Microsoft Accelerates Desktop Virtualization

Microsoft Corp. announced new investments around desktop virtualization technologies and solutions, including virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), to help organizations of all sizes increase flexibility, employee productivity and IT cost savings. During a webcast, the company detailed new technologies, simplified licensing models and an alliance with Citrix Systems Inc., furthering its virtualization strategy from the desktop to the datacenter.

Customers are looking at desktop virtualization as a means to reduce costs and accelerate delivery of new applications. A new Microsoft total cost of ownership study on the use of application virtualization technology showed that customers using a Microsoft virtualization technology called Microsoft App-V achieved a 27 percent labor savings, and equivalent cost savings of $82 per PC per year, in application life-cycle management compared with those not using application virtualization. The study also demonstrated how Microsoft App-V helps IT professionals deliver applications more quickly and efficiently.

Microsoft outlined improvements that are expected to make it easier to access desktop virtualization. More information on the announcement and Microsoft's virtualization strategy is available here.

  • New VDI promotions available for qualified customers: Microsoft and Citrix Systems are offering the "Rescue for VMware VDI" promotion, which allows VMware View customers to trade in up to 500 licenses at no additional cost, and the "VDI Kick Start" promotion, which offers new customers a more than 50 percent discount off the estimated retail price. Eligibility and other details on the two promotions can be found at
  • Improved licensing model for virtual Windows desktop: Beginning July 1, 2010, Windows Client Software Assurance customers will no longer have to buy a separate license to access their Windows operating system in a VDI environment, as virtual desktop access rights now will be a Software Assurance benefit.
  • New roaming use rights improve flexibility: 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.
  • Windows XP Mode no longer requires hardware virtualization technology: This change simplifies the experience by making virtualization more accessible to many more PCs for small and midsize businesses wanting to migrate to Windows 7 Professional or higher editions, while still running Windows XP-based productivity applications.
  • Two new features coming in Windows Server 2008 R2 service pack 1: Microsoft Dynamic Memory will allow customers to adjust memory of a guest virtual machine on demand to maximize server hardware use. Microsoft RemoteFX will enable users of virtual desktops and applications to receive a rich 3-D, multimedia experience while accessing information remotely.
  • New technology agreement with Citrix Systems: The companies will work together to enable the high-definition HDX technology in Citrix XenDesktop to enhance and extend the capabilities of the Microsoft RemoteFX platform.
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