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New Redmond Virt Tool Rankles Top Journalist

I love having experts on staff. I'm not an artist, so my creative team makes our magazines and Web sites look great. And I couldn't sell Pabst Blue Ribbon to Britney Spears, which is why we have sales professionals that keep the money rolling in. When it comes to technology, I have software development experts that drive Redmond Developer News and Visual Studio Magazine. For partner issues, I rely on the gurus that put out Redmond Channel Partner.

Virtualization is another area in which I'm far from expert. Here, I lean on Keith Ward, editor of Virtualization Review. Case in point is when I read about Redmond's beta release of Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V).

When I first read Microsoft's breathless announcement of this amazing new breakthrough, I had a few misgivings. For one, MED-V sounds like some kind of new ambulance. More important, Microsoft's desktop virtualization strategy at this point is overly complex. You can use Windows Terminal Services (I'm sure this has been renamed) to run apps from Windows Server. You can also use the application virtualization wares Microsoft got from SoftGrid. And you can use Virtual PC to give your PC multiple OS personalities. Or you can run apps from the cloud. (I'm sure I'm forgetting a few more options.)

MED-V is based on Kidaro, which Microsoft recently acquired. It works with Virtual PC and lets you run legacy apps on newer operating systems such as Vista. I thought I had all the negative angles well in hand until I read Keith's recent blog, where he points out that the only way to get MED-V is to buy an expensive Software Assurance (SA) contract. The same is also true for the application virtualization tech acquired from SoftGrid.

SA is no picnic. You pay a lot of money for benefits you may never use, and for upgrade rights to software that may not ship on time. Want to know if SA is right for you? Check out this special report I put together a few years ago (it's just as relevant today).

Posted by Doug Barney on 01/19/2009 at 1:16 PM


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