Posts Tagged Deployment

Deploying with a Twist – SmartDeploy

cds For many years I was a principal consultant with Altiris (in the US and EMEA) and when XP was released I oversaw more deployments than had hot dinners. I got deployment burn out and went to work for a smaller IT company to try to gather my thoughts (and get of the IT radar) only to find myself now 6 years later faced with the same scenario I had back then, deploy and stay up with the times (i.e. Windows 7) or potentially go unsupported (XP SP2) – and getting off the IT radar, yeah I’ve only involved myself more…

At any rate, enter the imaging and deployment contenders – all names we’ve heard of before, right? Altiris, Acronis, and SCCM – the big boys.  That was until I did a bit of research and came across a product called SmartDeploy from Prowess. From the outside what it seems you do is create a VM and then take an image of that VM, which subsequently makes a .wim file you then deploy, the twist being that it injects the drivers at boot time in it’s own version of WinPE, giving you added flexibility. Pretty cool. There seems to be a scripting environment too, but I haven’t gotten that deep yet…

Altiris as we all know builds images and they do that really well, but their images are akin to trying to kill a mosquito with a cannon ball, they not only want to do imaging, but they also want to do inventory, system management, anti-virus, essentially be the one stop shop, which – don’t get me wrong, one vendor is good for some things, but all your eggs in one basket in this arena…I’m not too sure. Plus, their images are still a big and bulky format – not .wim files – which with today’s hardware means a minimum of two images (an x86 and and x64), not to mention a larger pipe for deployment and more disk space to save these images…

SCCM and the Microsoft deployment tools, they’re great too, but they’re more focused at the big league. To get the most benefit from anything Microsoft you have to be either really good at it and focus 110% of your time and efforts on it, or be an enterprise organisation with an EA SA VL and a few other acronyms, ensuring you get the licensing you need when you need it.

Acronis, personally I’ve never used them but every time I look at their marketing efforts or see them mentioned, it seems they’re focused at helping John Doe make an image of his home PC so in case it breaks he’s got a backup…I could be wrong, but that is what their marketing seems to give me the impression of…

Now, here is where SmartDeploy seems to fit in. From what I can gather their licensing model is based on IT head count that will use the product rather than desktop deployments and their sweet spot is the SME market which other guys tend to leave behind or don’t fully address. Often, I find the SME market seems to include government and schools too, which it seems SmartDeploy have a few case studies on, so I can’t be too far from wrong 😉

At any rate, over the next few days (ok, weeks) I’m going dust off the deployment gloves and see what Prowess has to offer because we all know that the Windows 7 migration and imaging jobs can’t be avoided too much longer and a new contender to the market is always welcome as is a fresh set of ideas, not to mention yet another alternative to add to my imaging tool belt…

If you’ve used their tool or know any more about it, please let me know too as I’d be interested!  Watch this space…

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Office 2010 – Deployment Options

As Office 2010 gets nearer RTM (another phase of releases went out the other day to TAP customers) many of us need to begin to think about how we’re going to deploy it.  Good news is that Microsoft has taken the thought out of the what’s and how’s and put it all together for us in a simple document.  Even better, they’ve given us three options – a PDF, an XPS or even a Visio (what the PDF and XPS were made from, no doubt).

In short, there are five ways to deploy Office 2010:

As with anything, each has its advantages and disadvantages, all outlined for you and downloadable from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyID=85607061-5eb2-4659-afc5-5d942b84a024&displaylang=en

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Deploying Office 2010 with Presentation Virtualisation (a.k.a. Terminal Services)

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(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use Windows Server® 2008 Terminal Services as a deployment option to allow users to operate the Office 2010 applications from their workstations. Terminal Services is run on a shared server and presents the application user interface on a remote system, such as a local workstation. Using Terminal Services to take advantage of App-V enables the optimization of the application through the sequencing process of application virtualization and then uses Terminal Services to deliver the application as a presentation virtualization.

Advantages
  • Centralizes management of applications, such as controlling application usage and license metering, which can help administrators ensure compliance.
  • Supports end-user roaming experience and to quickly make applications available to end-users.
  • Provides thin-client support.
  • Reduces network traffic because only keyboard, mouse, and display information is transmitted.
Limitations
  • Application availability is dependent on both the network infrastructure and the servers running the application.
  • Graphic-intensive applications might experience degradation in performance.
  • Less flexibility of traditional end-user experience on a workstation.
Recommendations
  • Presentation virtualization is a good solution if application compatibility, such as running multiple versions of Office, is required and you want to use the processing power of servers running Terminal Services to operate the applications.
  • When older workstations do not support the operating system,  presentation virtualization is a good solution.
  • Ensure that redundancy is in place for presentation virtualization infrastructure to avoid having a single point of failure.
Deployment Help & Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 Using Application Virtualisation (App-V)

image (Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use Microsoft Application Virtualization (App-V) as part of a deployment option to allow users to run Office 2010 applications on their workstations. App-V streams applications on demand to the workstation, from which the application is run. However, the application is not installed on the workstation.

