The traditional desktop computing model, as shown in Fig. 1, has been one where the operating system, applications, and user data and settings are bonded to a single computer. We will buy a computer either with OS and some applications pre-installed, or apply a hard disk image with targeted OS and selected applications to the computer hardware. Once a computer is deployed, a user can then log in the system, customize the environment, run applications, change settings, create data and files. This model is straightforward and easy to understand. With respect to desktop deployment, this means that the OS, application execution/presentation and user data are all self-contained within a single device. This model has the advantage of simplicity because it leverages well understood technologies that ship with Windows. In addition, because a PC with this model is configured to be completely self-sufficient, this solution is well-suited to mobile use. However, the tight binding between the various layers may not be a preference for all scenarios. This model has its limitations.
The tight couplings between each layer provide efficiency; they also introduce dependencies, hence complexities. And these complexities make it difficult for users to move the applications, settings, and files from one PC to another in case of upgrades or a lost or stolen laptop. When exemplified by thousands of desktops and laptops, as many enterprises do, the management of these laptops and desktops becomes a major concern. As mobile work force and the number of branch offices continue to grow with the proliferation of Internet and the advancement of networking technology, the work environment and data access patterns of information workers have become dynamic and been rapidly evolving. The long term maintenance associated with computing resources based on the traditional computing model is becoming cost-prohibitive for many companies, while impairing the IT’s ability to quickly prepare for or respond to a business opportunity.
Desktop Virtualization is the process of separating, or more precisely isolating, out these individual components, and managing each one separately. Fig. 2 shows by isolating these components, we can now abstract and virtualize the computing resources. Each layer can then reference a resource in other layers based in the abstraction or virtualization boundary and without specifying the specifics of how a referenced resource is configured within its host layer. Over all this reduces complexity and improves PC and application management.
When it comes to virtualization, not all solutions are equal. Microsoft has developed a number of virtualization solutions to address specific issues as depicted in Fig. 3. There are times a virtualization solution may not be cost-effective while offering deployment flexibility. It is crucial to recognize that and architect a virtualization solution accordingly to produce maximal business benefits.
This is it! We had waited and waited, and it's finally here. Windows 7 is now generally available. With Windows 7, there's never been a better time to be a PC. For all you IT Professionals out there, let me highlight the 3 key deliveries:
and innovations introduced in Windows 7 and make pertinent information readily available for you here.
Making people productive anywhere
Making people productive is not that hard. In your office plugging company’s network with a laptop loaded with apps, you can be productive. Making people productive “anywhere” on the other hand is a very challenging effort for IT, while facing the mass amount of mobile devices and increasingly complex network computing environment today. The growing numbers of mobile workforce and branch offices are at the same time demanding corporate resources seamlessly available regardless the required infrastructure and organizational boundaries. Two Windows 7 solutions to facilitate remote access are BranchCache and DirectAccess.
Managing risks through enhanced security and control
Security is nothing we need to much justify the need in today’s network computing environment. It is critical, imperative, and all too often costly. From Windows Vista, Windows Vista SP1, to Windows 7, BitLocker has been expanded from a single drive, multiple drives, now to portable media. Windows 7 offers security enhancements enabling a user to secure data from unauthorized access very easily with BitLocker-to-Go, for example. In Windows 7 Explorer, highlight a portable drive, right-click to turn on BitLocker-to-Go. It is that readily available, easy to do, and readable with Windows XP. There is really no reason not to do it since it is so little to do, yet with so much control and so strong protection on data. As a memory stick is now with 32 GB and beyond capacity, BitLocker-to-Go is one very cost-effective way to protect data from unauthorized access. For a large company, BitLocker technology with group policies offers a software based enterprise solution of hard disk encryption. You don’t need to look for a solution and end up with a second-best solution. It is in Microsoft Vista and it is much enhanced in Microsoft Windows 7.
In an enterprise environment, software restriction is one of the most difficult enforcements. Not only it needs a mature infrastructure to provide software inventories, metering, and on-going monitoring, but the required skill sets to develop, test, and manage those software restriction policies are hard to find, take years to develop, and come with very high costs. Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 together present AppLocker as a vehicle with which a system administrator can provision a policy to deny/allow execution, installation, or usage of a target application based on the application's digital signature by deriving a publisher rule defined and enforced with a Group Policy Object without programming. A complex requirement, for instance allowing task workers to access Office 2007 and later, but not PowerPoint when accessed by contractors, can be done with AppLocker in a few mouse clicks without any scripting.
