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Microsoft Releases Betas for Windows Deployment Tools

As part of Microsoft's free Solution Accelerator series, the company released two toolkit betas this week for Windows-based deployment and migration planning. Both betas include improvements over earlier releases.

Beta 1 of the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit (MDT) 2012 is available for download here (Windows Live ID required). According to Microsoft, MDT "works with the Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit and Security Compliance Manager to help you plan, securely deploy, and manage new Microsoft technologies."

The second release, the Microsoft Assessment and Planning (MAP) Toolkit 6.0 beta, is available here (Windows Live ID required). MAP is an "agentless, automated, multi-product planning and assessment tool for quicker and easier desktop and server migrations," according to Microsoft.

The MDT 2012 beta integrates into the new Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager 2012 console, which itself is only available as a beta 2 release. The beta offers a better user experience for Lite Touch installations and supports new Microsoft operating systems such as Windows ThinPC and Windows POSReady 7, according to a Microsoft blog post. It also supports computers that use the unified extensible firmware interface BIOS and it can help deploy a Windows 7 image to a virtual hard disk.

Supposedly, it is easy to upgrade to the MDT 2012 beta 1 release. The test period for this beta will extend through August of this year, according to a System Center blog post.

The MAP Toolkit 6.0 beta includes some new features to help with public and private cloud planning, as well as assessing the readiness of the computing environment's infrastructure for such migrations. Highlights of the new features in the MAP Toolkit 6.0 beta include:

  • The ability to analyze apps to move to Microsoft's Windows Azure cloud computing platform;
  • Private cloud migration planning support, especially to clouds using Microsoft's Hyper-V hypervisor technology;
  • Server inventory support, including reporting on VMware technologies;
  • Office 365 readiness assessments;
  • Internet Explorer 9 browser compatibility analysis when moving to Windows 7; and
  • SQL Server migration assessments when moving from Oracle products.

Eric Ligman, director of Worldwide Partner Experience at Microsoft, gives a fuller description of the new features in the MAP Toolkit 6.0 beta in this blog post. The review period for this beta extends through mid-July of this year.

Those looking for more descriptions of the various free Microsoft Solution Accelerator tools can find some links at this Microsoft TechNet page.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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