Tactical Advice

Deploying Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2009

Learn four ways R2 can help you migrate your organization to Windows 7.
This story appears in the December 2009 issue of BizTech Magazine.

If you’re planning to deploy Windows 7 Enterprise edition in the near future, you'll want to learn about the new capabilities found in Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2009, Release 2. Customers who have a Software Assurance agreement can download the software from the Microsoft Volume Licensing Site.

Here are four tips on how MDOP 2008 R2 can smooth Windows 7 rollouts and make administering your Windows-based network easier than ever.

1. Save money and reduce risk by using Asset Inventory Service.

Keeping track of the software installed on thousands of desktop computers is daunting. Even more challenging is trying to ensure that all your installed software is properly licensed. By using Asset Inventory Service, one of the core components of MDOP, you can quickly and easily determine whether your organization is in compliance with its licensing agreements and with regulations such as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Sarbanes-Oxley. You can even identify software that is out of date with your organization’s policies.

Version 2.0 of AIS, which is scheduled for release in the first half of 2010, will fully support Windows 7 and will include enhanced hardware inventory capabilities, a new Silverlight-based user interface and an improved inventory client.

2. Ease deployment pain by using Microsoft Application Virtualization.

Conflicts between different applications or between different versions of the same application can throw a wrench into your desktop deployment plans. By using Microsoft Application Virtualization, you can separate your applications from your Windows operating system images.

Instead of installing applications locally on desktop PCs, App-V lets you transform them into centrally managed virtual services to stream to those computers. The benefits of this approach are numerous and include reducing deployment costs by eliminating application conflicts, expediting desktop provisioning by reducing base image footprint, and increasing user productivity through enhanced corporate roaming.

App-V 4.5 SP1 now fully supports Windows 7 and even lets you securely deliver mission-critical applications offline on USB drives using BitLocker To Go, which can be ideal for remote users who lack connectivity to the main network.

3. Maintain user productivity using Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization.

Maintaining support for legacy applications is another headache you may face when upgrading PCs to the latest version of Windows. You don’t need to delay your migration to Windows 7 just because a few existing applications won't run on Windows 7.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack is already licensed to more than 21 million desktops worldwide.

Windows Virtual PC and the Windows XP Mode environment provide a free solution for running legacy applications in virtual machines, but this approach doesn't scale well because there is no centralized way of managing these VMs. The solution is to use Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, a component of MDOP that lets you create, deliver and manage Virtual PC images on any Windows-based desktop from a central location. While App-V helps resolve compatibility issues caused by different applications running on the same computer, MED-V helps resolve compatibility issues between applications and the underlying operating system.

Version 1.1 of MED-V, which is scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2010, will fully support Windows 7 and enable deployment of virtual Windows XP environments to provide support for legacy applications on Windows 7 desktops.

The Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization Management Console can be used to specify which legacy applications should be published to desktop computers.

 

4. Simplify change management using Advanced Group Policy Management.

You already know that Group Policy is a key technology for managing the configuration of desktop computers across your organization. You probably also know that Group Policy can be a bear to manage when you have dozens or hundreds of Group Policy Objects, each containing thousands of different policy settings.

MDOP’S Advanced Group Policy Management helps take the pain out of desktop configuration management by allowing you to track, review and control changes made to GPOs and implement role-based administration. Version 4.0 of AGPM makes change management even easier by allowing you to filter GPOs by name, state, comment and other attributes. AGPM 4.0 also includes enhanced search capabilities that let you search for GPOs modified on a particular date or by a particular administrator.

Mitch Tulloch is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) and is lead author of the Windows 7 Resource Kit from Microsoft Press. Learn more about him at www.mtit.com.
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