Are you one of those people who have been left behind when it comes to this whole ‘virtualization thing’? Does the concept leave you wondering ‘why’?
Let’s look at a common scenario where virtualization might be useful in your environment and discuss a couple possible solutions.
EXAMPLE: Your organization has decided to roll out Windows 7 and Office 2010 to all desktops. You have an old Access 97 database that is not compatible with Access 2010. Access 97 and Access 2010 cannot be installed on the same computer. You NEED this old database to be accessible. What can you do?
I see several ways to provide Access 97 to the desktop that all involve virtualization. Let me start by introducing you to App-V and Med-V which are both a part of MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack). Check with your licensing specialist, you may already be licensed for these products!
1. App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization) –App-V is used to resolve application compatibility issues. For example, when you have two or more applications that need to run from one desktop, but the applications are incompatible with each other and cannot be installed on the same computer.
Using App-V, you can virtualize one of the applications and stream it to that computer. The program never actually installs on the computer and runs in a kind of protected memory bubble and thus, does not interfere with the other application(s).
In our EXAMPLE above, this would be an ideal solution. Anyone who needed access to Access 97 could receive the application through App-V. An icon would be provided on the desktop from which to run the application providing seamless access from the user perspective; a tidy solution to a common pain point.
2. Med-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) – Med-V COULD be explained as an Enterprise XP Mode (I discussed XP Mode in a previous blog.)
Primarily, Med-V is designed to resolve Operating System compatibility issues. For example, if you have an important application that was programmed for Windows XP and WILL NOT work in Windows 7, what can you do? The best course of action would be to obtain a version of the software that is compatible with Windows 7. Let’s say, for whatever reason, that a Windows 7 compatible version is not an option, what is to be done?
In our EXAMPLE above, we could use Med-V as a resolution option, although this is not the typical scenario for Med-V use. Let’s walk through it anyway.
Med-V provides a Virtual XP environment for Access 97 to run in. The user need only engage the application from an icon on the Start menu. The application runs in a window on the user’s Windows 7 desktop like any other application, but it is actually running on a virtual XP machine.
This would work for our EXAMPLE, but might be considered overkill. If the application in question did not function in Windows 7 at all, Med-V would be an excellent solution.
Virtualization provides elegant solutions to some messy problems. I invite you to investigate these products further and take your first steps into the virtual world. It’s easier than you think.
Read more about the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP).