Doug Elsley, UK MDOP Lead at Microsoft has written a guest post looking into MED-V which is part of MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimisation pack):

At customer meetings when we are discussing Windows 7 options and upgrade plans, the conversation often opens up to application compatibility and application migration plans from one operating system to another. Customers raise the fact that IT is required to map and test all of its line of business applications on the new operating system and this is a probable barrier to an effective adoption.

Microsoft and 3rd party vendors offer a variety of tools, reporting and methods to address XP applications issues that are either not working properly on Windows Vista / Windows 7 or that require some simple changes to get them to work. Even after this work you still may find a subset of applications that are not yet officially supported on the new operating system or that may not even work at all, despite all efforts causing some of our customers to plan their Windows 7 migration over time to allow them to detect and remediate these issues before they roll out en masse.

In 2008 Microsoft made an acquisition of a company called Kidaro, from this acquisition evolved the product Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualisation (MED-V). MED-V removed the potential barriers to Windows 7 upgrades by resolving application incompatibility and ensured those incompatible applications ran in the environment they were designed and architected for. It also allowed the ability for IT departments to run different versions of Internet Explorer such as IE6 and IE8 on the same machine in a licensed and supported solution.

MED-V is one of a number of powerful tools for IT Professional in the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) and delivers applications in a Virtual PC that runs Windows XP, this enables users to seamlessly start the legacy applications right from the Windows 7 Start Menu, applications appear and operate as if they were installed on the new desktop and appear side-by-side with native applications with very minimal change to the user experience providing greatly simplified migrations and business as usual functionality of legacy critical apps.

With the recent (10th March) MDOP 2011 release including MED-V 2.0 and an update for App-V to 4.6 SP1, the new MED-V 2.0 version will now allow legacy applications to share seamless access to users’ documents and network-available printers, and even USB devices such as flash storage or Smartcard readers. MED-V 2.0 also removes the separate server infrastructure requirements present in MED-V 1.0 and 1.1, and now integrates with existing management and deployment systems, such as System Center Configuration Manager, for easy, scalable, enterprise deployment.

Doug Elsley – UK MDOP Lead and Optimised Desktop Specialist
Official MDOP Blog
Desktop Virtualisation TechCenter