Look no further than TechNet for some great input and advice from Microsoft on how to deploy Windows versions — including Windows 8 or 8.1 — to user desktops. This week, I re-read an article there entitled “Streamlining Windows 8 Deployment with the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack” (better known as MDOP), that walks readers through the deployment process from initial analysis and planning stages all the way through roll-out across the network.
The TechNet MDOP article reviews all the various steps in the deployment process for Windows 8 desktops.
In fact, Microsoft recommends using virtualization for so-called “application portfolios” (the Windows Store apps and regular desktop applications that organizations wish to make available to users on their desktops) to increase overall manageability and flexibility. Not only does it make what’s available to users on their desktops easier to manage and control, it also minimizes what the company calls “application-to-application conflicts” that can occur when users need to run two versions of the same application at the same time (MS uses MS Office 2013 for normal productivity tasks versus MS Office 2003 with line-of-business apps as its case in point).
The Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) tool is included with MDOP. It’s designed to make applications available in the form of network services, to stream them to users on demand without requiring local installation. This helps reduce local image sizes, and thus makes deployment faster and cleaner. Updating and managing such applications occurs in the datacenter, completely under IT control. And when applications need to be replaced or retired, there’s no need to physically uninstall them from user’s PCs; they need only be made unavailable through App-V.
There’s a lot more useful and interesting information about deploying Windows 8 and virtualized applications in this TechNet article, so be sure to check it out. MDOP does require its own subscription (and use of the Windows Enterprise editions), but free evaluation versions are available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. To get started digging in, here’s a link to the MDOP page.