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Automating Processes to Optimize a Windows 7 Deployment

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The need to replace an aging fleet of computers, the potential cost savings when using Windows 7, and the inevitable end of Windows XP support mean the time to start planning is now.

The need to replace an aging fleet of computers, the potential cost savings when using Windows 7, and the inevitable end of Windows XP support mean the time to start planning is now.

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  • 1. W h i t e PaP e r AutomAting Processes to oPtimize A WindoWs 7 dePloyment Most organizations skipped the migration to Windows Windows 7 features cited by analysts as particularly Vista. However, IDC expects around 20 percent of useful to the enterprise include DirectAccess, which enterprises to adopt Windows 7 within the first 12 attempts to simplify connectivity for mobile users; months of its release, and another 40 percent to upgrade BitLocker and BitLocker To Go, which secure data on within 12 to 48 months. The reason: IDC estimates1 that hard drives and removable USB thumb drives; and the average cost of deployment activities is $527 per AppLocker, which delivers more granular control of user PC, but can go as high as $700 or more depending on applications. Additionally, Windows 7 offers energy- the time spent by IT staff and users. That is roughly 20 savings features and enhanced protection against to 40 percent of the cost of the PC. Reducing the cost malicious software through User Account Control (UAC). of deployment will significantly reduce the total cost of ownership—especially in combination with cost-saving The combination of older and costly-to-maintain PCs, features in Microsoft Windows 7. and the availability of Windows 7 is expected to drive sales of new corporate PCs, according to a 2009 eWEEK article2. The article noted, “The compelling argument to AutomAting Processes to oPtimize A WindoWs 7 dePloyment refresh is there.” To put the situation into perspective, consider that when Windows 7 launched in October 2009, Windows XP was running on 80 percent of all commercial PCs, according to another eWEEK article3 that cited recent industry research. For those who do not want to make the change, other factors might force their hand. In particular, Windows XP support from Microsoft and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) will gradually decline. Citing Forrester Research and Gartner, eWEEK noted that organizations will find a “generalized lack of XP support from ISVs starting around the end of 2011, with an XP danger zone for support at the end of 2012.” And Microsoft’s extended support for Windows XP Service Pack 3 will end in April 2014, with no updates or patches offered after that date. Given a typical 12- to 18-month timeline to prepare for and execute an operating system (OS) migration, IT departments that do not start planning in the first half of 2010 risk running out of runway before their migration to Windows 7 is complete. 1 IDC White Paper: “Dell PC Deployment Optimization Model,” January 2007 2 “Intel Sees Strong Notebook Growth in Q3,” eWEEK, October 13, 2009 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Intel-Sees-Strong-Notebook-Growth-in-Q3-893181/ 3 “Microsoft`s Windows 7 Tried to Vanquish Vista Memories in 2009,” eWEEK, December 15, 2009 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Windows/Microsofts-Windows-7-Tried-to-Vanquish-Vista-Memories-in-2009-701116/ © Copyright 200 Ziff Davis enterprise 
  • 2. W h i t e PaP e r Poised for dePloyment don’t already have systems management infrastructures. The need to replace an aging fleet of computers, the potential cost savings when using Windows 7, and the Staging and Logistics Challenges: In many PC inevitable end of Windows XP support mean the time to deployments, companies must stage images and start planning is now. applications near destination PCs, a process that requires planning, infrastructure, and labor. Also, they However, most IT departments haven’t managed a major must manage the rollout to ensure that it occurs in client OS refresh in over six years. In that timeframe, an orderly manner. Strong logistics demand careful application, user data requirements, and complexity planning, scheduling, and management. This is an have grown exponentially. The good news is that area where bringing in outside expertise and help can automation has improved dramatically, and the old greatly improve the efficiency of these processes. For paradigm of manual deployments, or waiting for the PC example, new methods can often eliminate the need for to be replaced, can be avoided. staging altogether, thereby saving cost and complexity. Doing things the old way can incur hidden costs and Image Installation Challenges: Companies traditionally inefficiencies. As noted earlier, the cost of deployment install images from a network, but storing images on activities can be quite high ($527 per PC on average, the network is not