Wednesday, April 21, 2010

MED-V; Enabling OS Migrations?

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I have always wondered about MED-V and the use cases for it. It has always seemed that it was a product that missed its window in time. In the early years of virtualization deployments, VMware workstation was used to contain Windows legacy OSes to enable desktop migrations. I seem to recall an old case study where Merrill Lynch used this strategy successfully. Microsoft positions MED-V as a key tool for migrating from Windows XP to Windows 7.

MED-V is a management layer that sits on top of a distributed Virtual PC environment. It is very reminiscent of the original VMware ACE architecture and to be quite frank that product struggled to find opportunities as well. Why not just use App-V, XP mode in Windows 7, TS or VDI? well Microsoft’s argument is that if you have a number of legacy applications that are not OS compatible and you have a large number of desktops, MED-V is a good choice. While this makes sense if I have desktops that have a reasonable amount of CPU and memory, it seems that it is a technology where the stars have to completely align to prove itself.

MED-V can apply policies to the distributed virtual instances to make the image read or read / write. In addition the naming of the VM, the network profile (IP, DNS) and resource utilization (Memory) of the VM can all be centrally managed. In addition the applications in the guest VM can be blended into the startup menu of the host desktop. Microsoft recommends Configuration Manager to push the MED-V images as the default deployment mechanism is not as robust.

Here is my take on the ideal situation for MED-V; A Windows 7 deployment of new desktop hardware in which 10 or more Windows XP legacy applications that are incompatible with Windows 7 exist in a enterprise environment where Configuration Manager is deployed.

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