Microsoft adds assessment and installation tools

The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, formerly called Business Desktop Deployment, now covers SQL Server and virtual environments.

Microsoft has expanded the capabilities of its Assessment and Planning Toolkit, which should be welcomed by IT shops that use the software to take inventory of their enterprise systems.

The agentless tool takes an inventory of desktops, servers, network devices and applications in the environment and offers compatibility guidance for new installations.

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The Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit, or MAP, already supports Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Vista and Vista SP1, and Windows XP Professional Edition assessments.

MAP Toolkit 3.2, which was introduced this week at TechEd 2008 in Barcelona, now offers guidance for SQL Server, Network Access Protection, Microsoft Online Services, and Forefront Client Security.

The MAP Toolkit was called Business Desktop Deployment 2007, or Microsoft BDD. MAP has many of the same features as BDD, such as Zero Touch and Light Touch installations. Microsoft renamed the products back in February 2008.

Given the wave of new virtualization products coming out from Microsoft, including the recent RTMs of System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2008 and App-V 4.5, formerly known as SoftGrid, the software company is also including a virtualization environment assessment tool in this MAP release.

Other new MAP features include a power utilization calculator for desktops and servers and assessment reports for all the new areas the tool supports, such as reports that show server power savings in a virtualized environment running Hyper-V, for example.

Also at TechEd this week, Microsoft renamed the desktop virtualization technology it bought from Kidaro as the Vista Centralized Desktop and said it would now be part of the Microsoft Desktop Optimization Pack and eventually integrated with System Center Configuration Manager.

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