Use App-V and MED-V to Enhance Your Windows 7 Deployment
Today in the world of IT, much of the focus is on Windows 7 as well as virtualization. Adopting a new operating system in any organization is never a simple undertaking; however the Windows 7 operating system along with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack for Software Assurance (MDOP) provides technologies to enhance your deployment experience.
Breaking the Traditional Desktop Model
The traditional desktop model is one in which the operating system, applications, and user data are all connected or bonded to each other. This model has served well over many years, but has some large drawbacks when implemented across an organization. For instance, the installation of an application might break another application or provide instability in the operating system. Deploying a new operating system may leave users with critical data or settings from their original machines missing.
By using virtualization technologies, these components can be separated from each other and operate independently, which provides benefits to support and management costs and allows IT to react more quickly to changing business requirements. The following is a brief description of desktop virtualization technology benefits with links to more information:
Reduce Support and Management Costs
Enable Quick Reaction to Changing Business Requirements
Why You Should Use App-V in Your Windows 7 Deployment
Let’s focus now on App-V as part of Windows 7. Planning and testing of an operating system deployment is a large project. Applications will need to be inventoried, analyzed, tested, and remediated before installing on Windows 7 as well as developing a deployment strategy, creating images, and testing from the operating system perspective. Microsoft App-V should be considered in any operating system deployment for both short-term and long-term benefits in terms of cost and management. When planning a deployment to Windows 7 it is the perfect time to stop installing software in a traditional method that places file, registry, and other settings on the operating system, making it more difficult to support.
Simplify Application Delivery – for IT and for Users
Virtual applications can drastically reduce the number of images required for deployment and provide long-term reduction in support costs. This is realized as multiple images do not need to be configured with base software for different departments and organizations within an enterprise. Virtual applications are delivered on demand to users and a fresh Windows 7 image can be production ready for users in a fraction of the time when compared with traditional software deployment. Users will receive software when they need it and can be productive more quickly.
Application Management Benefits
Using App-V with Windows 7 not only helps with application conflicts but it greatly reduces the time you spend on application management after deployment of Windows 7 including application updating and deployment. Updating traditionally installed applications requires extensive testing and also lengthy roll-outs. With App-V, an application can be updated and introduced to the infrastructure. Then, the next time a user opens the application the updated version will be automatically brought to the machine on demand, no waiting for installation, no reboots.
Deployment Options with App-V
App-V offers flexible deployment options that meet varying business needs. App-V provides management infrastructure in the box at no additional cost. App-V is fully integrated with System Center Configuration Manager, App-V can be integrated with third-party PC management solutions, and App-V can function without any infrastructure at all. Identify your business requirements and YOU DECIDE which App-V option is right for your business. With flexibility built in, every organization can find the right solution when deploying applications with App-V, especially in Windows 7.
Application-to-Application Compatibility Benefits
App-V helps with application-to-application compatibility issues or application conflicts:
For additional technical information on App-V please visit: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/appvirtualization/default.aspx
What’s New in App-V 4.5 SP1 for Windows 7
Moving to Windows 7 will require users to gain additional knowledge of the new operating system to allow them to be productive. Using Windows 7 and Microsoft Application Virtualization together provides a seamless experience for users and simple management with increased control of the desktop for IT. App-V strives to create a seamless user experience to ensure that the user is not confused by launching a physical or virtual application. App-V also capitalizes on additional benefits of Windows 7 by taking advantage of new features of the operating system. There are several new features in App-V 4.5 SP1 that further improve the experience of using App-V to enhance a Windows 7 deployment.
Seamless User Experience
A new feature of App-V 4.5 SP1 is the integration with Windows 7 user-interface. Users are able to pin applications to the taskbar and leverage jumplists to navigate between applications. The result is that users will not be able to distinguish between traditionally installed applications and virtual applications. This means that no additional training is required for users beyond the new features of Windows 7.
