The User Experience Virtualization (UE-V) tool was introduced this week in beta, and will ship at an undisclosed date as part of the next refresh of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack.
When logging in to a Windows 7 or Windows 8 device in Microsoft's VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) environment, users with UE-V deployed on their systems will see consistent app and Windows settings regardless of the hardware they're using. That means their settings for Office apps, Explorer settings like Favorites and Toolbars, and even Windows desktop themes like color and sound will remain consistent across their devices.
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"By implementing UE-V, IT departments can enable a consistent experience for users who have multiple devices provided by their company or choose to bring their personal PC or tablet to work," said Karri Alexion-Tiernan, Microsoft's product director for Desktop Virtualization, in a blog post. "Now users can change their device and keep their experience without reconfiguring applications each time they log in to Windows 7 or Windows 8."
The time appears right for tools like UE-V, as Gartner predicts that more than 100 million media tablets will ship this year. Many of those will end up in the enterprise, and organizations will need tools to manage these BYOD (bring your own device) environments.
"The shift in thinking about virtualization mirrors the way professionals approach their personal and business devices. People want flexibility, mobility, and choices about how they stay connected and productive. As a result, most enterprise organizations are experiencing device proliferation like never before," said Alexion-Tiernan.
In another nod to the BYOD trend, Microsoft this week updated its Application Virtualization (App-V) toolkit to version 5.0. App-V allows IT departments to stream apps to users across multiple devices. New in version 5.0 is the ability for IT to turn off local application storage, a new, Web-based Silverlight management interface, and support for Windows 8 versions of mobility tools like Windows To Go and Direct Access.
While adding some tools to the MDOP environment, Microsoft is discontinuing others. MDOP's Asset Inventory Service will be phased out by April 3, 2013. "Our customers liked the concept, but felt it could be more powerful as an integrated function of their management tools," said Alexion-Tiernon.
Both UE-V and App-V 5.0 can now be downloaded in beta form from Microsoft's desktop virtualization site. The company did not specify when the final versions of the products will ship.
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