Microsoft’s virtualization strategy is unfolding quickly and it can be difficult to keep up with the companies’ virtualization directions and products. During a recent visit to the Microsoft campus, David Greschler, Director of Microsoft’s Integrated Virtualization Strategy group (formerly a co-founder of Softricity) shared Microsoft’s platform vision of virtualization with Windows IT Pro Magazine.  Along the way he discussed the purpose and role of Microsoft’s new App-V and MED-V products.

David explained that Microsoft’s virtualization strategy is built on four pillars. First, unlike its major completion in the virtualization arena, Microsoft is a platform company first and products company second. Second, for Microsoft, management is the center of gravity around all of their virtualization technologies. And third, Microsoft is investing in a layered approach to virtualization where virtualization technologies are applied at the presentation layer, the application layer, the desktop layer, and server layer. Fourth is cost. Microsoft, as David pointed out, is known for delivering high value and low cost software solutions and Microsoft customers have indicated that Microsoft virtualization solutions are 1/3 the cost of comparable VMware solutions.

Next, David shared some of Microsoft’s most important virtualization product news. About Remote Desktop Services, App-V and MED-V. First, from the presentation virtualization standpoint, David pointed out the with Windows Server 2008 R2 Terminal Services has been rebranded as Remote Desktop Services to better reflect is role in providing desktops and applications across the enterprise.

Next, David explained the purposes behind App-V (Microsoft Application Virtualization) and MED-V (Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization). App-V 4.5 is essentially Microsoft’s most recent update to the SoftGrid desktop application product that Microsoft acquired with its acquisition of Softricity. App-V provides application virtualization.  The App-V client runtime enables running virtualized applications on your enterprise client systems.  Virtualized applications can be installed and run on client desktop without making changes to the client’s host file system or registry. App-V enables centralized deployment and management of virtual applications via Active Directory. You can find out more about App-V at: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/appvirtualization/default.aspx?ppud=4

Med-V is a totally difficult animal altogether. Med-V is a desktop virtualization solution that’s based on Microsoft’s Virtual PC technology. Much like VMware’s fusion or Parallels Convergence, Med-V allows the seamless integration of applications running in a VM with the host PCs desktop. The primary business problem MED-V addresses is the ability to run applications that may be incompatible with the desktop OS without requiring the user to deal with the complexities of operating a VM on the desktop. The Virtual PC function operates in the back ground and the end user can work with the virtualized MED-V application like they were normal desktop applications. You can learn more about MED-V at: http://www.microsoft.com/windows/enterprise/products/med-v.aspx

David briefly mentioned that another virtualization technology that coming down the pike is the project based on Microsoft’s acquisition of Calista Technologies. Calista is aimed at the development a virtual GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) that enables VMs to better run graphically intensive applications with the full fidelity.

You can listen to the podcast of a portion of this interview at: http://www.ittv.net/VideoPlayer/tabid/57/VideoId/331/Interview-With-David-M-Greschler-Director-Of-Integrated-Virtualization-Stategy-At-Microsoft.aspx