IT departments strive to have the greatest control over the desktop experience for users to control costs associated with support and management. Windows 7 introduces a new feature called AppLocker, which enforces compliance of applications with group policies. App-V integrates AppLocker to allow IT professionals the greatest level of control over running applications regardless of how they are delivered or what type of application they are (traditional or virtual).
An organization has decided to use AppLocker to control where application executables can be launched from. AppLocker policies have been configured to only allow applications to run from the follow paths: C:\program files and C:\windows to ensure that no unapproved software can be executed. App-V applications execute from the Q:\ drive by default so they would be restricted from running based on the current policy. This scenario assumes that virtual applications are being delivered to the machine and the goal is to allow all or some virtual applications to be available to users of the computer or just specific users of the computer. Using group policies and AppLocker an administrator can configure the specific application path (Q:\) to allow virtual applications to execute or specifically name individual applications by their full path. This would allow for complete control over which applications will launch for specific computers or users.
Another option available with AppLocker will address concerns about users installing applications either traditional or virtual without IT approval. In this scenario the IT department has restricted all unknown MSIs from running. An organization may want to distribute App-V applications on removable media like a USB flash drive or USB hard drive. Using the AppLocker policies users could be allowed to run certain MSI-based App-V installers to install their virtual applications. This would allow great control over what software could be installed from removable media in both traditional and virtual situations.
BranchCache Helps Users Be Productive Anywhere and Saves on IT Infrastructure Costs
BranchCache can be used with App-V to reduce the infrastructure costs and management, and also to give users better access to virtual applications. With BranchCache, virtual applications can be downloaded to a remote office only once and made available to Windows 7 machines for subsequent downloads. That means that after the first user loads the application over the slower WAN link; all subsequent requests for the virtual application are made to the local BranchCache on the fast LAN that they are connected to for regular operations. Prior to Windows 7, App-V had many different delivery options, but they all relied on having a server at any branch office to achieve the best performance for application delivery. This required additional management to configure replication to ensure all virtual applications are present at each branch location.
BitLocker To Go Secures Application Delivery
IT administrators can confidently and securely deliver virtual applications on a USB drive, as the associated licenses are protected against unauthorized use. Only authorized users have access to the applications, including remote users who may not have connectivity to corporate network as in scenario 2 listed above about AppLocker. The applications being delivered to users via a USB drive could also have been enabled for BitLocker To Go. This would ensure that only secure USB drives could be accessed for virtual application delivery by members of the organization's IT management services.
Integrate with Third-Party LDAP Directories
App-V can reduce administrative overhead for customers who maintain their user accounts in a third-party LDAP directory, enabling Kerberos via Active Directory trust. This means that Active Directory isn’t the only way to authenticate users when using App-V. This will allow organizations that invest in other directory service technologies to still have the benefits of App-V.
What If Applications Are Not Compatible with Windows 7?
When facing an upgrade to a new version of Windows, IT is required to map and test all of its line-of-business applications on the new operating system. While Microsoft offers a variety of methods and tools to address applications that are not working properly, in every organization there will be a subset of applications that are not yet officially supported by their vendor, or might not work at all despite all efforts.
How Is MED-V Different from XP Mode?
As part of Windows 7 Professional and later, Microsoft now offers the Windows XP Mode – a preconfigured Windows XP in a virtual PC image. No additional license is required, and the user can run applications that are not working on Windows 7. The user experience is seamless – applications from the virtual machine are readily available in the Windows 7 start menu, and once launched, they appear as part of the Windows 7 desktop.
What Is Available for MED-V Today?
Get Started with MED-V
Begin testing and working with MED-V today as part of your Windows 7 deployment strategy. Use the following link to download the Quick Start Guide and Evaluation Guide as well as other supporting documentation and information about MED-V at: http://www.microsoft.com/medv
Adopting new operating systems is always a challenging task, but with Windows 7 and the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack you can enhance and accelerate the deployment of Windows 7. In this document we discussed the general reasons behind desktop virtualization and how each of the Microsoft technologies fits into the equation, as well as how both App-V and MED-V can enhance a Windows 7 deployment.