With the date of April 8th 2014 and the end of support for Windows XP more and more companies are pushing for Windows 7, however this push comes at a cost, poorly designed or in some cases just old software holds up Migrations every day, in most cases Virtualising the application or updating the application fixes these problems.
However, some applications cannot be fixed or updated e.g. Vendors are no longer in business and no replacement software can be used, or even more rare the vendor is still in business but are "advising" their customers to keep using XP as they have no plans to update their software for Windows 7 (Yes there are companies that actively follow this practice).
At the end of the day you are left with 3 options:
- Keep the users on Windows XP and live without updates Post 2014
- Run Windows XP off VDI environment
Unlike some vendors I wouldn’t recommend to people to maintain Windows XP on local desktops Post 2014 it’s just not a good idea, especially with most vendors already dropping/dropped XP support.
VDI is an option however you are limited by the fact that a user out in the field with no network access cannot use the environment, so not a good option for remote users. And setting up a VDI infrastructure can be expensive
The third option is MED-V, but first off what is MED-V
MED-V or Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization is what Microsoft call the "last mile in solving application compatibility"
MED-V allows the user to run a virtual Windows XP inside windows 7 however rather than virtual PC and the user accessing the entire XP desktop, an administrator can configure what applications the user can see and the user accesses not the XP desktop but the Application in the MED-V environment from the windows 7 start menu. Obviously running a XP virtual machine on a Windows 7 desktop/laptop will use Resources.
MED-V offers another feature that I personally would love to see in APP-V's future versions and that is MED-V's URL redirect component for Internet explorer. I am sure many people have come across times where users have called stating that a web application that was virtualised does not work. And you remote onto their pc to find out their launching just internet explorer on its own rather than the package containing plugins/configurations required. MED-V eliminates this problem (provided that your users are running internet explorer) when the URL is entered the current internet explorer window closes and internet explorer in MED-V (generally i.e. 6 unless the author of the Environment chooses another version) will launch in its place. As MED-V runs in its own self-contained environment from the host PC it is favoured over maintain full XP desktops.
The biggest problem with MED-V is its life cycle, Med-V will only operate on Windows 7 Machines and Microsoft have come out and stated that they won’t develop on the platform for Windows 8 and beyond support for MED-V. For me as a packager that has used MED-V this is a big disappointment from Microsoft. As my organisation uses countless applications most of them are not windows 7 compatible (some aren’t windows xp compatible either), most we can get running on Windows 7 via APP-V deployment but there are some that won’t even run through that method and the last solution is MED-V. With Microsoft pushing companies to test/adopt Windows 8/8.1 they haven’t realised that application compatibility is a Major problem. Microsoft answer is generally "oh by the time you go to the next windows your applications will be compatible due to upgrade of the software." This is where Microsoft don’t see the real world where Application Vendors may no longer be in business and there is no replacement software available on the market, especially when you look at bespoke software for the likes of Healthcare where it is manufactured by only one company and if they go out of business you're out of luck. With Microsoft only supporting MED-V in Windows 7 then down the line other solutions have to be considered.
I.e. Client Hyper-V
Currently the MED-V environments that I Manage are base Windows XP images fully up to date with all major and minor hotfixes along with Visual Studio C++ and .net framework and basic plugins for internet explorer. The only application that I install along with the base OS is APP-V.
Mainly so we're not limited to creating a unique MED-V environment for each application/Department, we can deploy the MED-V workspace to dozens of machines then assign users permission to the app-v application and they can have the application delivered to their MED-V environment and through that their Windows 7 Start Menu.
As long as you have access to MDOP MED-V is included and you can install it. I would recommend using V2.0 as opposed to V1.0 as 2.0 is much more stable.
What are you're experiences with MED-V?