Can MED-V take on Terminal Services?

Had a great conversation with an MMS 2010 attendee while I was helping man the Windows Manageability booth at the Expo Pavilion this week. We were discussing his existing applications, moving to Windows 7 and he asked “When is it appropriate to use MED-V, since I already have a legacy application on Terminal Services?”

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization is a great way to manage the deployment of applications that will not run on Windows 7, but run on Windows XP. By providing a managed, virtual, integrated copy of Windows XP running inside Windows 7, users can still access a legacy application seamlessly from their desktop.

However, MED-V is not the ultimate solution to getting legacy applications to run on Windows 7 indefinitely. Its a way to get Windows 7 onto desktops without being held back by a specific application that is not yet ready to be upgraded, replaced or phased out of use.

But what if you already have the application available through Terminal Services? You may be running Citrix on Server 2003 Terminal Services. Or maybe the application will run on Vista and can be deployed using Server 2008 TS RemoteApp. Both those options are easier to manage than deploying and managing a host of extra virtual Windows XP machines on your network, especially if you already have an appropriate Terminal Services environment available.

MED-V is a tool to consider if you are Software Assurance customer, because access to the MDOP tools cost only about $7-8 per desktop. This can be cheaper than the cost of Terminal Service or Citrix CALs, unless of course, you already own those CALs.

MED-V and Terminal Services aren’t competing solutions for the same problem. But they can help you accomplish the same goal – getting your users working on Windows 7.

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