Advantages
  • Centralizes management of applications, such as controlling application usage and license metering, which can help administrators ensure compliance.
  • Supports end-user roaming experience and provides applications to end users quickly.
  • Allows multiple versions of Office to run on the workstation and can run both virtual applications and installed applications.
  • Office 2010 runs in an isolated virtual environment, which can enable previously incompatible applications to run on the same workstation.
  • Uses available workstation processing power to run applications.
Limitations
  • Requires supporting infrastructure and resources for App-V, which will vary depending on the infrastructure deployment option selection.
  • Network bandwidth availability for streaming application to end-user device.
  • Integration into existing infrastructure, such as patch management process.
Recommendations
  • When application compatibility, such as running multiple versions of Office 2010, is required and you want to use the processing power of the workstation to run the applications, then application virtualization is a good solution.
  • When you want to use the existing processing power of the workstation to run the application, then application virtualization is a good solution, as opposed to the use of presentation virtualization, where the running of the application takes place on the servers.
  • When scalability is needed for the distribution of the virtualized application to many hundreds of computers and in different locations, such as remote offices, we recommend  use of change and configuration management software, such as Microsoft
  • System Center Configuration Manager, as the delivery mechanism.
    Ensure that redundancy is in place for application virtualization infrastructure to avoid having a single point of failure.
Deployment Help & Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 with Manageability Tools

image (Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use change and configuration management software, such as Microsoft System Center Essentials and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager, to deploy Office 2010 applications. The choice of System Center Essentials or Configuration Manager depends in part on the size of your organization.

Advantages
  • Applications are deployed to thousands of workstations in a short period of time. Managed deployment systems can first push the installation bits to the targeted workstations over a specified period of time (such as over a week), which helps distribute the load to the network and allows for a quick deployment once the installation bits are on the targeted workstations.
  • Makes network bandwidth management easier.
  • Centralizes control, monitoring, reporting, and issue resolution of deployment.
  • Reduces the need of sending helpdesk personnel to workstations for troubleshooting.
Limitations
  • Requires supporting infrastructure.
  • Expertise is required to manage the change and configuration management software.
Recommendations
  • Use managed deployment systems when applications are deployed to thousands of workstations in a short period of time.
  • Put change and configuration management policies in place.
  • Plan, test, and validate before rolling out to production.
  • Roll out in a phased manner. This is especially true for unattended installs — the most common issue is people not creating/configuring a valid unattended install experience.
  • Schedule deployments for minimum network utilization times, such as evenings and weekends.
Deployment Help &Tools

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Deploying Office 2010 via Group Policy & Scripts

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(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

Administrators can use Group Policy to assign computer startup scripts to deploy Office 2010. A script can be written in any language that is supported by the client computer. Windows Script Host-supported languages, such as VBScript and JScript, and command files are the most common.

Advantages
  • Leverages Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS) and Group Policy infrastructure.
    AD DS handles the elevation of privileges required for application installation.
    Administrators can use a similar scripting process to apply security updates and service packs for each computer in the domain or organizational unit.
    A script can be written in any language that is supported by the client computer, such as VBScript and JScript, which are Windows Script Host-supported languages.
Limitations
  • The product installation is not managed in the same way as Group Policy Software Installation (GPSI).
  • Group Policy invokes the script and has limited awareness of the installation state thereafter.
  • Product uninstalls and installs for multiple computers have to be done by using a command-line script or batch file.
  • It might be difficult to determine exactly which updates and service packs were applied for each client computer.
Recommendations

Group Policy startup scripts is a solution for organizations that do not have a desktop management application, such as Microsoft System Center Essentials or System Center Configuration Manager, but that need an automated way to deploy Office 2010 to many computers.

Deployment Help &Tools

Group Policy Management Console (GPMC)
Scripting languages, such as Microsoft Visual Basic Scripting Edition (VBScript) and JScript
Sample Group Policy Startup Script
Microsoft Assessment and Planning Toolkit

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Deploying Office 2010 from a Network Share

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(Source: Deployment Options for Microsoft Office 2010)

Overview

A simple way to deploy Office 2010 is to create a network installation point and copy the contents of the Office CD onto the network share. Make sure that the network is accessible by the targeted resources (users/computers).

Advantages
  • Easier for smaller IT departments to implement
    Network share and network access are the only infrastructure requirements.
    Flexibility — allows users to initiate the installation on an as-needed basis.
Limitations
  • Difficult to control and monitor who installs Office
    Difficult to manage installation times by end users and consequent affects on network infrastructure.
Recommendations

Using network file and folder sharing for installing Office 2010 can be a good alternative for smaller organizations that lack supporting infrastructure such as Microsoft System Center Essentials, Active Directory Domain Services (AD DS), or available technical knowledge, such as scripting.

Deployment Help & Tools

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Deploying Windows 7 from A to Z

Microsoft has released a new document written by Jeremy Chapman the delopyment specialist which covers Windows 7 from A to Z.  Here’s the table of contents:

Deploying Windows 7 from A to Z
Migrating User Files and Settings from Windows XP to Windows 7
Application Management and Preparing for a Windows 7 Deployment
Application Compatibility
Application Packaging
Choosing an Image Strategy and Building Windows 7 System Images
Quick History Lesson for System Imaging
Building Your Image
Getting to Thin Images
Automating the Migration from Windows XP to Windows 7 End-to-End
Automating the End-to-End Migration Process
Tricks for More Automation

so there’s definitely some information inside this document for you…What are you waiting for?  Go download it now!

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?displaylang=en&FamilyID=dfafb346-97dd-4fca-947e-3d9149834da6

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