250px-Microsoft_wordmark.svgBetaNews wrote: Thursday, Microsoft announced two updates to its Software Assurance Desktop Optimization Pack for enterprise Windows deployments available immediately: App-V 4.6 SP1, and MED-V 2.0.

Microsoft Application Virtualization, or App-V, is the solution which turns software applications into centrally managed, virtualized services that don’t have to be installed on client machines. With the SP1 update, Microsoft has introduced package accelerators in the new App-V Sequencer, which Microsoft has been discussing since mid-2010. Package Accelerators are files that admins can combine with install media to automatically convert applications into virtual packages. They are released 1:1 with the applications they work with, and the first accelerators will be available in early April, and will include Project, Adobe Reader, and Office 2010.

“Package Accelerators are kind of a distilled version, or the bare bones of a virtual application package, all that’s really missing are the proprietary binaries from the original application. So the idea is that you’re able to obtain a package accelerator, and by inputting that into the Sequencer, you combine that with the original install media let’s say your .msi’s, and then combine them, and the binaries for that application will be injected into the package accelerator to create a virtual package.” Chris Green said at TechEd Europe 2010.

Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization, or MED-V, is a virtual workspace that helps client machines access legacy applications on Windows 7 as if they were native, non-virtual items. MED-V 2.0 features new integration between System Center Configuration Manager and third party software, as well as support for USB devices and Smartcard readers.

“Don’t confuse MED-V with Microsoft’s consumer and small business compatibility tool, Windows XP Mode. MED-V expands on the capabilities in Windows XP Mode by adding enterprise features, such as the ability to use a custom Windows XP image, automating first time setup and controlling URL redirection for Internet Explorer. With MED-V 2.0, there’s no dedicated infrastructure. MED-V workspaces are distributed and managed with existing systems, such as System Center Configuration Manager 2007 R2 or higher,” Microsoft’s Dave Trupkin said yesterday.