MED-V: More info


MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization) is part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) and has come to the fore somewhat recently, along with Windows 7’s XP Mode.

A number of people had heard of MED-V and knew that it let you run older apps in a virtual environment on new OS’s (such as Windows 7). Then, when MS announced XP Mode for Windows 7 the question became “Why do we need MED-V?”. In short we need MED-V because it’s excellent-so let’s look at why :-)

XP Mode allows single users to run an app in a local XP VM, and that’s it. It’s a local instance which needs to be looked after by that user/helpdesk but individually on that machine…MED-V however, gives numerous central management controls and that is where it comes into it’s own.

The four key points it offers are:

  • Virtual Image Repository
  • Centralized Management and Monitoring
  • User Policy and Data Control
  • Seamless user experience

Virtual Image Repository: This gives a company a central repository to store all the different virtual images they need (XP, Mac OS, Linux etc) which can then be retrieved by end users and/or automatically deployed. There is also an automated process for keeping the VM’s updated with any changes to the build image. Med-V also allows for automated first-time setup such as:

  • specifying computer name
  • setting up the network
  • joining the domain.

Centralized Management and Monitoring: MED-V can be integrated into Active Directory (AD) to enable VM provisioning based on group policies. There are features aimed at helping Helpdesk too including a central database of all client activity and the ability to easily revert a VM back to it’s original state.

User Policy and Data Control: One of the cool features MED-V offers here is the ability to automatically re-direct specified websites to the Virtual Machine, so if a certain site only runs in IE6 and corporate standard is IE 8, the VM will handle it.

Seamless user experience: Virtual Machine applications are available via the host OS Start menu and apps published via MED-V are still available when offline.

So MED-V is a grown up version of XP Mode that gives corporates the ability to easily, safely and centrally manage a Virtual environment for application compatibility.

All this information is from the awesome free MS e-book “Understanding Microsoft Virtualization Solutions” and there’s a whole lot more in there too…go download it here.

Microsoft OCS & Roundtable


I had a great Live Meeting with a customer day where we discussed how Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 and the MS Roundtable device is helping them in their organization…and I have to say it was one of the most positive chats I’ve had with a customer for quite a while!

They are a very large international organization with operations on pretty much every continent (save Antarctica I believe) with 100’000s of users across 100’s of countries. As you can imagine, that means there are a lot of meetings to be had and thus a lot of flights to be made and hotels to be stayed (in). There international travel costs come to 1,000’000’s of Euro’s a year and that is something they wanted/needed to cut-especially in the recent climate.

Using Live Meeting and Roundtable for Video Conferencing means some individual sites are saving over £1,000 per week in travel costs alone! Certain people were flying to Europe 3 times a month and that has now been reduced to once every 2 months at the most…as well as the cost savings, the reduction in carbon emissions is phenomenal :-) Since it’s installation, OCS has been used for 12,000,000 minutes of remote conversation!!!

The customer termed Live Meeting/OCS & Roundtable as “the dog’s bollocks” ;-)

Live Meeting’s ability to share desktops and applications as well as Powerpoint slide shows makes it the perfect medium for showing remote workers how to use a new system, showing technicians the error you’re experiencing as well as standard presentations etc. Also, the fact that you can take control of a remote desktop means Helpdesk’s can use it to quickly see and solve user’s issues. The Roundtable, with it’s full 360 degree panoramic display helps remote users feel more connected to the information being delivered and the people delivering it!

One situation where Video Conferencing comes in very handy is with pregnancy. Both us internally and the customer I was talking to have got staff who’s wives are very close to giving birth…but there are also important European meetings close on the horizon…”ruh roh” as Scooby may say! Usually the choice would be:

    • Don’t go
    • Go and risk missing the birth

Neither of these are brilliant solutions, so Video Conferencing gives us a 3rd option:

    • Stay here and conference in with full video and VOIP audio.

That way the user can still make their contributions as well as learn from everyone else, while being close enough to home to dash off to the hospital at a moment’s notice!