Microsoft announced on Sept. 14 that it planned to release Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) 2009 R2 in late October 2009, around the time that it rolls out Windows 7. MDOP's software platform, which includes group policy management tools, a diagnostics and recovery toolset and other applications designed to smooth enterprise transition to the new operating system.
This version of MDOP will include Windows 7 support for all components except Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), which is designed to support enterprise deployment and management of Microsoft Virtual PC Windows desktops; MED-V will support Windows 7 in the first quarter of calendar year 2010 through MED-V 1.0 SP1. Specifically, MED-V allows applications not yet supported by Windows 7 to run in a virtual Windows XP environment.
A Microsoft spokesperson suggested that the MDOP Team Blog will provide updated information heading into the release.
Microsoft's executives have been pushing the deployment of MDOP in the enterprise as the first step in migrating to Windows 7. The news of MDOP 2009 R2's release follows the Sept. 8 rollout of Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010, a "solution accelerator" designed to help IT administrators deploy Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. The Toolkit, which can be downloaded from this site, allows for the organization and management of everything from drivers and operating systems to applications and task sequences.
Microsoft is depending on rapid enterprise adoption of Windows 7 in order to help reverse declining revenues.
Elements of MDOP 2009 R2 include:
Designed to "transform applications into centrally-managed virtual services," according to Microsoft, App-V can theoretically reduce the costs of application deployment and increase user productivity by delivering applications without the need to install them on the end-user's machine.
App-V 4.5 SP1 has been designed to specifically integrate with Windows 7, including increased IT control with AppLocker integration and secure application delivery with BitLocker ToGo.
Group Policy Management
MDOP's Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) 4.0 will enhance "governance and control over Windows 7 Group Policies through change management and role-based administration," Microsoft says. Users can manage group policies across different domain forests and track Group Policy Objects (GPOs) through new search and filter capabilities.
Diagnostics and Recovery Toolset (DaRT) 6.5
This application can be used to repair unbootable devices and recover their data.
Desktop Error Monitoring (DEM) 3.5
In order to troubleshoot PCs, DEM 3.5 can kick Top System Errors - the ones that cause system crashes - and Top Application Errors to an organization's help desk.
Asset Inventory Service (AIS)
This online service maps which applications are running in the existing environment before a Windows 7 upgrade. It will also consolidate license use data from multiple locations.
After its as-yet-undefined October release date, MDOP 2009 R2 be available for download through Microsoft's Volume Licensing site. Those wishing to test and evaluate the software will be able to do so after the release, through either a MSDN or TechNet subscription.