Back in March, we covered MDOP and the six included tools. With over 44 million MDOP licenses sold, organizations are certainly taking advantage of this tool suite. The success of MDOP did not make Microsoft lazy though. On Nov 1st, Microsoft announced MDOP 2012 and the big changes that came with it!
User Experience Virtualization (UE-V)
By far the biggest addition to MDOP this year, UE-V seemed to have come out of nowhere! UE-V is designed to take the best part of Roaming Profiles and Application Data redirection without the slow logins or bloated network shares. With UE-V, Windows Administrators can selectively “roam” specific settings of the user’s local profile (including the AppData folder). Because UE-V only applies to the specific profile portions that you specify, you can roam a user’s personalization setting (such as their desktop background) while not roaming a large local settings.
UE-V Administrative Tool
The amazing thing at UE-V is the simplicity in setting it up. All that is required is a shared folder to store the data and the UE-V client. Out of the box, Microsoft provides templates for Internet Explorer, Office, and Windows 7/8. If you are creating templates for other applications, the UE-V wizard will monitor application write locations to help you virtualize specific settings.
The UE-V Template Wizard
The templates are XML, so editing them is very easy. They are extremely similar to Microsoft’s User State Migration Toolkit (USMT) and are closely based on the same technologies. Because UE-V works by redirecting application settings, users are not frustrated by increased logon times. UE-V is also very efficient as it only copies new data to the share when an application is closed (or when Windows is logged off or locked) as opposed to Application Data Redirection.
With the release of Windows 8, Microsoft has updated their Diagnostic and Recovery Toolset (DaRT). As you would expect, DaRT 8 is fully compatible with Windows 8 and Server 2012. This even includes operating systems installed on a UEFI system and those that are installed on a GPT disk.
DaRT 8 Setup Wizard
DaRT 8 also includes a suite of PowerShell cmdlets that can be used to automate the image creation step. If you are editing several DaRT images, these cmdlets can save you a lot of time!
The new DaRT PowerShell Cmdlets
Finally, DaRT now natively supports boot images on a USB device. When generating a DaRT image, you can directly “burn” it to a USB drive without the need for 3rd party tools.
App-V underwent some major changes with the release of 5.0. First, the App-V client has been completely reworked with a Modern Interface. While the older App-V client was perfectly fine, the new client seems much more streamlined for end users!
App-V 5.0 Modern client
Microsoft also reworked the App-V management console. Instead of the older MMC, the new management console is completely Silverlight based. Other changes include the new App-V package format (.APPV) and a set of Powershell Cmdlets to automate package maintenance and creation. These improvements (especially the .APPV format) have made App-V a lot more transparent. For example, you can open an .APPV file as a compressed file and browse the contents just like a folder in Explorer! The Powershell Cmdlets can help you understand the package process through the step by step commands.
Asset Inventory Service
Finally, Microsoft is retiring the Asset Inventory Service (AIS) as duplicate functionality can be found in Windows InTune or in SCCM. AIS is slated to be discontinued in April of 2013. Microsoft, however, did provide methods of migration to Windows InTune for organizations without SCCM.