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Category: MDOP

I just got hooked up with this tool and will be blogging more on this as I work out it’s in ‘s and out’s… This really appears to be a great fit for SMB’s or a place with an over tasked IT management group ( isn’t this the case in EVERY IT dept?) but to start..

What is it?

Windows Intune is a new offering from Microsoft that includes the Windows Client Software Assurance, the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack, and, last but not least, the online desktop management service called Windows Intune.  You can sign up for a beta account of the Desktop Management component through the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.  This beta contains all the features that are planned for release, and will allow you to deploy to as many as 20 PCs.

What does Windows Intune do?

Windows Intune is an online service that allows you to protect update and manage your PCs from the cloud.  When you sign up for an account, you will be able to:

ü Protect PCs from malware

ü  Manage updates

ü  Proactively monitor PCs

ü  Provide remote assistance

ü  Inventory hardware and software

ü  Set security policies

As with any beta release, our goal here is to have real customers give the service a solid evaluation, provide feedback and comments, and of course file bugs you may find along the way.  To help you do this, we have established a TechCenter site that includes all the resources you will require, such as deployment information, discussion forums, support, and how-to tips and tricks to get you going.

How to enroll:

The Windows Intune beta is publicly available, but space is limited!  We will be accepting the first 1000 customers who sign up through the Microsoft Online Services Customer Portal.  Once you’re signed up and you have received the confirmation email, you can log in to the service, download your client software and deploy it to as many as 20 computers.  When you start using the service, we encourage you to visit our TechCenter site, where you can post questions in this forum, review documentation and get assistance.

Make sure you are using the Intune technet forums if you are a beta tester! also Intune related items will be search able on the KB library!


     The Win 7 friendly version of the MDOP (MS desktop optimization pack) is now available for download if you have access to it as an SA or EA client with MS and have purchased licenses for it.


MDOP updated!

What is new in MDOP 2009 R2?

     Our friends over at the MDOP team blog answered this big question recently… Too much to paste so use the link!
Here is an awesome FAQ on upgrade considerations

If you plan to use a server-based deployment scenario for your Microsoft Application Virtualization environment, it is important to understand the differences between the Application Virtualization Management Server and the Application Virtualization Streaming Server. This topic describes those differences

Application Virtualization Management Server

The Application Virtualization Management Server handles user requests for application data and streams that data on demand to authorized users using RTSP or RTSPS protocols. In most configurations using this server, one or more Management Servers share a common data store for configuration and package information.

The Application Virtualization Management Servers use Active Directory Groups to manage user authorization. In addition to Active Directory Domain Services, these servers have SQL Server installed to manage the database and data store. The Management Server is controlled through the Application Virtualization Management Console, a snap-in to the Microsoft Management Console.

Because the Application Virtualization Management Servers stream applications to end-users on demand, these servers are ideally suited for system configurations that have reliable, high-bandwidth LANs.

Application Virtualization Streaming Server

The Application Virtualization Streaming Server addresses the needs of businesses that want to use Application Virtualization with the streaming capabilities of the classic server configuration but might not have the infrastructure to support Management Servers.

The Application Virtualization Streaming Server can be used in environments with an existing electronic software distribution system (ESD). You use the ESD to manage streaming applications. Unlike the Application Virtualization Management Server, the Streaming Server does not use SQL or a management console. These servers use access control lists (ACLs) to grant user authorization.

Taken from …
It’s important that you don’t confuse SoftGrid virtualization (app-V) with how Windows Vista UAC performs redirection. With UAC, when an application attempts to write to or modify protected areas of the registry or file system, it is redirected to a user-specific view of the registry and file system. SoftGrid, on the other hand, uses a concept of truly virtualizing the application to the operating system—including all registry and file system components that make it up. But the elegance of SoftGrid is that it isn’t a single blob that defines an application. Instead, it consists of:
  • An SFT file of up to 4GB. This contains one or more applications and all of their dependencies except Windows dependencies, which are expected to be on the destination systems.
  • An OSD file of approximately 2KB. This contains a definition of how the application can be requested and executed. You can think of the OSD file as an EXE.
  • An ICO file of about 24KB. This is effectively a shortcut to launch the application.
  • An SPRJ file of about 13KB. This is used by the sequencer (the core of SoftGrid) to publish, open, update, and repair existing packages.
A comprehensive diagram of how SoftGrid Application Virtualization works is available at the Web site products/architecture.asp.
Here is a link to the technet App-V team blog!
so this application virtualizaiton thing is pretty sweet, but do we need to allow or block any kinds of communications to / from clients and the APP-V servers?

Server-Related Protocols and External Components

The following table lists the server types that can be used in an Application Virtualization Server-based scenarios, along with their corresponding transmission protocols and the external components needed to support the specific server configuration. The table also includes the reporting mechanism and the active upgrade mechanism for each server type. Because these scenarios all use the Application Virtualization Management Server, you can use the internal reporting functionality that is built into the system. If you use an Application Virtualization Management or an Application Virtualization Streaming Server to deliver packages to the client, packages on the server are automatically upgraded when a user logs into the client; if you use IIS servers or a file to deliver the packages to the client, the packages on the client must be upgraded manually.


Server Type


External Components Needed


Active Upgrade

Application Virtualization Management Server



When using HTTPS, use an IIS server to download ICO and OSD files and a firewall to protect the server from exposure to the Internet.



Application Virtualization Streaming Server



Use a mechanism to synchronize the content between the Management Server and the Streaming Server. When using HTTPS, use an IIS server to download ICO and OSD files and use a firewall to protect the server from exposure to the Internet.



IIS server



Use a mechanism to synchronize the content between the Management Server and the Streaming Server. When using HTTP or HTTPS, use an IIS server to download ICO and OSD files and a firewall to protect the server from exposure to the Internet.


Not Supported



You need a way to synchronize the content between the Management Server and the Streaming Server. You need a client computer with file sharing or streaming capability.


Not Supported

Here is a nice writeup on APP-V protocols and communications, should be current for ver 4.6
Are you an MDOP (MS desktop optimization) user and looking for a nice detailed guide on AGPM? Here’s a helpful guide :)

AGPM step-by-step guide