– Bob Kelly, senior product manager, KACE (www.kace.com), says:

XP Mode makes client virtualization a reality for many small businesses, as it is essentially a Windows XP virtual machine running on the Windows 7 client. For applications that require XP, they can be run by XP (on Windows 7). This is a reliable, but technologically challenging solution to the issue of application compatibility. In the background there is an entire XP operating system that needs to be managed by IT. This could potentially mean that a network of 500 computers has 1000 instances of Windows to manage. The XP system shows up on the network and should be managed and patched as with any operating system. Likely this will mean Microsoft is forced to provide security updates for XP for longer than they would like, but given the challenges faced by those fighting this same problem in their Vista migrations, this is a welcome option to have available. XP Mode is what I’d consider to be the SMB version of Med-V. Many wonder what is the difference and why would someone buy Med-V with XP mode now available to small businesses.

The key downside to XP Mode is that the Windows XP instance and its applications must be set up on each PC individually; each physical PC has its own virtual Windows XP environment and is controlled and managed locally. The larger the environment, the less of an option this becomes, as it is simply not designed for centrally managed deployments. Microsoft’s Med-V adds what is needed to support the larger including the provisioning of an IT configured virtual machine, customization of the virtual machines—essentially the ability to connect to an Active Directory domain and to adjust the settings of the Virtual PC as needed in a managed/centralized way.