Breaking News: Some Big Desktop Virtualization Announcements

Because IT's everybody's business!

I don’t know what it is yet, but I hear it’s going to be important.

At 9:00am PST today, the “Desktop Virtualization Hour” site will have a live broadcast/webcast, where I’m told there will be some exciting news around Desktop Virtualization.

I’ll watch, and report back here with an update when I have the details.  Stay tuned, or watch with me.

Update: Here is the official announcement:


The announcements really came in three parts:

  1. New technologies
  2. Simplified licensing
  3. and a renewed alliance with Citrix Systems, Inc.

New Technologies
Many of you have complained to me (and to Microsoft about XP-Mode in Windows 7, and the requirement for hardware/CPU virtualization support.  Today we have removed that barrier.
Let me say it another way: If you have older hardware that doesn’t have virtualization support on the CPU, you WILL NOW be able to use XP-Mode on Windows 7.

“Wait a sec… ‘Now’?  Really?  Now?  No update required?”

Yes.. NOW.  If you are already using XP-Mode, you’re fine.  If you weren’t able to before, then the version you can download as of today will include the switch that allows it to run without the hardware-supported virtualization. 

Another new technology announced today, that is coming in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.  It’s called RemoteFX.  This is an improvement/addition to the RDP (Remote Destkop Protocol) that will support multimedia, 3D graphics, and full Silverlight fidelity in a remote desktop session.  Imagine the old Terminal Services session now supporting rich graphics!  Yes.. I even saw my friend Michael Kleef demonstrate full AERO desktop capabilities like AERO Peek and AERO Flip-3D, and the new “Street-Side View” in Virtual Earth.  Event HD video!  Amazing.  So, virtualized desktops basically won’t look virtualized any longer.  How about that?

Another benefit coming in SP1 on the Server/Hyper-V side will be support for something called Dynamic Memory.  Under Hyper-V, you’ll be able to configure virtual machines to dynamically adjust memory allocated to them, based on performance.  So, you can set a minimum and maximum, and let the machines adjust up or down as their load requires.  So if you’re hosting dozens of virtual desktop machines in a VDI implementation, you’ll be able to make better, more efficient use of your virtualization host memory.

“So.. when can I get SP1?”

Sorry – Microsoft didn’t announce any timeline for SP1 yet.  Stay tuned.

Licensing, Simplified! 

Beginning July 1, 2010, if you have Software Assurance on your Windows Clients, you won’t have to buy a separate Virtual Desktop Access license in a VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) environment. Thin clients will sill need a VDA license, but if you already have an SA covered Windows Client, you won’t need an additional VDA license for that client.  SA covers it.

Another big bit of news today is that companies will now have an option to extend virtualization licensing out to remote or home-based employees.  Home PCs, Kiosks, and their mother-in-law’s PCs.  Now you will have “roaming rights”.  These rights will also include licensing for things like Software Assurance-covered Microsoft Office applications.  “Beginning July 1, 2010, Windows Client Software Assurance and new Virtual Desktop Access license customers will have the right to access their virtual Windows desktop and their Microsoft Office applications hosted on VDI technology on secondary, non-corporate network devices, such as home PCs and kiosks.”

A renewed relationship with Citrix
We announced a couple of new promotions along with Citrix Systems:

VDI Kick-start program – to lower the barrier to entry.  Offering $28/user for up to 250 devices.  Sweet.

  1. VMware View Rescue Program – For customers that rushed into VMware’s VDI solution and experienced problems, you can trade in your un-used licenses!  Up to 500 of them!  “Through the Rescue for VMware VDI promotion, eligible customers can trade-in their VMware View licenses with same number of Microsoft VDI Standard Suite subscription and Citrix XenDesktop VDI Edition annual licenses”

Also, some additional technological collaboration was announced.  For example, Citrix HDX being able to detect RemoteFX capabilities on the server and taking advantage of it for an even greater, richer media experience.

More details about the offers and the collaboration can be found on this special website:

“Kevin.. The webcast discussed Application and Desktop Virtualization solutions like App-V and MED-V that are in the MDOP.  But what if I want to start trying out App-V , MED-V or VDI right now?  I don’t have MDOP.  How can I try this out?”

Are you a TechNet Plus Subscriber?  If so, your subscription allows you to download the MDOP (Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack) it and try it out.  (And if you’re not, CLICK HERE to find out more about the subscription, and take advantage of the near-$100 savings promotion that ends at the end of March 2010!)

What’s not in the announcement that you would have liked to see, Kevin?
I want to be able to run 64-bit guest machines in MED-V.  We haven’t yet addressed that.  I presume that it’s not
I want

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