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MED-V 2.0 and App-V 4.6 SP1: Two Microsoft Virtualization Solutions for Enterprises

by Abel Avram on Mar 15, 2011 |

MED-V 2.0 is a desktop virtualization solution enabling users to run legacy applications on Windows 7. App-V 4.6 SP1 is a service pack for Application Virtualization, another solution for deploying applications within the enterprise.

Enterprises with volume licensing and Software Assurance can get the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) containing Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) and Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V), among other products. MED-V is a virtualization solution that builds on top of Virtual PC, enabling customers to use older applications on a virtualized Windows XP image running inside Windows 7. Enterprises can use MED-V to upgrade to Windows 7 without having to test and update their applications first, because these can continue to run on Windows XP. MED-V comes with centralized management, and policy-based provisioning.

An application installed for MED-V is seen and run as a native local application, without noticing that it runs in a virtual environment, except for a red border line around the main window of the application. The application behaves as a local one in all respects: one can print from it, access local files, navigate through applications with ALT+Tab, taskbar pinning, etc. An important feature is that specified websites or sub-sites can be automatically loaded inside IE 6 for those who have legacy browser-based applications.

For compatibility reasons applications can be started in Windows XP mode in Windows 7, but that is feasible only for individuals or small teams of users due to configuration hurdles. With MED-V, the system administrators can create customized virtual machine images and deliver them to users through a distribution server.

MED-V 2.0 comes with the following new features compared with version 1.0:

  • No dedicated MED-V infrastructure to deploy - MED-V 2.0 workspaces are deployed and managed using existing electronic software distribution (ESD) systems, including System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007 R2 or higher.
  • Streamlined sign-on to the MED-V workspace - Users can save their passwords for seamless sign-on to the MED-V workspace.
  • Automatic application publishing – New applications deployed to MED-V workspaces, including App-V virtual applications, are available to the Windows 7 host automatically.
  • My Documents and Desktop redirection - Legacy applications work just like locally installed applications when it comes to opening, saving and printing documents.
  • USB device/SmartCard support - USB devices, including thumb drives and Smartcard readers can be shared between the host and applications running in the MED-V workspace.
  • New Internet Explorer redirection options - IT administrators can redirect legacy web applications using wildcards (http://*.example.com), sites (http://www.example.com/hr), at the page-level (http://www.example.com/hr/benefits.asp) or by specifying a port (http://vpn.example.com:1234)
  • Automated guest hibernation at shutdown – The MED-V workspace is seamlessly suspended when the user logs off or shuts down the Windows 7 host.

Another MDOP application is Application Virtualization (App-V) helpful to create application images that are used by users from anywhere by loading them from a centralized location, not having to install them on their systems. This approach helps system administrators by reducing application conflicts, simplifying updating and patching, and easing application deployment.

The latest version, App-V 4.6 SP1 comes with the following new features and fixes:

  • Streamlined application sequencing – Improvements to the App-V 4.6 SP1 Sequencer make packaging applications for App-V easier and faster.
  • Support for using a read-only cache on RDS – App-V 4.6 SP1 now supports using a shared, read-only cache in both VDI and RDS environments.
  • Support for sequencing Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0 – App-V 4.6 SP1 now supports sequencing the Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0.
  • Customer Feedback and Hotfix Rollup – App-V 4.6 SP1 also includes a rollup up of fixes to address issues found since the Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.6 release.

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