By the end of March 2011 Microsoft will offer the first taste of a new version of Windows 7 tailored to the needs of customers with virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) environments.
Windows Thin PC (WinTPC) will make its debut into a broader testing phase no later than next month, with Gavriella Schuster, the General Manager for the Windows Commercial business, revealing that the bits will be served through Microsoft Connect.
At this point in time, the Redmond company did not provide a specific availability deadline for Windows Thin PC, but Schuster promised that downloads of the new Windows 7 SKU will go live in later in the first quarter of 2011 (Q1 2011).
“WinTPC is a smaller footprint, locked down version of Windows 7, designed to allow customers to repurpose their existing PCs as thin clients.
“PCs with WinTPC will not require the VDA license that regular thin clients will need to access VDI desktops,” Schuster added.
The software giant also did not announce a price tag for Windows Thin PC, and the reason for this is rather simple. WinTPC will be a SA benefit.
This means that customers with Software Assurance license agreements with Microsoft will not have to pay for extra licenses in order to leverage WinTPC with their PCs/thin clients.
SA customers already don’t have to pay extra for separate licenses designed to enable them to access Windows in a VDI environment as of July 1, 2010.
According to Schuster, WinTPC is just the icing on the VDI cake for enterprises:
“A while back, we lowered VDI licensing costs by making desktop access rights a Software Assurance (SA) benefit,” she said.
“When we released our application virtualization solution, App-V 4.6, we also reduced storage costs for VDI, making it possible to store a single copy of virtual applications on a SAN while deploying them to multiple virtual machines.
“Now, with SP1, we are working to lower the operational expenses of VDI by optimizing VM density through the new Dynamic Memory functionality in Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1.”