incompatibility with Windows 7. To do that, MED-V delivers applications in a virtual PC environment that runs a previous version of the operating system (more often than not, Windows XP). And it does so in a way that it is completely seamless and transparent to the end-user. The applications themselves appear and operate as if they were installed directly on the client's desktop.