always an efficient way to go. First, but ranging up to $700 or more), especially if IT staff synchronizing these image repositories is an ongoing and users must spend a lot of time on the process. challenge. More importantly, downloading multi-GB images across the network to hundreds of PCs can These costs can be reduced and reined in using saturate the infrastructure, even in the main campuses. deployment best practices and automating many of the The problem is compounded in branch offices, among steps required to complete a migration. Unfortunately, remote workers, and at global locations. eWEEK reports4 that many organizations are unsure about the steps to conduct a migration and to achieve Application Installation Challenges: Creating an these deployment cost savings. For this reason, they application inventory, resolving compatibility issues, and are turning to organizations like Dell, which offers repackaging legacy applications are intricate processes. deployment services and real-world expertise that Determining which applications should be installed on combine best practices and optimized processes. a particular PC—and validating license entitlement—is complicated, and automating their installation is dePloyment chAllenges an intensive process that requires specialized tools A Windows 7 deployment will likely involve hundreds or and expertise. All of these elements benefit from thousands of PCs, with some in distributed and remote an experienced deployment project management locations. And ideally, the entire migration should must organization (PMO). take place within a short period of time to avoid the cost and complexity of managing multiple client operating User State Migration Challenges: User data and system systems. This introduces several challenges. configurations must be carried over in a Windows 7 deployment/migration. Otherwise, users frequently Management Challenges: Mass PC and OS deployment call support for help in restoring settings they can’t is outside the scope of normal operations, so remember how to configure, resulting in lost productivity organizations may not be familiar with the intricacies of and increased support demands. Migrating user settings these projects. Also, collecting the asset data necessary therefore increases satisfaction and post-deployment to support planning is challenging for companies that productivity, while reducing support costs. However, 4 “Dell Offers Migration Services for Microsoft Windows 7,” eWEEK, October 19, 2009 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Desktops-and-Notebooks/Dell-Offers-Migration-Services-for-Microsoft-Windows-7-445109/ © Copyright 200 Ziff Davis enterprise 2
  • 3. W h i t e PaP e r migrating user state data to a network share has similar dePloyment Best PrActices challenges to image installation (discussed above). In To reduce the costs associated with a deployment, particular, it can increase storage costs significantly, improve the speed at which a deployment is completed, introduce data security risks, and can consume bandwidth and reduce risks, Dell suggests organizations use needed to run your day-to-day operations. New deployment best practices (see table: Dell Optimized automation tools can keep users whole while eliminating Deployment Best Practices) that it has developed from most or all network bandwidth and storage requirements. its past deployment work with customers. User Support Post-Deployment Challenges: The Dell approach is based on four fundamental principles: Support incidents increase significantly during PC deployment projects. Users are unfamiliar with the new • Project Management Process: A formal process is computing environment, and they often need the help applied to focus on delivering results that meet the of support technicians who can return to normal levels defined business case, helping to ensure risks are of productivity. mitigated and changes to scope are controlled • Project Management System: A management Taking these challenges into consideration, PC system is established to control and monitor deployments can be complex, costly, and disruptive. governance and progress of all project activities For example, there are many labor-intensive tasks from image and application management to data and • Phased Project Approach: Helps ensure that risks settings migration. These tasks can often benefit from and issues are identified, addressed, and re-assessed automation and the use of proven best practices. at key points throughout the project • Project Organization and Responsibilities: A formal process is applied to identify project team members dell oPtimized dePloyment Best PrActices and give a clear understanding of their roles and Process Design Best Practices responsibilities in achieving project objectives. • Consolidate schedules to increase technician efficiency • Deploy after hours to reduce business impact and so that elements of An oPtimized dePloyment technicians can operate efficiently With such an optimized strategy in place, what’s needed • Set up exchange