Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Microsoft Application Virtualization 4.5

The long awaited version 4.5 of "Microsoft SoftGrid" has been released in beta, and there are some remarkable surprises to be read in the release notes.
  • First of all, the name "SoftGrid" is dropped and now we should talk about "Microsoft Application Virtualization".

  • Secondly, the centralized management and integration with SCCM 2007 is now in effect. This was the major improvement in functionality that was expected previously. This is basically manifested in the different installation modes that are possible:

    • Standalone mode: which allows the execution of virtual applications without the streaming but using SCCM or another electronic software distribution (ESD) tool to get the SoftGrid package at the client.

    • "SoftGrid compatibility" mode: the infrastructure as we know it from version 4.0 - 4.2 where a central application server performs the desktop configuration, performs application tracking/licensing/access management and streaming.

    • Streaming Server mode: which is a trimmed down version of the previous mode where only streaming is performed at such a server. I suppose that this is the component that will be placed on SCCM distribution points once SCCM2007 R2 (which would feature Microsoft Application Virtualization integration) is released to allow for distribution points to perform the streaming.

  • Finally, the big new feature is that we now can merge bubbles on the fly! The "Dynamic Suite Composition" feature allows to create separate packages for middleware such as Java Runtime Engines or Oracle clients.
The beta can be downloaded at the Microsoft Connect website. More details on this new release can be read at the SCCM site or at the SoftGrid team blog --- I wonder what we should call that blog from now on ;).

I am yet to test this new release but you can expect some detailed feature reports very soon.

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