Desktop virtualisation: Vista 's secret weapon?

As Microsoft continues to recommend that business customers not pass over Vista in favour of the forthcoming Windows 7, the company has been working quietly to improve its software for desktop virtualisation, which could in the future alleviate obstacles like application compatibility that have plagued Vista adoption.

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Microsoft closed its acquisition of Kidaro Technologies, a desktop-virtualisation software vendor in May, and plans to use technology from that company to create a new product called Microsoft Enterprise Desktop virtualisation.

The company will release this in the first half of 2009, according to a post on Microsoft's Windows Vista Team Blog.

Desktop virtualisation software allows a business to run an entire desktop, including the OS, as a virtualised container on a network. Specifically, Kidaro's software allows users to run applications from multiple versions of Windows at the same time on a desktop, with seamless windowing and menus so it is not confusing to users, according to the blog, which is attributed to Chris Flores, a communications director at Microsoft. This scenario alleviates the problem of having to bring older applications up to date with a new OS running locally on a client machine.

Microsoft will combine desktop-virtualisation technology from Kidaro into the Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) of software to create the forthcoming Enterprise Desktop virtualisation software next year. Microsoft has been offering MDOP for Vista since last July to make it easier for business customers to deploy the OS across multiple desktops.

The package includes application virtualisation and desktop- and asset-management software from several Microsoft purchases, including Softricity, AssetMetrix, Winternals Software and DesktopStandard, and is designed to help business customers deploy a new OS and then manage client desktops.

In recent months Microsoft executives both privately and publicly have been stumping for the company's application- and desktop-virtualisation strategies. As business customers have been slow to adopt Vista. Both scenarios can help solve at least one of customers' major gripes with the OS: getting older applications to run, and run well, without a lot of recoding or reconfiguring.

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