Microsoft Adds Goodies to Vista Enterprise Kit
Published: June 6, 2007
by Alex Woodie
Microsoft yesterday sweetened the pot of goodies it has put together to tempt Software Assurance customers to adopt Windows Vista. Microsoft hopes the new additions to the Desktop Optimization Pack, including more error detection, will attract more business users to Vista by making it easier to conduct widespread roll-outs. The software giant unveiled two encryption and virtualization tools to entice potential Vista users.
Microsoft unveiled the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) last October as a low-cost ($10 per desktop) treat for its largest business users under multi-year maintenance contracts. Windows shops that don't have Software Assurance contracts aren't eligible for the MDOP, which is a shame because there is some pretty cool technology contained in it that could benefit small and mid size IT shops, too.
As it was introduced last fall, the MDOP contained the SoftGrid Application Virtualization technology, which was based on Microsoft's Softricity acquisition and helps eliminate "DLL Hell;" the Asset Inventory Service (AIS), which is based on Microsoft's AssetMetrix acquisition and helps organize software licensing; the Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM), which is based on the DesktopStandard acquisition and provides better management of Active Directory; and the Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset (DaRT), which is based on the Winternals acquisition and helps pinpoint the causes of PC troubles, recover lost data, and prevent future crashes.
Some of these components--notably the SoftGrid virtualization software--were scheduled last fall to become available in February 2007, while others weren't slated to become available until the second quarter, which ends June 30.
This week at the Tech Ed 2007 conference in Orlando, Florida, Microsoft announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of the second version of MDOP, which adds a new component and tweaks some of the existing components.
The new addition to MDOP is System Center Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM), which is designed to help administrators reduce help desk costs by centralizing desktops' operating system and application error reports, and providing alerts and trend analysis.
DEM, like SoftGrid and the AGPM, is scheduled to be become available July 1. Things are moving slower on the AIS component, which is scheduled to enter beta testing July 1. DaRT is available now, Microsoft says.
Microsoft also announced that it has sold 1 million MDOP subscriptions since it became available.
In other Tech Ed 2007 news, Microsoft unveiled a new test drive program that allows enterprise customers to try its Virtual Hard Disk (VHD) technology for 30 days free of charge. Microsoft says its VHD technology will allow businesses to configure and prepare Vista test-beds for testing quicker than they could otherwise, and will also provide a safer, more confined environment for testing.
The software giant also announced a new Data Encryption Toolkit (DET) for Mobile PCs. DET helps users prepare for and deploy Vista's new BitLocker drive encryption technology. Lastly, Microsoft announced its Application Compatibility Factory (ACF), a new program the company says will connect its enterprise customers with partners that specialize in preparing business applications for new platforms, such as Windows Vista.
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