Why Client Deployment is Important
When new PCs are purchased or new users start, IT need to build a PC and configure it as you desire. This always takes longer than expected and when this is undertaken manually there will always be differences between computers.
Over time, these differences cause a support nightmare when user X and Y have an issue; but Z does not, but no one knows what the differences are. If you need to rebuild a PC to sort out a problem it can easily take a day by the time it is configured and all the applications are installed.
The amount of time taken can put companies off upgrading older computers or even upgrading operating systems to the latest versions.
Setting up automatic client builds is not a straight forward affair and unless you have lots of time to test in a lab environment, most small companies are unable to implement a solution.
What we can offer
We can implement an automatic Operating System Deployment toolset which will allow you to reimage a computer (desktop or laptop), with an operating system; then install the applications required; all the correct drivers; and then configure it for your environment.
This will allow a swift rollout across any machine, and ensure all build are identical.
Imaging can be undertaken via a DVD (ideal for remote sites), or via the network. This means that literally, a new PC out of a box just needs plugging in, then with 2 keystrokes it can boot from your build server – and your “builder” simply needs to enter a couple of bits of information and then walk away. After a short duration the computer will be ready to be used.
This sounds like a miraculous tool, and too good to be true, but set up correctly it will ensure a standard image is deployed everywhere and support issues will be greatly reduced.
Once you have a standard image, you can simply implement other systems such as Software Deployment and Software Updates to ensure all PCs stay up to date at all times.
Standardised images make it much easier to resolve issues, and even allow users to use alternative spare computers as necessary - minimising downtime and user disruption.
Typical Project Duration
The typical project duration for implementing and documenting a fully working Operating System Deployment system is as follows. Note these are guides only and there may be slight variances depending on your exact requirements.
- Optional: Demonstration and proof of concept of fully working lab system at your site
We will bring in our mini test lab, and connect your laptop/PC to it. We will explain how the system works, and then get it to wipe and install Windows 7, Office and Adobe Reader, all the correct drivers, and then connect it to our domain and configure accordingly – all with only 1 minute of user intervention.
Duration: 1 day. (50% credited if full project is undertaken afterwards)
- Design: Detailed design planning
We will work with you to determine how you want the system to work. Which applications are needed and the most efficient way of dealing with them and your user grouping. We will also determine how best to configure the software and computer, either via Group Policy or through build configuration, and also we may be able to introduce benefits you hadn’t considered (such as remote support; audit; centralised office templates etc)
Duration: 1-2 days
- System Implementation: Implement a fully working system based on design document.
We will deliver a system capable of building your computers over the network or via DVD for either Windows 7 32-bit or 64-bit or both, including application installation and configuration, and the correct automatic installation of necessary drivers. We will provide training and full documentation to allow you to maintain the system going forward as well as recommended procedures for user migration and upgrades
Duration: 5 days (assuming AD/GPO etc is in place or not required). (Duration will increase with number of extra applications)
- Optional: Assist with user migration
Once the deployment system is implemented you are able to deploy the clients as you desire. We can offer our services to help with the user migration, implement processes to ensure a quality and controlled migration takes place. You do not need this service, but it may help for the first few users, or indeed you may wish to have assistance to speed up your migration
Duration: Depends upon requirements
The deployment system needs to be implemented on a Windows 2008 server (ideally R2) and fully updated. The server should be either dedicated to deployment or a systems management role, and not used for any live users. Multiple reboots will be necessary during install.
Apart from the Server and Server 2008 license there are no licensing costs for the deployment system, though of course you need to license any clients you deploy. You should have a license agreement in place with MS which provides volume license or MAK keys.