Microsoft previews MED-V 2.0, plans a Q4 release

Last time we heard about Microsoft Enterprise Desktop Virtualization (MED-V) was in April, when the company release version 1.0 Service Pack 1.

Microsoft got MED-V (formerly Workspaces) from the acquisition of Kidaro, happened in March 2008.
The product was rebranded just a couple of months after the acquisition but Microsoft took an entire year to re-release it.
MED-V 1.0, released as part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack (MDOP) in April 2009, didn’t introduce any new feature compared to the Kidaro original solution. So it’s safe to say that the product got only a minor .1 update in more than two years.

This translates in an enterprise platform that could remarkably change the way virtual desktops are deployed and secured inside the corporate environment, but that is still featuring Virtual PC 2007 SP1 as its underlying engine, a platform originally released in Q1 2007 and updated in Q2 2008.
Microsoft has been so slow and non-committed on this product that there are serious doubts about its plans for it.

Indeed there are, as the company finally unveiled something about MED-V 2.0 and it’s not very promising.

A 15-minutes video preview of the new platform was uploaded on Microsoft TechNet Edge yesterday.

MED-V 2.0 will introduce some features already seen in the Virtual PC package for Windows 7 called XP Mode.
The first one is that the virtualization engine will be in fact Windows 7 Virtual PC.
The second one is the seamless window publishing.  
Other new features on the front-end include URL and document redirection, as well as USB pass-through.

Judging from the video, in terms of user experience, the URL redirection looks incredibly confusing for the average user, and definitively years away from the smooth and fully integrated experience that virtualization products like Parallels Desktop and VMware Fusion offer today on a Mac OS operating system.

On server-side, the URL redirection feature depends on a plain text file where the administrator has to specify which URLs should be rerouted on the host OS. 
Considering that this is an enterprise product, that should be able support hundreds if not thousands of users, this approach is terrible and simply not scalable at all.

The URL filtering is a huge challenge and even security vendors like WebSense are struggling to provide a smooth experience, despite they rely on categories and a database with million of categorized websites.
How MED-V administrators will be able to deal with the hundreds of websites that a single enterprise user may have to visit for work if their only tool is a text file that must be updated by hand?

MED-V 2.0 is scheduled for a Q4 2010 release.

Thanks to Centralise Virtualise Manage for the news.