How MED-V Affects Windows XP End-of-Life Support Policy (It Doesn’t.)
Lately, I have many customers who are in the process or quickly planning their migration from Windows XP to Windows 7. Some of them are even looking to become early adopters of Windows 8. In the process of inventorying, rationalizing, and providing application compatibility remediation for their legacy applications, the need for leveraging MED-V for last-resort application compatibility remediation has created questions with regards to Windows XP supportability and how MED-V may or may not affect that. For application issues such as 16-bit remediation for x64, MED-V is the only option for enterprise customers.
Given that the supported MED-V solutions (v1 and v2) and its scaled-back VPC counterpart Windows XP Mode leverage the use of a Windows XP operating system instance, the question is always posed to me – Does the Windows XP EOL policy also apply to MED-V? The question may also be asked slightly differently but more pointedly: Does MED-V extend the Windows XP EOL policy?
The short answer is: No MDOP solution extends or affects the Windows XP Lifecycle end-of-life date for support. That date is firm and will not change. April 8, 2014 – as per the reference here: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/endofsupport.aspx
MED-V Version 1
MED-V Version 1 is technically still in support however, only MED-V V1 workspaces containing the Windows XP operating system are. Even though MED-V V1 did temporarily allow for the use of Windows 2000 workspaces on Windows 7 when released in 2009, it did not extend the support date for Windows 2000 instances beyond the end of 2010. Since mainstream support for MED-V v1 ends on August 10, 2013 (per http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=desktop+virtualization&Filter=FilterNO) there is no confusion as there is with MED-V V2 since MED-V V1 will already be out of support by the time 2014 arrives. If customers running MED-V V1 have not already started looking for alternative means of application remediation going forward for Windows 7 and/or Windows 8, the time to start thinking about that is now. Note: MED-V (any version) is not supported on Windows 8.
MED-V Version 2 and Virtual PC for Windows 7
MED-V version 2 will be supported until December 4, 2016 (per http://support.microsoft.com/lifecycle/search/default.aspx?sort=PN&alpha=desktop+virtualization&Filter=FilterNO.)
What this means is the actual MED-V and VPC7 code will be supported beyond the Windows XP EOL date – but the Windows XP code will not be. In essence, the host machine’s software will be fully supported until that date but no security or critical updates will be released for the guest operating system (other than potentially code fixes for elements pertaining to the MED-V guest agent.) Remember, MED-V is designed to only serve as a temporary solution for remediation. The end game should be the modernization or replacement of the application(s) in question. Also take heed the same applies for Windows XP Mode.
So the big question . . .
Finally, the last question I am always asked is: What do you recommend our end game date for leveraging MED-V should be?
My honest answer has never wavered: April 8, 2014 – if not sooner.