Reducing cost by streamlining PC management
Many thought without a direct migration path, i.e. in-place upgrade, from Windows XP to Windows 7, the deployment of Windows 7 must be a tedious and tricky process. In fact, Windows 7 offers a number of vehicles making the migration an intuitive and straightforward process. For consumers and small businesses, Easy Transfer makes migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7 absolutely “easy” and, in my view, fun actually. Scanstate and Loadstate, two key utilities in USMT (User State Migration Tools) make a migration process very logical and easy to understand. Hard-Link Migration leaves and remaps data in place and significantly reduces the time needed to place large amount of user data in a typical PC refresh scenario.
In the past two years, with Microsoft’s introduction of virtualization strategies and solutions, there are many options in resolving compatibility issues at an application or OS level while reducing TCO and increasing flexibilities in deploying and managing IT resources in the long run. Specific to Windows XP compatibility issues, Windows 7 Professional and above offer Windows XP Mode (via a free download) with a local virtualization of Windows XP SP3 machine. So those applications developed specific for Windows XP can now essentially run in a Windows 7 environment with a few steps to set up a virtualized Windows XP SP3 run-time environment to host those Windows XP specific applications. Further an application running in Widows XP Mode can be seamlessly integrated into the Start/All Programs menu of a host Windows 7 machine. Notice Windows XP Mode alone is designed for a relatively small deployment since there is basically no built-in system management function. For a large scale deployment, MED-V or Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, one of the six offerings that come with MDOP (or Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack available through Software Assurance program) is the solution to manage local desktop virtualization with the abilities to provision a MED-V workspace policy to deploy XP Mode with standardized settings and a consistent user experience, etc. While MED-V 1.0 SP1 to be available in the first quarter of 2010 with host support for Windows 7, notice that both MED-V 1.0, MED-V 1.0 SP1 will leverage Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 which does not required hardware assisted virtualization.
Join Blain, Dan, John, and Yung, your TechNet IT Evangelists as we hit the road again this fall to bring you the highlights of Microsoft’s great virtualization solutions. We’ll go from the desktop to the enterprise, starting with VHD native boot – a new feature for Windows® 7 and Windows Server® 2008 R2. Next, we’ll move into Windows XP mode, Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V™, and finish with System Center Virtual Machine Manager (SCVMM).
Reservations are required and space is limited, so register today to save your seat.
For more information or to register, visit: www.technetevents.com OR CALL 1-877-MSEVENT
VHD Native Boot We’ll kick off the afternoon by exploring VHD Native Boot, which is a new feature for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. VHD Native Boot can be used as the running operating system on designated hardware – without a parent operating system, virtual machine, or hypervisor. This is one of the best virtualization features to date for technology professionals of every kind – from enterprise to small and medium-size business pros and consultants.
Windows XP Mode With Windows XP Mode, it’s easy to install and run multiple Windows XP productivity applications directly from your Windows 7-based PC. Do you have application compatibility issues? Windows XP Mode can ease those compatibility headaches, because it gives you the best of both worlds. You can easily run older Windows XP business software – including web applications that require an old version of Internet Explorer® – while taking advantage of the many benefits of your Windows 7 desktop. This is a can’t-miss session for IT pros who juggle both new and established software and web applications.
Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V It’s time to focus on enterprise with an overview of Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V. In this session, we’ll look at how to create virtual machines in Hyper-V and demonstrate how the snapshot feature can easily revert the virtual machine to a previous state. You’ll come away from this session with a sold understanding of all the capabilities and new features in Windows Server 2008 R2 Hyper-V.
System Center Virtual Machine Manager Finally, no virtualization discussion is complete without a conversation about management. When it comes to managing virtual infrastructures, System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 (SCVMM) is the best of the best. This member of the System Center family of system management products provides a straightforward, cost-effective solution for unified management of physical and virtual machines.
Reston, VA >> November 30, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Alpharetta, GA >> December 1, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Rochester, NY >> December 2, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Charlotte, NC >> December 3, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Bridgewater, NJ >> December 7, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Waltham, MA >> December 9, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Malvern, PA >> December 11, 2009 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Orlando, FL >> December 14, 2009 8:30am - 12:00pm
Brought to you by your US East Microsoft IT Pro Evangelist: Blain, Dan, John, and Yung!
