When Windows Vista launched back in January of 2007, incompatibility was a term that was synonymous with the new OS. Things have clearly improved since then, but almost everyone has at least one or two applications that simply refuse to run, and probably will never see an updated version. The problem for Microsoft grows even larger when you look at businesses that often have very custom mission critical applications that tend to be rather fussy about their operating environment. For these businesses, Vista was simply not an option. The use of virtualization as a solution to incompatibility is nothing new. Unfortunately in most cases it is an overkill approach that requires multiple OS licenses, and a beefy enough rig to support both the guest and host environments.
Those in search of a better solution are overjoyed by the launch of Microsoft's Enterprise Desktop Virtualization Beta, also known as MED-V. The release was announced on the official MDOP blog where Senior Product Manager Ran Oelgiesser seemed enthusiastic about the future of embedded virtualization. “For those of us on the MED-V product team, our primary goal was to deliver an enterprise virtualization solution for the compatibility challenges that IT teams have with some of their line-of-business applications, during the upgrade to new operating systems (like Windows Vista). With MED-V 1.0, you can easily create, deliver and centrally manage virtual Windows XP or 2000 environments (based on Microsoft Virtual PC 2007), and help your users to run legacy applications on their Windows Vista desktops”. MED-V is slated to leave beta in Q2 2009.
With the Windows 7 launch on the horizon, is this too little too late?
Let's face it, web developers. Even if you're the most devoted fan of Firefox, Opera, or Safari, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is still Internet Explorer. Like IE or hate it, your pages had better work properly with it. Unfortunately, you can only have one version of IE running on a test PC at a time...or can you?
Add Virtual PC 2007 SP1 to your Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows Server 2003 or 2008 box, and install your choice of Windows XP SP3+IE6, Windows XP SP3+IE7, Windows XP+IE8 Beta 2, or Windows Vista+IE7 in VHD format. Now, it's easy to find out which pages make a particular flavor of IE gag, and you can switch between IE versions running in different VMs with the click of a mouse. For more Virtual PC downloads, including release notes, click here.
These disk images work until April 2009, so you have plenty of time to work out page glitches. Not developing websites? No problem! Try them anyway.