The demand could sound easy : "We manage more than 1200 desktops and would like to migrate them from Windows XP to Windows 7."
But in reality, the effort involved in migrating a significant number of desktops while keeping wallpapers, shortcuts and all the application custom settings can be quite significant and the process can be daunting. However, there is often no time and not an enormous budget for the migration.
This particular customer only had a few IT people, involved most of the time with technical support, and less with more complex tasks such as mass migrations. While I was doing the interviews to gather the various demands, the idea of a single centralized management system was coming : Altiris
Well .maybe you will think : it sounds too easy to be true.
We first used "Deployment Solutions" to create a list of jobs. It starts by capturing all desktops, users and application settings. Then, we applied "Deploy a Windows 7 Image", which creates a universal image (meaning the multi- hardware support).
The applications were deployed, previous settings restored and all computers integrated into the domain. The proof of concept was done in 2 weeks. Migration operation was finished after 4 months. Today, they can regenerate any PC in minutes, without the IT staff having to leave their desks.
Next step was: Automate all the processes in relation to Active Directory integration, goods acquisition and PC re-allocation.
(No, Altiris can do that too ? Unbelivable )
We put in place Altiris Workflow Solution, with a front-end server, able to genearate some forms into a Web portal. This helps to fill in the information and automates the process, with already other products installed.
After the integration of "Deployment Solution", we integrated the Notification Server with the modules called CMS (Client Management Suite), including Asset & Service Management Suite. Both have covered the operations requested, plus a large bunch of reporting and a dedicated dashboard for management, to be able to read all the information in « real-time ». Using our previous DS (Deployment Server), we have installed the agents to obtain all the information and interaction to do all our management operations. After the first « full inventory » people from Finance had to fill the blank fields about costs, departments and other details (ROI, SLA, Contracts), using a dedicated web page.
Today, the customer is happy. Everything has been automated and all the IT goods are under control, with reporting, costs and lifecyle managed under one hood.