Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 R2 Released

by Pedro Hernandez

The software company's desktop virtualization and management suite is updated to support Windows 8.1 and receives file sync improvements.

Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack 2013 (MDOP) R2, the company's desktop virtualization and management toolset, is now available for download.

MDOP 2013 R2 is a suite of desktop management solutions that provides enterprise desktop virtualization, application virtualization and unified user experience capabilities. It also includes the company's Diagnostics and Recovery Toolkit (DaRT), Advanced Group Policy Management (AGPM) and security safeguards courtesy of Microsoft BitLocker Administration and Monitoring (MBAM).

The bundle has turned into somewhat of a worldwide hit for Microsoft, according to Senior Product Marketing Director Stella Chernyak. "MDOP's popularity with our customers continues to grow," she stated in a blog post before revealing that customers have snapped up 50 million product licenses. MDOP is a subscription-based offering for Software Assurance customers.

MDOP also helps businesses slash their desktop management and troubleshooting bills, asserted Chernyak. Citing data compiled by research firm IDC, fully leveraging MDOP "can save an average company nearly $200 per PC per year" due to productivity gains and systems automation. "That's a 36% reduction in annual cost," she added.

"Coupled with productivity gains and elimination of third-party software, hardware and additional software licensing costs, operational savings can top $500 per year per PC," Chernyak said.

The update includes support for Windows 8.1, which Microsoft launched on Oct. 17, and Office 2013 virtualization (under volume licensing using App-V). New versions of Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) 5.0 and User Experience Virtualization (UE-V), SP2 and 2.0 respectively, are also part of the package.

In addition Office 2013 support, App-V 5.0 SP2 features "enhanced right click functionality (shell extensions) for virtualized applications and simplifications to the overall application virtualization process," informed Chernyak. UE-V 2.0's settings synchronization engine was revamped to enhance "the user experience across virtualized desktops and offline scenarios" and sports a new Company Settings Center UI and enables Windows Store app user settings to roam with optional user-accessible customization features. 

"Now your users can roam their complete application experience, be it with desktop applications and/or Windows 8 and 8.1 apps and get a consistent personal experience," explained Ronald Dockery, senior product marketing manager for Windows Commercial, in a separate post.

Dockery described how UE-V 2.0 improves on the technology's file sync features. "In UE-V 1.0 SP1 we synchronized application settings when an application opened or closed, and your Windows settings on lock and unlock, login or logoff, or RDS session connect or disconnect start," he wrote.

Users have more options under the new software. "The new sync provider in UE-V 2.0 now also allows a sync at specific intervals that you can define (default is every 30 minutes) and eliminates the need for the UE-V hard dependency on the Offline Files technology in Windows which was previously required for users who were not always connected," stated Dockery.

MDOP 2013 R2 is available for download at Microsoft's Volume Licensing Service Center.

Originally published on eWeek.
This article was originally published on Tuesday Dec 3rd 2013
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