Is MDOP Windows 7’s Killer App?
One of the oft repeated criticisms of Windows Vista is that there was (and still is) no compelling reason to upgrade. After all, why spend over a hundred bucks to upgrade your computer when all you get out of it is some behind the scenes things.
Maybe it is more secure, but if you run good antivirus and firewall software, do you need more security? And so the thinking goes.
Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP)
Recently, it seems that Microsoft may be going back to the roots of its original success.
When personal computers were still luxury items owned by fewer households, there were plenty of software choices and major competitors in product areas like word processing, spreadsheets, and databases, Microsoft assembled together its collection of products into the Microsoft Office Suite.
Competitive pricing, one stop shopping, and the computer company that makes the operating system also making the productivity software proved to be a powerful combination that businesses around the country bought into.
A few years later, the competitors were gone and Apple was that other company that makes computers. What happened? Business happened.
Learning computers (especially a decade or two ago) was hard enough. People didn’t want to learn one thing for the office and another thing for the house. So, when they went to look for a new computer, they looked for what was on their desk at work, a Windows PC. Then, when they wanted to buy a word processor, they bought the one they already used MS Word.
It proved to be more powerful than Apple’s strategy to get people using Macs while they were in school in the hopes that they would stick with what they knew as they transitioned into the real world. Except, that became exactly the problem.
When a student graduated from college as a local Mac user, they got a job at a company that used only PCs. No PC skill, no job. So, it sort of became the standard that when you stopped being a kid and became an adult, you stopped using a Mac and started using a PC.
But, with many (most?) US businesses reluctant to invest the significant time, money, and resources into a major OS upgrade (one that they feel they finally have gotten setup just right), that force was missing. Susan the accountant worked on Windows XP all day at the office. Why would she want to come home and have to figure out Windows Vista?
Therein lies the great potential for MDOP to be Windows 7’s killer application.
MDOP in Business Enterprises
MDOP is only available to Microsoft’s Software Assurance customers. The last thing Microsoft needs right now is another system to support from experts on down to people who still can’t program their VCR, or DVR.
MDOP provides the first release of the Enterprise Desktop Virtualization package (MED-V), and updates to Application Virtualization (App-V) and Asset Inventory Service (AIS).
Together these three items potentially solve some of the “unsolvable” and very expensive issues that large companies have, namely getting the right software on every desktop and more importantly keeping it there without it getting messed up, and keeping track of where everything is.
It is these challenges that have led companies to take the drastic measure of wholesale outsourcing of their IT departments just to get rid of the recurring headaches associated with them.
MDOP also solves the too expensive, too much effort, and we’ll never be able to do this in a way that doesn’t disrupt everything argument against an OS upgrade.
The key component of upgrade nirvana is MED-V which allows for enterprise wide virtualization on PCs so that two operating systems (XP and Windows 7) can run at the same time.
So, when migration time comes for the accounting department and it turns out that a critical financial application doesn’t work properly on Windows 7, they can simply fall back on the virtualized XP OS to run that piece while the upgrade moves forward. Theoretically, when the vendor, or the company themselves, update the software to run fine on Windows 7, then the XP virtualization can be shut down.
App-V allows the reverse by letting application developers run their current usable implementations of Windows XP while running their apps in real world situations virtually on Windows 7.
AIS comes in to solve the thorny issue of licensing. In the real world, it is virtually impossible for a company to know exactly when and where every copy of every piece of software is installed. While they are theoretically responsible for managing on-going licensing, the truth is that most companies simply buy software as they go and then pay money for an upgrade when they need to install a newer version.
The idea is that software is more or less in compliance then by inertia. However, rolling over 35,000 PCs to new OS, new versions of applications that support the new OS, and so on, shakes things up too hard to keep everything where it belongs. The AIS system helps to inventory and catalog not only what is on an individual machine, but also what kind of license it has.
Add it all up and MDOP might take just enough of the “too hard” out of upgrading Windows 7 to tip some businesses into taking the upgrade plunge. Once that happens, vendors will have to release Windows 7 versions fast and the average person will start going home to a computer with Windows XP and instead of thinking, “This does everything I need,” they’ll start thinking, “I sure wish this had Windows 7 like we have at the office.”
And then, Apple can run all the I’m a PC, I’m a Mac commercials they want because the people buying new computers won’t be thinking about getting a hip fun computer with different shiny bells and whistles, but rather about getting a computer that they already know how to use.
Besides, if it’s good enough for work, it runs MS Office better, AND it plays games … what exactly is the Killer App for switching to an Apple?