TechEd: Tools to ease Vista deployment pains

With the launch of tools to help companies, Microsoft has acknowledged deployment and application compatibility pains for IT managers updating business desktops to new operating system Windows Vista.

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Still, not everyone is rushing to deploy Vista, and smaller companies in particular are wary of adopting the OS until making certain it will work with everything in their systems.

TechEd attendee Ryan Engh, infrastructure manager at mutual funds company Wasatch Advisors, said his company is still about 12 months from beginning a Vista deployment, though two IT staff members are "playing with it" to see how it will interact with applications in the system.

"We'd be more aggressive if it wasn't such a drastic change in the operating system," he said.

Engh said he was not aware of the new deployment tools from Microsoft, but likely would not use them anyway because he is currently more concerned with application compatibility than actually deploying the OS.

"I'm not so worried about the deployment, it's just if the application will actually work on the system," he said. "We're not even worried about [deploying Vista] yet."

Microsoft also said that it would make its previously announced Microsoft Desktop Optimisation Pack (MDOP) available by July for Windows Vista with a new feature for monitoring desktop errors so IT managers can identify errors and send a fix across all enterprise desktops at once.

MDOP, unveiled in January, consists of software from Microsoft's purchases of Softricity, AssetMetrix, Winternals Software and DesktopStandard. It rolls up virtualisation software from Softricity, asset management software from AssetMetrix, group policy management software from DesktopSoftware, and diagnostic and recovery tools from Winternals into a product designed to help companies manage desktops in an enterprise.

The Softricity and Winternals components of the pack are already available for Windows XP, said Winni Verhoef, a senior product manager for Microsoft. All of the components of MDOP will be available for Vista in July except the Winternals diagnostic and recovery tools, which won't be available until next year. It is taking Microsoft a bit more time to port those tools to Vista because they had to be rewritten for the new architecture of the client OS, he said.

MDOP costs about US$10 (£5) per desktop and is available only to Microsoft customers who have purchased its Software Assurance service.

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