James has published a post that gives a nice summary of the contents of the upcomming Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack. This pack will be available to software assurance customers using the Enterprise Edition of Windows Vista.

I'm particularly excited about the contents as Microsoft Softgrid can relieve you from "DLL Hell" and general application compatibility problems.

An extract from James' post explains the benefits of application virtualisation in a really nice way as follows:

"Microsoft SoftGrid, an application virtualization and streaming solution that can deliver applications to users in seconds, without being locally installed, on any PC they login to. Virtualization also resolves many application compatibility conflicts because each application can run with the version of a supporting file that it needs."

Softgrid gives the flexibility of locally installed applications including the facility to work offline together with the simplicity of Terminal Services. As an administrator you choose which applications can "see" each other by placing them in a "briefcase".

The Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack includes many other features such as Asset Inventory Services, further Group Policy Management features and Diagnostic/Recovery tools.

There's a wealth of information on this topic and many others at the Windows Vista Team Blog site.