Come spend an afternoon with us as we highlight some of the great virtualization solutions Microsoft offers. We’ll go from the desktop to the enterprise starting with VHD native boot, a new feature for Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 followed by discussions of
It will be fast and it will be furious. 4 Evangelists, 8 City, and one focus: getting you fully charged with virtualization. Act quick and act now to register at the following links:
Since the last month, while delivering Windows 7 Launch Events, I have realized how strong the interests on Windows XP Mode (XP Mode) is out there, how much IT Pro want to know more about it, and how many questions are being asked again and again. So I thought to put together something concise and you can get most of your questions answered in a short read.
Designed primarily with small businesses in mind, XP Mode for Windows 7 enables a user to install and run Windows XP applications directly from a Windows 7-based PC. With Windows Virtual PC (not the same with Virtual PC 2007,) XP Mode works in Windows 7 Professional and Ultimate, and provides a 32-bit Windows XP Professional Service Pack 3 (XPSP3) environment pre-loaded on a virtual hard disk. Notice running XP Mode requires turning on hardware virtualization with AMD-V™, Intel® VT, or VIA® VT, which may not be available in all PCs. For Enterprise customers, Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V,) part of Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and available in Software Assurance, is a management solution for deploying Windows XP Mode and local virtualization solutions in an enterprise setting. While MED-V 1.0 SP1 to be available in the first quarter of 2010 with host support for Windows 7, notice that both MED-V 1.0, MED-V 1.0 SP1 will leverage Microsoft Virtual PC 2007 which does not required hardware assisted virtualization.
To enable XP Mode after installing Windows 7, a local administrator can click “Windows XP Mode” from “All Programs/Windows Virtual PC,” as shown, to access the online download page. Follow the instructions to install Windows Virtual PC and XP Mode. A virtual machine will be automatically initialized with Windows XP SP3. The user will be prompted and can choose to cache the built-in service’s account’s credentials to automatically start the Windows XP SP3 virtual machine.
XP Mode is an integrated environment with a number of productivity features including:
The XPSP3 virtual machine running in XP Mode is by default networked with the hosting Windows 7 machine using Network Address Translation. This network and additional virtual machine settings of the XP Mode are customizable. After all, XP Mode is desktop virtualization and a virtual machine. Most settings applicable to a virtual machine are applicable to XP Mode as well. Also keep in mind when it comes to desktop management, XP Mode or a virtual machine should be managed like a physical machine. In other words, a virtual machine in production needs to be secured, patched, and monitored just like a physical machine since at a logical level a virtual machine can be targeted and attacked just like a physical machine.
I am very excited to be delivering a Remote Desktop Services/Virtual Desktop Infrastructures (RDS/VDI) session in the upcoming Desktop Virtualization Technical Briefing. RDS/VDI is, in my view, one of the most compelling solutions to transform IT into a corporate business value delivery engine. I am most impressed by the architecture elegantly integrated into Windows Server 2008 R2 which makes the solution very easy to understand and implement. In my session, I will discuss the architecture and walk through the logical steps to implement a RDS/VDI solution. For technology decision makers and senior IT consultants, this session is highly recommended.
Notice the registration is open for invited guests only. Here are the additional information and registration link.
Register for your chance to WIN!
The first seven people to register for any of our Fall 2009 TechNet Unleashed Events by Blain, Dan, John, and Yung your TechNet IT Evangelists with the Referral Code of WIN7 will take home a copy of the MCTS Self-Paced Training Kit (Exam 70-652): Configuring Windows Server® Virtualization (Approximate Retail Value - $45 USD).* And, if you miss the first 7 window of opportunity, don't worry - we'll have several more to raffle off at each event. *Government employees and officials not eligible for contest. Must be present to win. Contest ends December 20, 2009.
Firestarter is a TechNet event offering IT Pros and developers an opportunity to in a few hours review and go deep on a chosen subject. For this particular one in Atlanta, GA, we offer 4 sessions, two presenters, two formats (in-person or online), and one focus: Windows 7. Here’s the agenda.
What’s New with Windows 7
Why VPN? Connect Seamlessly with DirectAccess!
Take the Worry Out of Protecting Your Data… Encrypt Your Drives with BitLocker and Bitlocker-to-Go
Deploying Windows 7? Automate it with System Center Configuration Manager
Register before it is full. Hope to see you there.