IT departments have traditionally used imaging to deploy software, configurations, and settings to devices for many years. However, with the rise of modern provisioning techniques and cloud-based solutions, the question arises: Is imaging still a relevant and effective approach? I believe the answer is yes. Like the push to move to electric vehicles over petroleum powered vehicles they both have their place. While the newer approach may have some interesting benefits and features, for some the infrastructure just may not be their just yet. Let’s look at some of the benefits use cases for traditional imaging that still is good choice for many.
Consistency and Uniformity: One of the key advantages of imaging is its ability to bring conformity and uniformity to endpoints within an organization. By creating a standardized image with all the necessary settings, applications, and configurations, IT teams can ensure consistency across devices, making troubleshooting and management more efficient.
Time Savings: Imaging can significantly save time for IT professionals when deploying new devices or recovering existing ones. Instead of manually installing each application and configuring settings individually, a single image can be applied to multiple devices simultaneously, reducing the time and effort required for setup. (Save Time)
Bulk Deployments: Imaging is particularly valuable for large-scale deployments that involve a substantial number of devices, such as in engineering firms or the education sector (case study). Automated imaging allows for bulk deployment quickly for hundreds or even thousands of devices in a short period of time, such as over the summer break.
Security and Control: With imaging, organizations can enforce security policies and control the software and configurations on their devices. By predefining security settings, access controls, registry settings and other important configurations within the image, IT teams can ensure that all devices adhere to company standards and policies.
Low Bandwidth Requirements: Imaging can still occur regardless of internet connection or low bandwidth connections. Modern provisioning using cloud based just in time configurations may not even be feasible or practical at some locations. Large applications such as CAD programs may not deploy properly or easily from the cloud. These types of applications can easily be embedded in the image. Some organizations may also have requirements for air-gaped networks which could only be supported by an onsite traditional imaging solution.
Choosing between traditional imaging and modern provisioning depends on the specific needs of an organization. Traditional imaging may be preferred by organizations that require a high degree of control and consistency across their devices. In contrast, modern provisioning is suited for modern workplaces that value efficiency, flexibility, and the benefits of cloud-based management.
As the workforce continues to evolve towards more remote and dynamic setups, modern provisioning is likely to become increasingly popular. However, traditional imaging will still have its place in scenarios where offline deployment and precise control are paramount.
In conclusion, both traditional imaging and modern provisioning offer distinct advantages. By understanding the strengths and limitations of each approach, IT departments can make informed decisions that align with their operational goals and the needs of their users.
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