As promised in November, Microsoft launched yesterday the first beta of Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V), formerly known as Kidaro Managed Workspace.
Microsoft acquired Kidaro in March 2008, but as usual the product must be re-engineered to meet the software development criteria and quality standards that the company enforces before it can be rebranded and sold.
Managed Workspace is a platform wrapper for Type-2 VMMs (non bare-metal virtualization platforms, like Virtual PC or Virtual Server) that envelops virtual machines in a security layer where the administrator can define granular corporate policies, deciding which physical networks can be accessed, when the VM expires, if the virtual hard drive is encrypted, etc.
Rather than platform wrappers Microsoft is calling this category of products as client-hosted virtualization, highlighting the fact that the virtual desktop images are centrally stored and managed. But this terminology may lead to confusion with VDI (which Microsoft used to call hosted desktop environments just last year).
As the industry doesn’t agree yet on an unambiguous definition, virtualization.info will use “platform wrappers” in articles and in the Virtualization Industry Radar.
Microsoft has just three competitors in this space at the moment: VMware, with its ACE (but please note that the ACE capabilities are being moved directly inside VMware Workstation and the product as is today will possibly disappear soon), Sentillion with its vThere and the just arrived Tresys Technology with its VM Fortress.
On top of them also MokaFive is moving to include similar features in its new Virtual Desktop Solution.
MED-V, which only supports Virtual PC 2007 SP1 in this first version, will be included in the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) where also App-V (formerly SoftGrid) is.
This means that any customer unwilling to subscribe the software assurance can’t access it.
Microsoft expects to release MED-V 1.0 in the H1 2009. Meanwhile the beta program can be enrolled here.