rooms for users to bring notebooks next is a way to carry out the deployment. To that end, for upgrade Dell Services has developed patent-pending technology • Decide on processes to transfer user data and applications and processes that automate the PC provisioning • Provide augmented post-deployment support process. Using these services can greatly reduce the Provisioning Best Practices overall cost associated with PC deployments. • Maximize technician multitasking • Reduce network traffic The Dell Automated Deployment (DAD) solution maps • Automate manual steps to an organization’s business requirements and is based • Monitor problems in real-time and track problem resolution on best practices in program and project management. Project Management Best Practices • Adopt a central view of the deployment and a single By minimizing technician intervention and reducing point of coordination their time spent in the process, DAD is able to perform • Develop site readiness plans based on time-to-deployment the complex tasks that occur during deployment, and • Have an onsite technical project manager can allow technicians to spend just minutes installing • Communicate the plan to users and managers each new PC. For PCs that aren’t being replaced, the • Plan staging and logistics to ensure adequate space is need for a technician visit can be eliminated. Based on available for new machines each customer’s deployment objectives and rules, Dell • Manage existing user data and applications migration can deploy an OS image, configure the OS, join the © Copyright 200 Ziff Davis enterprise 
  • 4. W h i t e PaP e r domain, install all required applications, securely migrate Dell has PCs that meet every user’s requirements. Its individual user data and settings, and perform all other desktop systems can deliver computational muscle for necessary tasks within a single process. high-end users and cost savings for the typical office worker. Its notebooks provide the connectivity and Some of the key design principals of DAD can enable computing features needed by today’s more mobile significant cost savings through decreased use of workforce. technician labor, accelerated deployment times, little to no infrastructure investment, and simplified logistics. Organizations can take advantage of Dell’s real-world Specifically, DAD does the following: customer experience in deploying Windows 7 using its patent-pending deployment • Enables multi-tasking methodologies. From its work via streamlined automation, Advanced planning, with Windows Vista, Dell offers which can lower overall a solid knowledge base about the use of best practices, deployment costs Windows migration, application and automation of the many compatibility, and best practices. • Reduces network dependen- cies to minimize unnecessary tasks involved are Additionally, its partnership infrastructure costs the keys to a successful with Microsoft and knowledge • Allows customization late Windows 7 deployment of the business applications in the process to simplify software market allows Dell to logistics and scheduling provide help with application compatibility testing and remediation. • Automates manual steps to help ensure a high- quality process Dell offers additional services that can help in all • Securely migrates data and settings to help ensure a phases of a Windows 7 migration and deployment. consistent user experience These services cover inventory and assessment, image development and management tools and • Supports both remote and local users services, application compatibility testing and problem • Collects and provides access to real-time remediation, and custom factory installation services. deployment data to track a deployment’s progress and status of work still to do. And Dell Services has created an engagement framework for organizations that want to leverage its • Supports in-place upgrades and migrations optimization model for Windows 7 deployment. This engagement framework speeds the adoption of new The bottom line is that Dell Automated Deployment technology and simplifies the ongoing maintenance addresses the most important factors that determine and support of existing technology. In sum, Dell’s the success of deployment. These factors include optimized deployment strategy dramatically helps management, staging and logistics, image installation, organizations assess the environment, design solutions application installation, user state migration, and day-after to transform processes and technology, implement user support. By addressing these factors, DAD enables the deployment via the design, and manage the faster and more effective adoption of new technology. environment once deployed. PArtnering With dell Dell offers the blend of hardware, OS software, and To learn more about how Dell can help you plan expert services that can make planning and carrying and execute a Windows 7 migration, visit out a Windows 7 upgrade smooth and successful for IT www.migrationexpertzone.com. organizations of any size. © Copyright 200 Ziff Davis enterprise